By RAMONA PRICE
In this strange time of social distancing and staying at home, how do you get new books when the libraries and bookstores are closed? Luckily, the San Diego County Library has you covered with our eBook and downloadable audiobook collection. Download the Libby app to your phone/tablet or go to sdcl.overdrive.com on your computer, sign in with your library card number, and you are good to go. If this is your first time using our eBooks, there is a guide to help you: sdcl.org/ebooks.html.
Here are some highlights from our “Read Together, Separately” eBook and audiobook collection that are always available for checkout.
In Ann Patchett’s sprawling epic “Commonwealth,” two families are torn apart and brought together by a single illicit kiss at a christening party in the 1960s. That kiss spawns two divorces and upends the lives of six children, who eventually form their own insular tribe as they are shuttled between their families in California and Virginia. Over 20 years later, the siblings’ story becomes the basis of a bestselling book, forcing them to face their demons, their guilt and the deep connection that ties them all together.
A fascinating history of one of the biggest industrial scandals of the early 20th century, “Radium Girls” by Kate Moore explores how radium went from being a miracle to a nightmare. Touted as the glowing wave of the future, radium was everywhere, but it was most prevalent in watches, whose radium coated dials allowed the wearers to tell the time in the dark. Those dials were hand-painted with radium by young female workers, whose bodies became so coated in the substance that they would glow in the dark. Being a “shining girl” was a coveted job, until they started falling mysteriously ill. As the factories continued to deny that radium was unsafe, the workers and their families started to fight back.
Have you been watching “Little Fires Everywhere” on Hulu, based on the novel by Celeste Ng? If you’re loving it as much as I am, you should take a look at her first book, “Everything I Never Told You.” Equally lovely and heartbreaking, this story of a Chinese-American family in 1970s Ohio whose world comes crashing down when their teenage daughter suddenly and mysteriously dies will take you on an emotional rollercoaster. Exploring themes of race, class and gender, this is a beautiful and thoughtful read.
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the envy of their friends and family with promising careers and a bright future in “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones. But suddenly everything crumbles when Roy is sentenced to 12 years in prison for a crime Celestial is sure he didn’t commit. As Celestial tries to put her life back together, she finds her love for Roy changing, and starts depending on her childhood friend Andre for support and companionship. When Roy’s conviction is overturned after five years, he returns expecting to resume his life with Celestial, but discovers that everything has changed. A romantic and emotional exploration of how quickly lives can change.
Using this time at home to declutter? Explore Marie Kondo’s world-famous method in “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” Learn how to categorize your stuff and prioritize what to keep and what to let go. Maybe you’ll find some hidden gems you forgot you had, and come out more organized and streamlined on the other side!
— Ramona Price is a librarian at the La Mesa branch of the San Diego County Library.