Category Archives: eBooks

Jane Austen, 200 Years Later

July 18th was the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen. Love her or hate her, she has had a profound impact on literature and pop culture. I am definitely in the “love” camp, and with all of the media coverage of the anniversary, I’m feeling inspired to go back and re-read and re-watch everything Austen-related. This being the Multimedia blog, I’m highlighting our ebooks, audiobooks, and movies related to Jane.

persuasionAudiobooks
If you would like to listen to Jane Austen’s books, we have a wide selection of audiobooks in various formats that you can check out. Pride and Prejudice will always be one of my favorites, but I think Persuasion’s heroine is one of Austen’s best.

Ebooksemma
If you prefer e-reading, we have a number of titles available via OverDrive/Libby that are either authored by Jane Austen or re-imagined renditions of her books, such as the modern retelling of Emma written by Alexander McCall Smith. Eligible, Curtis Sittenfeld’s modern version of Pride and Prejudice, has been quite popular.

death comes to pemberleyMovies
Ah, the movie adaptations. I love watching movie adaptations after just having finished a book, particularly for period dramas. You can check out the DVD and blu-ray selections of various Austen-related titles here. Colin Firth with always be my Darcy, but I also thought the more recent version with Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFayden was well done. Love and Friendship, the film based on Austen’s short novel Lady Susan, published after her death, was highly entertaining. P.D. James also put a murder mystery spin on Elizabeth and Darcy’s life as a married couple in Death Comes to Pemberley, and the miniseries version has some great actors: Matthew Rhys, Anna Maxwell Martin, Matthew Goode and Jenna Coleman. For something more modern, I highly recommend Clueless, where Emma is turned into a hilarious story about a Beverly Hills teenager. And for something completely different, check out Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

I hope you enjoy getting acquainted or reacquainted with Jane! If you need a primer to get you in the mood, I really loved this compilation of notes from readers of The Atlantic on their experiences with Austen.

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Libby is up and running!

Libby_Graphic_504x504-2

Just a reminder that OverDrive’s new e-reading app, Libby, is available for download in all app stores! We recommend that you give Libby a try — we’ve found it to be really easy to use.

If you have any questions about Libby or OverDrive, you can contact us at the Multimedia desk by either phone or email.

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Meet Libby – A New App for eBooks and Audiobooks

Libby_Graphic_504x504-1

We are excited to announce that OverDrive has released a new and improved app for ebook and audiobook lending called Libby. Libby simplifies the setup and lending process for ebooks and audiobooks, and was designed based on user and library feedback. Libby is available now for download in all app stores.

If you prefer to use the OverDrive app, it will continue to be fully functioning for the foreseeable future. We recommend that you download Libby and give “her” a try, though! The staff here at CCL has found Libby to be extremely easy to set up and use. Let us know what you think!

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Jamie’s Staff Picks for October

Station Elevenstation-eleven
by Emily St. John Mandel

“One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production. Jeevan Chaudhary, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur’s chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside as life disintegrates outside.”

The initial scene in this book, described above, will draw you in; but you will stay because the world is irrevocably changed immediately afterward. It was fascinating to me to imagine what the world would be like if 99% of the population basically vanished in the space of a few weeks. As the book goes on, you learn how the characters survived (0r didn’t), and what happened to them in the time leading up to and immediately after the “Georgia Flu” spread. I liked the way this book emphasized two things: the way that seemingly personal decisions can affect so many over time, and the way art and culture still play such a significant role in a world that is ruled by survival.

Also available as an eBook and eAudiobook on Overdrive.

Gilmore Girlsgilmore-girls

“Lorelai and Rory are a mother and daughter who are sharing life’s ups and downs in a small town in Connecticut. This heartfelt, humorous drama appeals to young and old alike with it’s blend of traditional family issues and hip attitude.”

I had to pick this television series this month because my excitement over the reboot coming out on Netflix in November is only increasing every day. I very much hope that it lives up to the magnificence of the original series — but I think with Amy Sherman-Palladino back at the helm, it has a good chance. Anyway, if you haven’t seen the original seven seasons, now is your chance! If you like family-centered dramas with snappy dialogue a la The West Wing and lovable (but flawed) characters, try it out. I firmly believe that it is possible for almost anyone to be sucked into this show at least a little bit.

All summaries are from catalog.ccls.org.

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The Man Booker Prize

Recently, the shortlist of fiction titles for the Man Booker Prize was announced for 2016. Here are some titles from this year’s shortlist and previous years’ shortlists that we have available either on CD, as eBooks, or eAudiobooks.

2016 Shortlist

Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh – Available as an eBookeileen

Summary: “Dreaming of life in the city while caring for her alcoholic father and working in a 1960s boys’ prison, a disturbed young woman is manipulated into committing a psychologically charged crime during the holiday season.”

 

2015 Shortlist

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – Available as a book on CD, an MP3-CD or eBooka-little-life

Summary: “When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he₂ll not only be unable to overcome, but that will define his life forever.”

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler – Available as a book on CD, eBook, or eAudiobooka-spool-of-blue-thread

Summary: “‘It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon.’ This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The whole family–their two daughters and two sons, their grandchildren, even their faithful old dog–is on the porch, listening contentedly as Abby tells the tale they have heard so many times before. And yet this gathering is different too: Abby and Red are growing older, and decisions must be made about how best to look after them, and the fate of the house so lovingly built by Red’s father. Brimming with the luminous insight, humor, and compassion that are Anne Tyler’s hallmarks, this capacious novel takes us across three generations of the Whitshanks, their shared stories and long-held secrets, all the unguarded and richly lived moments that combine to define who and what they are as a family.”

The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota – Available as an eBookthe-year-of-the-runaways

Summary: “The lives of three young men, and one unforgettable woman, intertwine over the course of one year after they immigrate from India to Sheffield, England.”

 

 

2014 Shortlist

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris – Available as a book on CD or eBook. to-rise-again-at-a-decent-hour

Summary: “Paul O’Rourke is a Manhattan dentist with a thriving practice leading a quiet, routine-driven life. Then one day someone begins to impersonate Paul online, and he watches in horror as a website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account are created in his name. His biggest fear is that the online ‘Paul’ might be a better version of the real thing. As Paul’s quest to learn why his identity has been stolen deepens, he is forced to confront his troubled past and his uncertain future.”

How to Be Both by Ali Smith – Available as an eBookhow-to-be-both

Summary: “The brilliant Booker-nominated novel from one of our finest authors: How to Be Both is a daring, inventive tale that intertwines the stories of a defiant Renaissance painter and a modern teenage girl. How can one be both–near and far, past and present, male and female? In Ali Smith’s new novel, two extraordinary characters inhabit the spaces between categories. In one half of the book, we follow the story of Francescho del Cossa, a Renaissance painter in fifteenth-century Italy who assumes a duel identity, living as both a man and a woman. In the novel’s other half, George, a contemporary English teenage girl, is in mourning after the death of her brilliant, rebellious mother. As she struggles to fill the void in her life, George finds her thoughts circling again and again around a whimsical trip she and her mother once made to Italy, to see a certain Renaissance fresco … These two stories call out to each other in surprising and deeply resonant ways to form a veritable literary double-take, bending the conventions of genre, storytelling, and our own preconceptions.”

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan – Available as a book on CD, an MP3-CDeBook or an eAudiobookthe-narrow-road-to-the-deep-north

Summary: “A novel of love and war that traces the life of one man–an Australian surgeon–from a prisoner-of-war camp on the Thai-Burma Death Railway during World War II, up to the present.”

 

 

by Howard Jacobson – Available as an eBookj

Summary: “A profound, darkly comedic parable set in a future where collective memory has vanished following a historic catastrophe, and one young couple’s love affair could have shattering consequences for the human race. In a world where the past is a dangerous country, not to be talked about or visited, J is a love story of incomparable strangeness, both tender and terrifying. After the devastation of WHAT HAPPENED, IF IT HAPPENED, all that should remain is peace and prosperity. Everyone knows his or her place; all actions are out in the open. But Esme Nussbaum has seen the distorted realities, the fissures that have only widened in the twenty-plus years since she was forced to resign from her position at the monitor of the Public Mood. Now, Esme finds something strange and special developing in a romance between Ailinn Solomons and Kevern Cohen. As this unusual pair’s actions draw them into ever-increasing danger, Esme realizes she must do everything in her power to keep them together–whatever the cost. With a sense of the dramatic sweep of Michael Ondaatje and the dystopian, literary sensibility of Margaret Atwood, Howard Jacobson’s J is an astonishing feat of fiction. In this exquisitely written, beautifully playful and imaginative, and terribly heart-breaking work, Jacobson gathers his prodigious gifts for the crowning achievement of a remarkable career.”

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler – Available as an MP3-CDeBook or eAudiobookwe-are-all-completely-beside-ourselves

Summary: “Coming of age in middle America, eighteen-year-old Rosemary evaluates how her entire youth was defined by the presence and forced removal of an endearing chimpanzee who was secretly regarded as a family member and who Rosemary loved as a sister.”

 

 

All summaries taken from http://catalog.ccls.org/.

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Jamie’s Staff Picks for September

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms knight of the seven kingdoms
By George R.R. Martin

“Taking place nearly a century before the events of A Game of Thrones, this audiobook compiles the first three official prequel novellas to George R. R. Martin’s ongoing masterwork, A Song of Ice and Fire. These never-before-collected adventures recount an age when the Targaryen line still holds the Iron Throne, and the memory of the last dragon has not yet passed from living consciousness.”

While waiting for The Winds of Winter to come out, I decided to start reading Martin’s prequels to the Song of Ice and Fire series. These three novellas feature the adventures of Ser Duncan the Tall (whom you may have heard name-dropped now and again as a legendary knight of the Kingsguard if you read the books, but at the beginning he was a humble hedge knight) and his squire, Egg. Game of Thrones super fans may already realize Egg’s secret identity… but I won’t give it away! While my hope in reading the books was to get some background knowledge to the secrets and intrigues of the main series, I can’t say that so far I’ve discovered anything like that. However, the novellas are entertaining and easy to read, and since Martin plans to write more, perhaps the later novellas will set up Westeros as we know it in the main series. So, if you’re looking for something to tide you over between seasons of the TV series and during the interminable wait for the next book, I would recommend checking this out!

(P.S. We also have this available as a playaway, eAudiobook, and eBook.)

Kiss Kiss Bang BangKiss_kiss_bang_bang_poster

“While fleeing from the cops, small time hood Harry Lockhart stumbles into an acting audition. He does so well he gets to go to Hollywood. While there, Harry pursues a girl he loved in high school and ends up getting caught up in twisted murder mystery. His only chance of getting out alive is a private detective named Gay Perry, who also works as a consultant for movies.”

A long time ago, I read An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England. One of the central themes of that book is that the main character is a “bumbler,” who just bumbles his way through life– almost nothing happens as he plans and he generally stumbles from one accident to the next. The main character of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Harry Lockhart (played by Robert Downey Jr.), is most definitely a bumbler. The story is entirely driven by the fact that Harry, while robbing a toy store with his friend, is chased by the cops and finds refuge in what turns out to be an audition for an upcoming movie. He is overcome with emotion because his friend was shot, which the directors take as method acting, and before you know it he’s in LA at a party for Hollywood bigwigs. He is paired with Perry, played by Val Kilmer, who is a private eye/movie consultant, to prepare him for his role. Thus begins a series of bumbles where these two find themselves wrapped up in a murder mystery/missing persons case. The comedy in this is very dark but very funny, and Downey/Kilmer are a hilarious pair. Shane Black wrote and directed this movie, and it is similar in style to his recent release The Nice Guys (which I also very much enjoyed).

All summaries from http://catalog.ccls.org/.

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The Struggles with eBooks in Libraries

This is a time of great change in the library world. eBooks have now become one of the most popular new services offered at the library. The Chester County Library System is now able to offer eBooks and eAudiobooks to our patrons from the comfort of their own home, 24/7. The service that we use is called OverDrive (overdrive.ccls.org), and it allows for downloads of eBooks and eAudiobooks to eReaders, smart devices, and computers.

Many of our patrons that have used this service may have realized that we are missing many titles, which are in popular demand. There are a few reasons for this, one of which is definitely not a lack of knowledge of what our patrons want. The first problem is that there are some publishers who refuse to sell their eBooks to libraries, so we are unable to provide titles by authors such as, David McCullough, Jennifer Weiner, Mary Higgins Clark, and Stephen King. Aside from publishers who won’t sell to us, many have put restrictions when purchasing their titles. For example, the publisher of titles such as The Fault in Our Stars, And the Mountains Echoed, and The Vacationers, will only let us keep a book for up to one year, before we have to repurchase the same title. Other publishers only allow 26 downloads before we have to repurchase the title. And, there are still other publishers who do not place time, or download restrictions, but they do charge libraries a hefty price for eBook use rights. For example, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn would cost $9 if a consumer were to purchase the eBook through an outlet like Amazon, but the library would be charged $75 per copy. The One & Only by Emily Giffin is also a very popular title that the average consumer would be able to purchase for around $10, and the price for libraries is $84 dollars per copy. This puts a considerable strain on the library budget when we have to purchase multiple copies of popular titles with exorbitant prices, as well as having to repurchase titles over and over again.

There is also some confusion as to why the digital books are not always available, and why holds must be placed on titles. Unfortunately, this is a restriction all publishers have placed on eBooks for library lending through the OverDrive platform. Another frequently asked question we receive is, “Why are some titles not available in all formats?” A book such as, The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith, is available in a WMA formatted eAudiobook, but not in the most popular and universal format of an MP3 eAudiobook. The eBook, Natchez Burning by Greg Iles is available to download in an EPUB format (compatible with tablets and Nooks), but not in the popular Kindle format. While most publishers have decided they want to have a working relationship with libraries on the digital front, there is often no concrete reason as to why they do not want to offer their most popular titles in all formats, but it generally always comes down to the possibility of lost revenue if they sell to libraries with no use restrictions.

The publishing world is experiencing the same issue the music industry experienced after Napster, and other free music downloading sites grew in popularity. The music industry is now in a much better place, and hopefully the publishing world will follow shortly.

Chester County Library is very optimistic when it comes to these changing times in the digital world. Along with the entire library community, we hope that the publishers soon realize the importance libraries have in lifelong reading. We have embraced eBooks, and hopefully in the future we will be able to bring more digital services to better serve our communities.

By Stephanie Sharon

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iOS 7 update and Overdrive Media Console

If you are an existing OverDrive Media Console (OMC) user and you upgrade to iOS 7, the app will fail when trying to open a DRM-protected eBook. New or first time users of OMC are unaffected by this issue.

Overdrive is resolving the issue but in the meantime, here are immediate remedies for you:

1) Re-authenticate the app with your existing Adobe ID. Refer to the iOS section of this Help article for assistance. (Recommended)

2) Uninstall and re-install OMC which will also require you to re-authorize with Adobe. IMPORTANT NOTE: A re-install will clear your bookshelf, history, and app settings. You can re-download your books after you have re-authorized.

Audiobook users won’t notice that anything is different unless you attempt to download parts of audiobooks you already downloaded to OMC before upgrading to iOS 7. You will then receive an error message informing them to download the title again.

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Enjoy eBooks & eAudiobooks with the all-new OverDrive Media Console v3.0!

Reading eBooks from our digital library is now easier than ever. The app to enjoy digital titles on your mobile device, OverDrive Media Console (OMC), has been completely redesigned with ease of use top of mind. Check out a preview of the new app here. Some highlighted features include:

  • A redesigned user interface with an all-new look, streamlined navigation, and a one-stop reorganized menu.
  • Sync bookmarks and reading progress across multiple devices using a free, opt-in registration service called OverDrive One.
  • Variable speed playback for iOS. Audiobook users’ most requested feature.

System Requirements: OMC v3.0 for Android users requires Android OS v4.0 (or newer). OMC for Android v2.6.5 will remain available for download. OMC for iOS requires iOS 6 (or newer).

If you already have OverDrive Media Console installed on your device, you will be prompted to update, or it will happen automatically depending on your device settings. To install OverDrive Media Console, or for more information, visit http://omc.overdrive.com. Happy reading!

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Staff Review: “The Buddha in the Attic”

If you haven’t already heard of this 2012 Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award For Fiction, then pay attention. The Buddha in the Attic buddha in the atticis technically nothing new; many readers of historical fiction are already familiar with novels focusing on the lives of Asian women immigrants in the U.S., such as Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club and Lisa See’s Shanghai Girls. Yet it is the voice of the story which makes Julie Otsuka’s novel different.

Written from the first-person-plural point of view, this story details the struggles of Japanese women immigrants as a group. As a result, the history leading up to the American government’s internment of the Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans in 1942 emerges more vibrantly than before. Using plural pronouns such as “us,” Otsuka establishes “characters,” or at least, a sense thereof, which then allows readers to easily connect with the group voice. She additionally makes a collective story of hardship and disappointment into a legend as her narrator describes how “some of us” suffered or adapted differently to racism, marriage, love, childbirth, work, childrearing, etc..

The fact that the novel is a short read—just eight chapters—increases the impact of the group voice. The repetitive nature of the first-person-plural point of view can become overbearing at times, but ultimately it evokes readers’ senses. Readers will find it hard not to imagine sitting as a formal yet invisible observer of the Japanese women immigrants as they flash through the scenes of their lives. It is consequently difficult to resist investing one’s own wishes and hopes with the “characters” in The Buddha in the Attic. Overall, I highly recommend the novel, at the most for its strong style, and at the least to learn a bit of history which may be new to you.

If you’re interested, stop by at the Chester County Library to check it out as an audiobook or book. Or, if you’re comfy at home, the title is also available as an eBook!

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