I hope you’re coping okay with the weather today and staying out of the sun. My eldest is off on a school trip to Flamingo Land – you could barely see him for the suncream this morning! Rather him than me.
No, this strikes me as a day for sitting in a cool, shady place. Fan going. Drink in one hand, book in the other. (Of course, I’m working today, so I’ll just have to settle for a coolish office and a cup of tea, but there you go.)
I did want to let you know about a source of free ebooks that I only came across last week. I’m always on the look-out for new things to read, and I like to have a few books on my phone in case I get stuck with nothing to do.
It’s a website and app called ManyBooks, and they’ve actually been around since 2004 – so you might have heard of them already. They’ve managed to pass me by up till now, though. They have well over 50,000 titles in their library – a lot of them are classics that are out of copyright, but they have some newer self-published books on there too.
One of the things I really like about it is the way it’s organised. It’s really easy to browse the books by genre, and there aren’t so many books that you don’t know where to start.
You can read or download the ebooks on a computer by going to manybooks.net, but if you have a tablet or smartphone, I’d recommend using that instead. There’s a free app that you can download for iPads, iPhones and Android devices. To give it a go, open the app store on your device and search for “ManyBooks”. You don’t need to create an account or give them any details – you can just read the books straight away.
In the app or on the website, you can browse the categories, see recommended books, or search for something in particular. They have a massive collection of Dickens, Trollope and other Victorian authors if that floats your boat. Once you’ve found a book that looks interesting, tap on it to see some details about it, then “Read Now” to open it. That will download the book to your device so you can read it without an internet connection.
I should warn you that some of the books are better than others in terms of ebook quality. On some, you get strange line endings and spelling mistakes where they haven’t been copied over perfectly from the printed book. They are completely free, though.
What do I actually use Facebook for?
While I’ve got you, I thought I’d tell you a bit more about the tech I personally use from our new books, “Facebook One Step at a Time” and “Messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram.. and the rest”. And crucially, why.
I mostly use Facebook to keep an eye on what other people are up to. I don’t tend to post much myself – just the occasional holiday snap or update about one of the boys. I love reading other people’s posts, though – and I’ll usually “like” or comment to let them know I’ve seen it.
I’ve also surprised myself lately by how many of the adverts I’ve found useful. Facebook knows me pretty well by now, and so I get told about all sorts of things that make great birthday presents for the boys (or naughty treats for me!). I’ve found loads of educational things on there too, that were a god-send over lockdown.
The other big thing I use Facebook for is keeping up with what’s going on locally. I’m a member of three local Facebook groups (one for my estate, one for the whole town and another for buying and selling things locally). I also follow the pages of my sons’ schools and my local pub. There are loads of things I’d never find out about if I wasn’t in those groups.
Outside Facebook, I mostly use Messenger for group messages to my friends and family. But I use WhatsApp for keeping in touch with my work-mates. I’m not quite sure why – it’s just happened that way! They’re both great for organising meet-ups or sharing bits of news, though.
I also use Messenger for video calls (occasionally) but I’m not a big phone-call person – not outside work, anyway.
I’ve never really got into Twitter or Instagram, and I only rarely need to use things like Zoom – but it really is horses for courses. There are so many different services out there, and so many different ways to use them.
And that’s where our new books come in. You can read all about what’s covered and how they might help you, here. We’re expecting the books to come in from the printers in the next few days – if you order your free trial copy now, we’ll send it on its way as soon as it arrives in stock.