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.
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Austin City Blue
by Jan Grape, Narrated by Lori Brix, 2 cassettes
When female police officer Zoe Barrow shoots a man to rescue another officer, she is merely doing her job. When she learns that he is the criminal whose earlier shot turned her husband into a vegetable, she feels a sense of closure rather than regret. But the shooting is only the beginning of strange and violent events in Zoe's life. One of her snitches is killed, a friend of her husband's claims that his wife is trying to kill him, and Zoe starts feeling a strange attraction toward a private detective. When the possibility of police corruption comes up, Zoe doesn't know who her friends are and who might be her enemies.
Aztec Love God
by Tony Diaz, Narrated by Brent Holcomb, 1 cassette
The Aztec Love God is a dark comedy about Tiofilio Duarte's climb to obscurity. Originally, young Tio wanted to perfect the comic roll of the Aztec Love God,his ideal persona. Along the way, he meets Jester; an older, Caucasian comedian who makes Tio an offer he'd like to refuse. Jester offers Tio an opportunity to join his act. The only condition is that he, Tio, has to perform Latino stereotypes. Tio has to decide if he is going to take the easy road or develop The Aztec Love God on his own. This book is multicultural and combines humor, politics, and street knowledge. Critics describe this book as original and relentlessly brilliant. This book contains some profanity.
by Anita Richmond Bunkley, Narrated by Julie Shuey, 2 cassettes
As the new media spokesperson for a high-profile Texas corporation, Elise Jeffries is determined to prove herself - and to succeed. But when an explosion rips through her company's storage facility in Flatlands and its citizens start becoming ill, Elise realizes that the chemical plant could turn her cherished hometown into a ghost town. With the lives of everyone in the once prosperous African-American community at risk - and her husband and young son depending on her, Elise must make a heart-wrenching choice between professional responsibility and personal conscience, community duty and family loyalty. This book contains some sex and profanity.
Beside the Still Waters
by Charles Meyer, Narrated by Dick Collins, 2 cassettes
In this third mystery of the series, the Reverend Lucas Holt and his ex-con God Squad take on politicians, clergy, cops and militia. Holt's girlfriend Kristen Wade is barely alive in Intensive Care and the Austin Police Department's Lt. Susan Granger has to arrest Lucas for putting her there or her new boss, Commissioner Dillon, will take her badge. So Lucas goes underground to avoid arrest and gain time to solve mysteries like who is killing off porno merchants, threatening the City Council and planning an assassination on the eve of the U.S. Senate election.
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Biggie and the Devil Diet
by Nancy Bell, Narrated by Sue Bilich, 2 cassettes
#6 in series. An old friend of Biggie's comes back to Job's Crossing. Rex Barnwell, along with his young wife, has returned to convert his father's ranch into a retreat for overweight teenage girls, and Biggie is forced to reveal a secret that she has always kept from her grandson, J.R. Not long after this startling revelation, Rex is murdered. Knowing that he won't be able to keep Biggie away, the Texas Ranger in charge of the case enlists her help.
by John A. Peak, Narrated by Jack Huff, 2 cassettes
A world-weary cop steps out of line to investigate one more case - the death of his son. All his life, Sergeant Robert MacDonald has done virtually everything by the book. At the end of his police career, after the fatal illness of his wife of thirty years has left him deep in debt, his oldest son, also a policeman, dies under circumstances that look like suicide. Mac refuses to believe it. While investigating his son's death, Mac is ambushed by death and destruction that he cannot stop and is almost undone as he uncovers facts about his children and himself that he should have left alone. This book contains some profanity.
Buck Fever: A Blanco County, Texas Novel
by Ben Rehder, Narrated by Jack Gazzale, 2 cassettes
In this fast-paced comic thriller, Texas game warden John Marlin, a likable lawman who reveres his state's hunting tradition, must stop a drug-smuggling conspiracy at a game ranch owned by a legendary political fixer. Along the way, Marlin crosses horns with a corrupt sheriff, Colombian gangsters, and a pair of poachers who propel the action with increasingly ridiculous schemes. This book contains some profanity.
by Sarah Gregory, Narrated by Dianna Dorman, 3 cassettes
The son of a political icon, Texas Congressman Will John Benedict falls from grace when he is accused of murdering an office intern with whom he was having an affair. He enlists high-profile Dallas defense attorney Russell Black and his fiery associate Sharon Hays to come to the nation's capital to defend him.
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Cowboy From The Wild Horse Desert: A Story of the King Ranch
by Bobby Cavazos, Narrated by Paul Klemperer, 2 cassettes
Though written as historical fiction, this book about the King Ranch is based in fact and provides an accurate picture of the inner-working of the largest cattle operation in Texas and the world. Told from the Tejano side, this book details the personal experiences of the author and his father working the King Ranch.
by Julie Ortolon, Narrated by Linda Fox, 2 cassettes
Once upon a time, there was a redhead named Kate Bradshaw who naively thought Happily Ever After was just a heartbeat away. One kid, one divorce, and a stack of bills later, Kate isn't necessarily a candidate for Man-Haters Anonymous, but she's not winning any points with the love-struck readers of her Dear Cupid advice column either. If she's going to keep her job, she needs a man to remind her that romance can be fun. Someone attractive. Someone easygoing. Someone with whom she can polish her rusty flirting skills - and absolutely nothing more. Enter Michael Cameron.
by Will Cook, Narrated by Jack Gazzale, 2 cassettes
Recurring characters link these five stand-alone western stories set in the small Texas ranching community of Hondo spanning a period of 20 years. In "The Barb Wire War," rancher Wes Cardigan falls in love with a homesteader's daughter. In "The Big Kill," Cardigan, now married, brings in John Saber, a U.S. marshal, to work undercover to stop some cattle rustling. In "The Range That Hell Forgot," a small rancher falls in love and elopes with the daughter of a big rancher who is against the match. Phil Stalker in "The Devil's Roundup" drifts into Hondo with only a dollar to his name.
Diamondback: A Taylor Madison Mystery
by Elizabeth Dearl, Narrated by Janice Langlinais, 2 cassettes
When novelist Taylor Madison discovers a mysterious letter among her late mother's effects, she heads for West Texas in search of her father's identity. But small, sleepy towns don't appreciate rude awakenings and Taylor soon finds herself up to her neck in rattlesnakes and long-kept secrets - a deadly combination. This book contains some profanity and violence.
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Give the Pig a Chance and Other Stories
by David Rice, Narrated by Ev Lunning, 1 cassette
These stories are set in the Rio Grande Valley area of Texas and tap into such universal concerns as coming-of-age, violence, and family relationships. Humorous and edgy, these stories are particularly good at depicting the lives of children, their illogical worldview and casual cruelties. In the title story, two estranged cousins are reunited after the accidental death of a beloved potbellied pig, and in "Tina La Tinaca," a grieving woman grows so obese that on her death an emergency crew must widen the doorway of her home in order to remove her body. This book contains some profanity.
Hank The Cowdog: The Case of the Raging Rottweiler
by John R. Erickson, Narrated by Richard Dunham, 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?
Hank the Cowdog: The Case of the Deadly Ha-Ha Game
by John R. Erickson, Narrated by Danny Ledford, 1 cassette
On a tip from Pete the Barncat, Hank the Cowdog and his faithful second-in-command, Drover, go in search of the fabled pot of chicken at the end of the rainbow. But before they can find it, Rip and Snort find them. There's only one way out - Hank challenges the coyote brothers to the deadly Ha-Ha Game. Winning the game demands iron will and steely determination. Does the Head of Ranch Security have what it takes to win, or will he die laughing?
Hold the Cream Cheese, Kill the Lox: A Ruby, The Rabbi's Wife Mystery
by Sharon Kahn, Narrated by Carol Esler, 2 cassettes
Ruby, the rabbi's widow, knows she's in trouble when her longtime nemesis, Essie Sue, talks her into housing Essie Sue's twin cousins, Lester and Larry. The boys are in town for pre-Bar Mitzvah schooling from Rabbi Kevin Kapstein. Essie Sue plans to orchestrate the grandest Bar Mitzvah feast in Temple Rita's history. The star attraction is sure to be Herman Guenther, master lox cutter. But when he meets an untimely death, Ruby investigates, tracing the victim's roots back to Nazi-era Denmark. Her investigation takes her from Eternal, Texas to Alaska to New York.
Home Is Where the Murder Is
by Carolyn Rogers, Narrated by Jeane Guichard, 2 cassettes
San Antonio policeswoman Rachael Grant is shot in the leg and returns home to Saddle Gap, Texas, to recuperate and rest. When her grandfather sells his guest ranch that is at the heart of the town, violent murders begin to occur and Rachael is drawn into the investigation. She also becomes the subject of much town gossip when she becomes romantically involved with an old friend. In a town full of ex-husbands, ex-lovers, and ex-cons, everyone is suspect and everyone is fair game.
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House of Corrections: A Jack Flippo Mystery
by Doug J. Swanson, Narrated by Danny Ledford, 2 cassettes
With friends like Wesley Joy, Jack Flippo could never want for enemies. Onetime mentor Wesley used to mean the world to Jack, so when he calls from an East Texas jail cell claiming to be the victim of a bad rap, Jack goes running. Wesley claims to be the stoolie in a drug bust that left two dealers dead, his wife missing, and him driving the victim's car. If only Jack can find Angelique, Wesley's wife, Wesley's name can be cleared. Out of obligation to his pal, Jack agrees to work on the case. That and the fact that Jack still feels guilty about sleeping with Angelique. This book contains heavy sex, some profanity and violence.
Love Her Madly
by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith, Narrated by Jeane Guichard, 2 cassettes
In a fit of insomnia, FBI investigator Poppy Rice watches a videotape of Dan Rather interviewing self-confessed ax murderer Rona Leigh Glueck and realizes that her hands are too small and delicate to have wielded the weapon. With only ten days to the execution, Poppy flies from Washington, DC, to Texas to ask the governor for a delay so that the courts can determine whether Rona Leigh received a fair trial. Book critics describe this book as "gripping, unpredictable, and laugh-out-loud funny" with a "delightful, smart, sassy, tough, and unstoppable" heroine. This book contains some sex, profanity and violence.
by Susan McBride, Narrated by Janice Goodspeed, 2 cassettes
In this sequel to "And Then She Was Gone," former Dallas policewoman Maggie Ryan finds rural Litchfield to be more disturbing than she bargained for, when someone charges aboard a special education bus and kills a teenaged female student. Maggie's investigation reveals that the victim came from a potentially volatile family situation: parents separated, father unemployed, mother with a rich and powerful boyfriend. So while the news media have a field day, Maggie tries to corner a suspect. This book contains some profanity.
by Ginna Gray, Narrated by Karen Watkins, 2 cassettes
When Harvard-educated supermodel Maggie Malone returns to her hometown of Ruby Falls, Texas after a seven year absence, she finds that nothing has changed: the citizens of Ruby Falls still can't forget that she was once the town's "wild child." After considerable argument, her ailing father grudgingly agrees to let Maggie step into his shoes in the family's failing business. This book contains some sex.
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by Daniel J. Hale, Narrated by Ed Corrigan, 1 cassette
After leaving behind a mysterious past spent in several remote countries, Zeke Armstrong thought he would lead the life of a "normal" 13-year-old when he moved to Dallas. When he than joins the Sundogs soccer team, he is forced to reveal his true identity after someone tries to take his coach out of the game... permanently. Will he solve the crime and help his team reach the finals, or will he be the next victim?
Rip Powell and the Legend of the Diablo Cat
by Don R. Aldridge, Narrated by Cindy Johnson, 1 cassette
A western set in Depression era West Texas, this is the story of a young man struggling to help support his family after his father dies while trying to hunt down a mountain lion thought to be responsible for killing livestock of local ranchers. Rip Powell decides to try to finish what his father started.
Rosewood's Ashes: A Tory Travers / David Alvarez Mystery
by Aileen Schumacher, Narrated by Lisette Schmidli, 2 cassettes
New Mexico engineer Tory Travers is summoned home to Gainesville, Florida, where her estranged father, a powerful senator, lies in a coma after a hit-and-run accident. While preparing to face the demons of her past, Tory finds herself unwittingly embroiled in a complex, emotionally charged and deadly conspiracy connected to a 1923 racial massacre - the torching of a town called Rosewood. This book contains some profanity and violence.
by Jim Sanderson, Narrated by Robert Brown, 2 cassettes
An atmospheric mystery novel set in San Antonio, Texas, where Jerri Johnson works for Sam's Investigating Services tracking down bail jumpers and serving subpoenas. When a love affair turns into border gun running, tragedy ensues.
Simmer All Night
by Geralyn Dawson, Narrated by Sue Bilich, 3 cassettes
Independent daughter of socially prominent Texans, Christina Delaney stirs up scandal when she's crowned Chili Queen of San Antonio. Her family reacts by packing her off to live with her grandfather on his English estate, hoping to transform Chrissy from Chili Queen to countess. Born British but reared Texan, Cole Morgan would do anything for the Delaney family, even escort the incorrigible Christina to England.
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Some Days There's Pie
by Catherine Landis, Narrated by Dianna Dorman, 2 cassettes
Ruth Ritchie elopes with Chuck thinking she has found her ticket out of Summerville, Tennessee. But Chuck "gets religion," and Ruth buys a car and heads north. When Ruth faints from hunger at a North Carolina five-and-dime, Rose, a feisty elderly reporter, rescues her and a friendship stronger than family ties blossoms. For all her bravado, unsentimental Ruth can never quite disguise her need for a mother's love. In Ruth, Rose finds someone who refuses to see old age as a handicap and gives her life new purpose. This book contains some profanity.
by Holly Harte, Narrated by Melissa Tyler, 2 cassettes
With the marriage of her dreams over, free-spirited Sheridan Kinmont vowed never to let another man into her heart and set out to make a fresh start by accepting a job as physician in Shafter, Texas. In a town this desolate, Sheridan thought she'd have no problem keeping her promise - until she met mining company manager Shay Bannigan. Shay knew all about female doctors. His sister had died at the hands of one and he wasn't about to let any of his miners be treated by the likes of Sheridan Kinmont. Insisting on being present while she tended to her patients, Shay was determined to prove that Sheridan was not fit to be a doctor. Instead, he found himself under her alluring spell. This book contains some sex and violence.
Tie Fast Country
by Robert Flynn, Narrated by Jack Gazzale, 3 cassettes
Chance Carter is a Florida TV station manager thoroughly corrupted by shallow entertainment, manipulative news and hatred for his grandmother Clarista, "a woman who killed two men and drove her daughter and grandson from her house." When he gets a call from Texas about the ailing woman, he sees it as an opportunity to put her in a nursing home. However, Clarista is a tough, smart Texas cattle rancher: she is not about to be corralled in a nursing home, and Chance is in for a big surprise when he arrives at the run-down ranch wearing tassle loafers and pleated pants.
Three Dirty Women and the Bitter Brew
by Julie Wray Herman, Narrated by Nicole Scolaro, 1 cassette
Members of Three Dirty Women, a Texas-based landscaping company, visit historic Savannah for the twelfth annual Small Landscapers Convention. Korine McFaile is stuck rooming with Dodie Halloran, who seems determined to make Korine's life miserable. When Dodie is murdered, Korine becomes a suspect. Further complicating matters, Korine's son, Chaz, has a problem he cannot, or will not, discuss with her. In order to deal with her son's dilemma, Korine must face her own secret from the past, which in turn leads her to the reason for Dodie's violent death.
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by Nancy Fairbanks, Narrated by Linda Fox, 2 cassettes
Forty-something homemaker Carolyn Blue is through with cooking and cleaning. She's finally decided to throw in the dishtowel and take on a dream job as food writer. Being a professor's wife does have its benefits - a large pharmaceutical company is interested in hiring her husband, Jason Blue, as a consultant and has invited Jason and Carolyn to the Big Apple for some serious wining and dining. From miso to matzo, Carolyn is anxious to get a true taste of New York. But before she gets a chance to let the fun go to her head and the food go to her waistline, Max, the head of R&D, is dead after eating a helping of pastrami. Max seemed well-liked by his colleagues, but after spending time with some of the company wives, Carolyn wonders if Max hadn't ruffled one too many feathers.
by Geralyn Dawson, Narrated by Ric Furley, 2 cassettes
There's quite a stir going on in the town of Bastrop as folks gather to witness the thrice widowed Honor Duvall raffle off the fastest filly in Texas. Ex-Texas Ranger, Luke Prescott, observes the excitement with bored indifference until the winning number is called and no one responds. Even as he lifts the forgotten ticket from his pocket his eyes lock with Honor's and he knows his luck is about to change. Healing from a stray bullet that ended his career with the Rangers six months before, Luke considers that owning the Widow Duvall's champion quarter horse may be just the thing he needs to start up the horse ranch he's always dreamed of having. This book contains some sex.
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Ehrenberg: Goliad Survivor, Old West Explorer
by Natalie Ornish, Narrated by Kenny Rahmeyer, 3 cassettes
This is the amazing story of one of Texas' greatest patriots, who presents his eye-witness account of the storming of the Alamo and the Goliad Massacre, from which he miraculously escaped. It includes his adventures in California, Arizona, and other parts of the American West and his discovery of gold, copper and silver mines...his love affair with the Queen of Tahiti, and his explorations in Hawaii, South America, and Mexico. His death near Palm Springs, California, remains a murder mystery. Together, Natalie Ornish's excellent biography and Ehrenberg's own memoir read like a marvelous adventure story or a Texas tall-tale.
Holocaust Survivor: Mike Jacobs' Triumph Over Tragedy
by Mike Jacobs, Narrated by Ev Lunning, 2 cassettes
Founder of the Dallas Holocaust Memorial Center, Mike Jacobs was born in the Polish town of Konin. He speaks about the Holocaust to thousands each year. In his memoir, we witness the Holocaust through the eyes of Mike Jacobs, who was a teenager during World War II. Jacobs recounts five years of confinement in ghettos and concentration camps. This book contains some violence.
In Search of the Holy Mother of Jobs
by Pat Littledog, Narrated by Dawn Janacek, 1 cassette
Story-essays by an Austin writer whose intentions to create a scholarly discussion of women's work turned into this insightful and funny book. This book contains some sex and profanity.
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Let Me Tell You What I've Learned: Texas Wisewomen Speak
by P.J. Pierce, Narrated by Jeane Guichard, 2 cassettes
In this collection of interviews, twenty-five Texas women ranging in age from 53 to 93 share the wisdom they've acquired through living unconventional lives. Responding to the question "What have you found that really matters about life?" they offer keen insights into motherhood, anger, assertiveness, managing change, persevering, power, speaking out, fashioning success from failure, writing your own job description, loving a younger man, and recognizing opportunities disguised as disaster. These interviews present the distilled wisdom of female "tribal elders" who took paths not previously open to women.
Lone Star and the Swastika: Prisoners of War in Texas
by Richard P. Walker, Narrated by Jack Gazzale, 2 cassettes
This analysis of the Texas prisoner-of-war camps describes the logistics of holding thousands of captured German (and some Japanese and Italian) soldiers until World War II's end. The author considers how camps were selected and constructed, how prisoners were treated, what routine camp life was like, what problems arose with pro-Nazi prisoners, and how civilians reacted to having 50,000 enemy prisoners in their state.
North From Texas: Incidents in the Early Life of a Range Cowman in Texas, Dakota & Wyoming, 1852-1883
by James Clay Shaw, Narrated by Ed Corrigan, 1 cassette
First published in 1931, "North from Texas" describes the fifteen-hundred-mile odyssey on the Northern Trail. Shaw offers a rare first-hand account of the hard conditions of the trail and the many "bad men" - horse and cattle thieves, and worse - who inhabited it. He also describes the day-to-day operations of a cattle drive during the era of Texas spectacularly large cattle companies and the reign of the "cattle kings" on the northern range. Shaw was twenty-seven when he wrote this account. He later became an important leader in the western livestock industry.
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Start with a Laugh: An Insider's Guide to Roasts, Toasts, Eulogies and Other Speeches
by Liz Carpenter, Narrated by Karen Watkins, 2 cassettes
This book contains full texts or excerpts from some three dozen of Carpenter's best speeches for all types of occasions. In addition to roasts, toasts, and eulogies, she gives insights and examples of building dedications, welcome speeches, remarks to senior citizens' groups, commencement addresses, speeches made for worthy causes, accounts of the birth of the contemporary women's movement, and tips on humanizing speeches for high-tech executives. Carpenter spins a delightful, engaging account of her fifty-odd years as a political humorist, speechwriter for LBJ, and press secretary for Lady Bird.
Ten Texas Feuds
by C.L. Sonnichsen, Narrated by Michael Neibergall, 2 cassettes
For twenty years, grassroots historian Sonnichsen went door to door through the backcountry of east and south-central Texas to coax tales from reluctant informants and peruse county documents on the colorful feuds that bloodied the state's early history. From these human explosions emerged legendary gangs such as the Regulators, Moderators, Hoodoos, Heel Flies, and Boots. Personal vengeance righted intolerable wrongs and settled unbearable grievances.
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by Danielle Steel, Narrated by Sandy Litschi, 2 cassettes
La conmovedora y divertida historia de dos personas que descubren el amor donde y cuando menos se lo esperan. La relacion escandalizara a ambas familias y de pronto todo seran obstaculos e incomprension. Sin embargo, un hecho excepcional dara un vuelco inesperado a la dificil encrucijada.
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Cartas A Maria Regina: La Doctora Corazon Del Mundo Hispano
by Maria Regina Avila, Narrated by Sandy Litschi, 2 cassettes
Maria Regina, la "Doctora Corazon" del mundo hispano, ha respondido a innumerables preguntas y le ha hecho frente a millares de problemas en su afamada columna periodistica "Cartas a Maria Regina". Ahora, las mejores de sus columnas se recogen en esta coleccion, que incluye preguntas y respuestas sobre: antes del matrimonio, problemas de la solteria, y problemas de alcoba.
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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, July 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)
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