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What Do You Do When Your Favorite Reader Can’t Read Anymore?

I haven’t posted any reviews or bookish lists for the past two weeks for a couple of reasons. The first, I’ve been reading only advanced reader copies (ARCs) and the books don’t come out until October or November, some aren’t even being published until the spring. The second is much more personal.

My grandmother, whom I call Moppy and think of as a second mom, has not been doing well. She is such a strong lady, she’ll be 87 in December, and she is feisty as hell. All of my family, friends, coworkers, everyone I know, I’ve told about my Moppy. And they all adore her. She is one special woman. And she’s been through medical hell the last few weeks.

About two months ago, her eyesight began to deteriorate tremendously. Presently, this is the least of her medical problems, but it’s the one pertinent to books and reading. I have always given her books for Christmas and some of my favorite childhood memories are of reading with Moppy. She even picked up the Harry Potter series in 1999 when my sister and I started reading it and she is just as big a Potter-lover as any millennial.

Books were always a part of her life. She’s lived on her own for quite a few years now and always, on the couch next to her when we visited, were a book and her current knitting project. Never one to sit still, she would only stay put to read a book. So what is one to do, when their favorite reader is depressed not only about losing their eyesight and therefore independence (a whole other conversation to have), but one of their favorite hobbies?

We looked briefly into helping Moppy learn braille, but at 86, did she really want to go through that? She decided she’d rather not. We’ve looked at large print, but they are cumbersome to travel with and more expensive than her favorite paperbacks, particularly ARCs from me, which are free (the joys of being the adult book buyer for an indie store). We’ve tried audiobooks, my new favorites, with her library Overdrive/Libby app on her iPhone, but even those she has to wait for someone else to load for her (she is incredibly tech-savvy, but the app layout can be a challenge), not the greatest position for a fiercely independent woman.

It’ll be at least a week until she’ll be able to embrace reading, or listening to, books again, so I ask you, my dear fellow readers, any suggestions?

5 thoughts on “What Do You Do When Your Favorite Reader Can’t Read Anymore?”

  1. I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through this with your grandmother. I went through the the big health issues with mine, who was also like a second mom to me, a few years ago. Yours sounds like an incredible and very feisty lady! It seems like you have some good solutions to keep her reading, I hope they work. It sounds tough but so does she. Sending you a lot of happy thoughts for helping her get through it all!

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  2. Have you tried the larger kindles (or nooks)? That way you can make any book a large-font book, and it isn’t only a couple of words to the page. BUT it still has a thin profile so you can fit it in a large purse. The initial cost for the big ones is a little intimidating, but I think its worth it for reading! (Also, Christmas is coming and grandparents are hard to shop for. I bet a bunch of family members would go in). You’ll still run into the libby app problem if you are using the library remotely, but I think it runs pretty smoothly once you have a handle on it AND the librarians are super helpful if you go in person. Also, I think the libby app works better for the e-books than the audiobooks. I hope you find something that works, not being able to read is terrible for someone who loves it!

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    1. I realize Amazon isn’t high up on your “friends” list. It doesn’t have to be a kindle or a nook, just any large e-reader. I also realized I let autofill use “Letitia” instead of “Lenore” and I wanted to correct that.

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