All my life, I’ve been a voracious reader, mostly nonfiction. When I became a writer, I depended on my eyesight for research, writing and editing.
In 1996, I lost the use of my right eye from wet macular degeneration, but I was still able to read, drive and perform other tasks by using my good left eye and low vision aids.
But on the morning of August 13, 2001, all that changed. I woke up and couldn’t see out of either eye. In my retinal specialist’s office that afternoon, I learned I had hemorraghed in my “good” left eye. It was then I heard the worst news of my life: “My friend, you are now legally blind,” said my doctor. My life, and Sandra’s, had changed dramatically.
Several years later, 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 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 (see photo above). 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. It’s now possible for me to continue to “read” (in a manner of speaking) and continue to learn. If you know of someone who may benefit from this service, here is the link for how to apply: https://www.loc.gov/nls/
Here is a short list of some of the books I’ve particularly enjoyed listening to. Most of these titles are probably also available from Amazon in a print or ebook edition.
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
CHAOS MONKEYS: Obscene Fortune & Random Failure in Silicon Valley, Antonio Garcia Martinez
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
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
ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, Volume 1, The Early Years, 1994-1933, Blanche Wiesen Cook
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
THE STRUGGLE FOR SEA POWER: A Naval History of the American Revolution, Sam Willis