According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), over 55 million people will hit the road during the Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanksgiving is the most heavily traveled holiday of the year. Airports and highways will be backed up with travelers trying to get home.

My family traveled to New Jersey for Thanksgiving one time, way back in 1991. We had no problem getting there, but on the way home on Sunday, the 10-hour trip took 14 hours, and my husband, Drew, vowed we would never travel to New Jersey again on Thanksgiving.

However, last weekend we did travel to New Jersey, to attend a birthday celebration for our sister-in-law, Dottie Czerkawski. During our trip, I tried out something new from the Wilkes County Public Library. We rented and listened to E audiobooks.

Luckily for us, a few weeks ago we sat with Aimee James and Nicole De Bruijn from the Wilkes County Public Library during the annual Friends of the Library meeting and dinner. We had a conversation about audiobooks, and they explained to us how to rent them through the library.

First, we downloaded the app, “Libby,”  by OverDrive, on my phone. Libby is an app that connects you to libraries all over the country. Using our zip code, we located the Appalachian Regional Library. After logging in with my library card number and my pin (the last four digits of my phone number), we had access to a great selection of books and audiobooks.

I scrolled through the list on my phone and found a series of short stories by Sharyn McCrumb, “Foggy Mountain Breakdown, Chilling Tales of Suspense,” that I thought we might like. We had previously listened to her “Battle of King’s Mountain,” and “The Ballad of Frankie Silver,” audiobooks. I connected my phone through my car’s Bluetooth, and voila, we had entertainment.

For the first three hours of our trip, we were captivated by McCrumb’s tales. Each one had an unexpected twist and was short enough to keep us interested. My favorite one told the story of a young woman who was living with the ghost of her late father-in-law. Her husband couldn’t see the ghost, but she had regular conversations with him.

After scrolling some more, I discovered several E audiobooks by humorous western North Carolina storyteller Donald Davis. In all the audiobooks, Davis told stories from his childhood in a true Southern voice. A former United Methodist Church minister, Davis is a nationally renowned storyteller.

After listening to “Christmas at Grandma’s,” I was eager to find more of his stories. Thankfully, our library had three more, “Big Screen Drive-In Theatre,” “Tales From a Range-Free Childhood,” and “The Grand Canyon.”

In “The Grand Canyon,” Davis describes with hilarity his two-day mule ride aboard the sure-footed “Sue Lynn” on the 48” wide trail, which descends to the Colorado River and then back up. As we listened to his tale, we could envision the rocky, narrow trail, the rushing water below and his terror of falling off.

Mara Lynn Tugman, Wilkes County Public Library’s adult services manager, said there are a lot of active E book and audiobook users at the library. In 2019, through Halloween, 1,265 individuals had checked out 10,594 items.

The library has over 2,000 E books and 253 audiobooks which can be downloaded onto devices such as laptops, Kindles, tablets and phones. Tugman said E books are more expensive than regular library books, but they don’t wear out. Some authors, such as Debbie Macomber, are “E book friendly” and offer their books at a discount.  The library purchases E books for certain amounts of time or a certain number of check-outs.

During my scrolling, I noticed our library has best-selling author Dorothea Benton Frank’s latest and last book, “Queen Bee,” and many books by John Grisham. Frank died in September.

Adult services librarian Deborah Beckel reminded me that reference E books are also available for check-out, through nclive.org.

Correction

In my story about the Friends of the Library’s annual meeting and dinner, I mistakenly said Wilkes County Librarian Aimee James teaches at Wilkes Community College. She actually teaches online classes for Purdue University and Chamberlain University.

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