Spotlight on Texas is a quarterly cassette publication announcing the latest audio books produced by volunteers at the Talking Book Program Volunteer Recording Studio in Austin and at the Recording Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Midland. The audio version of "Spotlight on Texas" is distributed on request to Texans with disabilities who are registered to receive the Talking Book Program's free library service.
Since 1978, Talking Book volunteers have recorded thousands of fiction and nonfiction titles by Texas authors or about the history, culture, folklore, and people of the Lone Star state. Titles recorded include biographies, histories, westerns, romances, mysteries, self-help, travel, and children's books. More than 10 new books are completed each month, including some in Spanish. In addition, volunteers record three Texas magazines: Texas Monthly, Texas Parks & Wildlife, and Texas Highways.
If you would like to receive an audio cassette copy of "Spotlight on Texas" each quarter, please contact the Talking Book Program through the phone numbers, e-mail address, postal address, or fax number listed at the bottom of this page.
To order any of the books listed below, note the titles and CT book numbers you would like to request. Then call a Reader Consultant toll-free in Texas at 1-800-252-9605 or, in Austin, at 512-463-5458. A voicemail message service is available after hours and on weekends for you to leave book requests or other messages. Say your full name and patron number (if known) clearly when leaving messages and give the CT book number and title for each request. Book orders may also be sent in an e-mail message to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Following the list of titles recently recorded by our volunteers, we also feature in this issue a section on mysteries recorded in years past. We are pleased to provide this reminder to you that these mystery books are available.
Note the titles and book numbers you would like to request, then call us at any time with your order.
return to top
Afield With J. Frank Dobie: Tales of Critters, Campfires, and the Hunting Trail
by J. Frank Dobie, Narrated by Kelli Taylor, 2 cassettes
A collection of 20 stories centering on the creatures of the outdoors, both animal and human. All the stories have been previously published in magazines, and demonstrate what a good story the late Dobie used to tell, in keeping with the great Texas oral tradition of tale-spinning.
Baptized in Dirty Water
by Joe McQuade, Narrated by Ed Corrigan, 2 cassettes
Set in a small shrimping village in 1974, this is the story of a young man who abandons the promise of a professional career to live by the sea. This is a narrative of love, tragedy, the elusive quest for redemption-and a rare glimpse at a hidden way of life on the Texas coast. This book contains: some sex, violence, profanity.
Biggie and the Mangled Mortician
by Nancy Bell, Narrated by Jeanne Guichard, 2 cassettes
More murder and mayhem in tiny Job's Crossing, Texas. When the town's new undertaker is found dead in his apartment, apparently electrocuted while water from the bathtub spills over him, Biggie Weatherford sets out to solve the messy murder. This book contains: violence.
Bird in a Cage
by Lee Martin, Narrated by Therese East, 2 cassettes
Fort Worth detective Deb Ralston and her husband are celebrating their anniversary at a fancy restaurant which entertains its customers with a trapeze show while they dine. When the young woman on the flying trapeze plummets to her death, Deb once again puts her personal life on hold in order to solve the murder. This book contains: profanity.
Blood Meridian; Or, The Evening Redness in the West
by Cormac McCarthy, Narrated by Ev Lunning, 3 cassettes
The child is pale and thin with only ragged clothes to wear, his father lies in drink, and his mother is dead. For the Kid, there is no reason to stay in Tennessee. And so at fourteen he runs away. The Kid relates his journey west and the skirmishes with Indians that took place along the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s. This book contains: violence, profanity.
Fade the Heat
by Jay Brandon, Narrated by Barbara Ritter, 2 cassettes
The newly elected district attorney of San Antonio, Texas, has a problem: his son has just been arrested for sexual assault and his new political career is suddenly on the line. Should he prosecute his son to protect his career, or should he "fade the heat" from his son to protect his family? This is a courtroom drama about the lengths to which a man will go to protect what matters most. This book contains: profanity.
A Fresh Perspective
by Elisabeth Fairchild, Narrated by Ruth Borinstein, 2 cassettes
Lord Reed Talcott is happy to return from a grand tour of Europe to the familiarity of Talcott Keep, the castle that will one day be his, and to Megan Breech, his best friend since childhood. Megan's beauty and talent have begun to attract men who want to court her while Reed only wants to share her passion for art. In one brief summer at a holiday cottage in the Lake District, Reed finds every aspect of his life and his relationship with Megan turned upside down before unrealized love-and misplaced priorities-offer both young people a fresh perspective.
return to top
Hank the Cowdog: The Mopwater Files
by John R. Erickson, Narrated by Harold Steadman, 1 cassette
Hank the Cowdog, head of ranch security, discovers that drinking a bucket of plant food restores his energy, leading to a series of embarrassing near-disasters. The twenty-eighth adventure in the Hank the Cowdog series.
A Horse to Die For
by Carolyn Banks, Narrated by Lisette Schmidli, 1 cassette
Horse aficionado Robin Vaughn suspects her friend's gift horse Noel isn't quite the horse he seems. For one thing he killed his last owner. For another he bears an uncanny resemblance to a horse called Wickie whom Robin knows is dead. Robin uncovers a farfetched scam and a repellent villain. This book contains: profanity.
by Nancy Herndon, Narrated by Linda Fox, 2 cassettes
Elena Jarvis is an officer in the Crimes Against Persons department of the Los Santos, Texas police. But at the moment she's branching out-into Crimes Against Elephants, to be exact. The alleged victim is Pansy, a gentle zoo resident who suddenly trampled one of her trainers. Her keeper suspects that she was given drugs to bring on the violent behavior. When evidence points to the possibility that Pansy may be the pawn of a human predator, Elena has to take a closer look. This book contains: violence, profanity.
by Joe Coomer, Narrated by Dani Macfarlane, 2 cassettes
This is the story of Edward Lyman, a Courtesy Patrolman on Loop 820, which encircles Fort Worth. It is also the story of Luke, an 80-year-old parrot who wanders into Lyman's trailer one day and changes his life. Most of the novel details Lyman's search for Luke's former owner, as well as Lyman's relationship with Fiona, a librarian at Tarrant County Junior College. The author requires that the reader suspend disbelief at the screwball aspects of this story, but rewards effort with a wonderful vision of the pilgrimage necessary to find meaning in our world. This book contains: some sex, violence, profanity.
Murder on the Boulevard
by Anne Sloan, Narrated by Carolyn Larson, 2 cassettes
Scandal and murder swirl around the building of the Rice Hotel in Houston at a cost of two million dollars-an enormous sum in the year 1912. The sudden mysterious death of Fred Logan leaves his daughter Flora to fulfill the Logan Marble Works' contract to supply marble for the hotel. She begins to uncover dangerous greed and criminal activities surrounding the construction project and another suspicious death. In the process of revealing the murderer's identity, Flora also finds the answer to a long-hidden family secret.
Not Between Brothers: An Epic Novel of Texas
by D. Marion Wilkinson, Narrated by Janice Lathin, 5 cassettes
The intertwining stories of Remy Fuqua, a penniless orphan from Louisiana, and Kills White Bear, a Comanche war chief, told against the backdrop of the founding of Anglo Texas. Three cultures, Tejano, Anglo, and Comanche, collide as the Lone Star State struggles to be born.
The Perfect Murder
by Jack Hitt, Narrated by Carol Esler, 1 cassette
Five well-known mystery writers-Lawrence Block, Sarah Caudwell, Tony Hillerman, Peter Lovesey, and Donald E. Westlake-offer fiendishly clever plans for the ideal crime when a fictional character asks for advice on how to murder his unfaithful wife. This book contains: some sex, profanity.
by Austin Bay, Narrated by Tad Tuleja, 2 cassettes
Formerly a covert CIA operative, Wesley Hardin's special skills in mental telepathy have put him on call to an ultra secret extrasensory-perception government bureau called "The Shop." His assignment is to infiltrate Mosley Synoptics, the high-tech empire controlled by Texas billionaire Coleman Mosley who desperately wants to be President of the United States. Mosley's wealth gives him access to arms dealers whose illegal operations have enabled him to amass his own superbly equipped army. Only Hardin has the lethal ability to counter Mosley's threat to bring down the government. This book contains: profanity.
by Diane Sherrill, Narrated by Jack Huff, 2 cassettes
In 1879 when barbed wire and railroads are about to end the big cattle drives, two trailhands drive a herd up the Chisholm Trail from Central Texas to Kansas and encounter dangers along the way. This book contains: violence, profanity.
by Lorraine Heath, Narrated by Andree Rosen, 2 cassettes
When Rebecca becomes pregnant and the father of the child abandons her, Rebecca's father makes a proposition to Jake, a Texas ranchhand: marry his daughter and be a father to her child. Jake has always loved Rebecca from afar, but must convince her to forget the past and follow him to a new life. This book contains: heavy sex, violence, profanity.
by Stephen Harrigan, Narrated by the author, Stephen Harrigan, 2 cassettes
A collection of fifteen timeless essays that originally appeared in the pages of Texas Monthly, Travel Holiday, and Audubon magazines. The essays capture vanished worlds and elusive perceptions, in topics ranging from the past glories and modern-day travails of America's most legendary Indian tribe to the poisoning of Austin's beloved Treaty Oak.
Frontier Fever: The Silly, Superstitious-and Sometimes Sensible-Medicine of the Pioneers
by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk, Narrated by Patti Bishop, 1 cassette
Relates various medical practices of the pioneers on the American frontier, and shows how medical knowledge expanded as the twentieth century approached.
return to top
In the Grip of Grace
by Max Lucado, Narrated by Emily McDonald, 2 cassettes
Through moving stories and powerful insights, the author explains the concept of God's grace.
Ishi and Elvis
by Jim Hamm, Narrated by Chris Hunnell, 1 cassette
Hamm tells the story of the gradual recovery of his rocky, overgrazed Texas ranch and the animals and assorted human characters who experience the Hideout, as his ranch is called. Most important is Elvis, a tremendous white-tailed buck who roams the ranch.
Prayer is Good Medicine: How to Reap the Healing Benefits of Prayer
by Larry Dossey, Narrated by Jim Cronenberg, 1 cassette
After the publication of his book "Healing Words: the Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine" (RC 39215, BR 09761), Dr. Dossey found that certain questions arose repeatedly in his discussions with medical practitioners, religious groups, and general readers. In this book, Dr. Dossey offers his insights into these questions: what is prayer, how can people pray, what is the scientific evidence for the benefits of prayer, and what are the controversies associated with prayer experiments?
Seeking Pleasure in the Old West
by David Dary, Narrated by Jeanne Guichard, 3 cassettes
Life in the Old West in frontier days was not all hard work and trouble. Journals, diaries, and early newspapers reveal how cowboys, homesteaders, mountain men, and cavalry troopers spent their leisure time. As David Dary describes in lively detail, it was a time when people enjoyed to the hilt what recreation time they could steal from their labors. Winner of the 1995 Western Writers of America's Spur Award for Best Western Nonfiction.
Whatever Happened to Jacy Farrow?
by Ceil Cleveland, Narrated by Therese East, 3 cassettes
Daughter of pioneer Texas ranchers, Ceil Cleveland grew up in Larry McMurtry's home town of Archer City, fictionalized in his novel "The Last Picture Show." Among the locals, Cleveland has long been assumed to be the model for the novel's beautiful, bitchy character Jacy Farrow who was portrayed in the film version by Cybill Shepherd. In this memoir, Cleveland recalls a girl's life in small-town Texas during the same era described by McMurtry from a boy's point of view.
by Paco Ignacio Taibo, Narrated by Leonardo Melo, 1 cassette
On a remote beach in Mexico, a high-ranking police officer contemplates the murder he has committed, pondering his next move. He is interrupted by the arrival of his sister who begs him to aid a young widow threatened by criminals who want her fortune. If he decides to help her, he will have to return to Mexico City-the site of his own crime. This book contains: profanity.
El Sueño de América
by Esmeralda Santiago, Narrated by Dr. Juan Lujan, 3 cassettes
America Gonzalez, a Puerto Rican single mother, is struggling to raise a teenage daughter and cope with an abusive boyfriend. Employed as a maid at an old hacienda converted into a tourist hotel, she is finally persuaded to leave for her own safety. She accepts a job with a wealthy family in New York. Even though the work is hard and the pay low, America begins to feel at peace until her boyfriend learns where she is. This book contains: some sex.
return to top
El Secreto de Selena: La Reveladora Historia Detras de Su Trágica Muerte
by María Celeste Arrarás, Narrated by Maria Gonzalez, 2 cassettes
Written by a popular Spanish-language TV personality who is also an acknowledged expert on Selena, this book reveals new details about the life and death of the Tejano superstar and includes an exclusive interview with Yolanda Saldivár, the convicted killer. This book contains: violence, profanity.
To order any of these titles, call 1-800-252-9605 or, in Austin, 512-463-5458.
Spotlight on Biographies
Thousands of additional titles recorded in Texas are available from the Talking Book Program. Ask a Reader Consultant to recommend other Texas titles and authors or have Texas titles added to your reading list through our automatic selection program. A world of Texas books is just a phone call or e-mail message away.
Among the titles available, you may want to consider ordering these previously recorded biography titles:
Ace Reid: Cowpoke
by John R. Erickson, Narrated by Lloyd Davis, 1 cassette
No Westerner since Will Rogers has made more of an impact on his times than Ace Reid. His cartoons are known in every city west of the Mississippi. Who is this man, Ace Reid? Where did he come from? How did he get started? Ace Reid: Cowpoke tells the fascinating story of Ace's life; from his humble beginnings and his desire to be a cartoonist to his life as a celebrity pulling outlandish stunts and running around on the "mashed potatoes circuit."
return to top
Daddy-O: Iguana Heads and Texas Tales
CT 6042 by Bob Wade, Narrated by David Arnsberger, 2 cassettes
Texas artist Bob "Daddy-O" Wade is known for his outlandish larger-than-life projects, such as a forty-foot iguana perched on the top of New York City's Lone Star Cafe, and the Giant Dancing Frogs of Dallas. Here he tells stories of the people and places of his life, exposing the madness behind the methodology. This book contains: profanity.
by J.J. (Jake) Pickle and Peggy Pickle, Narrated by Dick Collins, 2 cassettes
Jake Pickle tells his own story of a lifetime of public service, most notably his thirty-one years in the U.S. Congress representing Texas' Tenth District. A born raconteur, he begins with his youth in Big Spring, Texas, then his lean (in every sense) student years at the University of Texas during the Depression followed by U.S. Navy service in World War II. The heart of the book is former Representative Pickle's stories of political life-in Washington, D.C. and on the campaign trail back home in Austin, Texas. This book contains: profanity.
John Henry Faulk: The Making of a Liberated Mind
by Michael C. Burton, Narrated by Janice Lathin, 2 cassettes
During his life, Faulk had a "homespun philosopher" image. Underneath lay a razor sharp wit and keen mind. Through humor, Faulk could separate the wheat from the chaff and make people see their own prejudices. His timeless wisdom expressed conviction and compassion. This book contains: profanity.
Last Cavalier: The Life and Times of John A. Lomax 1867-1948
by Nolan Porterfield, Narrated by Rich Dinda, 4 cassettes
John Avery Lomax considered himself a Texan even though he was born in Mississippi in 1867. His belief in betterment through education led him to enroll at the newly established University of Texas in Austin in 1895. He is best known as a pioneering American folklorist although his colorful life included stints in academia and in business. He is credited with collecting and preserving cowboy songs and African American folk songs that would otherwise have become a lost part of the rural culture of this nation.
My Mother's Keeper: A Daughter's Memoir of Growing Up in the Shadow of Schizophrenia
by Tara Elgin Holley, Narrated by Cindy Johnson, 3 cassettes
Dawn Elgin, the author's mother, was suddenly struck down by schizophrenia in her early twenties at the threshold of a professional music career. This dramatic memoir of a tormented but unbreakable bond between mother and daughter traces the ravages of mental illness on both the sufferer and her family. This book contains: violence.
return to top
No Name on the Bullet: A Biography of Audie Murphy
by Don Graham, Narrated by Bob Schenkkan, 3 cassettes
Over the course of two year's continuous combat in Europe, this Texas sharecropper's son's heroic achievements earned him the most medals ever awarded to an American soldier-including the Congressional Medal of Honor. He became an American national symbol, a movie actor and finally, surviving into the Vietnam era, a hero badly out of his time. This book contains: profanity.
Oldtimers: Their Own Stories
by Florence Fenley, Narrated by Terry May, 2 cassettes
Fenley provides fifty-three spellbinding and true pioneer stories, originally published in 1939. Intended to capture the history of the development of the frontier in southwestern Texas, these accounts include rousing tales of Indian fights, rustlers and outlaws, saloons and gamblers, necktie parties and cattle drives. This book contains: violence.
Ornette Coleman: A Harmolodic Life
by John Litweiler, Narrated by Paul Kauppila, 2 cassettes
Born in Fort Worth, Texas, alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman became one of the great architects of jazz with his unique improvisational style and his "harmolodic" compositions. This biography is a compelling portrait of a living legend and a lively history of postwar jazz. This book contains: profanity.
Rave On: The Biography of Buddy Holly
by Philip Norman, Narrated by Jack Gazzale, 3 cassettes
Songs like "That'll Be The Day" and "Peggy Sue" made Texan Buddy Holly a rock-and-roll star; his death at 22 in a 1959 plane crash made him a legend. His most enduring legacy was the effect that his 1958 tour had on a generation of British musicians who would soon incorporate what they heard into a musical phenomenon that would change the entertainment business. British writer Philip Norman, author of biographies of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, had access to previously unavailable sources, including contracts and other documents owned by Norman Petty, the studio owner and record producer who brought Holly to prominence. This carefully researched biography offers new insights into Holly's brief life and his place in popular culture. This book contains: some sex, profanity.
Stevie Ray Vaughan: Caught in the Crossfire
by Joe Nick Patoski and Bill Crawford, Narrated by Carol Esler, 3 cassettes
Through extensive interviews, the authors provide a penetrating first biography of guitar virtuoso Vaughan. The reader sees Stevie's childhood, his initial interest in music, and his career from emergence to superstardom. This book contains: profanity.
You Meet Such Interesting People
by Bess Whitehead Scott, Narrated by Mary Jane Prall, 2 cassettes
At 25, Bess Whitehead Scott became the first woman reporter for the Houston Post. That was in 1915, long before women were accepted in the male bastions of the professional world. This is the story of her life, and a time when opportunities for women did not exist. Scott's talent and stamina in fighting rural and urban hardships exemplify a century of women's progress.
More Texas Titles Thousands of additional titles recorded in Texas are available from the Talking Book Program. Ask a Reader Consultant to recommend other Texas titles and authors or have Texas titles added to your reading list through our automatic selection program. A world of Texas books is just a phone call or e-mail message away.
As with all of the books in our collection, there is no time limit for ordering any of these books. Feel free to ask for these titles at any time-now or in the future.
The Texas volunteers welcome your comments and suggestions. Send an e-mail message to the Volunteer Recording Studio at email@example.com or write to us at Volunteer Recording Studio, Talking Book Program, PO Box 12927, Austin, TX 78711-2927. If you live in the Austin area and are interested in volunteering to record books, please call 463-5546 for more information. More information about volunteering is available on the web page of the Friends of the Talking Book Program Volunteer Recording Studio.
Talking Book Program, Austin, TX, January 2001.
Talking Book Program
Texas State Library & Archives Commission
PO Box 12927
Austin TX 78711-2927
1-800-252-9605 (in Texas)
512-463-5458 (in Austin)
return to top