As is so often the case, I may be the last person on the planet to discover this but… yesterday, I learned that the Public Library allows one to download eBooks and audio-books from its website. Who knew?!
And I owe my discovery to The Writer’s Almanac.
A few days ago, The Writer’s Almanac informed me that it was Thomas Pynchon’s birthday (happy belated birthday TP!). I remember reading “The Crying of Lot 49” in college and liking it very much. It also reminded me that I had been telling myself for years that I should read “Gravity’s Rainbow“. So, yesterday morning, I paid an online visit to the Harper’s Valley Public Library.
I don’t visit the Public Library very often. There is a branch a couple of miles from our home but every time I’ve gone there to browse I have found the selection of books more and more limited. Increasingly, their space is dedicated to terminals where people can access the internet. I have learned, however that their website if quite user-friendly. I find the book or film I want and, if a copy is available anywhere in their branch network, I can put it on ‘hold’ and have it sent to the nearby branch. I pick it up at the Holds Desk. I don’t even have to find it on the shelf. I do, unfortunately, still have to walk past the ominous ‘beware of snakes’ sign. Happily, access is by a metal bridge a few feet off the ground so I just walk fast and think of something else.
While on their website to place the ‘hold’ on “Gravity’s Rainbow” I did a little exploring and found a tab called eBooks and Digital Media. I don’t own a Kindle or Nook but I have a laptop and a smart-phone. Any eBook available in the library can be downloaded to read it on the screen. Any audio-book can be downloaded to my iPhone. Deciding to give it a try and being in a Pynchon kind of mood, I downloaded the audio-book format of “The Crying of Lot 49”. I recalled it being a short book and I was able to listen to most of it last night. I’m delighted to find I’m enjoying it as much as I did 30+ years ago and it has put me in the right frame of mind to tackle the, much longer, Gravity’s Rainbow.
Isn’t technology grand?