Then I got sick, and it got difficult to read. I would read the same page over and over before I could extract meaning from it. I would get aching muscles from holding a paperback book open. Instead of binging books, I was nibbling them.
For about a year, I used a wonderful service provided by my local library, where I could request books online or by phone and volunteers would bring them to me. If I didn't request specific titles, they would just gather a few based on criteria I had given them. But it was getting more and more difficult to read. The last book I got from them took me six months to finish.
Then my parents bought me a Kindle for Christmas. If you're a reader with ME/CFS, I can't recommend it enough!
- It's lightweight. Lighter than a paperback, and doesn't have to be held open. I can hold it and turn pages in one hand, and easily switch to the other hand when I get tired.
- It remembers. No more losing my place. Well, it's still possible to lose it, but it doesn't happen as often. And I can do a search for a phrase I remember to get back to where I was.
- It holds all the books I want! When my brain isn't up to the history books that I love to delve into, I can switch over and re-read The Hobbit for the hundredth time. When I want to look up something in a reference book, it's right there. No more pile of books by the bed.
- Instant dictionary. I can easily look up any word that brain fog is preventing me from understanding.
- Instant delivery of books. For someone who is housebound, this is wonderful. When I have the spoons to read a book, I can buy it and start reading right then.
- Easy bathtime reading. One of the best things I can do for my symptoms is a long epsom salts bath. And the best way for me to stay in the bath, is to have something to read. I seal the Kindle in a ziplock bag, and can read in the tub with no worries about drips or splashes.
- Adjustable text size. When my eyes get tired, I can just make the text size bigger. Try doing that with a paper book!
So often we think of disability equipment as being something from a specialist store, but it can also be something that's easily available to everyone. I would have enjoyed a Kindle as a healthy person, but as a sick person, Kindle has kept books in my life when I would have mostly had to give them up.