Wednesday, July 20, 2011

When I pass a bookshelf, I like to pick out a book from it and thumb through it. When I see a newspaper on the couch, I like to sit down with it. When the mail arrives, I like to rip it open. Reading is one of the main things I do. Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel I’ve accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss. But my ability to pick something up and read it—which has gone unchecked all my life up until now—is now entirely dependent on the whereabouts of my reading glasses. ~ Nora Ephron

I went looking for this quote because a few months ago, when I was complaining about having to wear glasses, a colleague said he had little sympathy, since he'd had to wear thick glasses since childhood. For about the past 4-5 years, I have a slight problem with distance, and (of course) a need to wear them to read. I can't get used to wearing them all the time, and I hate my bifocals. I have pairs of reading glasses all over the place - some prescription, some drug store cheapies. I wonder if it is worse for those of us who have not had to wear them until middle age.

So I responded, having to wear glasses has taken away some of my joy in reading. I love(d) to read, and now it is a struggle, a hassle. He replied that well, that changed things somewhat, he did feel a little sorry about that and he told me that Nora Ephron had poignantly written about having to wear glasses and its impact on reading. I don't have the book, and probably won't bother to read it (I haven't read much by her, although I suspect she writes well, but have seen a few movies -- one or two were OK but I hate "chick flix" [hate that term too] such as Sleepless... or ...Mail), but I assume the above paragraph leads to more reflection on aging, glasses, and reading.

I want a Kindle. I think that would help to restore some of my ability without glasses. I'll just make the font bigger. Since I am approaching 50, I thought I would tell "people" that's what I want, and maybe I'd get it. If not, I will buy one for myself after my birthday. But now I find that I don't want to wait. I want it now, while it is summer and I have more time for pleasure reading. I am debating every day about what to do, looking longingly at my Mark Twain book with the teeny font that is only half finished after seven months.

No comments: