Talking Book News Bulletin
Winter 2019

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Director's Report

Holiday Closings
Disability News
TBP Book Club
Poetry Contest Winners
Books Worth Revisiting: Books by Daphne du Maurier


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Director's Report

Greetings! Here is the latest news:

Duplication-on-Demand is here! We are happy to now offer duplication-on-demand as the way to get you the audio books you want as quickly as possible. Staff will create customized digital audio cartridges that allow you to receive books without having to wait for copies to be available. Almost any book that is available on the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) site can be downloaded to a cartridge and sent to you within days. We will be moving all of our established audio readers to duplication-on-demand, except for those who download all their own audio books from BARD. This process will take quite a while, as each reader must be set up individually. Duplication-on-demand settings will be based on your current account profile, but these settings can be changed at your request.

Here’s how duplication-on-demand works. Books from your request list or automatic selections will be downloaded to digital cartridges based on your preferences. You can choose how many cartridges you’d like to receive (up to five), and how many books you would like to have on each cartridge. Each cartridge will have the same generic label: “TX Talking Book Library: Audio Books,” but there will be a list of the cartridge contents on the container’s folded address card. To return a cartridge, simply remove the folded card and discard it. TBP’s return address is printed permanently on each container. Every time we receive a cartridge back from you, we’ll send you another one. It is very important to return cartridges right away to prevent gaps in service. The loan period for duplication-on-demand cartridges is 60 days, so you’ll have plenty of time to read all of your books. At your request, we can also send you cartridges containing full series of books—in series order!

Patron feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. More than 3,000 TBP patrons are signed up and happily reading the books they want. We are working diligently to get all patrons set up for duplication-on-demand, but it may be some time before we get to you. If you have questions or would like to switch to duplication-on-demand right away, please call us at 1-800-252-9605 or email us at, and we’ll set you up right away. We are happy to help.

Please keep your email address up-to-date on your TBP account: We regularly introduce new services, make important announcements, or just pass along interesting information for your benefit. The fastest and surest way to hear about all these things is via email. Unfortunately, we get lots of bounced or undeliverable emails returned to us when we send an email to patrons. The most common reason for this is that the patron has changed email addresses or abandoned the address we have on file and hasn’t notified us. Please call 1-800-252-9605 and ask a reader consultant to update your account with your new email address. If you would like to receive email communications as your primary method of correspondence, or to receive this newsletter by email, ask the reader consultant to change your preferences to email. You may give us a second or alternate email address, as well. When our online catalog becomes available later this year, you will need to have a valid email address in order to access it, so keeping your email address updated is more important than ever.

Until next time,
Ava Smith
Director, Talking Book Program

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Texas Talking Books will be closed for these holidays

Monday, May 27 ~ Memorial Day

Of course, you can leave a voicemail message or send e-mail on a holiday.


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Disability News

The Talking Book Program provides some magazines in alternative formats, but other organizations do also. Some of these magazines are free; others require a paid subscription. Contact the Disability Information & Referral Center about a publication called Magazines in Special Media that lists magazines available in large print, Braille and audio formats. Contact the Disability Information & Referral Center: 800-252-9605 (toll free in Texas), 512-463-5458 or

Call the Disability Information and Referral Center toll-free at 1-800-252-9605 for information
about disabilities and health conditions.

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TBP Book Club

Texas Talking Book patrons, please join us on Tuesday, March 26 at 7 p.m., (Central Time) for our book club discussion of LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE by Celeste Ng (DB89018, BR22149) Elena Richardson and her family lead an orderly existence in Shaker Heights, Ohio, until Mia and her daughter rent a house from them. When a neighbor tries to adopt a baby, Elena and Mia end up on opposing sides of the custody battle. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2017.

On Thursday, May 23 at 7 p.m. (Central Time) join in for our Book Club discussion of GOD SAVE TEXAS: A JOURNEY INTO THE SOUL OF THE LONE STAR STATE, by Lawrence Wright. (DB90876) An examination of the history, culture, demographics, economics, and politics of Texas in the early twenty-first century, along with personal reflections by the author of The Looming Tower (DB63287). Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2018.

Our book club meetings are hosted via toll free conference call, so all you need is a telephone to participate. To RSVP call the Talking Book Program at: 1-800-252-9605 or email us at: Please indicate if you would like us to mail you the digital cartridge or if you prefer to download it from BARD.

We request that everyone remember the following:

  • Keep external distractions to a minimum.
  • Be courteous. Try not to interrupt or talk over others; give everyone a chance to talk; be respectful of differing opinions.
  • Keep discussion points concise and relevant to the book.
  • If comfortable doing so, please preface your comments with your first name.

We host our Book Club meetings via toll free conference call. All you need to participate is a telephone!

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TBP Poetry Contest Winners

We are pleased to announce the winners of the TBP Poetry contest. Thank you to all that participated in the first TBP poetry contest. We received a range of poems--some were happy, some were sad, and some were touching.

Choosing the winners was not an easy task. In the end, the judgement came down to the poets’ originality, style, structure and impact. The judges were blown away by the talent and creativity they received from you, our patrons.

The winners are:

Category 1 (Ages 0- 10): Xiomara Gilliam with “A Charming Pig”
Category 3 (Ages 19 and Up): Bennie W. Davis with “The Little Christmas Horse”

You can find a copy of their poems online under TBP News, on the TBP blog at and on the Texas State Library and Archives Commission Facebook page.

Job well done!

"The Little Christmas Horse"
By Bennie W. Davis

Once upon a time, long, long ago,
In a far away land of ice, wind, and snow,
Lived a little old man, his wife and some elves,
Who spent the whole year making toys for their shelves.

Now you know about Santa and his reindeer of course,
But this is the story about a sad little horse.

One day Santa asked, “Why are you so sad?
You’re a beautiful little horse, and you should be glad.”

“I know,” said the horse, “but it’s such a beautiful sight,
to watch all these other toys playing at night.
They pop up and whistle, move and have fun,
but my legs are stiff, and I can’t even run.”

“The trains chug and run around their track,
airplanes fly and soldiers attack.
You made boats that float and dolls that talk,
guns that shoot and robots that walk.”

“You made cars that run around and flash their lights,
and you even made little boxers that really fight.”

“Now, I’m glad you made me, Santa, of course,
but all I can do is just rock back and forth.
I can’t pull your sled or fly through the night.
I can’t float, or whistle and I don’t have a light.
I can’t do anything but just be a horse
that spends his whole day rocking back and forth.”

With a HO HO HO and twinkle in his eye,
Santa jumped up and slapped his thigh.
He said, “Worry no more my little pet
cause Christmas is coming, and you mustn’t forget.
I made you a special toy
So, you could be given to a special little boy.”

Then all at once it was Christmas Eve day
And the elves and Santa were loading the sleigh.
The little horse was placed in a sack
And carried to the sleigh on Santa’s back.

The reindeer were ready and took off in a whirl
To bring smiles to the children all over the world.

The little horse was left with a train and a gun,
With a model plane and a car that would run.

Then with a laugh and a pat on the head,
Santa was gone with his reindeer and sled.

The little horse opened his eyes to see
All the beautiful lights and a tall Christmas tree.

The little horse thought this new home is so quiet,
It still must be in the middle of the night.

But something was moving. Another toy?
No-o-o-o, it’s a little boy!

The little boy smiled when he spotted the plane,
The car, the gun, and even the train.

But then his eyes started shinning and he shouted with glee,
“Oh boy, oh boy, a horse just for me!”

The other toys were ignored and left untried
As the little boy ran to the horse’s side.

Then with a hug and a pat, he picked up his gun,
Jumped on his back, and they started to run.

They caught robbers and cows and shot rattlesnakes.
They crossed deserts, mountains, rivers and lakes.

They chased Indians and crossed over streams,
And the little horse was told secrets and little boy’s dreams.

Now nighttime is here, and the little boy is in bed.
But dreams of his day still dance through his head.
The little horse is happy and filled with joy
That Santa made him for this special little boy.
And he thinks, “I’m so glad I’m his little horse.
I think I’ll just sit here and rock back and forth.”


"A Charming Pig"
By Xiomara Grace Gilliam

There once was a pig from a farm
Who went to school for some charm
But, when he ate food
He always seemed rude
And caused his teacher alarm

One day while having his tea
He ate his food with such glee
It went down with a slurp
And came up with a burp
His teacher said, “How can this be!”

“No more pigs in my classes!
Drinking tea from my glasses?
You make a big splash
And cause a big crash
Who acts like this and still passes?”

There once was a pig on a farm
Who decided to give up on charm
He wallowed in slop
Came up with a pop
And said, “This does me no harm.”


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Books Worth Revisiting: Books by Daphne du Maurier

Dame Daphne du Maurier (1907-1989) was a consummate storyteller, specializing in romantic suspense of the Gothic variety. Her best-known work, Rebecca, DB 48914; BR 12354; LB 06792; and LB 00964, was first published in 1938 and has never been out of print. Du Maurier came by her storytelling talents naturally—her grandfather and sister were authors and her parents were both actors. Many of her works are set in Cornwall, where she lived most of her life. In Cornwall, she discovered a dilapidated manor house called Menabilly, which she leased and then restored. It would become the model for Manderley, the famous house in Rebecca, and appears again in The King’s General (featured here). Du Maurier’s works have been very popular sources for movies and television series, most recently a movie version of My Cousin Rachel (2017), starring Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin. Here are four of her most compelling novels. All are available for BARD download or as a duplication-on-demand digital cartridge by mail.

My Cousin Rachel
DB 60867 and BR 15687:
Orphaned as a small child, Philip Ashley has been raised by his much-older cousin, Ambrose. Ambrose owns a large estate in Cornwall, and his eccentricities extend to not having any women in the manor house. Ambrose’s health is compromised, so he spends most winters in places like Italy, where the climate is warmer. Philip thinks nothing of Ambrose’s latest journey to Italy until he receives a letter from Ambrose, announcing that he has married a distant relative named Rachel and intends to stay indefinitely in Italy. All goes well for a while, but then Philip begins receiving disturbing letters from Ambrose, which imply that his life is in danger and that Rachel cannot be trusted. Alarmed, Philip sets out for Italy, but on arrival, discovers that Ambrose has died and Rachel has disappeared. Returning to Cornwall, he learns from Ambrose’s solicitor that Rachel is on her way to England. While everyone accepts that Ambrose died from a brain tumor, Philip is convinced that Ambrose was poisoned at the hands of Rachel, and he is determined that she will receive no kindness or mark of respect from him. When he finally meets Rachel, however, he is stunned at how different she is from his expectations. As he begins to fall in love with Rachel, he is still tormented by doubts about her relationship with Ambrose.

The King’s General
DB 28438:
As she lays dying from complications of a long-ago accident, Honor Harris looks back on her life. Her earliest memories are of her much-detested sister-in-law Gartred. Later, she meets Gartred’s brother Richard Grenville, and the sparks fly. Their subsequent engagement ends when Honor is injured in a riding accident. Many years pass, and England is torn by civil war. Living in retirement, Honor once more sees Richard come into her life as he leads a rebellion in service to the Royalist cause. The rebellion fails, Richard is injured, and he hides in a secret room in Honor’s home. While Honor nurses Richard’s injuries, and Richard plots his escape, someone close to them seeks to betray Richard to the enemy forces. Not only did Du Maurier use the real Menabilly as the setting for this story, but the germ of the story came to her after a skeleton was found in a secret room during her restoration of the mansion.

Jamaica Inn
DB 25812, BR 00649 and LB 00884: After the death of her mother, young and beautiful Mary Yelland journeys to Cornwall to live with an aunt, the only family she has left in the world. Her memory of her aunt is of a lively and attractive woman, but what she finds is a prematurely aged and timid figure, married to an unpleasant and dictatorial drunkard who owns the isolated Jamaica Inn. Mary soon discovers that her uncle is involved in the dangerous business of smuggling and perhaps worse things. As terrifying as her uncle is, she knows that her uncle’s mysterious smuggling boss is even more terrifying. Trapped into this harrowing existence, Mary turns to the local minister for comfort and support. She also is unwillingly drawn to her uncle’s younger, charismatic brother, a seemingly rootless young man with a quick wit and an appreciative eye for a pretty woman. Mary soon learns that nothing is what it seems.

Frenchman’s Creek
DB 73666 BR 03329 BR 19428 and LB 00937: During the reign of Charles II, Dona St. Columb flees the frivolity and scandal of Restoration London and seeks refuge at her husband’s abandoned estate in Cornwall. On arrival, she discovers that the estate is being used by a group of French pirates who are terrorizing the Cornish coast. The leader of the pirates turns out to be well-bred and educated, and Dona falls in love with him. Soon, her husband and his companions arrive, and Dona must choose between her romantic pirate and her doltish husband.

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Helpful contacts information for the Talking Book Program

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End of Texas Talking Book News
Winter 2019

Talking Book Program
Texas State Library and Archives Commission
PO Box 12927
Austin TX 78711-2927
1-800-252-9605 (in Texas)
512-463-5458 (in Austin)
512-936-0685 (fax)


Page last modified: February 28, 2019