Sunday, March 29, 2015

How Modern Mrs. Darcy and Audio Books Saved My Day

How Modern Mrs. Darcy and Audio Books Saved My Day

Pain has a way of altering our lives. Four months ago eye pain forced me to stop reading and wear sunglasses indoors. 

Turns out the cause is chronic Dry Eye Syndrome which my ophthalmologist informs me is “Not life threatening, nor does it have a cure, and in most cases prescription eye drops alleviate the pain, light sensitivity, and irritation.”

Unfortunately, I’m not one of those “in most cases.” My eyes still hurt. As a result books have remained closed and time at the computer cut way back. (Now you know why no posts have appeared here since January.)

Not one to give up so easily I started looking for ways that would allow me to keep enjoying books. Surely there’s a solution that will enable me to continue being an avid reader and blogger.

The Reading Solution

I tried a variety of possibilities: reading with sunglasses, enlarging the type on my Nook, reducing my laptops brightness level plus buying an anti-glare screen, and looking into acquiring glasses with prisms. None solved my problem.

Then one day I recalled a post I read awhile back at one of my favorite blogs There was my answer! I’ll listen to books. Ta da. Problem solved. Or so I thought.

Lucky for me, my local library is nearby and houses a modest collection of audio books. I checked out a few titles and later that evening slipped in a CD. Leaning back in my easy chair I got comfortable and began listening . . . but awhile later realized I had dozed off. Um, either I’m tired or this book is boring.

I try another title and get the same results. This is not good. I’m down to my final option, the bestseller State of Wonder. Oh, please, please, please be good.

Chapter 1 starts and the first thing I notice is that the reader’s voice is pleasant and versatile; she gives each character his own voice/inflection. Oh, I like that. The story transports me to the Amazon jungle and keeps me intrigued . . . three hours later I am still awake!

Two days later I finish it, thrilled that I have a viable solution and books can still be a part of my world. I’m happy. 

The Writing Solution

How I solved the dilemma of writing this blog came while at my writer's group where I spotted John speaking into his phone. Curious, I asked him if I could do the same thing with my computer. "Absolutely." Yay! I can keep writing my blog and be among the 5% of bloggers who start one and actually keep at it.

That same day I tested out the idea. It worked, but the process was laboring. I had to speak slowly and distinctly for the computer to learn my voice, but still there were errors. Growing frustrated I resorted to typing with my eyes closed instead! Actually, it was rather relaxing and gave me quick results as I type fast: 90-words-per-minute with few errors. Editing, not so much. That task calls for eyes wide open, and only for short periods of time to avoid aggravating my vision. But as you can see the blog eventually got done.

Lessons Along the Way

While I do not like pain, I do like a good challenge. Dry eye syndrome has certainly provided that. So has my self imposed crash course in audio books.

I’ll tell you more about that in my next post, plus give you a list of audio books I like/dislike. Currently I'm listening to An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris--a story based on a true event in France, 1875. Sure hope it keeps me awake! 

P.S. Could use some book recommendations. Have you read anything lately that rates five stars? It does not have to be an audio book.


  1. I really enjoyed this blogpost, Julie! I asked my daughter for suggestions and have gotten nowhere with her. I, however, happen to love the writings of Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child - thriller, mystery and they're good writers who keep me on the edge of my Kindle seat! Hang in there, and let's keep praying that God touches those eyes with His healing hand.

  2. Nice to discover your comment tonight. I'm familiar with L. Child but not Preston. Will look for both authors when I'm at library later this week. Grateful for your prayers.


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