For the Benefit of Those Who See
“I imagined being totally blind forever and how unbearable that would be and began to panic a little. To be blind would be to become one of those people I had always pitied and slightly feared, one of those people who through no fault of their own had been deprived of their vision and, thus, the real enjoyment of life, their effectuality, their potential.”
Nearly two miles above sea level, Rosemary Mahoney is given pragmatic advice on how to know where she is: “When we feel the ground coming different under our feet, we know where we find ourselves.” At that moment, Mahoney is blindfolded and being led around Lhasa, Tibet, by two blind teenage girls, Yangchen and Choden. When Mahoney asks Yangchen how she knows it’s cloudy outside, you can almost hear the implied “duh” in the young woman’s tone: “I do not feel the sun on my nose.”
Mahoney is a travel writer fond of solitary excursions to unusual and sometimes remote places. The above scene comes from For the Benefit of Those Who See (Little, Brown, 2014), her latest adventure, for which she tries to rob herself of her most trusted tool: sight. The book is informed by two teaching stints, one at Braille Without Borders, a training center for the blind in Lhasa, in 2005; the other at its sister facility, the International Institute for Social Entrepreneurs in Trivandrum, India, in 2009.
Throughout her story, Mahoney tries to understand sightless reality, and she does it with such blunt tenderness that it lends her writing a shambolic glee. Though she alludes to secondary sources—philosophical considerations of blind- ness, medical accounts of sight being restored to blind patients—it’s her experiences that make Benefit so thoughtful. In her introduction she con- fesses that she once considered blindness worse than death; later, she speculates that her students have a fundamental connection to the world that she doesn’t. In between, For the Benefit of Those Who See documents what happens when a well-trained observer begins to hear, smell, and touch the world as individually as she sees it.
Confronting Chronic Pain: A Pain Doctor's Guide to Relief
Steven H. Richeimer, MD, with Kathy Steligo
Field Guide to the Natural World of Washington, D.C.
Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for Patients and Families
Francis Mark Mondimore, MD
A completely updated third edition of Johns Hopkins psychiatrist Francis Mark Mondimore’s best-selling book. Initially published in 1999, this splendidly written, compassionate, and comprehensive text has sold more than 150,000 copies in paperback alone. The simplicity of style makes this an exceptionally valuable book for individuals with bipolar disorder and their families.
Thinner This YearWorkman Publishing Company (2013)
The Beck Diet SolutionOxmoor House (2009)
The End of OvereatingRodale inc. (2010)
Nutrition for LifeDK publishing (2007)
Betty Crocker: The 1500 Calorie a Day CookbookJohn Wiley & Sons (2012)