People sit and lay lie in various positions while reading books

How I Read

Books hold a special place in my heart. My parents instilled a love of books in me very early in my life.

I loved going to the library, taking a book off the shelf, and leafing through the pages. I loved curling up with a book and reading for hours. But what I loved most was that it was an activity I did with my dad and my mom.

Reading to pass the time

I was an only child, so I often had to find ways to pass the time. I made up a game called 'lava laundry room' (yes, it is a working title). I filled an empty laundry basket with a blanket and snacks and placed it in the middle of the tiled laundry room.

I then climbed into my little "boat" and pretended I was surrounded by lava. The lava couldn’t cool until I finished the whole book. After Marmalade and Sunsilk came into the picture, they joined me on my adventure. They totally stayed. They knew what was up!

Holding a book adds to the experience of reading. The weight of the book, the smell of the pages helps me immerse myself fully into the story. There is a magic in reading a book that is lost when reading an e-book.

5 tips to make reading a bit more comfortable

So, you can imagine how I felt when I became RA-symptomatic and I couldn’t pick up a book, let alone hold it steady and read it. It was devastating. I felt like I gave up so many things already and I was not about to let rheumatoid arthritis take my love of reading away, as well.

I set out to find ways to help me salvage my relationship with reading and I’ve compiled my tips below:

1. I invested in a good lap desk with a thick ridge at the bottom to support the book. Additionally, the base must be comfortable and soft so as not to hurt my lap or knees.

2. I use a strong, thick ribbon to tie the top corners of the book to the lap desk. I keep the pages I’m reading free so I can turn them easily.

Tacking the corners to the top of the lap desk frees up my arms from having to hold down the edges of the book or use my hand to press down the middle.

3. I bought a clip-on magnifying light. To be honest, I don’t use the lighted portion that much since my chronic sinusitis makes me sensitive to light, but it does come in useful at night or at other low light levels.

The magnifier is more important as it enlarges small print. My eyes get tired very easily due to Sjogren’s, so the larger font is helpful. From my experience, clip-on versions have more malleable necks so it is not as hard on my hands to move the magnifier around. Also, with it being clip-on, I don’t have to hold it or move the entire device.

4. I take a lot of breaks. Long gone are the days when I could do anything in one sitting. Now, to make sure my joints don’t lock up, I get up, stretch and move at regular intervals. For me, I break after 15 minutes.

5. If push comes to shove, I will use an e-reader. If I really badly need to get my reading fix, then I just upload my book to my tablet and prop it up so all I have to do is swipe to the next page.

Do you love reading as much as I do? Do you have any tips for reading a book? LMK in the comments!

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