Spotlight on Texas is a biannual 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, and people of the Lone Star state. Titles recorded include biographies, histories, westerns, romances, mysteries, self-help, and travel. More than ten new books are completed each month, offering an increasing variety of Texas topics from which to choose. 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," 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: email@example.com.
Note the titles and book numbers you would like to request, then call us at any time with your order.
return to top
And Then She Was Gone
by Susan McBride, Narrated by Sue Bilich, 2 cassettes
The abduction of four-year-old Carrie Spencer from a busy playground shatters her family's ideal middle class suburban life in Litchfield, Texas. But that's nothing compared to the town's panic when her body is discovered a few days later. This story is told mostly through the eyes of Maggie Ryan, a detective on the Litchfield police force. Why did Dr. Spencer, Carrie's father, have to leave Connecticut and why is the family so secretive about it? And why is Jake, Carrie's brother, so angry and resentful toward his dead sister? And does their behavior relate to the recent release of convicted child molester Brian Westmoreland?
Bad Luck Wedding Cake
by Geralyn Dawson, Narrated by Dana Schuff, 3 cassettes
Claire Donovan came to Fort Worth to open a bakery and find independence, not a husband. For generations, a secret formula called "Magic" made Donovan family confections strangely irresistible - until Claire jilted the fiance her family chose for her. Now they say that her broken engagement branded their cakes bad luck and their business will go bankrupt unless she ties the knot. The most eligible bahelor in town, sexy Tye McBride steers clear of marriage-hungry females. Once betrayed by love, he's vowed never to go soft over a lady again. Besides, he has his hands full minding his mischievous nieces. But now that his lawyer has told him to either wed or lose guardianship, he sees Claire Donovan as the perfect bride, in name only.
Be My Valentine
by Constance Hall, Narrated by Linda Fox, 3 cassettes
Three short stories: "Cupid's Arrow" by Constance Hall, "Meg's Secret Admirer" by Cheryl Holt, and "One Special Night" by Jackie Stephens are set respectively in Cornwall, England; London, England; and Blue Plains, Texas and all involve Valentine's Day.
return to top
by Alejandro Grattan-Dominguez, Narrated by Denise Descouzis, 2 cassettes
In this engrossing coming-of-age novel set in the 1950's, eighteen-year-old Val leaves his tiny West Texas town to search for the father he thought had died a hero's death years earlier. This quest gives Val a convenient excuse for getting out, as he is being forced into a loveless marriage and meaningless existence in a town where his life has been made more difficult because his mother is Mexican. His Anglo father's world of high-stakes professional gambling is mysterious, violent, unpredictable, and seductive.
by Heather Ross Miller, Narrated by Jeanne Guichard, 2 cassettes
When her daughters jokingly stick a Post-it note that says "a born loser" onto her photograph, the adult Titania is jolted to reflect on why they might, even in jest, consider her a loser. She determines to write out the story of her youthful adventures to disprove their taunt, but her memories overtake her - both of her youthful escapades and shining moment of triumph and of the bittersweet more recent events of her adult life. Though she doesn't get down a word of it, these memories become the narrative of this novel.
Daddy was a Cowboy
by Jodi O'Donnell, Narrated by Linda Fox, 2 cassettes
When it came to roping and wrangling, Kell Hamilton knew zilch. Now that he'd inherited a ranch, he needed to learn, but not from his new female employee, Jamey Dunn. When it came to frying and baking, Jamey knew zilch, but ranching was in her blood. To convince her boss to treat her seriously, she kept her newborn baby a secret.
return to top
Dead Man's Bay: A Case For Barret Raines
by Darryl Wimberley, Narrated by Carol Esler, 2 cassettes
In this sequel to "A Rock and a Hard Place," African-American detective Barrett Raines' life is falling apart. His wife left him, taking their twin sons, and he is confined to desk duty because of failing performance. When Barrett and his partner Cricket are finally assigned to a new case involving a brutally murdered man and possible illegal activities, they gladly accept it even though it looks like it will be a dead end. They could not have been more wrong. The case instead leads Barrett to Dead Man's Bay, a village of fishermen so out of the way that he almost doesn't find it. He not only has to face quicksand and cottonmouth moccasins, but a mystery that keeps getting deeper and more dangerous.
Doin' Dirty: A Jeb Quinlin Mystery
by Howard Swindle, Narrated by Ev Lunning, 2 cassettes
Dallas Police Detective Jeb Quinlin and his partner Paul McCarren must solve the murder of an investigative reporter who was poking around in the financial affairs of one of Texas's richest families, the Colters. The murder was particularly gruesome - the victim was injected through the nose with rattlesnake venom - and the killer is one of the most unpleasant villains of recent days.
by R. J. Pineiro, Narrated by Karen Phipps, 2 cassettes
Pamela Sasser leads the quiet life of a professor at Louisiana State University, until her research uncovers a bug in the Perseus computer chip, which sits at the heart of thousands of commercial and military systems - from nuclear reactors to fighter jets. Billionaire Preston Sinclair, chairman of Microtel Corporation, the manufacturer of the Perseus, is at the pinnacle of his power, about to be elected president of the United States. Only Pamela Sasser knows about the bug in the Perseus, and only she knows that the lives of millions of Americans are at stake unless the bug is exposed.
return to top
Farmer Takes a Wife
by Jodi O'Donnell, Narrated by Cindy Johnson, 2 cassettes
They first met when Maura was still in high school - too young and innocent to deal with the powerful emotions Nate stirred in her. And so she'd made a choice... and it wasn't Nate Farrell. But Nate had never forgotten Maura. He knew she was the right woman for him so when the chance to get closer to the lovely widow and her young son came, he didn't hesitate.
by Jane Roberts Wood, Narrated by Jeanne Guichard, 2 cassettes
In the east Texas town of Cold Springs in 1944, the whole populace seemed to wait, collective breath held, for the War to end. "Grace" takes readers into the lives of four families on the 900 block of Pine Street. Grace Gillian, abandoned by her husband, thinks of herself in mundane terms. But she is an extraordinarily passionate and impulsive woman whose "wild Irish streak" will soon either land her in trouble, bring her happiness, or both. As Grace, the heart of the novel, works toward closure with her past, her story intertwines with those of her neighbors.
Hank the Cowdog: The Case of the Saddle House Robbery
by John R. Erickson, Narrated by Paul Klemperer, 1 cassette
There's a new dog on the ranch, and Hank the Cowdog is none too thrilled. As Head of Ranch Security, he's supposed to keep an eye on Jake until his owner shows up. But Jake's got other plans-he's convinced he needs to go to Madagascar before pirates make off with his treasure. As if that's not bad enough, while Hank's looking after Jake, a thief makes off with all of Loper's best saddles! It's up to Hank to find the saddles and save his hide.
return to top
Hank the Cowdog: The Case of the Raging Rottweiler
By John R. Erickson, Narrated by DUNHAM, RICHARD, 1 cassette
The ranch is in the grip of a sweltering summer heat wave, and to make matters worse, Bruiser the rottweiler is on the loose. First Bruiser attacks a defenseless fawn, then he threatens to come after Hank the Cowdog, the Head of Ranch Security! Can Hank put this crazy canine in his place? Or are our hero's dog days numbered? No. 36 in series.
Lost in Austin
by J. R. Ripley, Narrated by Ev Lunning, 2 cassettes
Tony Kozol has finally landed a dream gig, rhythm guitarist for one of the hottest country acts going, Clint Cash and the Cowhands. The job is only temporary while Brian Love, the permanent guitar play is recuperating from a broken arm. Love wants Tony out - badly. And Tony's odds of sticking around are getting longer and longer as his bandmates are singled out for murder. In Austin for the Southwest Music Conference, Clint Cash and the Cowhands have just finished up their concert at the Austinland Theatre. All Tony wants to do is go back to his hotel room and relax, but Fate has other ideas in mind when a young man asks for Tony's help in finding his missing sister.
Love Lies Bleeding: A China Bayles Mystery
by Susan Wittig Albert, Narrated by Ruth Borinstein, 2 cassettes
China Bayles, herbalist, ex-lawyer, and amateur sleuth, must avoid getting caught in a maze of suspicion and betrayal. As a Texas Ranger Roy Adcock outwitted plenty of dangerous characters. But now the retired Ranger has been shot dead - with his wife's gun. Dolores Adcock had been at China's herb shop that morning. But what hits even closer to home is when China's longtime boyfriend starts behaving strangely after hearing the news - and China overhears a secret phone conversation between him and another woman.
return to top
Magic and the Texan
by Martha Hix, Narrated by Emily McKaskle, 2 cassettes
Certain he's fated to meet his bride on his thirtieth birthday, Texas rancher Jon Marc O'Brien arranges for the perfect woman to arrive on that day. He's never set eyes on Beth Buchanan, a cattle buyer's daughter from Kansas, but after a two-year romance-by-correspondence, he knows she'll be the ideal wife. But the beauty who steps from the coach is not Beth Buchanan, who died on the journey. She's a runaway named Bethany who's so hungry for the respectable life she's willing to steal a dead woman's identity - and her betrothed.
Message to the Nurse of Dreams
by Lisa Sandlin, Narrated by Lori Brix, 2 cassettes
Message to the Nurse of Dreams is a collection of short stories about growing up in the late 60s in a Texas oil town soaked by Gulf winds, where every kid was one generation removed from the country - a time when black and white got mixed together, half-grown, half children, trying to decide if they were as different as they'd been led to believe all their lives.
Murder and Obsession
by Otto Penzler, Narrated by Paul Kemperer, 3 cassettes
Murder and Obsession is a collection of previously unpublished short mysteries. Fifteen best-selling authors include Ed McBain, Elizabeth George, Elmore Leonard, Edna Buchanan, James Crumley, Anne Perry, and Joyce Carol Oates. In spite of the title, not all the stories are about murder. One is about a cop obsessed with catching burglars, another about a woman who simply cannot stand for one more instant the sight of her husband's collection of Chinese art, and another is about a man who cannot stop staring at the painting of a woman long dead.
return to top
by Barry Evetts, Narrated by Tom Fairbrother, 3 cassettes
Lucinda Leung, a Chinese born American journalist has been covering the civil war in Colombia. Her marriage is in tatters, her future career prospects questionable. She is reassigned to a politically unstable Panama. And into Panama too come Mohan Krishnaswami, the man responsible for her father's death many years before and Peter Morrison, a recently redundant employee of Mohan, drawn to help a relative. Lucinda uncovers a dangerous plot to destabilize the entire region. The story moves from Bogota to London, and back in time to 1987 Hong Kong and Guangzhou, then to Houston, Panama, Miami, North Korea, and the Colombian Andes, and the Caribbean.
Second Coming of Lucy Hatch
by Marsha Moyer, Narrated by Dianna Dorman, 2 cassettes
Lucy Hatch is 33 and moving back to her hometown of Mooney, TX, because her husband of 14 years has just died in a freak accident. She is alone and must start over. What worries her the most though is that she's not as broken up over her husband's death as she thinks a good wife should be. In fact, she's looking forward to the peace and solitude she expects her future life to hold. So when local heartthrob Ash Farrell starts showing interest in her, Lucy is torn between the strong feelings she is developing for this persistent stranger and her resolve to go it alone for the first time.
Splendor Bay: A Mystery
by L. B. Cobb, Narrated by Jack Gazzale, 2 cassettes
Bill Glasscock, a suspended-for-malpractice attorney, wakes from his girlfriend Sally Solana's bed to a crystalline May morning in Splendor Bay. Before noon, Bill faces the challenge of his life. The stiff the local cops have found on the beach below Sally's bayview mansion is Bill's soon-to-be-ex-wife Eleana's lover, Governor Wallace Moreno. Bill's girlfriend Sally, the state's attorney general, is missing. So is wife Eleana, head of the state archives. And Bill is the prime suspect of local, state, and federal cops. Just the catalyst Bill needs to abandon his sabbatical from life for a quest to save those he loves from a murderer.
return to top
by Rosanne Bittner, Narrated by Dorothy Blair, 3 cassettes
With her father murdered by renegade Apaches, Tessa Reeves feared she would be their captive forever - that no one would ever find her. And even if she were found, she'd be scorned by those who called Indians savages and their woman prisoners forever unclean. John Hawkins knew how it felt to be an outcast. Born to a woman who'd suffered a brutal attack, the rugged lawman had had to develop a will of steel to survive in a harsh world. If anyone could save Tessa, it was he.
Time Bombs: An Elena Jarvis Mystery
by Nancy Herndon, Narrated by Dianna Dorman, 2 cassettes
Elena Jarvis is an officer in the Crimes Against Persons department of the Los Santos, Texas, police. The graduation ceremony at Herbert Hobart University was stifling hot, but Elena sweated it out to receive her honorary degree. Then trees and shrubs around the campus started exploding. As a serious drought threatens the life and health of the poor Los Santos locals, it seems that a guerilla war is being waged against anyone who wastes water - and the University's lush greenery and sprinkler system make it a prime target.
Tumbleweed: Rites and Wrongs of Passage in a Left of Center Texas Town
by Jeff Mudd, Narrated by Dick Collins, 3 cassettes
Meet Jasper Schitt, a funny kid with a funnier take on life, follow his wide-eyed journey through a sleepy Texas town. Eight short stories, eight slices of life following Jasper as he grows up.
return to top
Umbrella Man: A Jack Flippo Mystery
by Doug J. Swanson, Narrated by Robert Brown, 2 cassettes
Poor Jack Flippo. It's just his luck to stumble across a guy like Marty Dufrain - a big talker who claims to be in possession of a few black-and-white frames of history. The grassy knoll, the motorcade, the Book Depository. And something more. Something that could feed every crackpot's crackpot theory, throw every conspiracy buff into convulsions, and send PI Jack Flippo running for his life.
What the Librarian Heard
by Linda S. Bingham, Narrated by Carol Esler, 2 cassettes
A small-town library shares quarters with the police station, and library patrons hear more than they want. When police radios shatter the hush with dispatches about a string of violent murders, librarian Elinor Woodward makes an odd connection between the present crime wave and a lost child.
by Mitch Cullin, Narrated by Charles Watson, 2 cassettes
Adolescent life is often whompyjawed, or askew, and serves as a time of open doors and disappointments. Willy Keeler is a star football player in the one-sport town of Claude, TX and he knows that this is his ticket out. Although troubled by his family life, Willy tries to create normalcy and comfort for his younger brother, Joel. Idolized by his coach, his girlfirend, and the townspeople, Willy shares his modest dreams with only his best friends.
return to top
Bridezilla: True Tales From Etiquette Hell
by Noe Spaemme, Narrated by Linda Fox, 1 cassette
A wedding can bring out the best in a person but often brings out the worst. A bride, in particular, seems most susceptible to mutating into a beast no family member or friend can recognize because a magical ring was placed on the third finger of her left hand. By definition, a Bridezilla describes a subspecies of a bride-to-be who believes her wedding day is "her day," that she is princess for the day, that the world owes her, and that her every desire and whim for the "perfect wedding" is to be catered to instantly and subserviently by friends, family, and vendors under threat of thermonuclear meltdown. This book is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, yet informative, in addressing the trend of Bridezilla behavior. It was written by a wedding planner drawing on real-life experiences.
If White Kids Die: Memories of a Civil Rights Movement Volunteer
by Dick J. Reavis, Narrated by Jack Gazzale, 2 cassettes
Memoirs of a white middle-class college student from Texas who joined in the voter registration efforts in the South in the summer of 1964. An up-and-coming leader named Stokely Carmichael told a group of prospective volunteers in New York that the "Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee" wanted to be sure that if blacks were killed for the civil rights cause, whites would die with them. The price Dick Reavis paid when he spent a summer on the wrong side of the tracks in Demopolis, Alabama, was his innocence.
My Grandfather's Finger
by Edward Swift, Narrated by Danny Ledford, 2 cassettes
Novelist and visual artist Swift details his post-World War II childhood in this amusing and somewhat poignant memoir. Born and raised in the Big Thicket, an isolated rural hamlet in East Texas, Swift recalls the joys and curiosities of his simple childhood, using brief anecdotes and plenty of photographs of his relations and many of the town's other colorful characters. From neighbors dwelling in bomb shelters to an island inhabited by albinos, and from atomic bombs to carnivals and amputated fingers kept in jars, Swift's portrayal of his childhood is not the usual nostalgic treatment.
return to top
News to Me: Remembrances of a Texas Newswoman
by Juliet K. Wenger, Narrated by Cindy Johnson, 2 cassettes
"News to Me" is an extraordinary firsthand account of fifty years of South Texas journalism. Born in Austin in 1918, cum laude graduate of the University of Texas at age twenty, Juliet Wenger helped shape how the news was covered in the infant days of radio and television, when women in her profession - any profession - were rare.
Places in the World a Person Could Walk: Family, Stories, Home, and Place in the Texas Hill Country
by David Syring, Narrated by Jack Gazzale, 2 cassettes
These interconnected stories illuminate what it means to belong to a place and why the Texas Hill Country has become the spiritual, if not actual, home of many people. The author listens to the stories that his aunts, uncles, and cousins tell about life in the Hill Country and grapples with their meaning for his own search for a place to belong. He also collects short stories focused around Honey Creek Church to consider how places become containers for memory.
Pushing Forward: A Memoir of Motivation
by Randy Snow, Narrated by Ed Corrigan, 2 cassettes
This memoir of motivation is written in three sections. The first is autobiographical, dealing with the author's childhood, injury, rehabilitation, and sports career. The second section presents some meaningful and illuminating stories encountered along the way. And the third section presents the author's personal perspective of living life from a wheelchair and the paradox of his injury which he considers sinultaneously to be the best and worst thing that ever happened to him.
return to top
Reluctant Warrior: Former German POW Finds Peace in Texas
by Heino R. Erichsen, Narrated by Jack Huff, 2 cassettes
Heino Erichsen invites us to walk with him as he looks back upon his childhood in Nazi Germany, his surrender as an 18-year-old private with the German Afrika Korps, his survival in POW camps in Texas and Kentucky, and his return to his broken country after the war. But the journey does not end there. It takes an unexpected twist when the former POW returns to the United States to begin a new life.
Texas Crime Chronicles: Outrageous True Stories of Murder and Mayhem in the Lone Star State
by Texas Monthly Editors, Narrated by Kenny Rahmeyer, 3 cassettes
From El Paso, from Dallas, from tiny Channelview come tales of murder, mischief, and malice - complete with new epilogues on their dramatic final chapters - that have been torn out of the pages of the award-winning Texas Monthly magazine and still succeed in rocking an almost shockproof nation.
When Surrender Was Not An Option
by George G. Crawford, Narrated by Jack Gazzale, 1 cassette
"When Surrender Was Not an Option" is the World War II account of 2nd Lt. George G. Crawford's experience as a prisoner of war in Nazi Germany from the time his B-24 bomber was shot down until his liberation and return to the United States. It is a saga of men on the cutting edge of courage who did not just endure a long Nazi nightmare. Rather, in the best tradition of U.S. military duty, George and his fellow captives resisted and harassed the enemy in every way possible.
return to top
Santitos: Sexo, Humor y Realismo en una Novela Magica
by Maria Amparo Escandon, Narrated by Sandy Litschi, 2 cassettes
"Esperanza's Box of Saints" The author has woven an unforgettable, character-rich story with a Latin flavor, which takes us on a journey that explores the nature of sin and absolution, the pain of loss and the resurrection of desire.
Tormenta de Pasiones
by Mary Jo Putney, Narrated by Pilar Raymond, 3 cassettes
In return for helping her save her village, the Demon Earl demands that quiet schoolteacher Clare Morgan live with him for three months and let the world think the worst of their co-habitation.
return to top
Criando a Nuestros Ninos: Educando a Ninos Latinos en un Mundo
by Gloria G. Rodriguez, Narrated by Marisol Brown, 4 cassettes
A latina mother and specialist in family education presents a manual of information on child rearing. Includes personal anecdotes, songs, recipes, adages, and games designed to preserve the cultural heritage and family integrity of Latino children. Spanish language.
Monje que Vendio su Ferrari: Una Fabula Espiritual
by Robin S. Sharma, Narrated by Mario Zamora, 2 cassettes
Julian Mantle, a high-profile attorney with a whacked-out schedule and an shameful set of spiritual priorities. After suffering a heart attack, Mantle sells all his possessions to trek India in pursuit of a meaningful existence.
Nueva Cocina Vegetariana
by Ingrid Fruchtel, Narrated by Pilar Raymond, 2 cassettes
Delicious, easy-to-prepare vegetarian recipes in Spanish.
Querido Alberto: La Biografia Autorizada de Juan Gabriel
by Eduardo Magallanes, Narrated by Ricardo Dortignac, 2 cassettes
Querido Alberto (Dear Alberto) tells the story of Juan Gabriel. He is one of the most famous stars of Mexican popular music. No one could have imagined how far this singer will get after trying his fortune in 1971 with his initial creations. Today he has won the hearts and respect from various generations in and out of Mexico.
return to top
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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. Information about volunteering is available on this website: /tbp/vrs.html
Talking Book Program, Austin, TX, January 2004.
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