If you’re a book lover this is the prime time to be living on an island. Although our library is closed, there are still a myriad of opportunities for folks who love the written word. First of all, most of us have a “Tsundoko” – it’s a Japanese term, which refers to the stack of books on a bedside table waiting to be read. When that runs out, we can delve into our libraries to reread old favorites. Then, we borrow books from friends (social distancing, of course).
For those who don’t mind reading books on a device, you can download books through a variety of sources, including the Long Island Community Library e-books and audiobooks – see Long Island Community Library website for more information.
Beyond reading books, for those who have access to a computer, there is a whole world out there for literary experiences, as businesses and organizations in the business of the written word are expanding their offerings to the online community.
For example, here in Maine, you can attend poetry readings online such as this one at Longfellow Books’ website, which offers a poetry reading by Scott Withiam. Longfellow Books is also willing to mail books.
For the writers in our midst, there are online classes available through the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance
Maine Women Writers Collection offers a fun Instagram as well as a Quarantine Book List by Maine women writers. Greater Portland Landmarks also offers their suggested book list
That’s just the tip of the iceberg – there are many more out there. (Anyone have any favorites?)
So, there’s no excuse, in these days of quarantine, to not be able to expand your universe beyond the walls of your home – especially through books!
Several of us islanders like to wait for the ferry in places other than the ferry terminal, including Portland’s numerous watering holes and cafes. But what if you have no reading materials while drinking your cappuccino? Thanks to the Coffeehouse Library Project, an outreach of the Portland Public Library, great books are at your fingertips, with no due dates or fees – just return the books when you are done! This is where I found the wonderful “Under the wild and starry sky” by Nancy Horan, about Fanny Stevenson, the wife of Robert Louis Stevenson. Brilliant!
So, next time you are killing time, waiting for the ferry, settle in to a great cup of coffee or tea … and a book!
For more information see:
I just heard, from a librarian friend, about a great program in Cambridge, Massachusetts: Book Bike. Librarians ride around on bikes loaded with books and park in a designated park at a designated time to give kids free books. Their logo is:
Delivering books and a love of reading in Cambridge, ma.
All children in Cambridge will have access to quality literature to build home libraries for enjoyment and learning outside of the academic year.
- The Book Bike supports healthy bodies and healthy minds by visiting many of the Cambridge parks that participate in the Summer Food Program.
- Meeting families in the park for stories and activities, the Book Bike models that reading is fun!
- The program empowers children of all ages to choose their own free book, selected by literacy professionals to encourage reading in summer months. Books include a wide variety of titles, topics and languages.
- The Book Bike connects families to other programs that support summer reading in Cambridge including the local public library.
What can be better – to combine exercise (at least for the librarians) and book reading, as well as being in a park on a beautiful sunny day. (And food and snacks provided)
For more information:
Not books about traveling, but books to read while traveling! This is my tribute to, and observations about, books to read while traveling. Not one for a Nook or Kindle, I prefer the old fashioned paper copies(which don’t require batteries). I travel most days by boat (some call it commuting) and I carry two books to dip into per voyage – a non-fiction and a fiction book. Preferably paperbacks, for the weight factor. Sometimes this isn’t possible, give that public libraries, where I get many of my books, tend to avoid paperbacks, as they don’t hold up as well as hardcovers. If a hardcover is needed for one book, hopefully the second book is a paperback.
And then there are airplane books. I’ve learned over the years that the best books to bring while flying are not only light in weight, but light in reading – that is, ones you don’t have to think too much about. So when you’re stuck in an airport because of a layover or flight delay, you have a book that absorbs you and provides an escape from the tedium. As well as when you’re on a long flight, you need a great read to really take you away.
While traveling it’s also good to have books that are not library books nor belong to someone else – in other words, books that you don’t have to worry about if you lose or damage them. Or, if you don’t like them, you can leave them somewhere along the way, such as at your relative’s house or in the back pocket of the seat in front of you. That will lighten your load during your travels (or allow you room to pick up more books).
Finally, for the many people who vacation/travel end up on beaches (lucky us Long Islanders who can visit the beach much of the year), there are beach books. These are also books you don’t want to have to worry about if they get damaged or sandy, as well as being lightweight as you stretch out on your beach blanket.
And then there are the contents of books that you bring on travels, but that’s another topic for another time.
See you on the ferry!
Winter is here! Well, at least according to Casco Bay Lines. My heart always drops to see the cold blue color of the winter schedule, which runs from October through April. Yes, winter is 6 months long in Casco Bay! Well, us book lovers make the best of it and anticipate spending the dark evenings sitting by the fire, reading all those long tomes we put off during the other more inclement and lighter months, perhaps that Moby Dick or Gone with the Wind that we’ve been waiting for a “rainy day” to read (i.e., snow, sleet, hail, or whatever the gods bring us). And thanks to the longer check-out period that the Long Island Community Library is hoping to set into motion soon (from 2 weeks to 3 weeks), we will now have more time to read the wonderful selection of library books offered by our own island library. So, now that “winter” is here, it’s time to head to the library, and stock up on your favorite authors, as well as the wonderful array of films that are waiting to be viewed (including the recently viewed movies shown at our foreign film night). Enjoy!