By Dominique Gaydon
In light of the announcement from the President, I thought it would be beneficial to share some book-related resources to help get us through the next few weeks, both in terms of our school work, and reading for relaxation and escape.
Before I start, I encourage all of you to try and read more at this time. Reading is (typically) a low-screen time form of entertainment and escapism. Reading allows us to process our thoughts and feelings through the thoughts and feelings of our favorite characters. This is helpful in a challenging time like this. There is a book out there for everyone. I hear that the book about Siya Kolisi (Against All Odds) is particularly good.
There is an application called “Libby” (https://www.overdrive.com/apps/libby/) that is available on all app stores. This application uses your local library to give you access to audiobooks and ebooks, to read on your phone or tablet. I am testing if Kindle access works in South Africa. Currently, Libby is allowing access to all users whether they have a library card or not. All you need to do is download the application, input your South African postal code (or you can use the College’s postal code of 2157) and choose one of the three libraries on offer. You can add multiple libraries for a wider selection. The Gauteng Library has about 70 audiobooks, including some of the Throne of Glass series and Winnie the Pooh!
Another application/website that offers unlimited audio and ebooks is Scribd (https://www.scribd.com/). They offer a 30-day free trial, but you do need to input credit card information. You can cancel this straight away and revert back to the free account if you prefer.
The Kindle Store, accessible via amazon, your actual Kindle or the Kindle app on Apple and Andriod, has plenty of free ebooks. They are currently doing a sale where certain books are less than $1 to encourage people to read more. The Kindle store also includes self-published and indie-published authors, expanding our reading horizons.
We have all heard about Audible (https://www.audible.com/ep/southafrica/) for our audiobook needs. They offer a 30-day free trial and one free audiobook, after that, you pay around R200 a month for an audiobook. My personal recommendation here is The Complete Sherlock Holmes read by Stephen Fry. It is 80 hours’ worth of listening, and very enjoyable.
Continuing with audiobooks, if you have a Spotify Premium account, you can listen to many classic audiobooks that are out of copyright, such as Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and anything by HG Wells. These same books, including everything by Shakespeare, Alice in Wonderland, and Dracula, can usually be found as ebooks, for free, online, because they are more than 100 years old and the authors no longer hold the copyright. Just be careful with your downloading and check your internet security.
There are also many audiobooks to be found on YouTube, but I would check the legitimacy of these first.
Finally – there is a website and application called Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/) that I am particularly fond of. It allows you to track your reading, see reviews of books and the app recommends new books to you based on your favorite genres and past reading history. Amazon is also making access to their stories completely free for all school-age students to allow them to carry on learning and being creative. You can find the link here: https://stories.audible.com/start-listen.Maybe it’s time to set a reading goal for the year? Mine is 50 books and I’m halfway there thanks to lockdown…