A Reading Life in Large Print

You may be familiar with Everett Public Library’s large print collection of books. If you visit the main branch, these books are on the first floor near the west wall of the building. In addition to finding great books there, you will have a magnificent view of the naval base and waterfront. 

You may be able to  guess some of the titles we have in large print. Hot pink Harlequins with titles such as Cattle Baron: Nanny Needed by Margaret Way, The Greek Tycoon’s Disobedient Bride by Lynne Graham and  Bride, Bought and Paid For by Helen Bianchin are popular examples. We also buy new western titles such as Rawhide Flat, a Ralph Compton Novel by Joseph A. West and Escape from Fire River by Ralph Cotton. Most best-selling books are also released in large print. Titles such as Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich and Spoken from the Heart by Laura Bush are two of the many we own in this format.

There is much more than “what you would expect” in large print, however. I like quirky stories, domestic fiction and messed up memoirs, with an occasional dog book thrown in. And I can find them all in large print.

One of  large print titles I’ve recently read is The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker. The title alone held my interest. No, it isn’t about the Aberdeen here in Washington State, but Aberdeen County in upstate New York. The story starts in 1953 when a big baby named Truly Plaice is born. Truly has a hard time fitting in, literally and figuratively, with other peoples’ perceptions. She has to learn how to grow on the inside to match her outside girth. Aberdeen County, in all its quirkiness, serves as a microcosm for the larger world and reminds us that we are all different and that things—and people—are not always as they seem.

A patron at one of our senior cart route stops recommended I read When She Flew by Jennie Shortridge. Imagine being a teenage girl living “off the grid” in the forests of the Oregon coast with your father, a Vietnam War veteran, who has post traumatic stress disorder and is prone to anxiety attacks. I enjoyed the local setting of the story. I felt the events were realistic and found the reasons these people would prefer to live healthy lives detached from society fascinating.

Noah’s Compass by Anne Tyler is the story of Liam Pennywell, who set out to be a philosopher and ended up teaching the fifth grade. He has never liked his job teaching at a run-down private school, so early retirement doesn’t bother him. But he is troubled by his inability to remember anything about the first night that he moved into his new spare and efficient condominium on the outskirts of Baltimore. All he knows when he wakes up the next day in the hospital is that his head is sore and bandaged. Liam tells his young grandson that Noah wasn’t going anywhere in the Ark. “He was just trying to stay afloat. He was just bobbing up and down, so he didn’t need a compass, or a rudder, or a sextant.”

This is Where I leave You by Jonathan Tropper is another novel I enjoyed in large print. Shortly after Judd’s wife leaves him for his boss (when they are literally “caught in the act”),  Judd’s father Mort passes away. Judd’s mother  brings the entire family together in mourning. During this week of sitting Shiva, Judd realizes his siblings are even more dysfunctional than he is, and the confrontations that ensue are full of raw emotion and humorous consequences.


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