22 August 2011

Kindle and ME/CFS

I used to be a voracious reader, finishing most books in one or two sittings, even if it meant staying up all night and being bleary eyed at school the next day. When I entered the working world, I tried to be more responsible, and only book binge on weekends, but I still slipped occasionally.

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!
My experience has been with the Kindle, but my mother owns a Nook Touch, which is very similar. If you are considering both, I recommend watching some of the youtube reviews that compare both devices to help you decide which is best for you.

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.


  1. I have to give a hearty "Here, here!" to all you have said. I love love love my NK. The one thing I would change, or add, as it were, would be a paging system for those times I get called away and absent mindedly set it somewhere other than the 3 official "only allowed to set NK here" places. *G*