Bill’s “Reading” Reco’s

My Talking Book machine with an audio cartridge and mailing case.

I was always a voracious reader. And as a writer, I depended on my eyesight for research, writing, editing, and more. In 1996, I lost the use of my right eye from wet macular degeneration, but I was able to get by using my good left eye.  I could still read, write,  drive, and perform a variety of other tasks. However, on the morning of August 13, 2003, all that changed. I woke up and couldn’t see. Sandra immediately called my retinal specialist and made an appointment for me that afternoon. It was then that I heard the worst news of my life: “My friend,” the doctor said, “you have hemorrhaged in your left eye and you are now legally blind.” From that day on, I never again drove or read normally. My life — and Sandra’s — had changed dramatically.

Thankfully, someone told me about the National Library Service (NLS) at the Library of Congress — a free braille and talking book library service for people with temporary or permanent low vision, blindness, or a physical disability that prevents them from reading or holding the printed page. I applied, was accepted, and the NLS sent me a special Talking Book machine to use to listen to audio books on specially-formatted cartridges. The NLS sends me a quarterly catalog; I select the books I’m interested in (Sandra reads the catalogs to me), and the NLS delivers the cartridges to me in the mail, postage-free.

This service has probably saved my life and my mind, and made it possible for me to continue to “read” and learn. Here is the link for more information and how to apply if you or someone you know may be eligible for this service: https://www.loc.gov/nls/

Thanks to the National Library Service, here are some of the books I’ve enjoyed listening to in the past year. I’m sure most of these titles are also available from Amazon in a print and-or ebook format. Look for my periodic updates to this list.

DIGITAL REVOLUTION

THE INTERNET IS NOT THE ANSWER, Andrew Keen

CYBERPHOBIA: Idendity, Trust, Security and the Internet, Edward Lucas

LIGHTS OUT: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Ted Koppel

THE THIRD WAVE: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future, Steve Case

PREDATOR: The Secret Origins of the Drone Revolution, Richard Whittle

 

WORLD HISTORY & EVENTS

THE IRAN WARS: Spy Games, Bank Battles, and the Secret Deals…, Jay Solomon

THE 100-YEAR MARATHON: China’s…Strategy to…Global Superpower, Michael Pillsbury

THE MAKING OF ASIAN AMERICAN: A History, Erika Lee

VOICES FROM CHERNOBYL: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster, Svetlana Alexievich

TO TELL AND BACK: The Last Train from Hiroshima, Charles Pellegrino

 

AMERICAN HISTORY

AVENUE OF SPIES: American Family’s Heroic Resistance in…Paris, Alex Kershaw

BRIDGE OF SPIES: A True Story of the Cold War, Giles Whittell

DEAD WAKE: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, Erik Larson

EXCEPTIONAL: Why the World Needs a Powerful America, Dick Cheney & Liz Cheney

FIRST LADIES:…the Lives of 45 Iconic American Women, Susan Swain and C-SPAN

FREEDOM’S FORGE: How American Business Produced Victory in WWII, Arthur Herman

GEORGE MARSHALL: A Biography, Debi Unger and Irwin Unger

THE GREAT DIVIDE: The Conflict between Washington and Jefferson, Thomas Fleming

THE GREAT WAR OF OUR TIME: The CIA’s Fight Against Terrorism, Michael Morell

PLAYING TO THE EDGE: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror, Michael V. Hayden

THE CASE AGAINST THE SUPREME COURT, Erwin Chemerinsky