Fall Reading: Creative adjustment to Vision Loss, Memoirs and More, Updated

Woman on left holding up smartphone, lower right showing voice dream reader a much-loved app with some blind professionals

Now the pandemic is mostly in the past I am updating and re-posting a few posts with good information that you may have missed

. Reading how other people have battled to regain skills and confidence after losing a lot of sight can be really comforting and helpful. So can guides to living with blindness or low vision.

In this update I have added several new memoirs including my own “How To” book which contains personal history besides detailed help and information.

These memoirs are nearly all available on Talking books and their NLS number is included like this: DB12345.  Some people prefer to read using Bookshare with its electronic speech and highlighted text. (Details at end.)

The Country of the Blind: A Memoir at the End of Sight, by Andrew Leland (2023) db 115575, Penguin Random House. Leland writes about losing his vision from Retinitis Pigmentosa, preparing for blindness, and how his condition impacts his identity, and relationships with his wife and family.

The Beauty of Dusk: On Vision Lost and Found by Frank Bruni (2022) dbc 16707.SimonandSchuster. The New York Times Columnist and best-selling author partially lost his vision at 52. He writes movingly about ageing, affliction, and optimism.

My Heart Is Not Blind: On Blindness and Perception by Michael Nye (2019) db94924 Print copy with the author’s photographs

45 Long interviews with blind people from vastly different backgrounds and experience. The introduction is the best description of how blind people perceive the world that I have ever read.

When You Can’t Believe Your Eyes: Vision Loss and Personal Recovery, by Hannah Fairbairn(2019) db11619,Charles C. Thomas

With a special emphasis on the challenges faced by seniors, a “how-to” handbook for adults losing sight. Available in 4 formats.

There Plant Eyes: A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness by M Leona Godin (2021) db104014

Print and Kindle editions. M. Godin gives an overview of the cultural role of blindness over thousands of years as well as some memoir.

Note: the word There in the title is T H E R e.

Now I See You by Nicole C Keir, (2014) DB 80131 Memoir of losing sight from Retinitis Pigmentosa starting at 19. She shares her struggles and adventures, falling in love, and having children before admitting to her vision loss.

Touch the Top of the World: A Blind Mans Journey to climb farther than the eye can see, by Erik Weihenmayer DB51505

Thriving Blind Stories of Real People Succeeding Without Sight by Erik Weihenmayer et al DB97202

No barriers: a blind mans journey to kayak the Grand Canyon by Erik Weihenmayer et al DB 87291
Touching the Rock by John Hull, (1990)

Db33014. A moving book, as Hull makes the slow transition from denial to acceptance of his blindness – the small delights, the agonies, as well as his faith.

Hope Unseen: The Story of the US Armys First Blind Active-Duty Officer by Scott Smiley DB71909

Planet of the Blind by Stephen Kuusisto DB45500 Legally blind from birth, Kuusisto tried to pass as sighted for many years. He describes how pretending to see interfered with his participation in the sighted world.

My Eyes Have a Cold Nose DB DB0857 Hector Chevigny. Published in the 1940’s this is worth reading for an excellent description of the first months after total sight loss.

Confessions of a guide dog: the blonde leading the blind by mark Carlson DB75126

Blindness, What it is; What it does and how to Live with it. Fr. Thomas Carroll. DB20473.

Print version available from the Carroll Center.

While dated, it does address adjustment, especially in “ The 20 Losses of Blindness”.

White Coat White Cane by David Hartman DB14631. This is an account of the obstacles Hartman faced in becoming a blind psychiatrist. He attributes his “brattiness”, and competition with his sister for his considerable drive.

If you could see what I hear, by Tom Sullivan DB35991

A Laugh a Day Keeps the Blues Away: Humorous Stories From People with Low Vision, Blindness, and Deaf Blindness, by Rita Kersh, DBC11031.

Coping with vision loss: maximizing what you can see and do, by Bill Chapman DB55481

Invisible: my journey through vision and hearing loss, by Ruth Silver DBC04170. Silver grew up with undiagnosed Retinitis Pigmentosa and Usher Syndrome. She shows how someone with severe disabilities can become a leader and have a satisfying, gproductive life.

The books below do not have NLS BARD codes but are still available from other sources.

how to Have A Happy life, http://ccbnet.org/drupal7/node/16

The Life We Got: Losing Sight and Gaining Vision 2016) by Allison and Neil Taylor. Link to print version.  Neil Taylor was a young teacher and athlete when the discovery of a brain tumor catapulted him into a life of blindness. A monumental step in his journey toward acceptance and wholeness was the writing of this memoir with his mother Alison. Told from both of their perspectives.

Fighting Blind: a green berets story of extraordinary courage, by Ivan Castro. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31177641
The NLS, National Library Service for the blind and Print disabled will provide a book player and cartridges by mail, or you can use their online app called BARD on a computer smart phone or tablet. The service is completely free. You sign up with a doctor’s letter explaining your print disability. You do not have to be legally blind.

Bookshare is another platform for people with print impairments. Again you need a doctor’s letter. There is an annual subscription of $80. It’s free for students which includes you if you are receiving vision rehab training, or engaged in Hadley workshops.

Bookshare books are digital and require a smartphone, tablet, or computer. The speech is electronic and the text highlighted line by line. The range is truly enormous!

This is based on a much longer list of memoirs by people who lost vision on VisionAware, which will be available again soon.

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