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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

CAROLINE SMART READS 60TH BOOK (article first published : 2005-12-9)

“Tape Aids for the Blind have pleasure in presenting …” marks the opening statement of books read onto tape for the visually impaired or those who cannot read in the normal manner.

Under the leadership of Director Pauline Hoffman and based in Greyville alongside the race course, this highly worthwhile non-profit making organisation has been in existence for over 40 years. Volunteers make up the production team who give of their time freely to assist those less fortunate to be able to enjoy good literature.

Most of the books are now produced by solo readers but there are those who still prefer to make use of an accompanying monitor who follows the text and halts inaccuracies. One such reader is well-known theatre personality and editor of artSMart, Caroline Smart, who joined Tape Aids in 1969 and has just completed her 60th book, Body Double by Tess Gerritson.

“Well, as far as the records show, it’s the 60th book but the Tape Aids computer records were only installed in 1974,” says Caroline. “I read about two books a year, so working on this average, it’s possible that I have actually read about 66! The first book I ever read was Noel Streatfield’s Thursday’s Child at the old premises in Payne’s Building where we had to wait for the City Hall clock to stop chiming before we continued reading.

”I’ve read an enormous range of titles in many different styles of writing but I think the one I have enjoyed most was Marguerite Poland’s multi-layered and evocative Recessional for Grace. Another favourite was Ben Elton’s Misconception (Inconceivable) which I read as a two-hander with my monitor Tim Dodson.

“I cannot praise Tim highly enough. If my reading is of a high standard it is mainly due to his ever-watchful eye, impressive general knowledge and fine command of English usage. He doesn’t let me get away with anything! This allows me to apply dramatic content to dialogue and narration knowing that his diligent watchfulness will not allow mistakes to go unchecked.”

Tape Aids is always looking for volunteer readers, monitors and editors. For more information contact Production Manager Janet Whelan on 031 309 4800.




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