Leith woman with sight loss names Michelle Obama as her inspiration on World Book Day

World Book Day comes after a year in which reading has been a bigger part of most people's lives than ever.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 7:00 am
Annette West, 61, from Leith was diagnosed with measles as a child which left her severely myopic.
Annette West, 61, from Leith was diagnosed with measles as a child which left her severely myopic.

Research by Nielsen Book’s found that 41 per cent of people said they were reading more books since lockdown.

For those who are blind or partially sighted, the ability to enjoy the same books as everyone else is hugely important.

For Annette West, 61, from Leith it was the biography of former First Lady Michelle Obama which has inspired her.

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Ms West was diagnosed with measles as a child which left her severely myopic. Later, while studying at university, her sight dramatically deteriorated even further due to macular degeneration.

Ms West is an avid reader of the Talking Books service run by national sight loss charity RNIB which lends out from a library of over 30,000 titles to anyone with sight loss.

She said: "During this lockdown period, I have found comfort and peace of mind through reading and listening to RNIB's audio books.

"This has become a great comfort as I love to escape with a good book. Books have been an absolute lifeline for me and they have allowed me to grow and learn about the world around me.

"My favourite book is 'Becoming' by Michelle Obama because it really tells a story about how she put her own life on hold to serve her husband and exposed her own vulnerability.

“Although the public see her in one way, she also has her own issues and still has to function as a wife and mother.

"It's a very powerful book and it was very brave of her to share her feeling with the world."

RNIB's Talking Books service first began with Agatha Christie's 'The Murder of Roger Ackroyd', recorded on a set of long-playing records in 1935.

The technology evolved over the years from tape-reels and cassettes, to today's CDs, flash-drives and digital downloads. All of the books sent out - up to 10,000 a day - are professionally narrated.

RNIB books are all free to download and the charity encourages everyone to make the most of this free resource. More information can be found on the charity’s website.

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