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In Memory of My Favorite Reader

An update to¬†What Do You Do When Your Favorite Reader Can’t Read Anymore?

A few weeks ago I shared the fact that my grandmother had lost her eyesight and could no longer read books in the traditional manner. The support from you, my fellow book lovers, and the suggestions you offered, were greatly appreciated. Unfortunately, my grandmother will no longer be reading with us on earth. She passed away a week ago. As I prepare for her memorial service tomorrow, I’ve been reflecting on just how much she loved books and reading.

Moppy & Sarah (maybe)

As I’ve spent the past week going through pictures, I came across this little gem of her reading to me when I was very young, probably in 1990. When I was 3, she bought me my first encyclopedia. When I was 10 and obsessed with Harry Potter, she read the first book, and every book thereafter, so she would know what on earth Quidditch was. And last year, she went to London with my sister and learned how to fly a broomstick for herself.

flyingmoppy

My grandmother, who my sister and I affectionately refer to as Moppy, loved adventure, adventure of any kind. She traveled widely, not just in real life but in books as well. Her love of reading, and in particular her love of discussing books with me will always comfort me during the times that I really miss her most. So maybe, before this terrible month is over, I’ll finish my next book. And write the book that we had always intended to write together, the adventures of Merton (her hedgehog) and Ellie (my elephant) and their travels around the world together.

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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?