Across Two Novembers: A Year in the Life of a Blind Bibliophile
by David L. Faucheux
Friends and family. Restaurants and recipes. Hobbies and history. TV programs the author loved when he could see and music he enjoys. The schools he attended and the two degrees he attained. The career that eluded him and the physical problems that challenge him. And books, books, books: over 200 of them quoted from or reviewed. All In all, an astonishing work of erudition and remembrance.
Friday, October 17, 2014
A Blast from the Past
While in the waiting area at physical therapy prior to this morning’s session, I met a former coworker of mine on her way out. Just as I did, Quintina taught in the early 1990s at the Deaf Action Center (DAC). I liked working there, but it was very part–time, and I pursued other employment. The director of DAC was a great supervisor, and I wish I could have taken her with me to other employment situations. She had a genuine appreciation of her employees and was always professional and pleasant, even kind.
I have continued reading Madame Picasso.
I’m researching Louisiana’s early history. It wasn’t so great in the 18th century—no elegant riverboats and mansions, rather frontier–like.
Tonight I attended Novel Ideas on accessibleworld.org; we discussed Christina Baker Kline’s novel Orphan Train. I enjoyed the book, which dealt with the relationship between foster teen Molly and orphan train survivor Vivian Daly. Daly tells Molly of immigrating to America from Ireland in the early 1900s and being sent to Minnesota on an orphan train after her family dies in a New York City tenement fire. The novel is rather dark, as Vivian is exploited as cheap labor by several families.
Did You Know?
Speaking of reading books about Picasso and the art world, I learned while reading Color: Travels Through the Paintbox and doing research on Wikipedia that ultramarine refers to a pigment which was originally made by grinding lapis lazuli into a powder. Ultramarine was the finest and most expensive blue used by Renaissance painters. It was used for the robes of the Virgin Mary, and it symbolized holiness and humility. It remained an extremely expensive pigment until a synthetic ultramarine was invented in 1826. The best lapis lazuli is said to come from the Sar–e Sang (or Sar–i sang) mines, in the Badakhshan region of Afghanistan. The turban of the Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Vermeer, is painted with a mixture of ultramarine and lead white, with a thin glaze of pure ultramarine over it.
Top Ten List: Things That Make Me Happy
- Rain Drops on Kittens: The famous lyric is actually “rain drops on roses,” but a group with the dubious name of Negative Things did a parody version of “My Favorite Things.” I like to laugh. Music makes me happy. Even a purring kitty. I just wish I had ability to play an instrument or sing. And yes, I had years of lessons back when, no ear.
- The Rain at Night: I mentioned this several times in my journal, Across Two Novembers: A Year in the Life of a Blind Bibliophile. I love the sound, the rhythmic drumming, the soothing sounds of rain tap dancing on the roof.
- Telephoning a Friend on a Slow Sunday Afternoon: I also mentioned this in Across Two Novembers. Sundays can run long for me. Calling a friend helps move the day and my mood along. It might be good for the friend, too.
- Exploring New Cuisines and Restaurants: Lemongrass anyone. It’s a way to travel, to learn something, and to expand one’s senses. At the moment Thai is one of my favorites as I describe in that journal. I’m open to trying other cuisines: Ethiopian, macrobiotic, or even molecular gastronomy. Let’s do lunch.
- Listening to a Long-Awaited Audio Book: As I was writing this, I was waiting for a friend to share a recently released audio book, The Confessions of Young Nero, by Margaret George. She writes the kind of long historic fiction that I have always enjoyed, but that I fear is not done so much today. Her The Autobiography of Henry VIII was reviewed in my journal.
- Trivia: If it’s not listening to “Jeopardy,” it’s learning facts to use in an online trivia game I host or finding just the right bit to incorporate into the ‘”Did You Know” sections of my journal. My earliest memories of trivia-based game shows would be “The Joker’s Wild” and “Tic-Tac-Dough.” Who knew that according to Keith Veronese, author of Rare, the element europium is used to create the color red in liquid–crystal televisions and monitors, with no other element or chemical able to reproduce the color reliably. This bit about red is just one of some 20 bits in the journal to amuse the reader. I sometimes still visit www.freerice.com. The questions are fun to answer and it’s nice to know rice is being donated for every correct answer.
- Finishing a Major Project: Library school, my book, Book Reviews for Library Journal, …
- Preparing a New Recipe: It’s fun to tweak a recipe. I like to change a favorite recipe for banana bread. I might use brown or raw sugar, not white. I might add walnuts or rum-soaked raisins. I might use barley flour or banana flour to replace part of the unbleached flour in the recipe. I might change the recipe and make date bread with orange zest and use xylitol for some of the sweetener. I haven’t yet tried smoked sun-dried tomatoes and shredded cheese with a touch of basil – who says quick breads need be sweet!
- Collecting “Ology Words: Perhaps, this goes under trivia but then maybe not. Have you heard of these mouthfuls: barology, study of gravity; campinology, study of bells; or museology, study of museums?
- Helping People Find the Right Book: Readers’ Advisory was my favorite course in library school. Connecting the right book with the right person is one of the goals of my journal through the many book reviews and bits mentioned throughout.
Thank you for visiting. If you’d like to see my entire ology list, do email me.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
I’m pleased to take a moment to talk about myself and what makes me tick. I’d have to say books, books, and more books. Let me explain. Braille and recorded books take me places and show me things I would otherwise never get to encounter. They see for me by their descriptions, their vivid word pictures, and lyrical prose. They befriend me when I’m lonely, educate me when I’m curious, and amuse me when I’m in a blue mood. I have always known
I could pick up a book and for a time be in a better or at least A different place. Books don’t judge, ignore, or marginalize us. I remember long, hot, Louisiana summers that were perfect for curling up with a good book. I have had to struggle some nights to put the book away because I’d not be able to get up for work the next morning. That’s being a bit too biblioholic.
I have worked as a medical transcriptionist and braille instructor. I attended library school in the late 1990s when the Internet was starting to take off. I ran an audio blog for several years. I have also served on the board of a nonprofit organization that attempted to start a radio reading service in the town where I live. Since 2006, I have reviewed audio books for Library Journal.
You might wish to view a segment about me done by a local reporter in February of this year.
David will be awarding a library edition audio book (US only) or if an international winner, a $15 Amazon/BN GC, to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.