After watching the movie versions of Their Finest by Lissa Evans and The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman, I was pleased to track down the books in my local library. The librarian, however, quizzed me with an arched eyebrow, “They are large print editions, is that okay?” It felt like I was being told the books were simple-English editions! Okay, they were large and heavy, because there were fewer words per page and they were hardback copies, but I enjoyed the movies and was happy to have found the books. “I’ll be right,” I said and handed over my library card.
I do wear glasses, for watching TV, driving and any middle-distance viewing, and I should wear glasses for reading and close up work … but I don’t. Like many middle-aged people, I find it a chore to constantly change glasses: distance, prescription sunglasses, reading glasses. Not to mention having to take them all off so people one metre away from me are not a blur … often leading to the classic conundrum, Where did I put my glasses!?
And the truth is, I can read okay without glasses, if I move the book a bit further away from me, say half a metre or so.
So it was a pleasant surprise when I started reading the large print editions of Their Finest and The Zookeeper’s Wife and discovered I didn’t need to move the books away from me: They nestled comfortably, eye strain-wise, in what I’d call, a normal reading position.
And I found I could read for longer. Usually, after ten to fifteen minutes of reading in bed, my eyes get a little tired and sometimes I wake to find the book resting on my face. Not so with the large print editions (fortunately!). It was a joy to read whole chapters and sometimes two or more before succumbing to sleep.
It was a reading experience I hadn’t enjoyed for many years; it was like I’d sipped from the Fountain of Youth (perhaps I should have analysed my bedside glass of water?).
Admittedly, when I finished reading Their Finest and The Zookeeper’s Wife and returned them to the library, it was a shock to pick up a normal-sized print book again. I tossed around the idea of loaning more large print editions from the library, but I’ve got such a pile of bedside books to get through, I decided the better option was to wear my glasses.
After all, finding and putting on glasses is only a small chore for the larger joy of reading!
© 2018 Robert Fairhead
NB: See this earlier blog post (November 1, 2017) for my review of Their Finest by Lissa Evans.
Welcome to the blog posts and selected writing of a middle-aged dad and dog owner. Among other things, Robert is an editor and writer at Tall And True, an online magazine, blog and forum for writers, readers and publishers. Share and showcase your writing -- fiction, nonfiction and reviews -- on TallAndTrue.com.