Summer Reading For The 21st Century

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The classics were written hundreds of years ago, but we can enjoy them even more with modern-day convenience.

This summer, learn to tap into the power of your computer for an unrivaled reading experience. Here are a few ideas to help your summer reading program move into the 21st century:

E-Books

Many books are available instantly via downloads from the Internet. Complete novels, nonfiction works, and even some new releases are widely available from online sources.

Some require a purchase, while others are completely free. Sites like onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu offer thousands of free, downloadable texts for your reading pleasure.

I know what you’re thinking, who wants to curl up to a computer monitor and read a book ... doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Maybe. But with the widespread use of laptops and Smartphones, reading text downloaded to a computer may be more comfortable than you think.

Still not convinced? Amazon has come up with a great solution — the Kindle. This small, portable “reader” can download books, store hundreds of favorites, and provide an easy-to-read screen that can go with you whether you’re on a bus, a plane, or in your bed.

Books are available wherever you are thanks to a complimentary connection to the vast 3G network.

Kids’ books are a little trickier. What 5-year-old wants to read a plain text version of “Elmo’s Great Adventure”? Thanks to technology, youngsters can now enjoy full color, interactive books on sites like magickeys.com/books. These free kids’ e-books include stories for all ages and interests.

Audio books

Summer means vacation ... and lots of time in the car, train or plane. One of the best ways to pass the time during travel is with audio books.

Audio books can be downloaded from a variety of sites. Audible.com has a wide selection of audio books and options for monthly memberships used to reduce prices of the books. For free audio books, try audiobooks.org.

Once you download an audio book, you can burn it to a CD, transfer it to your MP3 player, or simply listen to it on your computer. These files often take a good amount of hard drive space, but more on that later.

Old-fashioned paperbacks

Sometimes, you need to hold a book in your hands to get the full effect. For traditionalists, you can still use your computer to make reading a bit easier. Sites like amazon.com or bn.com have powerful programs that can help you choose your next book. Take a look at the “recommended reading” sections to see what the computer thinks you will like to read, based on past purchases. More often than not, it’s a great choice.

Computer preparation

In the end, you have multiple options this summer. Make sure your computer is ready to handle whichever path you choose to take.

As mentioned before, audio books often take a little room. Make sure you have ample hard drive space to handle all of your favorites. Downloads can be frustrating if your Internet is not running at peak speeds because of spyware or viruses. Make sure to clean up your system before starting heavy-duty Internet activity. Maybe it’s time for a new laptop ... if so, make sure you research and find the right system for your needs.

As always, Computer Problem Specialists is available to help Payson residents with any computer question. Call us at (928)-468-0000 for a free consultation or checkup.

Summer reading just got easier. Now, if only there was a way to get through “War and Peace” before September ...

Daniel Taft is the senior network administrator and member/owner of Computer Problem Specialists, LLC with a degree in applied computer science.

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