Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I've always read a lot. And somehow, I learnt to speed read. This was apparent when I was about 11 years old and read the Lord of the Rings in one weekend. That was the whole three books. I didn't do much else though!

My love of reading has never waned. I love the smell of new paperbacks, and I used to buy all my books. However, I can no longer do that as the price of books here in New Zealand has become prohibitive. Between $25 and $35 for a paperback. Some sort of tax I believe that the government receives, which I think is terrible. Books are educational and should not attract any government tax whatsoever.

I recently rejoined my local library, and have a system which is great. I go to the books stores with a pen and paper. Browse in the sections in Borders that I love. Write down the books and authors that I wish to read. Then go home and log into my library website and order the books online. They email me to tell me they are ready to pick up, and when I pick those up, any books that aren't in the library system, I put in an order for them to buy them, and they then also go onto my library list and I get to be the first person to read them when they come in. Not a bad system.

I recently started a book list and I want to read 1000 books in 5 years. I started 1st March, 2009. Today I finished my first 50 books so I'm well on the way.

Reading is not that easy for me now. Both my balance nerves have been destroyed and now I deal with a condition called Oscillopsia. Basically, when I move, everything moves with me. Much like watching the world through a digital camera with no image stabiliser. If I concentrate too hard while everything is moving, I get 'seasick'. Sometimes quite rapidly. I cannot watch car racing or any 'moving' computer games for this reason. If I do, the seasickness will happen within about 15 to 30 seconds, and I will be sick for about 12 hours. Very much not worth it.

If I try to read while moving, the letters jump off the page - it's impossible. So to read a book, I have to prop my head in a certain way and make it immobile for the duration of reading. The best place is in bed with my head immobilised on a pillow. Like any disability, you learn to deal with it, and live with it, and work out ways to get round it. There are still lots of things I can't do, but reading was not one that I was going to give up.

Now that my house is sold, and I'm waiting for my new house to start building, I have quite a lot of time on my hands so am reading much more than usual. However, some of my reading is audio books - I'm teaching myself to listen with the implant. Initially I had to have the book with me to help me follow, but I'm now able to follow a whole book without the need for written material. That's a real improvement!

I'll sign off here for now, but will post up the first 50 books I've read in the next blog shortly...


Morgan said...

Yep, I agree books are rather expensive. I looked at Richard Dawkins' "Greatest Show on Earth" yesterday in the book store and it was $42!!! I plan to get it out of the library but really I would like a copy for myself as he is one of my favourite scientists.

I am planning to join the Auckland Library as I have discovered they have all the weird and wonderful science books there that aren't available at Takapuna. It's $30 a year for non-Auckland City residents but I think that it would be worth it since I read almost as many books as you do. I 'stuffed' the library's server by ordering too many books at one point! I had so many on my list of preferred searches I had to create an Xcel spreadsheet to keep them in so they could have their server back ha ha! They must think I am a nutcase. I wonder if the staff ever look at what people take out and laugh? "Ha ha, look what this fruit loop reads!"

BTW, I started trying to read 1'000 books in 1991 and I am still going....

How do you read your computer screen?

Anonymous said...

Reaading the computer screen is the same as reading. I have to be still. I cannot move my head from say desk to screen back to desk to screen without ending up pretty sick.

The same goes for computer games that involve movement such as cars. They will render me seasick within 10 seconds, and the sickness will last for hours. I avoid them like the plague.