Seeing Things

It’s been a scrambling sort of day, as it always is when one is preparing to leave town for a few days.  In the midst of making sure the mail was stopped and the neighbors notified, in finishing up all the loose ends at the office, doing the last bits of laundry and sweeping up the floors, I remembered with a jolt that both my husband and I were nearly at the end of our books.

I hate finishing a book on the airplane…it’s a horrible place to start a new book, for one can’t properly relax and concentrate amidst that incessant roaring of engines and popping of soda cans and – the worst of all for me – the screaking sound of arm-rests going up and down.  (Whyever must people continue playing with the arm-rests on their seats?  And whyever are they so screaky?)

At any rate, I stopped off at the library to see if, by some remote chance, the new Peter Robinson book was available.  My husband and I both adore Robinson, and his brooding Inspector Banks.  Since we’re familiar with Robinson’s style and his characters, it would be easy to delve in and feel right at home straightaway.

I had decided to be magnanimous and allow Jim to read it first, if I were lucky enough to find it…THERE! I spotted it right away with it’s bright red and black cover. 

But wait – why is it in trade paperback size when it was only just published?  Robinson’s books always come out in hardback first. 

I grabbed it off the shelf, nearly knocking aside the elderly lady who was perusing the New Releases section with me.

“So sorry,” I apologized.  She glared at me with that “oh, you young people are so rude” expression. 

Never mind.  I turned to my book, eagerly opening it to the first page.


Large print edition.

That’s why it was a trade paperback format.

I put it back as quickly as if it were poison.

I don’t quite understand why, but I can’t read large print editions.  God knows, I need them.  I have a pair of reading glasses in every room, purse, tote bag, and car.  I just reached over and put on the pair I keep here by my chair.  But there’s something about that huge type, with all that space between the letters – ooh, it just makes me shudder.

So I came home with a couple of David Baldacci paperbacks for Jim and an Iris Murdoch novel for myself (salud to TJ).

A few minutes ago, my husband arrived home from work. 

“Look what I got!” he called, proudly holding aloft the Robinson novel I’d put back on the shelf just an hour ago.

“Where did you get that?” I asked, aghast.

“The library,” he said.  “And it’s large print!  It’s so easy to read!”

“Well…yes…I guess so…” I spluttered.

And now a new dilemma – will my desire to read the book overcome my anathema to the large print?

We’ll see.




14 thoughts on “Seeing Things

  1. Me too! Even if it means my wait is considerably shortened for a new release, I simply cannot read and enjoy the large print. For some reason, the spacing between lines makes it more difficult to read rather than easier.

    I’ll be interested to know if you succumbed to the lure of your husband’s “find.”

  2. That’s funny. I’ve requested books before and when I went to pick up the holds, didn’t realize they were large print until I was home. I had this uneasy feeling the entire time I read it, the format is just so unfamiliar to me.

  3. I used to read large print in high school sometimes, if it was the only edition the library had. It took about a chapter for me to adjust, but then it seemed normal. Of course, the next regular-size print book I’d pick up seemed microscopic!

  4. I’ve had to resort to large print when it was the only edition of a book the library had. I dislike it, but if you really want to read something…

  5. I feel just the same way. Even though my eyes could certainly use the relief. And I agree that large print seems oddly hard to read. But it’s more that I find these books suspect. I can’t get over my impression that the texts must be abridged in some way. How otherwise can the size of print be doubled and not the book’s thickness?

  6. Have you read The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls? I’d love to read your comments about it because I have a very definite opinion of this book.

  7. I have occasionally resorted to large print editions when I was too desperate to wait, but I find it hard to take them seriously. Even the gravest grownup subject matter seems comical when it’s printed in the style of an I Can Read book.

  8. Well, you’ve read my comment about my mother who even though she missed reading terribly just couldn’t reconcile herself to large print books. She genuinely felt that the stories were sub-standard. I have read large print books when there has been no other copy available of something I’ve really wanted to read, especially if I’ve had a dead-line of some sort. But I have to say that it hasn’t always been comfortable.

  9. Phew – I thought it was just me! I was smiling as I read this post . When I crawled into bed last night with my book in hand, I couldn’t find the pair of glasses that live on my nightstand. Grumbling, I got out of bed, went downstairs and grabbed the glasses that live in my pocketbook. But like all of you, I can not bring myself to read the large print edition. I don’t even think it is a vanity issue or pride thing – I am just uncomfortable with the feel and look of the book. Odd. Oh, well I must go put my pocketbook glasses back in my pocketbook so I can find them when I need them! Happy reading on vacation!

  10. This post makes me laugh! I don’t go anywhere without the reading glasses on my head (or eyes), and find that it may be time to move up to the next strenghth. A couple of years ago, my aunt mailed me a Rita Mae Brown mystery for my birthday because she knew I liked cats. I suspect it was a hand me down, and that’s fine — I love books that have been loved by someone else and passed along, especially mysteries. I feel as though someone else before me was puzzling through the clues! Most mysteries, except for a few series I collect, I buy at used book stores.

    Anyway, the clue this was a hand-me down from my 90 plus-year-old aunt was the large type! And I didn’t like it. And yet, it made reading by the pool or on the beach with ordinary sunglasses so much easier!

    I kept trying to figure out what this meant — am I so vain I don’t want large-print books in my collection, because people might think I can’t see? Of COURSE I can’t see — I wear the reading glasses, and that’s pretty obvious! Is it the book?

    Probably overthinking it all, but this post just makes me smile! I suspect at some point, I may try them again. But I hope not soon!

  11. I’m still laughing at the large print!!! I used to get those for my mother when her vision was going (before we knew it was macular degeneration and she had to convert to talking books), but like you I have this thing about I’ll not read them. I’ll continue to find my glasses to read regular print!!

    Why is it that men can be so accepting of things like large print and we aren’t?! Except…my husband needs glasses which he won’t admit and to which we laugh all the time, the boys and I….but he’s not a reader (his loss) so I wonder how accepting he’d be of large print?!? 😉

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