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The Library in a Blind Mans Head

I don’t think most people can fathom how much a blind person reads. I have a dear (seeing) friend I term a ‘reader’ because she reads a lot. I remember when we were little she would read with a flashlight under her covers so she wouldn’t get caught reading instead of sleeping. I loved stories and always lived writing, but I was never a reader like my BFF.

But even a born reader is no match for a blind man.

“How many books do you have?” I ask him.

“Lemme check,” he says, and then types away on his computer to get to the right directory. “I have at least 1,016 ebooks in TXT format. And a few hundred more in PDF and CHM formats.”  But he doesn’t stop there, just letting me know how many books he has, he goes on.  “What I do is if I find a name that isn’t in one of my books, I combine it with several other names (or places or whatever) and see if I can find a comprehensive history about it. It’s a really good way to collect information. Like, I just now found a history of art and science innovations.”

Scary…

My BFF has several hundred books and recycles them regularly. I only keep my very favorite, those i know i will want to read again. Sometimes I make do with audiobooks because I am a practical and they save space–especially if you can keep them online storage.

Books in Braille are incredibly cumbersome and impractical for space, but the blind are just as space conscious as I am. They keep audiobooks the same way I do, though this doesn’t make sense for my husband since he is also deaf. But technology allows the blind a great advantage. Ebooks and books in text are easily translated by Braille devices. These are like Kindles for the blind and have been around a lot longer than e-readers. The only limit to how many books you can keep or have available is your storage capacity–and my hubby has two terabytes on external drives. That isn’t counting his hard drive.

He has more than a thousand ebooks, not counting encyclopedias in volumes but as an entire book. (btw, when I have a question and need an encyclopedia definition, I always ask my hubby who is sure to have the right encyclopedia for said question ) I know other blindies who hoard audiobooks the same way. You can usually count on them to have several versions of Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia, with at least one by BBC. But they don’t just hoard them, they remember them and reread them and quote them and read them again.

Blind men (and women for that matter) are treasure troves of literary information. Those like my husband go beyond mere reader (no offense to my BFF) to a human research machine just waiting to be utilized though they rarely are used to even the minimal of their abilities. What a shame that is.

If you want a book recommendation, help on your research paper, ideas for your thesis or just have a question about quantum mechanics as it applies to your time travel fantasy novel in progress, look up a blind person and make a new friend with a vast amount of knowledge to impart.