Tag Archives: Books

Like to Read? Here is a free source of ebooks

(See my other Reading related posts) – With many in self-quarantine, we are looking for ways to occupy our time. One pastime many of us enjoy is reading. Of course, that can quickly get expensive if we read many books.

I came across the article “How to read books for free on your iPhone and iPad” a couple of days ago. The article explains how to use the Libby App to borrow books from your local library. If you don’t have a library card you can even request one through the App at some libraries. The App is available on the App Store for iOS devices.

If this interests you, visit “How to read books for free on your iPhone and iPad” for a how-to on setting up and using Libby.

Books were important to the servicemen and women of WWII

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I follow author Sarah Sundin on Twitter (I posted a review of her WWII romance novel The Sky Above Us a few weeks ago) and saw mention of an interesting post she recently made. She only posted it a few days ago. In it, she talked about the importance of books in WWII.

The post is titled “Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt Stop #10“. Her discussion of books and their importance to WWII soldiers begins just a short distance from the top.

 

 

 

I encourage you to read the full post, but the highlights are:

  • few soldiers read for pleasure before the war
  • before the war books were relatively expensive
  • those in the service often found themselves with time on their hands and many servicemen looked to libraries and books to help fill these idle hours

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  • the National Defense Book Campaign was founded in November 1941 to gather more books for the military

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  • in March of 1943 the Council on Books in Wartime was founded – special Armed Services Editions of many popular books were published, By 1947 when the Armed Services Editions program ended, 123 million books had been published.

If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

    • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 360 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II-era in history.
    • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
    • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

Reading is More Important Than You Might Think

Books
I came across the article “Why Reading Books Is Important for the Brain” today and found it very informative.

There is a growing trend among Americans to read fewer books. Reading is good for your brain because it uses “a highly variable set of skills that are deep and complex“. This is good for your brain health. There is also evidence that reading fiction helps people to “improve their ability to recognize and empathize with feeling sand viewpoints” of others.

Several other benefits that come from reading are mentioned in the article. We should all encourage those we know to take a little time and read.

Today is “National Science Fiction Day”

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(See my other Reading related posts) – I have been reading science fiction since Junior High. It is my favorite genre. I think that reading science fiction is part of the reason I became an engineer and developed an early interest in computers.

From the National Day Calendar website:

National Science Fiction Day promotes the celebration of science fiction as a genre, its creators, history, and various media, too. Recognized on January 2nd annually, millions of science fiction fans across the United States read and watch their favorites in science fiction. 

The date of the celebration commemorates the birth of famed science fiction writer Isaac Asimov.  An American author and Boston University professor of biochemistry, Isaac Asimov was born Isaak Yudovich Ozimov on January 2, 1920. He was best known for his works of science fiction and his popular science books.

HOW TO OBSERVE #ScienceFictionDay

The day encourages reading or watching science fiction. However, consider exploring science fiction in other ways. For example:

    • Introduce science fiction to an entirely new generation. Offer to read excerpts from your favorite science fiction author to a youth group at a library. 
    • Explore the authors of science fiction you’ve never read before.
    • Study the history of science fiction and how it has impacted modern culture.
    • Share your favorite science fiction story or character. 

Use #ScienceFictionDay to post on social media.

An Interview with Author J. K. Kelly

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(See my other Author Interviews ) – I have read, enjoyed, and reviewed two of Mr. Kelly’s novels – “Found In Time” & “The Lost Pulse“. Mr. Kelly was kind enough to let me interview him a short time ago.


Myself: When did you first realize that you wanted to become a writer?

Kelly: That might actually go back as far as grade school. I liked to tell stories as far back as those years but once I learned how to type in freshman year of high school I had learned something that could keep up with my thoughts and it was on from there.

Myself: What is the first piece that you remember writing?

Kelly: The first writing credit I ever received was in the sixth grade. In response to a question from the editor of Highlights Magazine who posed the question – “Do you believe Martians exist?” – I wrote back that I’d believe it when I saw them walking down main street. They ran my response and a cartoon that made the cover that of two Martians walking down the street as school kids hid behind mailboxes and store facades and watched in awe.

Myself: That is really a special way to begin your writing career. What is your academic and work background?

Kelly: I studied Journalism and Law Enforcement at Penn State University but when I was offered a dream job, that of the PR Director for a NASCAR team in Charlotte, I left the Happy Valley and never looked back.  I had been doing freelance writing and photography on weekends while I was in college and that was my first dream job – traveling, writing, taking pictures, and going to the races. A detour due to the needs of my family took me from the NASCAR gig and I thought I was finished but when an opportunity with a small start-up named VP opened in Pennsylvania I was back in racing and spent the next 28 years helping to build that company into the global player it is today. I was able to satisfy my craving to write by contributing PR and marketing materials in lieu of a proper marketing team but once it was time to come in off the road I was able to jump back into storytelling and here we are, four years and three novels later.

Myself: That background is similar to some of the other authors I have interviewed. So many seem to have been interested in writing most of their lives but only were really able to pursue it once they were retired. What part of the world do you currently live in?

Kelly: I live in Media, Pennsylvania with my wife Lisa and the yellow lab she promised me if I ever agreed to stop the global travel. 

Myself: Do you think that living there has affected your writing?

Kelly: Only in that like some of the film directors and actors who are from or favor the region in their work, I like to include elements of Philadelphia or it’s historic sites and sports teams from time to time in a scene or two.

Myself: How do you relax? What are your hobbies?

Kelly: Spending time with my kids and grandkids, something I missed a great deal of while I was working in motorsports, is a great pleasure for me.  A good film, book, or walk with my wife does the trick but believe it or not, travel relaxes me. Whether it’s a thousand-mile drive or a flight to the other side of the world, it relaxes me and gives me a clear head to develop ideas for what I am writing or what I might like to tackle next. 

I still enjoy photography, football, and watching auto racing – primarily rally car racing – very much.

Myself: I agree that being able to spend time with kids and grandkids in retirement is satisfying. My wife and I enjoy driving across the country too, though I would not say that it relaxes either of us. What else would you like to share about yourself?

Kelly: Just that I’ve always considered myself a very lucky person. I was adopted by a great set of parents when I was an infant. I could have been adopted by who knows what but my adoptive parents were fantastic and what they didn’t pass along to me in genes they most certainly did with their love and life lessons and I’ve been on a lucky streak ever since. I touched on adoption in a scene in Found In Time and hope that touched any readers who could relate.

Myself: Did you read much growing up?

Kelly: Actually not that much because the Catholic school nuns in the 60’s used to knock some of us about when we said defiantly that we didn’t see much reason to read the assignments or memorize poems. That might actually have pushed me away from books for a time.

Myself: What have you read recently?

Kelly: In the last few months I’ve read two of Brad Thor’s latest, Navy Seal Brandon Webb’s Mastering Fear, A Man on the Moon by Andrew Chaikin, Murphy’s Law by Jack Murphy, Endurance by Scott Kelly (no relation), Endurance by Frank Worsley, and I’m racing through one of Mark Greaney’s thrillers. 

Myself: You have read quite a lot in the past few months What is your favorite genre? book? character? author?

Kelly: Oh that’s tough. I really enjoy autobiographies but of course, thrillers come in an extremely close second.  It goes without saying I think JJ Jackson is a real badass with a heart but you might expect that of me. My favorite book is a tough one, it’s like asking favorite movie, of which there are at least a half dozen.  I really got into Dan Brown, appreciate James Patterson for his work and taking the time to give me some advice, and I am looking forward to seeing what Brad Thor’s got coming next. There are many more but too many to list.

Myself: I too have been a fan of Dan Brown and have read most of his novels and I have read some James Patterson. Where is your favorite place to read?

Kelly: In bed late at night when there’s not a sound in the house. 

Myself: Do you prefer paper or eBooks? Do you listen to audiobooks?

Kelly: I do prefer paper but I always have 2-3 audiobooks loaded so I can dive into something good when I’m driving to a trade show or a race. It’s weird though because I can’t listen when I’m just sitting still.

Myself: What books do you recommend to others? Give as gifts?

Kelly: That’s tough. All of my friends have such different interests in books. If a book lover I know is due a gift they get a B&N gift card.

Myself: What makes you sit down and want to share your stories?

Kelly: I like to entertain people, sometimes with jokes and other times with wild stories so there’s that. When I can up with a concept for a book and it excites me then I can’t wait to get it on paper and get someone to give it a read. If they come back with a smile or a laugh or ask what happens next then I feed off of that.  There’s an excitement in a book lover’s eyes and I like fueling that, giving them something they react very well too, fuels whatever it is inside me that’s driving the creative.

Myself: What are your ambitions for your writing career?

Kelly: I’d like to reach the level of success that I’m fueling a much larger audience the way I described a moment ago.  I saw how much I had to work and sacrifice to help grow that start-up into a global player and now I’ve turned that same focus and passion into my writing.  With a little of that luck I mentioned earlier hopefully more and more readers, an agent and hopefully a publisher, will help me reach that goal.

Myself: Is there anyone who has influenced your writing?

Kelly: I’ve worked with a few editors who throw a lasso from time to time and ask me, “you intended to go there?” and then I either explain it and keep going or listen to their counsel and reel it back in a bit.  As far as any authors, I can say, generally speaking, any of those who kept me reading, regardless of how late it was. 

Myself: How did you pick the genres for your stories?

Kelly: Oh, that’s an interesting wall I crashed into.  I wrote my first novel, Found In Time, as a story that featured good guys killing bad guys, camaraderie, non-stop action, love and heartbreak, science fiction/time travel, history, and a trip to Gethsemane where a group of Marines took a knee to ask for a miracle.  Then I had people in the industry told me I needed to pick one. Ok, thriller!

Myself: Where do your story ideas come from?

Kelly: With the fiction, the story ideas just come.  When I used to spend a lot of time telling jokes people would ask me, “How the heck do you come up with this stuff?” and the same holds true for my books. The fact that I’ve seen so much of the world allows me to take the readers to places they might not ever get to or even know existed. In the case of the non-fiction Fuelin’ Around, which is about my time in the motorsports world, people often told me they thought I had a very interesting life and should share it so I did.

Myself: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

Kelly: I write the first chapter and then layout on a whiteboard where we should go from there. Sometimes we take a left or a right and if it works, we come back to the original bearing or follow the flow.  In one case, I wrote the first and last chapters and then built the middle. That was an interesting journey.

Myself: Where do you do your writing? Why there?

Kelly: 95% of the time it’s in my home office. It’s quiet until the dog or the Mrs. decides that it’s time to disrupt things for a bit but I’ve threatened shock collars for them both so they usually leave me to it when they can tell I’m on a roll. In actuality, Lisa works in fashion and is out of the house quite often and we take our lab to a really neat place where she can run around with her friends all day and then comes home worn out, happy, and hoping for dinner.  

Myself: What is your schedule like when you are writing?

Kelly: I can sit down at 8am and not look up until I need more coffee. It might be noon or later and then it continues.  Most times I know when it’s time to stop and give the brain and the hands a break.  Then I might be headed out to play with two of my grandchildren and will come up with an edit that I will dictate into Notes on my phone while I drive. 

I can write for three days in a row or one day in a week and then jump back in like I hadn’t stopped. 

Myself: About how long does it take you to complete a first draft? How long do your revisions take? 

Kelly: It might take six months to get to what might be halfway and then I start feeding chapters to one of the editors I work with for feedback. I keep moving forward and then apply or push back on some of their critiques. In all, from start to finish, it takes me a year but that’s because I’m on my own schedule.  I write some things for one of my past employers and if they give me a deadline, I always deliver with time to spare. Hopefully, someday a book publisher will offer me that challenge.

Myself: How much research do you put into a novel?

Kelly: Whatever I need in order to make the story credible. I’ve been everywhere I write about, except Camp David and the ISS. I know a bit about weapons, law enforcement, and the military and find experts who can answer what I need in order to get it right. The next novel is mid-way through at this point and I sought out some extraordinary people in some very high places to make sure what I was writing was dead on.

Myself: What tools (software?) do you use in your writing?

Kelly: Word. I’ve also been using First Draft to develop a screenplay.

Myself: What are the hardest and easiest things about writing?

Kelly: For me, it was the rejection letters. They’re like a drag race. You get one shot and if you don’t get a win light you pack up and go home to race another day. To me, the easy part is telling the story.

Myself: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Kelly: Get feedback from people who will give you an honest opinion on your work and be sure you know what you want to get out of writing and then go for it. Then work with some people who can help you make sure your writing and the work is the best it possibly can be.

Myself: What novels/works have you published?

Kelly: Only three so far:

  1. Found In Time, my debut novel, October 2017
  2. Fuelin’ Around, non-fiction, November 2018
  3. The Lost Pulse, sequel to FIT, October 2019

Myself: What are you currently working on?

Kelly: I had started a new novel, another thriller, a few months back but the JJ [the main character from Found in Time and The Lost Pulse] pulled me back in and so he’s back but not everyone made it home this time. The feedback from the team I work with is very, very good so I’m really looking forward to the next few months of work.  I’m still hoping to partner with someone who can help take it all to the next level in publishing.

Myself: What else would you like to share?

Kelly: I’m very thankful to everyone who encouraged me to follow my passions throughout my life and who helped me along the way.  The feedback and reviews I have received, and I do very much remember your review of Found In Time, has been so encouraging I can’t thank you and the others who have been so kind to me. Thank you John.

Myself: How should your fans follow you or get in touch?

Kelly: The easiest thing is to visit my website JKKelly.com and contact me there. I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well, but the website works best for me.

Today is Author’s Day and begins NaNoWriMo

National Author's Day

(See my other Writing related posts) – Today is National Author’s Day, a day to celebrate your favorite authors and the books they have created. You can help recognize it by purchasing books from your favorite author and/or sharing information about your favorite books and authors on social media.

You may want to look at some of the Author Interviews I have posted.

Today is also the beginning of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Are you trying your hand at authoring a novel this month? This is a great opportunity to dive in and write that novel you have been thinking about.

Thinking about putting your ideas down on paper? You might find the article “How to Plot and Write a Novel With 12 Free Templates & Worksheets” of interest. This article gives several suggestions as to how you can get started.

Interview with Author Andreas Economou

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(Andreas Economou in Florence, Italy with the Duomo and its Campanile (bell tower) behind him)

(See the other Author Interviews on my Blog) – I read Andreas Economou’s novel “Templar Secrets” a few weeks ago and, after posting my review, I asked the author for an interview.


Myself: When did you first realize that you wanted to become a writer?

Economou: After working in a bank for almost 3 decades, I realized the dreaded futility of it all. It started to feel that what I’d been doing all those years would never endure the ravages of time. Heck, it wouldn’t survive the next fiscal quarter! So, I had to get out. I needed the world to hear my voice and thoughts in a meaningful way. I had to write.

Myself: What is the first piece that you remember writing?

Economou: My first attempt at writing was at the age of 12. I wrote a detective “novel,” based on my favorite TV show at the time. And I remember being quite proud of my achievement. The end result? A full 12 pages—front and back! Then, puberty set in and everything went haywire. My creative juices found other, non-writing, stuff much more appealing. Unfortunately, it took too many years for that situation to sort itself out.

Myself: What part of the world do you currently live in? Has it affected your writing?

Economou: I live in Cyprus, an island on the easternmost shores of the Mediterranean, just south of Turkey and northwest of Israel. It’s an island rich in history, going all the back to 7,000 BCE (according to one of the earliest human settlements discovered on it). In fact, the village of Khirokitia, where this settlement was found, has an even more fascinating link to world history: it was also the site of one the strongholds the Knights Templar had on Cyprus. Contrary to what you’ll hear in most documentaries these days after the Holy Land was irrevocably lost in the 13th century, the Templars didn’t return en masse to Europe. They set up their next (and last) headquarters in Cyprus.
This, along with my 22-year membership in a Greek-speaking Masonic Lodge, and the fact that Larnaca (the city I grew up and live in) was the island’s major Phoenician colony in antiquity, gave me all the inspiration I needed to write “Templar Secrets.”

Myself: What’s the earliest book you remember reading for yourself?

Economou: As a prepubescent, I must have read Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist” about a dozen times. Yet, every time I did, the injustices that boy suffered always brought tears to my eyes.

Myself: What book that you read as a child stands out in your memory? 

Economou: That would be Jules Verne’s “Mysterious Island.” When I read it at age 13, in the summer just before starting high school, it cultivated all sorts of subjects in my mind: the power of human creativity and resourcefulness; how important science is to our lives; and, that anything seemingly mysterious usually has an explainable cause behind it (to name but a few).

Myself: I too read Jules Verne at about that same age. I am still amazed at the science fiction he produced. What is your favorite genre? book? character? author? 

Economou: Besides Jules Verne, the one whom I’ve read the most is Isaac Asimov. There was a time when I used to “gobble up” his “Foundation” and “Robot” series. Then, after a phase of non-fiction, evolution-centered books, I moved on into Historical Fiction. And by that, I don’t mean the books with the naked, six-pack hunks on their covers. (If you don’t believe me try searching for “middle ages historical fiction” in Amazon’s Kindle Store. You’ll be amazed at how many there are! Those are just period romance novels, which were never my cup of tea.) No, the ones I mean are by the likes of Umberto Eco, Ken Follett, Bernard Cornwell, Alexandre Dumas, and (yes) Charles Dickens.

Myself: I have read much of Asimov, Follet, and Dumas as well. How did you pick the genres for your stories? Where do your story ideas come from?

Economou: I don’t think my first book, “First Adam,” (an apropos title) fits into any standard genre category. If there were such categories as, “Prehistoric Fiction,” or “Bible Tweaking,” it might fit into those. You see, influenced by all the books I read on Human Evolution, I wanted to tell the story of how the earliest man (Homo sapiens) might have emerged into our world. So, using the Adam & Eve story from the Bible as a loose basis, I devised a story parallel to it, but in Africa 200,000 years before our time.

When that was out of the way, and self-published, I pondered whether to write something within the Science Fiction genre, one of my favorites. But, alas, my knowledge of science isn’t very extensive, so instead of writing a subpar book, I decided to focus on Historical Fiction (the real one) instead. “Templar Secrets,” my second novel, spans almost 3 millennia, starting from the 10th Century BCE, it passes through the Middle Ages and winds itself all the way up to modern times.

Myself: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

Economou: You know, that’s a great question because I must say in my experience it’s a bit of both. I start out with a rough outline, but there’s always something missing. For example, in “First Adam,” I had an idea of what the ending might be, but the journey leading up to that eluded me. It just sorted itself out along the way. And in “Templar Secrets” the stories of the various characters and classes of characters were carefully plotted out, but the ending was nowhere in sight. At the opportune moment though, it also turned up by itself. So, I’ve found that a story, more often than not, has a life and a will of its own.

Myself: How much research do you put into a novel?

Economou: I do extensive, some might say exhaustive, research. And I do so because on matters of authenticity I will suffer no discrepancy. I’ve read too many books and seen too many movies, the facts of which can be debunked by a simple visit to Wikipedia. In writing Historical Fiction my motto is: “The facts of history are sacred.” That said, every period has its gray areas, its missing pieces. And every historical period has its little unresolved mysteries, especially during the Middle Ages in Europe. So, what better than to keep the undisputed historical facts true, while also fusing them with answers to longstanding mysteries without the fear of contradiction?

TemplarSecrets

In “Templar Secrets” I strived to do just that, blending history with “solutions” to many historical question marks. For instance:

  • The exact date the Knights Templar were founded, or how many men it originally consisted of are matters still debated. I venture answers to both questions.
  • Why did the Muslim sect of Assassins murder Raymond II, the Count of Tripoli, in 1152?
  • Likewise, why did a group of Templars kill an Assassin envoy, who was under the protection of the King of Jerusalem, much later in 1173?
  • What happened to Pierre de Bologna, the last Templar Ambassador to the Vatican, after his arrest in 1307? Was he murdered, as feared, or did he escape?
  • Where is the fabled treasure of the Knights Templar hidden?
  • Who was Wat Tyler, the leader of the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 in England?
  • Who foiled the Gunpowder Plot of 1605?
  • What really happened during the meetings leading up to the first Masonic Grand Lodge in London?

All these (and many more) historical “blind spots” are addressed.

Myself: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Economou: With only 2 books under my belt, so far, I can hardly be called an author myself. To be considered one, I’ve been told you have to have written at least 4. So, I’m not the right person to ask for advice on writing. However, as in all other walks of life and professions, diligence, persistence, and dedication are always necessary qualities.

Myself: What novels/works have you published?

Economou: As I already stated, I’ve written 2 novels so far, both of which have been self-published. Unfortunately, it proved impossible to find a literary agent or publisher willing to take on an unknown writer from Cyprus.

“First Adam: The Father of Us All” introduces the first modern man, and his quest to find his real parents, in Africa 200.000 years ago.

My second attempt was a little closer to home, and it put into effect what authors are frequently advised to do: “Write about what you know.” For 22 years, I used to be a Freemason. So, using that experience, I decided to write about how this ancient institution came into being. “Templar Secrets” starts from when the Temple of Solomon was built in Jerusalem. Then, it looks into how the Knights Templar got started in the Middle Ages, and why they gradually morphed into the Freemasons. Finally, a young, new Mason in modern-day Cyprus tries to unravel all these events after his initiation.

Myself: What are you currently working on?

Economou: At the moment I’m working on a book about the most illustrious King of Cyprus, Peter I. His story will have ties to the Secret Society I introduced in “Templar Secrets.”

Myself: What else would you like to share?

Economou: As ever, I dedicate all my work to my sons, Marcos and Achilleas. I just hope it makes them as proud of me as I am of them.

Myself: How should your fans follow you or get in touch?

Economou: I don’t know whether I have “fans” or not yet, but I really like it when people who’ve read my books reach out. I welcome that. They can do so in any number of ways:
Email: aeconomu@cytanet.com.cy
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aeconomou & https://www.facebook.com/AEconomouAuthor/
Website: https://www.aeconomouauthor.com/

And, I’ll deeply appreciate if you could follow my Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Andreas-Economou/e/B014AAMJU4

Why Buy if You Can Borrow from Your Library?

(See my other Reading related posts) – I saw an article that described the Library Extension a short time ago. I installed it in my Chrome browser and gave it a try today. It seems to work well.

What is the Library Extension? It is a free extension for either the Chrome or Firefox browsers that will tell you when you browse for books on Amazon (or Barnes & Nobles, Goodreads or Audible, among other sites) if your library has the book and if it is currently available.

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How do you use it? Download the extension and install it in your browser (visit the site https://www.libraryextension.com and then click on the appropriate ‘Install’ button).

Screen Shot 2019-07-14 at 6.37.45 PMOnce the extension is installed in your browser you need to configure it. To do that click on the icon of a stack of books in the top right corner of your Chrome browser (A similar icon will appear in the top right corner of your Firefox browser too).

 

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In the window, you will first configure what libraries you have access to. These are organized by country and state. Both fields are pull-down menus. Then select the library from the pull-down menu and click on the ‘Add’ button. Add all of the libraries you have borrowing privileges from.

 

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When you have your libraries selected, click on the ‘Sites’ tab. By default, all the choices will be selected. I went through the list and disable those sites specific to countries other than the US.

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Now you are ready to start using the extension. Just visit a book site (like Amazon, Audible, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, or Google). As you browse looking for books, you will see a pop-up on the right side of the page to indicate that the book you are looking at is available at your library.

Get eBooks for Free!

Books

(See my other posts on Reading) – I came across the article “10 ways to download and read books online for free” today and wanted to share the suggestions it contained. I was aware of some of the suggestions, but not all. For any avid readers who want a source of lower cost reading material, these suggestions may be of value.

The suggestions:

  1. Authorama features hundreds of public domain works
  2. Project Gutenberg has more than 58,000 free eBooks
  3. LibriVox has free public domain audiobooks
  4. ManyBooks offers a selection of classics and contemporary novels
  5. BookBub is a website with books, some free to download, and some are on sale for prices as low as 99 cents [I used this site many times when I first started reading ebooks – check out my full list of ebook sources on my Books & Reading page]
  6. Goodreads community created lists including free e-books from indie and self-published authors, public domain classics, audiobooks from Librivox, books for kids, previews, samples and more
  7. Smashwords has an extensive catalog of contemporary and classic fiction, non-fiction, essays, plays and screenplays that can be filtered by price
  8. Digilibraries has a similar layout to Project Gutenberg with mostly public domain titles
  9. BookLending “matches” users who can help out with someone else’s literary needs
  10. public library apps can be a good source of ebooks

Today is World Book Day UK & Ireland

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Reading – I just saw that March 7, 2019, is World Book Day in the UK and Ireland. Since I am currently in Singapore I guess I can celebrate as it was once part of the British Commonwealth and also because my grandfather immigrated to the US from the UK. Besides, I think that this is a good cause to support! This is not the only day it is celebrated around the world. From their website:

In other countries, World Book and Copyright Day take place on 23 April. Celebrations take place all over the world to recognize the magical power of books – ‘a link between the past and the future, a bridge between generations and across cultures. 

World Book Day was first celebrated on April 23, 1995, after its designation by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). That date continues to be recognized as World Book Day in much of the world. April 23 was chosen because it is the date on which  William Shakespeare died (April 23, 1616). I guess that means I will be able to celebrate it again next month!.

Per the Days of the Year site, you should celebrate World Book Day by:

. . .  find[ing] the time to do some reading. Do you have a book you just can’t get around to finishing? Today’s the time to curl up on the couch or a blanket outside with a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy every last page.

If you have children, this could be the perfect day to teach them about the joys of reading. . . .  Imagination is a child’s best friend, so make sure you contribute to keeping that little imagination as active as possible. Pick a topic your child is interested in, and spend part of this day exploring the magical world of literature together!

Yet another way to go about celebrating this day would be to get together with some friends for a reading of a book you all love.

Find a way that you can celebrate World Book Day! I think the importance of books is best summed up by this quote from author Alan BennettA book is a device to ignite the imagination.”