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Archive for the ‘Audiobooks’ Category

Stephen King is one of my favorite writers. I credit that to finding Night Shift on our family bookcase in high school and devouring it late at night. It was terrifying. Then I discovered The Stand. I was hooked!

I commuted to Indianapolis for graduate school and discovered audiobooks. It was a perfect distraction from the painfully boring drive between Fort Wayne and our state capital — especially on the drive home when there was nothing good on the radio. I listened to many books on tape during that time.

I have now moved on to downloadable audio that you can use through our OverDrive service with your library card. I download audiobooks to my phone and then listen to them as I walk and drive. I still can’t listen at home, though — I get too distracted.

I was absolutely delighted to learn that Stephen King was releasing a new story on audio only, months before the print version comes out. This is certainly not the norm, but an author of his standing can do whatever he wants. 🙂 Here is a nice write-up in the New York Times.

stephen king drunken fireworks

From the author’s Facebook page

Drunken Fireworks was really funny. Hearing the Maine accent, instead of trying to conjure it in your head, is irreplaceable. Tim Sample was the perfect narrator. It was a short story (90 minutes), and well worth the listen.

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Books have been a reliable way to convey and preserve information for hundreds of years.  Other formats have evolved, but what happens when the book is no longer in print, the recording wears out, or the website is no longer maintained?  It’s tragic to think of all of that information lost forever.  Thankfully, organizations like the Internet Archive have made it their mission to preserve material so that our knowledge and culture will remain available for generations to come.  And, do you know what’s really cool?  The Allen County Public Library is a part of this effort!  ACPL has been one of the Internet Archive’s partners since 2008.

Through collaborations with 190+ partners, including The Genealogy Center, the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian, the Internet Archive strives to preserve a record for generations to come. What this means for you is that there’s a growing collection of excellent resources freely available online. The Internet Archive includes texts, audio, moving images, and software, as well as archived web pages.  If you use the WayBack Machine, you can check out what the ACPL website looked like in January of 2004 — you can see that we were in the middle of an expansion project.  Some of our branches were reopening after their renovation, some were closing in preparation for renovation.  And if you type google.com into the search box, and go back to November 1998, you’ll see that they hadn’t developed their playful logos — yet.  After all, Google had only been in business for a couple of months at that time.

As of June 2013, 62,234 items from ACPL’s Genealogy Center have been digitized by the Internet Archive.  To date, items from the Genealogy Center account for 9,840,368 of the downloads from the Internet Archive.  And you’ve heard of The Lincoln Collection, right?  So far, 11,685 items have been digitized from this collection, accounting for 707,685 of the Internet Archive’s downloads.

What kinds of titles are we talking about?  The top three most popular Genealogy Center books as of June 2013 are:

As fantastic a resource as this is for genealogists, there’s also plenty to intrigue those of us who are researching other topics.  An amazing book recently added to the collection from the Field Museum of Natural History is Traite de Fauconnerie, a special book on falconry.  Use the zoom tool and you can see the fine detail of this work published in 1844. How awesome is this???

Aside of its amazing collection, one of the things I love most about Internet Archive is that you can choose your format.  I’ve linked directly to the books mentioned in this post so that you can read them online, but you can choose to download a variety of versions including PDF, EPUB, Kindle, Daisy etc.  This makes it a fantastic resource not only for those of us in search of difficult to obtain materials, but also makes it a simply phenomenal resource for people with special needs.

Further reading: Yes, You CAN See Some of Our Books OnlineTrip to the Internet Archive, Fort Wayne

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It’s fun to hear a book

Do you think audio books are only for children who can’t read or for older people who are losing their vision?  Think again. Audio books allow you to read while you do something else: walk, exercise, ride a bike, housework (ouch – I hate that word!). Just don’t take them in the swimming pool with you! Allen County Public Library offers audio books for all age levels and in several different formats.  I mostly check out books on cd because I listen to them in my car while I  drive.

We also have Playaways that are basically MP3 players with one pre-recorded book on each Playaway.  They check out like any other three week item and all you need is a triple A battery and a set of ear buds. Not every branch has them, so check the catalog for locations if this is what you want.

I’m sure you know we have ebooks, but have you checked out our downloadable audio books?  You can search with any number of categories: genre, age level, fiction/non-fiction.  You can choose to download them in MP3 or WMA format.  Just like the ebooks, downloadable audiobooks check out for up to three weeks and return automatically with no late fees.  They can also be returned early.   There are over 1100 audio books that come up under adult non-fiction with new titles being added every day.

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I am finicky when it comes to listening to books on CD.  My experiences are either short-lived or seemingly life-changing.  For me, it starts with a compelling story, typically a true story, then either quickly lives or dies by the reader’s voice and delivery.  The most poignant books I have listened to have been memoirs read by the authors themselves.  And it makes sense, who better to articulate and connect with the words better than the person who penned (and often lived) them?  The emotions are more palpable.

Below are a few recent examples:

just kids

Just Kids, written and read by Patti Smith

Patti’s Jersey accent and thoughtful cadence create a solemnly sincere space. It feels as though you are sipping Nescafé alongside your incredible friend as she recounts her passionate personal endurance of the 1960s.

i remember nothing I Remember Nothing [and Other Reflections], written and read by Nora Ephron

If anyone can make nothings into somethings, it’s writer & producer Nora Ephron. Clear, witty, and relatable, she reads her final book of reflections in a way that I have not soon forgotten.

always looking up Always Looking Up [the Adventures of an Incurable Optimist], written and read by Michael J. Fox

In Michael J. Fox’s voice, you can hear the physical strain of Parkinson’s Disease. Most of all, you hear the relentless enthusiasm that he has for life’s moments, whether they be trials or triumphs since his diagnosis.

If you enjoy listening to authors read the books they have written, fiction or non-fiction, there is a quick way to search for them using our catalog.  In the search box, type “read by the author” (make sure to use quotation marks) and hit return.  Try it: it’s as though you have your own personal bookstore reading, in the comfort of your home or vehicle, that doesn’t end until the book ends!

read by the author screen

read by the author

Don’t forget about the additional option of downloadable audiobooks, and let us know what gems of audiobook performances you find.

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