Contemplating the Many Things Worse than Being Blind at the Helen Keller Forest Hills Tribute Mural

Thanks to a wonderful writer friend, Jess DeCourcy Hinds, I learned about The Helen Keller Forest Hills Tribute Mural in Queens, New York, where Keller lived for many years. Sadly, Keller’s home no longer exists. In its place stands the Reform Temple of Forest Hills at 71-11 112th Street, which was formerly 93 Seminole Avenue. That’s “where Helen Keller resided… Read more

Footnote on ‘Invisible Child’ by Andrea Elliott

Andrea Elliott was recently announced as the Pulitzer winner in nonfiction for Invisible Child: poverty, survival, and hope in an American city (Random House, 2021). I was honored to have a conversation with her during the Virtual Monster Book Tour for There Plant Eyes. During that conversation and others over the past couple years, we’ve talked about visibility and invisibility.… Read more

Footnote on ‘Lessons in Chemistry: A Novel’ by Bonnie Garmus

Lessons in Chemistry (Doubleday, 2022) by Bonnie Garmus is funny and charming despite the brutal 1950’s sexism—a sexism which, even if less systematic and unapologetic, will still resonate with most women today. You can’t help but fall in love with Elizabeth Zott, who is hilarious in her seriousness about chemistry, love, family, cooking, and everything else. Ad to the formula… Read more

There Plant Eyes: A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness

About the Book From Homer to Helen Keller, from Dune to Stevie Wonder, from the invention of braille to the science of echolocation, M. Leona Godin explores the fascinating history of blindness, interweaving it with her own story of gradually losing her sight. There Plant Eyes probes the ways in which blindness has shaped our ocularcentric culture, challenging deeply ingrained… Read more

Looking at Ebooks & Accessibility With 20/20 Vision in 2020

One definition of legal blindness is having a visual acuity that is best corrected to only 20/200. That means that even wearing glasses, a person can see no better than 20/200 using the standard eye chart. It also means that a person who is legally blind may walk around without a white cane or guide dog, but nonetheless cannot read… Read more

The Sea Spells, Helen Keller’s Favorite Books

“Books have been my most intimate companions,” wrote Helen Keller in a letter to a suitor in 1922. There can be little doubt that Helen derived much pleasure from the solitary communion of reading. That much of this pleasure was escapist in the extreme, she freely admits, “More than at any other time, when I hold a beloved book in… Read more