During the month of November this year, I read Wise Man's Fear - the longest book I've ever read, in my life at 1,000 pages.
Younger Remy would have never believed that I could read a book this length. It was simple something that was impossible. For me, my Kindle changed reading for me and opened the door to the world of literature.
As a kid I struggled with reading. It was a long and hard process and it was a vicious cycle that meant that came to learn that reading just wasn't for me.
I remember coming out of school over the ages of 6-10 and our parents would congregate outside the library at the end of the school lane for a natty whilst all the children collected. Amazingly it still stands some 30 years later:
One of my best friends (Boyd) and I visit the library and I distinctly remember that he would browse the Agatha Cristie and Ian Fleming books, he would check out the Dr Who stories (there were so many) and many many other books. He'd almost always check a book out of the library, if not more than one, and he'd be returning his latest read.
As for me, I'd browse the book covers and imagine what it would be like to read those books knowing full well that it would take me months to complete the book - and even then it wasn't a sure bet that I'd even manage it.
It seemed like a fanciful idea, but I'd learned through many failed attempts that reading was for "the smart kids".
Fast forward some 30 years and it turned out I was wrong. Or that I was one of the smart kids already - but probably just wrong :)
Reading was locked away from me in the traditional sense of being able to actually flick through a book's pages, but it turns out that the Kindle (or possibly any e-reader device) gives me some tangible benefits that allows me to join the masses who can enjoy a good book every now and then.
I should add that it's very likely that I have mild dyslexia. Certainly my mother suspected it and my younger sister was diagnosed. I never bothered to get diagnosed as an adult because it wouldn't have any tangible benefit to me. I learnt to write through rote and I've learnt to read - at my own pace - with the help of technology.
So specifically here's what the Kindle gives me that allows me to go from reading a single book in a 6 months to reading a 400 page book in 5 days:
- The Kindle hides the actual size of the book and prevents me from psyching myself out. I know that if I had picked up Wise Man's Fear, the sheer size of it would have prevented me from even considering reading it, let alone making a start.
- Open Dyslexia font that is included in the Kindle makes the world of difference. The font specifically ensure there's no similarities between characters. For instance, the arches on the lower N character have a different weight to the arches on the lower M which, for me, helps preventing characters and words merging together.
- I have my font size bumped up quite a bit. This isn't for eye sight, but it is to ease how much I'm having to find the words.
- Lastly I have increased the line height to the maximum, this helps me keep the lines separate, again to prevent the words from merging whilst I'm trying to read.
Without these last three features, and if I'm reading a paper based book for instance, I find that I will have to really focus on reading each paragraph and often have to re-read the paragraph (if not multiple times) because the content just gets mashed up. My Kindle has entirely banished this experience.
These differences are what make the world of difference to me:
I do begrudge that I'm locked into buying from Amazon (ethically - and yes, there's other e-readers, but importantly to me, this works at the moment) but it's the price I'm going to pay for the time being.
With all this, it means the wonderful world of reading is not locked away from me. It's allowed me to re-learn how to read, and it's allowed me, more importantly, to enjoy so many other stories that have been put out into the world.