Kindle Paperwhite and Open Dyslexic Font

I recently upgraded my Kindle from an old school, 2nd gen. Yeah, that’s right. I’d been reading books on this since about 2011.

Amazon Kindle - Wikipedia

I bought my 2nd gen Kindle while I was in South Korea in 2011, teaching English. I don’t know if things have changed in the last decade, but at the time, it was quite difficult to find books I wanted to read (in English–I don’t speak or read Korean), and so sent away for this kindle. It was great at the time. I loved being able to get pretty much any book I wanted while living abroad. However, once I returned to the States I realized my attention was somewhat limited while reading on this device. I’d commonly and easily find ways to NOT read. I’d get tired, my eyes would start to droop. I’d find myself folding laundry or doing dishes even though I had planned to sit down and read for at least an hour a day. I’m not completely sure why reading on this old-school Kindle was so great in South Korea, but so difficult in the US. I think it was because I enjoy paper books (though also find myself easily distracted) and they were now available to me.

Fast forward to 2021, as my 2nd gen Kindle had collected an amazing amount of dust. I really only used it when in dire need of a book ASAP. This included books for school in 2020 as the pandemic shut everything down.

Then, one of my good friends, who is studying to be a special education teacher asked me if I’d heard about Open Dyslexic Font. I had not. I’m dyslexic, and struggled with it a lot when I was younger, even throughout college. However, as an adult I’ve learned to compensate to the point where I have wondered if I’m even dyslexic anymore–or that is, whether the symptoms I used to have are even present.

My friend told me Open Dyslexic Font was designed to help dyslexic people not only reader faster, but also read longer. I am not a fast reader–but the real barrier is that I often become sleepy while trying to read. I couldn’t get the font on my 2nd gen Kindle, so bounced for the new(ish) Kindle Paperwhite in order to see what this font could do for me.

Dyslexia Font and Styles

It’s ugly. I know. Every letter looks a bit wonky. It actually reminds me of my own handwriting. The idea of this font is that each letter and number is distinct. There are a lot of reused shapes in the English alphabet. For instance, i, j, l. These letters all look something alike. f, p, q, b, d, also share similarities. Why is the f in there? Well, depending on the hook and the cross of the f, it can look similar to a p, at a glance. The way I read, which I understand is different than people who do no have dyslexia. I read every letter, rather than the shape of the word. Or at least, I often do. Sometimes, with simple words, like articles, I read them as full shapes. But words I don’t read often I read as a collection of distinct letters. Due to this, the Open Dyslexic Font is helpful as each letter looks different. Maybe just slightly different, but different. Look above how the lower case l as a bit of a rightward tail. How upper case i tapers near the top. With this font, I can’t mistake a upper case i with a lower case l. This in a small thing, but it increases the rate at which I read and decreases the amount of energy I have to expend to parse that I read.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (7th Generation) B00OQVZDJM 4GB, Wi-Fi, 6 inch  eBook Reader- Black for sale online | eBay

Now I read on this type of kindle. And I can change any book I read on this device to be displayed in large Open Dyslexic Font.

I have found myself reading more often since I got this Kindle. I have tore through American War by Omar el Akkad. Each time I sit down to read, I don’t want to stop. I don’t get as tired and I enjoy the way in which my eyes flow across the text. I’ve even installed a Chrome plug-in that lets me turn website text to Open Dyslexic Font. I don’t use it on every site, but when the article is long or simply arduous, I will use it.

I really encourage anyone who has dyslexia to try this font out. Also, people who don’t have dyslexia also may benefit from it as well.

The Satyr of Brandenburg by Charlotte Ashley, Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine, Mar/Apr 2018

This story was great! I loved the world that Ashley sets up, and even though I hadn’t ever read anything by her before and even though this is a story that fits into a chronological serialization that includes these characters, I still felt right at home.

The main character is a grand warrior and has been invited to complete in a touney to compete against three other of the worlds greatest warriors. In some prior episode, La Heron, for that is her name, aquired another woman’s soul in battle. This woman, Alex, is of noble stock and one of La Heron’s reasons for attending this tourney, which is held in Sardinia, is to have her married off and be free, instead of attached to La Heron by some strange magic.

The other warriors that are to participate in the tourney are an Ogre, Donshead Doomsbellow, the oldest man alive, (can’t recall his name), and The Satyr of Brandenburg.

But La Heron has met the Satyr before. He is a liar and a theif, and he will trick and steal and bewitch people without ever taking a step into the area.

That’s the setup, and the story doesn’t dissapoint for the most part. I’d love to read a whole novel or even a whole trilogy that took place in this would, and I can think of no higher praise than that. In terms of this story, however, the ending was pretty expected and I feel as though I could have used a good twist at the end. (B)

My Year of Short Stories: August 30th – September 5th

My Year of Short Stories is an ongoing challenge I’ve set myself. My goal is to read 365 short stories from the day after I turned 30 (August 14th, 2017) to the day after I turn 31 (August 14th, 2018).

August 30th, 2017, Cesar Aira: Interviewed by Pablo Calvi Published in The Believer, August-September 2017

Blurb: A brief interview with the author concerning how music has influenced his writing.

Opinion: If nothing else, this essay has introduced me to a new writer. I don’t know Aira’s work, though The Believer tells me I should. This magazine, while one of my favorites has a knack for making me feel horribly ill read in terms of “canon” in which Aira is to become a part of, if he isn’t already. Yet another author added to my, “to read,” pile.

August 31st, 2017, The Last Exorcist by Danny Lore Published in Fiyah: Volume Three August, 2017.

Blurb: In a world where sundown towns, in which black, or brown, people must leave the town before sundown, have made a comeback with a demonic twist, a journalist meets up with “The Last Exorcist” on the eve of the house passing a bill that would make exorcism illegal.

Opinion: An interesting and compelling story. It dives into the racist heritage of the US, of white privilege and fear, but also of into black America’s identity. A great first read from a promising new magazine.

September 1st, 2017, The Breeze In The Boughs by Jennifer Marie Brissett Published in Fiyah: Volume Three August, 2017.

Blurb: A story about “the other” moving to a neighborhood and the feelings those who have claimed it have.

Opinion: I enjoyed this story for it’s content and metaphor. It’s sad but, it’s whimsical fairy tale style makes it much less sad than a literal interpretation of the dangers of gentrification and the staking of land or neighborhoods as ones own.

September 2nd, 2017, A Citizen In Childhood’s Country by Seanan McGuire Published in Lightspeed Magazine, August, 2017, issue 87.

Blurb: A story about never growing up.

Opinion: An interesting take on what it means, or doesn’t mean to grow up. It was a fine story, but about two-thirds into it the author introduced certain titles, the “Lost” and the “Found which were suppose to reference certain types of people. I think it was a bit unnecessary to use these jargony words which make the piece feel as though it is just the prologue to a longer piece, which it may be.

September 3rd, 2017, Toward The Sun by Sydnee Thompson Published in Fiyah: Volume Three August, 2017.

Blurb: In a world in which the radiation from the sun is so intense most rich people live under a great dome, the poor are forced to live outside and harvest the food. Every person is fitted with a cuff or sleeve that injects them with a sedative that puts them to sleep so they can’t try to work through the daylight ours, and instead seek shelter from certain death.

Opinion: It’s a cool dystopian  idea, but the story itself was pretty heavy on back story–though not because it didn’t need it. The story is constantly building to the conclusion, which is escape, but then the escape isn’t quite as dramatic or exciting as I had hoped.

September 4th, 2017, The Embalmer by Helen Marshall Published on The Dark, 2017.

Blurb: A young boy is obsessed with digging up dead animals and embalming them so that when he finally dies he can go to heaven and have lots of animal companions. But a girl he knows looses her brother, The Embalmer makes a sacrifice that changes everything.

Opinion: While I love the creepy subject matter of this story, I’m a little disappointed with it’s execution. The creepy aspects of this story don’t seem to have much barring on how the characters change, or decide not to change, and therefore the ending feels a bit unearned.

September 5th, 2017, Cracks by Xen Published in Fiyah: Volume Three August, 2017.

Blurb: In a world in which the fabric of reality is literally being pulled apart, a young man finds what could have been if things were different.

Opinion: This is a touching story about the “what ifs” a young black man might have in our own world. The difference here is that reality is literally being pulled apart and his job is to mend this reality to keep other people, people who are not like him (mostly not black) safe. The metaphor is a strong one as I could see this story taking place in the pre-civil war southern states in which it was the slave work that held the economy together, and in many ways, the reality white people lived in, and in so many sad ways, this hasn’t changed.