Literature lover provides tech-savvy book club
In the digital age, even the old-fashioned book club can be recreated. An incoming Detroit Lakes High School senior, Carolyn McCormack coupled her love of literature with an e-book fascination to form the Teen Digital Book Club. McCormack, whose ...
In the digital age, even the old-fashioned book club can be recreated.
An incoming Detroit Lakes High School senior, Carolyn McCormack coupled her love of literature with an e-book fascination to form the Teen Digital Book Club.
McCormack, whose bedroom is piled with paperbacks and hardcovers, bought a Barnes and Noble Nook e-reader while in Las Vegas last February, a trip she takes with her family every year, always with books in tow.
"I decided to get (a Nook) the year I came back with 14 new books," McCormack said, laughing. "My entire carry-on was books."
"Some girls have shoes; Carolyn has books," her mother Diane said.
Discovering that Nooks, and Amazon's Kindle counterparts, have advantages like direct download of e-books, newspapers or magazines using Wi-Fi or 3G network access, portability, font sizes, space for music and pictures, dictionary look-up and passage highlighting, McCormack became an impromptu expert on the new technology.
"Since I got my e-reader, that's how I read books," McCormack said. "I wanted more people to have e-readers."
Applying for 4-H's Helping Hands Grant, the same one her sister Kathryn used several years ago to start a teen knitting club, and with support from the Minnesota 4-H Foundation, Becker County 4-H, Becker Country Friends of the Library and the Lake Agassiz Regional Library, McCormack gave the book club a technological twist.
With her $500 grant, she bought two Nooks to loan out weekly, and had $50 leftover for e-books.
The club is open to middle and high school students, aiming to educate them about e-readers through reading and discussing books of their choosing, and will be held in the Public Library from 4-5 p.m. every Monday in August. Teens are encouraged to join at any time throughout the month.
Meetings will run like any book club, centered on discussion, with time to talk about the e-readers, as well.
For those who don't have an e-reader but are interesting in "going digital," McCormack advises bringing an iPod touch, iPad, cell phone or computer, which Barnes & Noble software can be downloaded onto.
Diane added that members could also choose to use physical books or audiobooks if they prefer.
However, as innovation advances, e-readers are on the rise.
"Amazon announced this year that they sell more e-books than regular books," McCormack said, proving the point with her personal testimony: "I go to bookstores and write down titles that I want and then I download them onto my Nook. I could go and search and find it and have it in about 30 seconds."
McCormack, who currently has 33 e-books on her Nook, said it will hold about 1,000 before she needs its expandable SD drive.
"Two librarians came in today and asked (about e-readers)," she said, adding that the library has seen many adults with questions about them, too, prompting McCormack's decision to host Q&A sessions at 3 p.m. on Mondays for anyone interested.
She will also be in the 4-H Building during the Becker County Fair this weekend to provide e-book information, and will give a presentation on the topic at the library in September.
"I didn't know anything about e-readers until Carolyn got obsessed," her mom said, echoing many adults who didn't grow up with today's technological advances.
Although she mentioned being somewhat sad about losing books' "sensory element," a common complaint from old-fashioned bookworms as e-readers grow in popularity, Diane added that she finds them exciting, too.
"It's almost like freeing you up so you can read more and experience more."
So does the young miss McCormack prefer her Nook to the stacks of books in her bedroom?
"As soon as I start a book I have to read it from cover to cover," she said, noting that many of the novels she reads are 300-plus pages. "My hands would get sore because I would hold (books) with one hand, so I like this better.
"It's also easier to sneak away and read when you're supposed to be doing homework," she added with a smile.
For McCormack and many others, e-books are simply the latest way to enjoy the literature they love.