Tag Archives: Overdrive

Top 10 of 2020: Overdrive and Hoopla

kindleI know we left 2020 in the dust (not that 2021 is looking all that much better so far), but forget that for a minute—let’s look back at the top titles borrowed from Overdrive and Hoopla in the past year, and see what kinds of trends have emerged in these, dare I say, unprecedented times 

As the outside world closed up, forcing us all to turn inwards, what sort of activities did you find yourself doing? If you found yourself reading a ton more than normal, you’re in good company (conversely, if you found yourself unable to concentrate on books, you are also in good company). While plenty of people found themselves in a reading rut thanks to the existential crises caused by COVID, the general trend of reading during lockdown actually increased overall. A study out of the UK reported an almost doubled rate in reading, from 3.5 hours a week to a reported six. From the same study, “A third said they read more printed books, 18% consumed more e-books, and 9% listened to more audiobooks”. A third of people reading more paper books in a single year is nothing to sneeze at.  

But stats like this are actually not surprising; there is historical precedence for this kind of thing. An industry analyst for NDP (a market research firm) notes that historically, book sales are resistant to economic downturn; even the Great Recession of 2008 saw a year-over-year increase in book sales. While on the surface this may come as a shock, it makes sense if you consider books for their personal value rather than just their financial cost. When the going gets rough, as it most certainly did in 2020, people often turn to books not just as a form of entertainment, but also for escapism, distraction, and for mental wellbeing.  

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How the Library Changed My Life: Minimalism

Have you been stuck at home, social distancing from people, when you come to realize that your space is crammed with stuff? Is there a lingering feeling that your surroundings are breaching your space? Are you overwhelmed with an abundance of thoughts that leads to a lack of focus? Perhaps you’ve never really paid attention to your living space until now because of time, energy or alternative priorities? Since a lot of us are confined to our homes for the next little while, you might have become more conscious of how many things you own. You might have also noticed how much money you are saving now that most shops are closed! Our self-isolation has a positive side: we have ample time to reconsider our daily lives and the actions that we might not have scrutinized before because of a distracting and consuming world we inhabit. Since life has slowed down considerably, and in perfect time for spring cleaning, now is a good time to explore why I became a minimalist and why you might want to flirt with the idea too.

Minimalism has a long history that entails art, philosophy, and religion, but for our sake, I’m referring to minimalism as the cultural practice of owning less. Minimalism has been in the zeitgeist for a couple of years now: the centripedal force that has drawn in most to this cultural explosion is cleaning guru Marie Kondo. Her best-selling books—that we have on Hoopla and Overdrive—as well as her Netflix show have solidified her presence in many people’s (cleaner) lives. I first started on my minimalist journey in the summer of 2017 when I read the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up after a patron called the library and ask me to put it on hold for them. I’ve been collecting video games (I had over 500) and books (I had 7 book shelves) for years. However, even in the fleeting ecstasy of obtaining a new game or book, I always had a nagging feeling that I’d never hit the end point of satisfaction: an event horizon that was always buried by the increasingly growing pile of unplayed games and unread books. Her methodology promotes keeping only things that “spark joy” in your life. I devoured her debut book in a day and then that weekend I went through my possessions, in “KonMari” style, and excised two giant bags of recycling (why was I keeping boxes for stuff that I bought?!) and one large bag of clothes for donation. I finally honed my “spark joy” radar! Continue reading

Book Review: “When We Were Vikings” by Andrew David MacDonald

When We Were Vikings

Zelda isn’t your average 21-year-old. She’s deeply passionate about the ancient history of Vikings. Her mother passed away from cancer and her father abandoned the family. She lives with her good-hearted, but troubled older brother Gert. And she believes the key to a good life is following some basic rules, like fist bumps and dabs = respect. Most of all, it’s important for every good Viking warrior to protect the tribe.

Zelda’s latest mission: to be legendary. Her first quest: to protect Gert, her wayward guardian, who has lately been resorting to some nefarious methods to keep their family afloat.

Soon Zelda will find herself mixed up in a battle that will test her resourcefulness and threaten everything that Zelda and Gert have built together. Along the way, Zelda will learn what it means to be a hero even when it seems like the world is against you. There will be some bumps along the way, and things will get ugly before they get better, but Zelda is up for the challenge.

Canadian author Andrew David MacDonald

Zelda is also determined to explore her own burdgeoning sexuality, even if Gert doesn’t want to hear about it. She even has her first boyfriend, Marxy. With the guidance of her best friend and Gert’s ex-girlfriend, AK47, she’s determined to have her first sexual experience.

MacDonald’s debut novel is a charming, heart-rending story of a young woman’s utter determination to protect her tribe. Zelda must contend with her own unique abilities, the result of her mother drinking while pregnant with Zelda. Not only will Zelda overcome her fears and insecurities, but she will truly become her own legend.

To see modern Vikings in action, check out “To Go Viking,” instantly available on Hoopla.

This is a fresh, exhilirating read, filled with plenty of nail biting moments, and mountains of hope and inspiration. You can’t help but root for Zelda. She’s innocent, determined and spunky. She won’t let anything get in her way. She’s the hero we didn’t know we needed.

I’ll be waiting with anticipation for upcoming titles from Canadian author Andrew David Macdonald.

When We Were Vikings is available through VPL’s OverDrive collection. Download the OverDrive app today and explore 1000s of eBooks and eAudiobooks available for free with your library card!