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Ever enter one of those periods when, for some uncomfortable reason, you stop reading? Or, at least, significantly reduce the time you spend reading? I did. For several years.

This period came after I had some big surgery, the kind when you have it, the family gathers. Hell, I wasn't worried; all I had was a shadow in my lung and an aneurysm in my aorta. I guessed, through the miracles of modern medicine, I'd be fine and I was. After a few months. Well, six months.

And after that, back to work for a couple years, then retirement, then move to warmth, like an old person, which I am definitely not...he said...defensively. I took and take coumidin to keep my blood from clotting around my St. Judes valve and a slew of other meds for a slew of quarrelsome maladies that can't decide who should be #1.

Long story short - I know, too late - my coumidin failed one day and a little clot slipped through to my brain and I had a stroke, a small one, a mini-stroke really, a strokette. The effect was minor, but led to my period of reduced reading (Remember? That's what I'm really writing about here.) I lost 30% of my field of vision; my left peripheral vision - poof! Gone. If you want to kill me, approach from the left and I am a dead man.

Reading is a strain. After a lifetime of seeing from left to right, I now see from center to right. Oh, you make adjustments, of course, and I still drive. I recommend friends avoid my neighborhood.

But, I have dogs. Who walk. And my docs tell me to walk to keep my heart healthy. And I tell me to walk to avoid the imminant threat of weighing 350 pounds. And we walk two to three hours a day.

On our walks I read. Three hours of reading a day, seven days a week, 363...er...5 days a year and you can read a lot. Since I'm semiretired (Don't tell my students, they'll expect me to finish grading their papers), I've launched the project I've been waiting for...to read all those books I told myself for 40 years I would read when I retired. Middlemarch. Bleak House. Return of the Native. Heart of Darkness. Origin of the Species. You know the ones. You have a list.

I've had time to read others, too, you know, the ones from the 20th and 21st centuries. More on these later. Of course, on our walks, I'm reading audiobooks, which are not exactly the same as traditional books, but, hey, we're all about non-trad books here, aren't we?

I bought my Kinkle 2 for one reason. You guessed it, right? Big type. Big type for every book I choose to read, for every issue of the Times, for all the free crap you can get for your Kindle and you do because you can and some of it is great. And big type for rereading In Search of Lost Time, which is never going to work as an audiobook, but works fabulously on my Kindle and I've just finished the first book, Swann's Way, and Proust's world is still there and lush.

My dogs got me to read again. My Kindle multiplies my reads. Life is good, ain't it?

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Tags: Bleak House, Heart of Darkness, Middlemarch, Origin of the Species, Return of the Native, coumidin, heart, stroke

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Comment by Ray Turner on April 22, 2009 at 10:09am
Yup...it's all about attitude. And perspective. It's all about attitude and perspective. And...guts. Attitude, perspective and guts. And...yes...balance. It's all about attitude and perspective and guts and balance. Yes...that's it. Atttitude, perspective, guts and balance. And patience. It's all about attitude, perspective, guts, balance and patience. Got it now. And...

Thanks for your kind note, DIane. As you can see, I can't help it. I just keep rockin'. I'd stop if I could, but I can't.

Ray
Comment by Diane Galante on April 21, 2009 at 3:41pm
Wow, Ray...you've had a time of it but love your attitude, which is what it is all about, isn't it? Rock on!!

Diane

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