Reading as a Healing Experience
Most of us become readers at an early age and discover the wonders of a good story. We learn to interact with books in order to learn and grow. Characters come alive to us as we relate to their experiences. Sometimes reading is for pleasure or escape and other times it is for the disciplined acquisition of information. No matter what, our engagement with literature and written word has the potential to change us, calm us, inform us, inspire us and heal us. In its most simplistic form, this is known as bibliotherapy. Exposure to books, poetry, writing, and even film and videos can be therapeutic and beneficial in helping us process our own life experiences. In other words, literature can be used to help us figure life out, heal emotional traumas, and change thoughts and behavior. Reading can be a healing experience.
As I was learning to adjust to vision loss, I was drawn to read books about blindness and books written by authors who were blind. I found it very helpful and motivating to enter the narratives of others who were sharing their own stories of vision loss. Some books were informational, some humorous, and others deeply moving. I realized that the cumulative affect was that I understood more about blindness and my feelings about it were changing. Reading books on blindness, memoirs and biographies of blind writers has had a very positive influence on my ability to adjust and cope with vision loss.
Reading Books on Blindness
It has long been understood that literature “heals the soul” and the use of bibliotherapy has evolved to become quite complex in its application to psychiatry and health care. Consider a bit of reading therapy for yourself as a way to deal with vision loss. With the help of the Peer Advisors at VisionAware, I put together a reading list of books for this purpose. It is not exhaustive by any means but meant to get you started. Most of these titles are available through the National Library Service in audio or braille formats. Newer titles are not yet available through the NLS. Many are available in e-book formats through your favorite booksellers. (Kindle, Nook, etc.) Another way to find such books on blindness is to search the NLS collection using “blindness” as a key word. Whether you are using your eyes, ears or fingers to read, may it be a rewarding and therapeutic experience.
24 Books on Blindness
- Touch the Top of the World by Erik Weihenmayer- e-book, NLS
- Cockeyed: a memoir by Ryan Knighton- e-book, NLS
- Blindness: What it is, What it Does, and How to Live with it by Thomas Carroll-NLS
- Lessons I Learned in the Dark by Jennifer Rothschild- NLS
- Touching the Rock: An Experience of Blindness by John Hull- NLS
- Living on the Edge of Twighlight by Doug Green- e-book
- Now I See You: A Memoir by Nicole C. Kear- e-book
- Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith by Amy Bovaird- e-book
- Out of the Whirlpool: A Memoir of Remorse and Reconciliation by Sue Martin- e-book,NLS
- The Adversity Advantage by Erik Weihenmayer and Paul G. Stoltz- e-book,NLS
- Thoughts on Blindness: One Spouse’s Perspective on Losing Vision and Living Life by Becky LeBlanc-The Carroll Center Books on Blindness
- Ordinary Daylight: Portrait of an Artist Going Blind by Andrew Potok- e-book, NLS cassette
- A Matter of Dignity: Changing the Lives of the Disabled by Andrew Potok-NLS
- ROCKS:The Blind Guy at the Lake by Thomas P. Costello-Amazon print, The Carroll Center Books on Blindness
- Focus by Ingrid Ricks- e-book
- How Do You Kiss a Blind Girl by Sally Wagner-NLS
- The Way We See It: A Fresh Look at Vision Loss – anthology from Vision Loss Resource-print, e-book available at http://www.visionlossresources.org
- Do You Dream in Color? By Laurie Rubin-NLS
- And There Was Light: Autobiography of Jacques Lusseyran, Blind Hero of the French Resistance by Jacques Lusseyran-NLS
- Not Fade Away by Rebecca Alexander
- The Unseen Minority: a social history of blindness in America by Frances A. Koestler-NLS
- Self-Esteem and Adjusting with Blindness: the process of responding to life’s demands by Dean and Naomi Tuttle-NLS
- Shades of Darkness: a black soldier’s journey through Vietnam, blindness and back by George Brummell-NLS
- Undaunted by Blindness: concise biographies of 400 people who refused to let visual impairment define them by Clifford Olstrom, Perkins School for the Blind-NLS
Share Your Favorite Therapeutic Book
Is there a book you have read that helped you adjust to vision loss? How did the book help you? Or is there a book about a blind person that was encouraging or motivational? What about books written by a blind or visually impaired author? Share your favorite reads below.