Thursday, May 14, 2009
Thing 35 - Books 2.0
Although there is some talk about the demise of reading and books, I see a few more fat years for popular writers and publishers. In my library, as is probably true elsewhere, the older generation are big readers. Once the baby boomers start to retire, they'll want to spend some of their leisure time in the relaxing pursuit of reading. I see parents who want the best for their children and so they encourage reading. Even though they love their computer games, there are still kids who come to the library to check out books. Library circulation keeps going up gradually. And one way to get rich is to write a popular book--just read about John Sandford in the Star Tribune.
The book tools can only enhance reading. If you are obsessed with your library, Library Thing is a good way to organize your materials. I have too many books and not enough time to pursue that site. I do like the "Daily Lit" site and have signed up to get a James Joyce book on a daily installment. Some other favorites include "What should I read next?" and "What's next?" These sites offer answers to questions I am asked on a daily basis. I will definitely turn to them if I am stumped in what to offer a patron. I also enjoyed some of the children's book sites. It was cool to read stories from 1890 in the International Digital Children's Library. I also read a great book about a pig on Sillybooks. I will recommend these sites to parents who are looking for educational computer sites. I also liked the Book Browse--seems like it had some good reliable reviews. Reading Group Guides is a site that I have used a lot and will continue to use both at work for reading groups and in my personal book club.
The only other site that I can recommend is "bartleby.com". It's been around a long time and it has full text of classic works from Shakespeare, the Bible, etc. There are also quotes and a dictionary. I've used this site if someone is looking for a classic work of literature and they only want to look something up, not read the whole book.
Computers nowdays are big competition for books, but books still offer a richer, more complex world than can be portrayed with mere images. Books still offer more depth and they are more portable. I feel a little fried after using a computer all day, but reading a book feels wonderful--a great luxury.