Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Why I Love Libraries

Covid-19 has, if not forced, then inspired us to find new ways to fill our at-home time. There are a lot of things I need to do, like clean out closets and drawers, but I just don’t have the energy to do that. Besides, I’ll wear that sweater again sometime. I’m sure I will. That style is making a comeback.

I’ve always used the library, whether for audios when I take a trip or books to read at home that I don’t have to buy to fill my already overflowing bookcases. I have books I’ve bought through the years that I haven’t yet read, but I love my Kindle and prefer reading on it. Now the library has become the go-to place to read books by downloading from Overdrive.


My library gives us fourteen days to read our chosen work. My friend and I have been storming through Robert Crais’s Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series. Fortunately, there are eighteen books in the series. A couple of the early books aren’t available to download from Amazon on my Kindle because of their format, but I’ve been able to download and read them on my iPad Mini. I have to admit, I much prefer the Kindle because it’s more stable. We’ve both read some of the books before, but being of a certain age, it’s like reading them all over for the first time. The books are exciting, humorous, violent, and great character studies. I’ve written about my favorite before on this blog, so I won’t repeat myself. If you like Lee Child’s Reacher series, you’ll love the Cole/Pike series. In the word of Crais himself, Jack Reacher is Joe Pike’s bitch. I don’t think there’s a tougher guy in crime fiction. If there is, let me know. I love tough guys.

In addition to ebooks, you can download audios from your library and listen to them on your smartphone, PC, or Mac. Though my library is still closed at this writing, I’m not sure readers remember all the ways they serve the public. It’s become too easy to download a book from Amazon in the wee hours of the night when we’ve exhausted our bookcase, but libraries are there, waiting, and we need to support them. They're one of our greatest resources.

One of my Facebook friends invited me to submit the covers of seven books for seven days. Scouring my memory for books that I loved and that made enough of an impression on me to remember their effect, I found books that I’d love to read again. I just posted day four. So far, I posted my favorite Crais book, L.A. Requiem, Dennis Lehane’s Mystic River, Exodus by Leon Uris, and The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton.

The following list will make up my next three with the rest as honorable mention: Iron House by John Hart, Ordinary Grace by William Kent Kruger, On the Beach by Nevil Shute, The Suspect, first in a series by Michael Robotham, The Winds of War by Herman Wouk, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, and so many more. A couple of these books inspired me to learn more about things I didn't know. After reading Exodus, I wanted to go to Israel. I even bought a ticket, but I'd just returned from a year and a half in Italy and decided to stay in the US. On the Beach scared me into thinking of a nuclear holocaust. Apparently it scared others too. Mystic River was a bit of home. I crossed that river every day on the way to college.

So if you’re at a loss for what to read next, check out your local online library and download the newest bestsellers and older books that you once loved and will love again. Here’s a link to I Love Libraries to read more: http://www.ilovelibraries.org/

Polly Iyer is the author of nine novels: standalones Hooked, InSight, Murder Déjà Vu, Threads, and Indiscretion, and four books in the Diana Racine Psychic Suspense series, Mind Games, Goddess of the Moon, Backlash and The Scent of Murder. A Massachusetts native, she makes her home in the beautiful Piedmont region of South Carolina. You can visit her website for more on Polly and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.



23 comments :

  1. I've learned a lot from Crais's books, especially about building characters and pacing. And he does it all--makes me laugh and cry and stay up way too late.

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    1. Same here, Ellis. He lets just enough out about his characters in every book, so you don't get an overload. On the contrary, you can't wait for more.

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  2. Wonderful reminder about why libraries always have been and will continue to be so vital in civilized societies. I am blasting through all of Louise Penny's Inspector Armand Gamache series again at the moment, all the audio books courtesy of my local library. When I listen rather than read, I can at least pretend I am about to do some actual cleaning, although it rarely amounts to more than a simple swishing of a dustcloth, and then I'm done.

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    1. I think this is a perfect time to revisit books you love. I've already decided who's next after Crais. Louise Penny is very popular. Enjoy.

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  3. I rely on my library, which provides books by mail. A kind friend took pity on my reduced Mt. TBR and sent me three books, including The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, a wonderful story about the WPA Pack Horse Librarians. I first became aware of the program when I read Wonderland Creek. I miss my library.

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    1. I'll have to look that book up. I've never heard of the pack horse librarians. Not enough people take advantage of our wonderful libraries. I love mine.

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    2. I loved The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek, and got it in audio from my library. In fact, it was a recommendation based on books I'd already listened to.

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    3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pack_Horse_Library_Project

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  4. I've been using my library for audio books for years now. Ever since that nasty Ramsay Hunt Syndrome hit and my right eye gets angry and I have to stop trying to read. I was not fond of audio books previously, and couldn't even listen while swishing a dustcloth. I get too absorbed in the story to do anything but listen. But that has been good for when I want to read, but can't. So I listen to books while I'm eating and when I go to bed and want my half hour or so with a good book.

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    1. I haven't been able to listen to them at home, but I love them on long trips. We have a bookstore that is sponsored by the library system, and audios are $2 and most books are $1. I can't wait for it to open up again.

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    2. By the way, the bookstore is huge. It has music too. Such a great source.

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  5. These are fabulous reminders, Polly. For years I visited the library on a more or less regular basis and was an avid reader —— even as a child, starting with the Bobbsey Twins series and The Triplets Go Places, as well as many others. Then came adulthood and marriage, husband, kids, and my reading time fell by the wayside. I've made a few sporadic trips back during my senior years, but not nearly enough. Recently, I've been thinking about a series of books on my mother's shelf while I was growing up. Written from the twenties through the fifties by Kathleen Norris (July 16, 1880 – January 18, 1966), the stories intrigued me when I was a teenager and no doubt planted seeds that later contributed to my wanting to write novels myself. Time to go back to the library.

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    1. I just checked my library. It had one audio of Norris on Overdrive and some of her books, but nothing for the Kindle. So a trip to the library is in your future, Linda.

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    2. There's more than on Kathleen Norris who writes, which is why I included the dates of her birth and death. As I recall from reading them in the fifties, her stories are simple but captivating. You can see a list of her novels here:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathleen_Norris

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  6. What lovely advice. Joe Pike, Elvis Cole is one of my favorite series. Of course Robert Crais standalones are nothing to sneeze at either. Check out Two Minute Rule or Suspect. Hope you're staying safe, Polly! xo

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    1. Absolutely my favorite series, Donnell. Joe Pike makes Jack Reacher look like a sissy.

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    2. Wow, what a huge compliment to Robert Crais. xo

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  7. I love Elvis Cole and Joe Pike too, and I'm way behind with that series. Thanks for the reminder!

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    1. Catch up, girl. The worst thing about it is I'd rather read than write, but the new book is coming.

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  8. Thank goodness our libraries are easing back into operation with online holds and curbside pickup. I still like print hardcover books the best, although I do have a load of books on Kindle and a few books I purchased and haven't read yet. There's something uncomfortable about even the thought of running out of books to read. The pack horse librarians would not have kept up with the pace of my reading.

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    1. I believe ours are closed until June 30th, but I'm loving the ebook downloads. The library outlet is where I'm going as soon as it's open and I feel comfortable going.

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  9. Having free access to the library made me who I am today. I have made peace (somewhat) with my Kindle and have been burning through my TBR pile with a vengeance. I love escaping into other worlds while this one is on pause.

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    1. I love my Kindle mostly because it's easy to hold with my sore hands. Not that I won't read books. I will and I do, but the Kindle is so much easier.

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