“It was a dark and stormy night...” Now doesn’t that quote make you either chuckle or roll your eyes? It was recognized by San Jose State University as the worst opening sentence of a novel when they began their contest, The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, back in 1982. The contest is named after the author of an 1830 novel Paul Clifford with that now infamous opening sentence.
When I look forward to reading a new novel I always wonder how the author comes up with the first sentence. I enjoy reading, whether it’s a book I heard about word-of-mouth, on a bestsellers list, or from our local library. Lately, I’ve been reading more e-books as I love the East Greenwich Library’s website and all it has to offer. Since moving into EG, I’ve noticed that the library’s website has gone through many positive changes. Do you know that you can take an online continuing education course using the library’s website? You need your library card for that but with the card you can also download e-books or put them on hold (either hard copy, e-print or audio) and it’s such a convenience. It’s great to visit the library but if you have a computer, e-reader or mp3 player, many books and audio books are just a few clicks away.
The use of e-books is an additional tool to keep the students on track for their reading requirements through the school year. Many of the school library books are available at the public library as well, but I don’t think the kids realize that they can also download some of the e-books from the website using Overdrive. If you’re not familiar with OverDrive, it’s a full service digital distributor of e-books, audio books and other digital content. All of the RI public libraries use Overdrive. Another service I found out about was Freading (free reading). Freading is an e-book program that allows libraries to pay for e-books on a per download basis. There is a big selection but the downside is that not all publishers make titles available. If you’re new to downloading e-books to an e-reader or mp3 (audio), the Cranston Public Library has posted three different videos on youtube to show you the process. You’ll see the Ocean State EZone (which you can get to from eastgreenwichlibrary.org) and you can pick it up from there.
All this would be a great family discussion around the dinner table "on a dark and stormy night."
Author Naomi Marino is a 10-year resident of East Greenwich who volunteers in the public school system.