The first time books changed my life, I didn’t even know what a book was.
My mother reeled when I was diagnosed as totally Deaf at four months old. She called it “the destruction of dreams.”
“I wanted to be a mother, a good mother,” she once told me before pausing. “But when you were diagnosed… I didn’t know how to do that.”
Thousands of miles away from her home country and still clumsy with English, my mother marched to the nearby library—a simple, local branch—and asked the librarian for help. …
About six years ago, my world turned upside down as my sight receded into blurs and whorls of color and light. One thing that changed most was how I read.
As someone who loved books, I didn’t want to completely abandon the written word. Against the advice of a low-vision specialist, who told me Braille was too hard to learn, I threw myself into the world of tactile words with equal parts trepidation and determination.
The specialist was right. It was hard. Though it took me only two weeks to memorize the code, the dots under my fingers felt disconnected from the printed words I loved. It was as if I’d regressed to a toddler, struggling to link the lines and curves to familiar sounds. Over the years, as my fingers grew more sensitive and my mind more receptive, I finally demystified the raised dots. …