Monday 22 September 2014

"Vision on Reading" by Ineke Poultney

Hello there! We're still in the process of getting the site together before the festival commences this weekend, so to tide you over, here's a tremendous short essay submitted to us by Ineke Poultney. Enjoy! - Charles

Vision on Reading
I wonder if there is a school subject which causes more discussions and arguments among the politicians and academic elite of this country than "Reading".  I also wonder if there is a skill which allows more active and passive discrimination of people than "Reading" does.

I can read and understand literature and signage in more than one language so I am hardly illiterate.  Although I know people who have dyslexia I am not one of them.

So why do I feel discriminated against when it comes to one of my favourite hobbies?

I am seriously shortsighted - to the point of being Registered Partially Sighted! Being brought up to work around and hide my difficulties means that I don't look that much different from the rest of the population (no White Stick, Magnifying Glasses, etc) apart from the glasses on my nose.  This is unless you put me in a situation where I am forced to read what I would call "small print" or any other kind of reading material which my eyes cannot really cope with.  This is where life gets interesting - both for me and for anybody else who has to deal with me as a result.

If I had my way all books and newspapers would be printed two font sizes bigger.  Times New Roman 12 point is too small for me to read comfortably.

I also suffer from something called "Photophobia".  This means my eyes don't like bright lights - which makes any kind of PowerPoint presentation involving a white background torture for me to look at for a long period.  The white background shrinks the size of the font.  However, I am always amazed by the attitude of some people when I ask for a printed handout so I can follow the proceedings.  According to most people I have eyes in my head and glasses on my nose so I should be able to read the same as everyone else.  I wish I could.

There is another thing which people don't realise.  Colour plays a big part in reading as well.  Red writing hurts my eyes when I try to read it.  (There are certain other colours which have a slightly less painful effect too.)  Not everyone can read writing in all colours of the rainbow (just think of the colourblind).

There is one final thing which can make reading difficult - after considering your font size and colour (font and background) - how much information am I supposed to get from the page?  More to the point - how much of the information is immediately relevant to what I intend to do next?  There is no point in having a magazine with its price buried in a corner in a font which I need a microscope to read - especially when you have "sold" me the magazine by advertising your main feature in print large enough to be read by passing aircraft.

When it comes to reading (unless it is for pleasure) I want to be able to see, read, and comprehend what I am reading in the same amount of time as a literate person with normal sight and in the same way as them if possible.

With a little consideration EVERYBODY can enjoy reading without being made to feel like an outsider just because of their sight.

The views expressed in essays and reviews on are those of their respective authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everybody's Reading or its associated organisations.

Friday 12 September 2014


Good afternoon, readers of Leicestershire!

My name is Charles Wheeler, and I've been handed the keys to a brand new component of Leicester's Everybody's Reading festival: Everybody's Reviewing! The aim of this blog is to build on Everybody's Reading's clear mission statement ("whatever it takes to get everybody reading!"), and go one step further - we want some feedback!

We want to know what books you loved, hated, or were ambivalent about. We want to know what gripped you,  unsettled you, confused you, or made you shut your book in the basement and drag a cupboard in front of the door so it couldn't get out. We want to know if your book inspired you to start a revolution, or had you weeping into its unrepentant pages. Whatever you thought, however any book made you feel, we want to know.

We'll also be reviewing events from the festival itself (27th September - 5th October), and we want to hear your thoughts too!

We'll be recruiting reviewers from across Leicester, the UK, and the world to review books, and we'd love to have you on board too. If you want to review an event from this year's festival or a book (any book, even if you read it years ago!), please get in touch. We're contactable at, via @everybodyreview on Twitter, or in the comments here.

We'll be updating this blog soon with a new look and more posts. Thanks for stopping by, and we hope to hear from some of you soon.