Disclaimer

Everything in this article is purely my own opinion. I didn’t consult any psychologists or medical doctors for the information below. Please be safe out there and wash your hands.

Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate so if you click on a link and decide to buy something I will get pennies for referring you. This in no way changes the price for you. It just helps me make a bit for doing what I love.

Staying Sane During a Quarantine

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Self-isolation for two weeks can sound simple or easy for new mothers and introverts but it can still take a toll on your mental health if you aren’t careful. Balancing physical isolation without the mental or social isolation can be rough and social media won’t provide the interaction necessary to fill the gap. It is also important to keep yourself busy because a busy mind can’t go into freak out mode. Here is a shortlist of things to do while quarantined to stay sane.

  • Call a friend
  • Deep clean your house
  • Netflix marathon
  • Marie Kondo your house and get rid of things you don’t need
  • Start a blog about being quarantined
  • Index historical records
  • Play video games
  • Knit a scarf
  • Take a virtual trip using Google street view
  • Online shopping spree
  • Home spa day
  • Start writing the book you keep saying is going to happen
  • Read a book

Since this is an illness that makes us so sick that we won’t be around other people for fourteen days; I feel like this long list will drastically shorten to Netflix, video chats, video games, and reading books.

Where to Find Books Without Leaving Home

Most libraries across the nation have access to OverDrive, an online library full of ebooks and audiobooks. You still need a library card to check them out and there are a limited number of copies, but there are many ways to get your books. Usually, you can find your library’s overDrive library through their website. It is a separate website and catalog than the catalog with all the physical books and movies. Sometimes they are the same but it isn’t as common.

If you want to read on a tablet or smartphone download either the OverDrive app or the Libby app. These apps are available for both Android and Apple devices. Both apps have the same functionality and allow you to check out books and audiobooks. They also allow you to listen to audiobooks and read some formats of ebooks right in the app. Libby is slightly easier to navigate between browsing, looking at your shelf and experiencing a book. Both apps allow you to add multiple libraries if you have multiple library cards.

Multiple Library Cards

I highly recommend having cards at multiple libraries because each library has its own collection of books. This allows you to get popular books faster than you might have with just one library collection. Usually, libraries close to each other will team up to give their patrons a larger collection. However, it is even better to have access to multiple collections.

While browsing for books make sure the book you are checking out has a compatible format to your device. Common formats for ebooks are Kindle book, OverDrive read, and EPUB ebook. Each format is for a different type of device. Some books are available in all three formats others can only be found in one format.  Common audiobook formats are OverDrive Listen audiobook and MP3 audiobook. If a book has multiple formats you will have the choice of which format to use after you check out. EPUB books are for non-Kindle e-readers. Doublecheck which formats are compatible with your e-reader before checking out a book.

OverDrive and Libby Apps

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The OverDrive and Libby apps are compatible will all OverDrive formats. It is very easy to download and return audiobooks and ebooks. These apps do take a little bit more battery if you are listening to the audiobooks from them.

Reading books through the OverDrive app is the same feel as most e-readers. There are plenty of settings to adjust brightness, fonts, text size, and more. I’m fond of using the sepia setting because it isn’t as harsh on my eyes. It doesn’t have all the functionality of a Kindle but it is more than a simple text reader.

Battery Saving Tip for Audiobooks

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To save your battery download the audiobook straight to your device and listen using your normal music app. You can change the download option by going into settings and telling the app to a folder of your choice. From there open up the audiobook from your normal music app and listen away.

It gives you the same experience but saves your battery. Another plus is it stops playback from automatically shutting it off after an undetermined amount of time. This would happen all the time when I listened to audiobooks for multiple hours and had a battery saver on. It would automatically shut down my app after an hour because it was draining my battery too much. The only downside is depending on your music app it may not start up right where you left off. It can also make switching between audiobooks and music rough. I’ve found that newer phones don’t have as much of a problem with the battery drain problem. So experiment to figure out what your best experience is.

Kindle Apps

Kindle has an app for both Apple and Android products. It essentially turns any smart device into a Kindle device. You can read any Kindle purchases or checked out Kindle books through the app. It also automatically syncs with your Goodreads account to let you seamlessly keep track of your books. When you check out a Kindle book through OverDrive it takes you to your Amazon account. Here you can claim the book and send it to whichever Kindle device you want, including the Kindle app. One nice thing with the kindle books is you can have it on multiple devices and it syncs pretty seamlessly. OverDrive and Libby sync to their other apps but it can take a bit longer. 

The Kindle app accesses the Kindle store allowing you to browse and buy books straight from the app. This is great and terrible at the same time. It is especially helpful if you have signed up for Kindle Unlimited. It gives you access to over 1 million titles for free! This is definitely more than a library, but it is a paid service and many of the titles are self-published. They do have some bigger names but not as many as they lead you to believe. You are allowed fifteen Kindle Unlimited books at a time, similar to a library. However, you can have the book for as long as your subscription lasts. Once you hit your limit you choose which book is returned to check out a new one.

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

Kindle Device

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If there is a Kindle app that turns any smart device into a Kindle is there really any point to actually buying a Kindle? I asked myself this question over and over again for years! I loved the idea of a Kindle but I wasn’t sure if it would actually be an upgrade to my book reading or if I just wanted one. Well, I got one for Christmas and I have been loving it! I turn on Voiceview all the time and essentially transforming any kindle book into an audiobook for free. My favorite part is how easily I can switch back and forth between reading and listening.

I also love how long the battery lasts. I have the 10th Generation 2019 Kindle and if I turn the back-light completely off and have it in airplane mode I can read over six hours a day for over three weeks. To say that I love it is an understatement. You can see everything without the back-light, and when I do read in the dark I like to keep it on the lower side (1-5, but definitely lower than 10). You do need Wi-fi to download new books or sync but other than that I keep it off so it doesn’t drain more battery. I also keep the Bluetooth off unless I’m listening to a book. 

Kindle VoiceView

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Listening to books via Bluetooth takes a lot of battery, much more than listening on my phone. If I listen to a book for three hours or more the majority of my battery is drained. Usually, I just plug it into the wall while I listen because it has a really wide Bluetooth range allowing me to wander anywhere in the house and still hear.

Just to clarify I am not talking about Audible. Audible is not worth it because you can get more audiobooks for free through a public library. Granted a library may not have the same selection but price wins out in this situation because I go through so many books and audiobooks. Audible is not a viable choice for me. It gives you credits to purchase an audiobook each month and access to a limited number of original audio productions. I listen to more than one book a month and I usually don’t reread or relisten to books.

Free Books

There are also a lot of free books that you can get through the Kindle store. One of my favorites is Third Daughter by Susan Kaye Quinn. It is hard trying to find good free books though. A lot of them aren’t the greatest because they haven’t gone through the long editing process that happens before a book goes to print. Also, a bunch of them are really short or are the first book of a series. Some of these can be good, but check the reviews before getting a book. Usually, at least one review mentions if the book ends in a cliffhanger to try and make you buy the next one.

If you do a Google search for a specific free epub book or pdf book you might be able to find it but a lot of the websites that you can find them on are super sketchy and you feel like any wrong mouse click could bring down a computer crashing virus. Please be careful with these sites. It is worth it to wait for the book to become available.

If your library doesn’t have a specific book you want to read just request them to buy it! Libraries buy thousands of new books every year and librarians want to buy books that you will read. So if you tell them that you want to read a specific book there is a high chance that they will find and buy that title. 

Quick Recap

Download the Libby, OverDrive or Kindle apps, or a combination so you can access amazing free books through your public libraries. If you get bored with that check out Kindle Unlimited and other free books. And for the optimal switching between reading and listening get yourself an actual Kindle.

Please reach out with any questions you have about any of these apps, or services. This is how I read the majority of my books and have for many years so I hope I know what I’m doing!

Happy Reading!

Emily