Reading Life

Thanks to StephJ for inspiring this. Since I love to read as much as I love to write, here are my answers to some questions about how I read.

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Do you have a specific place for reading?

Because of my visual impairment, I prefer listening to books, either in recorded or digital print formats. For this reason, I can read while eating, doing dishes, putting away laundry, etc. Most of the time, I prefer to read in the recliner that once belonged to my late husband Bill or in the back yard where he also enjoyed sitting. I like reading in these places because it makes me feel closer to him.

Do you use bookmarks or random pieces of paper?

The devices I use are capable of keeping my place when I leave a book and return to it later. They have bookmark features, but I rarely use them.

Can you just stop anywhere or must it be at the end of the chapter?

I try to stop at the end of a chapter, but some authors end chapters with cliffhangers, so that can be more easily said than done. Also, some chapters are lengthy, and if I start nodding off, forget it.

Do you eat or drink while reading?

Whether I’m reading or writing, I’m always drinking water. In mid-afternoon, I drink Dr. Pepper. Occasionally, I’ll listen to a book at the kitchen table while eating.

Do you listen to music or watch TV while reading?

Since I listen to books instead of reading them, this can be tricky, so I usually don’t.

Do you read one book at a time or several?

I read one book at a time. I finish it, or not, then move on.

Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere?

With my portable devices, I can read anywhere, but I prefer to read at home.

Do you read out loud or silently?

Most of the time, books are read to me, either by a human voice on a recording or by my device’s text to speech engine. Sometimes though, especially when reading poetry, I read material aloud to myself with my device’s Braille display.

Do you read ahead or skip pages?

It depends on the book. With a novel, I don’t dare skip anything because I don’t want to miss an important plot twist. With a book of essays, short stories, or poems, I skip material that doesn’t appeal to me.

Do you break the spine or keep it like new?

Most of the time, I’m not dealing with spines. Occasionally though, if I really want to read a book and can’t find it in an accessible digital format, I’ll buy a hard copy and scan it. When I do this, I try to keep the book intact.

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Now it’s your turn. You can answer any or all the questions above, either in the comments field or on your own blog. If you do this on your blog, please put a link to your post in the comments field here. In any case, I look forward to reading about your reading life.

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Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

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Queen of the Mountain

Do you have a recliner or a favorite armchair? Don’t you just love sinking into it at the end of a long, hard day with a book, newspaper, or TV remote control and a cup of coffee or other beverage?

My late husband Bill loved his recliner. Because of his paralysis due to his strokes, it was necessary to purchase one that could lift him almost to a standing position so I could more easily transfer him to his wheelchair. One day after I got him settled, he said, “I’m the king of the mountain.”

This inspired the following poem from How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. The original title was “King of the Mountain,” but that didn’t seem to fit so I changed it.

RECUMBENT

With his good hand, he presses a button.

The chair reclines.

Familiar objects are within reach,

telephone, radio, drink,

cassette player, bag of nuts, TV remote control.

As I cover him with poncho and blanket,

his sightless eyes gaze at me with love.

He smiles, content.

I still have Bill’s recliner. I’m sure there are others who need such a chair more than I do, especially since I don’t even use the lift feature. There may come a day, though, when I’ll need it so I guess I’ll keep it. In the meantime, I’m now the queen of the mountain. What familiar objects comfort you?

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver