Monday, March 15, 2010

How Jane Austen Improved My Eyesight

When I turned 25 I decided to start keeping track of the books I'd read.  I made this decision for two reasons.

First, because I was pregnant with my third child and had realized that children do indeed suck the brain cells right out of your head, leaving you unable to remember the color of the sky let alone which books you had or had not read.

Second, because I had goals.  When I told my brother that I was planning on getting 50 books read each year, he looked at me and said, "That's like one a week."  No doubt he was at that moment picturing the lack of brain cells left in my head.

Nevertheless, I have records to prove that I did pretty good on those goals, and averaged reading about 45 books a year until my 4th child arrived on the scene.  How many books did I read that year, you may ask.  Well, the first 6 months I read a grand total of 3 small books. The Whole Next Year I read a total of 7 books, and it was only that many because I was on vacation for a whole week that year.  One of those books just happened to be Pride and Prejudice.  The next year I read 10 books; one of them was Persuasion. The year after that I read Sense and Sensibility, and reread Persuasion (along with 28 other books.)  Jane Austen awoke a new appreciation for literature in me.

In 2008 I decided to attempt the 888 challenge: read 8 books in each of 8 different categories, and while I didn't reach that goal (I'm no good at reading only books on a preset list, I'm much more of an impulsive reader) I did manage to read 110 books that year.  Admittedly, many of those books were junior fiction books that I read to (or because of) my children, but if you've read any number of Sonlight books you'll agree that they are nothing to be sniffed at.  Oh, and there was more Jane Austen, of course.

Okay, so enough about Jane Austen and onto my eyesight.  I got glasses when I was in 5th grade because the chalkboard at school was looking blurry all of a sudden.  My eyesight worsened incrementally into my teens, and then remained the same until last year.  In September my contacts were all of a sudden feeling very strong, so I went to the optometrist.  My prescription had changed from -2.75 to -2.0.  The doctor wasn't too concerned, she said that it happens sometimes.

In January of this year I started getting headaches, and then realized that they disappeared when I took my glasses off, and reappeared when I put them back on.  So this week I finally got back into the optometrist.  My prescription is now -1.5.  The doctor looked at me quite skeptically, as if I was trying to pull one over on her. She repeatedly asked me if I'd been using the computer a lot more recently.  I kept telling her I hadn't, but that I had been reading a lot more in the last few years than in the years previously...she told me that all that reading could be improving my eyesight.

So, do I thank Jane Austen?  Maybe Sonlight for all the amazing Historical Fiction?  Maybe God for an answer to prayer?  Heredity? All 4? Other ideas?  Maybe it's the fact that the brain cell suckage has even out to a slow steady pace. I don't know, but it sure is a nice change.


  1. I had the same thing happen, Melody! You SO need to post this on Dear Sonlight, or Sonlight Moments or something!

  2. Welcome to the world of sight! How fun is that?! You know....if someone told me that all I had to do to improve my vision was to finish reading 500 books in a few years, I might just ask whether I should get glasses or contacts.

    I knew reading was important...I just didnt know it could be medically important!