People with CFS/ME suffer from a number of symptoms that can make reading nearly impossible: visual disturbances, headaches, vertigo, and cognitive impairments. These problems can also make watching TV or movies equally as difficult, resulting in a lifestyle that is severely restricted. A person who is too ill to engage in physical activity, and has no recourse to the distractions provided by books and films, may become even more isolated than the illness itself warrants.
Fortunately, there is a simple solution to the problem. Audiobooks provide access to novels and works of non-fiction in a format that does not strain the eyes. In addition, listening to a human voice, especially one that is well modulated, can be quite soothing. (I find that listening to a pleasant voice in the night, when I have insomnia, is very relaxing.)
Most libraries have a good selection of audiobooks. But if your library does not, there are various free services. Itunes has a collection of roughly 5000 titles. Books Should Be Free, has thousands of public domain books which you can listen to for free. Project Gutenberg, which also lists thousands of free public domain works in print, offers human-read audio books in more than sixty different languages. You can browse these by author or by language.
If you are able to spend the money, Audiobooks.com offers over 20,000 titles for a monthly subscription fee of $30. The books can be downloaded onto your computer. You can also purchase audiobooks on Amazon.com and from most major booksellers.
If you do a Google search for “audiobooks,” you will find many sites from which you can pick and choose according to your interests. There are also sites that review audiobooks. These are especially useful, because they not only cover the content of the book, but review the voice of the reader as well. (Nothing is worse than having to listen to a voice that is grating.) My favorite review site is Read To: Reviews of Books Provided by the Talking Books Service of the Royal National Institute of Blind People. This blog is maintained by Richard Wadwell, who does an excellent job of reviewing audiobooks and providing essential information.