Back to School: Start a New Book #30DaysofGOOD

Start a book you’ve been wanting to read, but haven’t yet gotten around to. Visit a library or one of our recommended online resources.

Things are easier said than done, or so the old adage goes, and we couldn't agree more. That's why we do 30 Days of GOOD (#30DaysofGOOD), a monthly attempt to live better. This month we're going "Back to School" and committing to learn something new every day.

I'll be honest. Until recently, I hadn’t been to a library in years. But a couple weeks ago, I was looking for a new place to do some work (I'd exhausted all of the coffee house options within a five mile radius) and hit the San Francisco Public Library. The wireless access was blazing fast and the environment was quiet, but not silent—perfectly conducive to a day of productivity. (I find it impossible to get anything done in complete silence.)

Before I left, I checked out a copy of Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon. I’d been wanting to read it for years, but had never made time for it. (Spoiler alert: Turns out it’s a pretty good book.)

Today’s task is to start a book that you’ve been wanting to read, but haven’t gotten around to. Fiction or nonfiction, it doesn’t matter. You get extra points if you choose a piece of classic literature (here's a good list), but we’re flexible—the idea is just to pick a book up and get into it.

Of course you already know where to find books, but here are a few links to point you in some new directions.

  • Indie Bound’s independent bookstore finder makes it easy to locate a locally-owned shop in your area.
  • Project Gutenberg is a giant resource for free ebooks, mostly classics that are in the public domain. The project is led by volunteers who digitize important cultural works.
  • BookMooch is a book swapping community where you can trade books with other people around the world.
  • Open Culture has a directory of hundreds of free audio books. They’re mostly classics and they’re all available free of charge.
  • The National Center for Education Statistics has a simple online tool you can use to find libaries in your area.
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And speaking of libraries—go to one! If you imagine libraries as cold, giant warehouses with nothing but dusty, decaying copies of The Canterbury Tales, think again. Earlier this week, we took a look at how many of them are evolving to become innovation labs with access to an impressive array of tools and multimedia programs. Plus, most libraries host a variety of interesting and enlightening lectures and workshops. Be sure to check out your local library’s website for a list of upcoming presentations.

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