Last week’s blog post was about some of the primary school books that I read growing up, so now that life has gone on, the busy times are behind me and I’m semi-retired, this post is about books that I read now and the transition to e-books.
Many years ago, when I started taking more of an interest in family history it made sense to understand history in general, to add context to the life of your family. I totally hated history at school, it was boring with too many facts and dates to remember. Not much seemed relevant. I suffered in silence! Then, I was introduced to The Australian’s, a series of books written as a novel with fictional characters which are as historically accurate as possible, making them difficult to put down and at the same time, learning Australian history.
The twelve books in the series are; The Exiles, The Settlers, The Traitors, The Explorers, The Adventurers, The Colonists and The Gold Seekers written under the pen name of William Stuart Long. The Patriots, The Empire Builders, The Seafarers, The Nationalists and The Imperialists were written under the name of Vivian Stuart.
I had the good fortune of collecting all but one, as hardbacks. Bob and I searched secondhand book shops and library book sales over several years, grabbing them as soon as I spotted one. One purchase, The Colonists, is in softcover, and that’s ok, it’s still the same story. One day, I will pick these up and read them again.
A convict book that is a really good read is The Emancipist by Veronica Geoghegan Sweeney. It traces the life of an Irishman deported to Australia as a convict labourer and becomes a man of great wealth as a landowner. You won’t be able to put this book down, once you start reading.
My love of history was born, so I sought out books to help with my understanding of our local history around Geraldton and the Midwest. Although these are much harder to read, and aren’t necessarily meant to be novels, they do contain historical facts and I can weave the dates into my family history stories.
Some of these are: Ancient Landmarks by Mary Albertus Bain (don’t ask how much I paid for this one from a second-hand shop!!; A Life of Its Own also by Mary Albertus Bain; Cork to Capricorn by Ruth Marchant James; 150 Years 150 Lives produced by the Local Studies Department of the Geraldton Regional Library; The Bride Ships by Rica Erickson; Geraldton, A photographic History also by the Local Studies Department of the Geraldton Regional Library; Memories of Champion Bay or Old Geraldton by Constance Norris; Celtic Courage by Laurel Lingard; Every Year the Christmas Bush by Mary Veal; Beyond Envy The Story of Thomas and Jane Drage by Sue White. Some of the war history books are Somme Mud by E.P.F. Lynch; Behind Bamboo by Rohan D. Rivett; Retreat from Kokoda by Raymond Paull. These are just a few on my shelf and there are many others that I have borrowed from the library over the years.
Then along came technology and now read e-books on my iPad, using an app called OverDrive. This allows me to download e-books to the iPad from our local Geraldton Library or the State Library of Western Australia and I like audiobooks on my iPhone, so I can listen to them when I’m out walking or driving long distances. I recently listened to an audiobook on the way to Perth on the bus. Another app called Zinio for Libraries allows me to download magazines for no cost, these are great to download some of the genealogy magazines out there and of course the odd caravan magazine!
Another app I use is Feedly to keep up with all the genealogy blogs online.
Podcasts are great too. They are a digital file that can be downloaded from the Internet to your device (iPhone). First, you download the Podcast App, although I’m sure mine was a default app on my phone. I listen to the Genealogy Gems, GeniesDownunder, ABC NightLife and ABC Conversations and various others. There’s too many to list here, but be sure to check them out on iTunes for Apple devices or Google Play for android phones. Many of these can also be listened to direct from your computer, but sitting in front of the computer and listening to one of these probably isn’t my ideal way of spending my day.