January 2013 TBP Book Club

No End in Sight: My Life as a Blind Iditarod Racer by Rachael Scdoris and Jeff Steber

Cover image of No End in Sight by Rachel Scdoris and Rick SteberOur January phone book club selection was by sled dog racer and Iditarod competitor Rachael Scdoris (with co-author Rick Steber).  Rachael joined us for a discussion of her book(transcripts and MP3 file available).

This is how the story begins:  “My perfect moment:  Dead of winter, dogs running flat out, air so cold I can taste its brittleness on the tip of my tongue. I know this trail…”

No End in Sight details Scdoris’ childhood experiences with her visual impairment and how she trained and developed the skills necessary to compete in the 1,000+ mile Iditarod race.  At 16, she was the youngest athlete ever to finish a 500-mile race that helped qualify her for the big race.  She details her struggle to convince Iditarod officials to allow her to compete and how, in 2005, she became the first legally blind person to do so.



Iditarod-related Titles

Title: CRUELEST MILES: THE HEROIC STORY OF DOGS AND MEN IN A RACE AGAINST AN EPIDEMIC

Author: SALISBURY, GAY                                    Original Date: 2003

Chronicles the valiant efforts of a dogsled relay to bring serum to ice-bound Nome, Alaska, when a deadly diphtheria outbreak put Eskimo natives and especially their children at risk in 1925. Blends Alaska's early history with portraits of courageous team leaders and their dogs--including the famous Balto--who trekked 674 miles across frozen terrain. 2003.                                                            

RC   58310, DB   58310  DLD    

Title: DOGS ON DUTY: SOLDIERS' BEST FRIENDS ON THE BATTLEFIELD AND BEYOND  

Author: PAULSEN, GARY                                     Original Date: 1994

Recounts the author's survival adventure: running the 1,180-mile Iditarod dogsled race across the Arctic wilderness. Enduring  frostbite, sleeplessness, moose attacks, and countless trail hazards, he finishes the race eager to run another.                     

RC   43280, DB   43280  DLD    

 

Title: MURDER ON THE IDITAROD TRAIL: AN ALASKA MYSTERY #1

Author: HENRY, SUE                                        Original Date: 1993

This is the first in the Alaska Mystery series. Critical injuries are rare during the Iditarod dog-sled race, but on day two musher George Koptak is found dead. While Alaska state trooper Alex Jensen investigates the accident, he learns that another contestant is dead. At loss for determining a motive, Jensen turns to musher  Jessie Arnold for help. As other racers die, Alex, who is growing fond of Jessie, begins to fear for her. 

BR   10307, RC   55480, DB   55480  DLD   

                                                                           

Title: RACE ACROSS ALASKA: FIRST WOMAN TO WIN THE IDITAROD TELLS HER STORY  

Author: RIDDLES, LIBBY                                    Original Date: 1988

Libby Riddles loves adventure.  At sixteen she left home for the wilderness of Alaska, where she was drawn to the sport of sled dog racing.  Here she recounts the riveting tale of how she overcame all odds to become the first woman winner of the Iditarod, the 1200-mile marathon from Anchorage to Nome.                                         

RC   31221, DB   31221  DLD    

Title: SOLDIERS AND SLED DOGS: A HISTORY OF MILITARY DOG MUSHING           

Author: DEAN, CHARLES L                                   Original Date: 2005

Arctic expert and former army officer chronicles the use of sled dogs in military operations, from 1900s Alaska and World Wars I and II to modern-day sledge patrols. Describes the bonds between soldiers and      dogs and canine roles in search-and-rescue missions and parachute drops. Also covers sled types. 2005.                                     

 RC   68435, DB   68435

Title: WOODSONG                                                            

Author: PAULSEN, GARY                                     Original Date: 1990

Natural phenomena, chilling experiences, and exhilarating adventure are all part of Paulsen's personal recollections of sled-dog training and racing, including his participation in Alaska's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Contains eloquent, spare remembrances of the author's initiation, education, and unabashed awe of the wilderness and its inhabitants.

BR   08849  

Other Biographies of People with Visual Impairments

Title: BALLAD OF BLIND TOM

Author: O'CONNELL, DEIRDRE                                Original Date: 2009   

 Biography of Thomas Wiggins (1849-1908), a blind and possibly autistic musical savant known as "Blind Tom," who was born a slave in Georgia.  A piano prodigy and child composer, Wiggins became a novelty act of worldwide renown, profiting his white guardian. Chronicles his achievements and later descent into obscurity. 2009.                        

DB   71033    

 

Title: BRAVO! MISS BROWN: A WORLD WITHOUT SIGHT AND SOUND                   

Author: MACTAVISH, JOAN                                   Original Date: 2000

Biography of Mae Brown (1935-1973), who was the first deaf-blind person to graduate from a Canadian university and a counselor at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. Her college tutor chronicles Brown's family, education, social and professional life, and triumphs and disappointments.                                            

 BR   13551, RC   52603, DB   52603     

 

Title: ECLIPSE: A NIGHTMARE                                                 

Author: DE MONTALEMBERT, HUGUES                           Original Date: 1985

An intense autobiographical memoir of a globe-trotting French painter living in New York City. After being attacked by three intruders who blinded him by throwing a caustic solution into his face, he recounts how he learned to live with his blindness. Strong language and some descriptions of sex.                            

RC   23749, DB  23749 DLD                        

 

Title: HOPE UNSEEN: THE STORY OF THE U.S. ARMY'S FIRST BLIND ACTIVE-DUTY OFFICER       

Author: SMILEY, SCOTTY                                    Original Date: 2010   

Account of U.S. Army Captain and Ranger Scotty Smiley, who after losing his sight during a suicide-bomber attack in Iraq, became the first active-duty blind officer. Covers Smiley's post-injury accomplishments, including earning an MBA, winning an ESPY, climbing Mount Rainier, and teaching leadership at West Point. Discusses his faith. 2010.                                                             

BR   19133, DB   71909          

 

Title: IF YOU COULD SEE WHAT I HEAR                                        

Author: SULLIVAN, TOM                                     Original Date: 1975

Autobiography of a gifted young man who lost his sight shortly after birth. Gifted and refusing to accept limitations, he developed his abilities, becoming a champion wrestler, a dean's list student, a Harvard graduate, and a successful musician. He focuses on personal relationships--especially with his family--and experiences that have helped him maintain a positive outlook.     

BR   02848, RC   35991 

 

Title: IMPRISONED GUEST: SAMUEL HOWE AND LAURA BRIDGMAN, THE ORIGINAL DEAF-BLIND GIRL 

Author: GITTER, ELISABETH                                 Original Date: 2001

      

The life of Laura Bridgman, deaf and blind from age two, who became one of the most famous women of the mid-nineteenth century.  Explores her education with Samuel Howe at Boston's Perkins Institution for the Blind; views her achievements in the context of American social, cultural, and intellectual history.

BR   13353, RC   51840, DB   51840 DLD, DX  51840   

 

Title: IN THE DARK                                                         

Author: STONE, RUTH                                       Original Date: 2004

More than one hundred poems by the National Book Award-winning author of In the Next Galaxy (RC 57465). Stone, who was born in 1915, writes of aging and her loss of vision in "Accepting" and "Floaters." Other verses explore science, politics, art, history, and the minutia of everyday life. 2004.                                                     

RC   59866, DB   59866                                       

 

Title: INVISIBLE: A MEMOIR                                                  

Author: MONTALEMBERT, HUGUES DE                           Original Date: 2010

Reflections of a French painter and photographer who was blinded in a 1978 attack in New York City. Explores the meaning of vision for an artist, coping with tragedy without self-pity, adjusting to a new life, and finding the inner source of independence and freedom. 2010.    

DB   72571  

 

Title: RAY CHARLES: VOICE OF SOUL                                              

Author: RITZ, DAVID                                       Original Date: 1994   

 Biography of musical genius Ray Charles, who was left sightless by glaucoma as a child. While a student at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, Charles learned to read and write music in Braille. Describes his personal and professional struggles, including drug addiction, as well as triumphs.                                        

RC   46564, DB   46564 DLD       

  

Title: STORY OF MY LIFE                                                     

Author: KELLER, HELEN, 1880-1968                          Original Date: 1903

The restored classic autobiography of an exceptional young woman and her companion, originally published in 1903, with 2003 commentary by editor Roger Shattuck. Helen Keller's own account of her transformation is followed by her teacher Anne Sullivan's record of their early years together and insights of Anne's husband, John Macy. 1903.  BR 3998 has introduction by Robert Russell.       

 

This book is also available on the Internet at http://www.afb.org/mylife                         

BR   03998, BR   14704, RC   55883, DB   55883, DX     55883           

               

Title: SURPASSING EXPECTATIONS: MY LIFE WITHOUT SIGHT                          

Author: SCADDEN, LAWRENCE                                 Original Date: 2008   

 Autobiography of California-born (1939) Scadden, who was blinded at age five. Describes his career as a research psychologist with a doctorate degree. Discusses his work in developing assistive technology for visually impaired people and promoting science education. Examines the effects of blindness, Scadden's personal development, and his experiences abroad. 2008.        

BR   18597, RC   68883, DB   68883                         

     

Title: TO THE LEFT OF INSPIRATION: ADVENTURES IN LIVING WITH DISABILITIES     

Author: SCHNEIDER, KATHERINE                              Original Date: 2006   

Psychologist pens memoir, providing opinions and "pearls of wisdom" acquired during some fifty years as a blind woman.  Describes contracting fibromyalgia a decade ago. Discusses the impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, her career as a clinical psychologist, and personal experiences with guide dogs and grocery stores. 2005

 RC   64437, DB   64437                                         

 

Title: TOUCH THE TOP OF THE WORLD: A BLIND MAN'S JOURNEY TO CLIMB FARTHER THAN THE EYE CAN SEE      

Author: WEIHENMAYER, ERIK                                 Original Date: 2001   

In this adventure-packed memoir, the author recalls rebelling against becoming blind by age fifteen. Relates acquiring a passion for mountaineering and developing the character traits that enabled him to succeed. Covers his climbing exploits and his wedding on top of Mount Kilimanjaro. Some strong language       

BR   14512, RC   51505, DB   51505 DLD, DX  51505  

 

Title: TRIUMPH OVER DARKNESS: THE LIFE OF LOUIS BRAILLE                     

Author: BICKEL, LENNARD                                   Original Date: 1988

Biography of Frenchman Louis Braille (1809-1852), who perfected a raised-dot alphabet code named in his honor when he was only fifteen.  Discusses the development of the system of reading and writing that opened the world of learning for blind people. 1988.  

BR   17820, DB   68015                                          

 

Title: UNDAUNTED BY BLINDNESS: CONCISE BIOGRAPHIES OF FOUR HUNDRED PEOPLE WHO REFUSED TO LET VISUAL IMPAIRMENT DEFINE THEM  

Author: OLSTROM, CLIFFORD E.                              Original Date: 2010

Director of the Tampa Lighthouse for the Blind presents four hundred capsule biographies of notable blind people in various occupations and from different historical periods. Includes profiles of Irish composer Torlogh Carolan (1670-1738), American publisher Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911), and Cuban ballerina Alicia Alonso (b. 1921). 2010.         

BR   19185, DB   72232                                        

 

Title: W.C. HANDY: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE MAN WHO MADE THE BLUES          

Author: ROBERTSON, DAVID                                  Original Date: 2009

Biography of William Christopher Handy (1873-1958) traces his Alabama childhood during Reconstruction, his musical training, and his early career performing in ragtime and vaudeville venues. Highlights Handy’s ability to write scores and publish commercially, his relocation to Memphis and then Harlem, and the accident that blinded him. 2009.        

 DB   69060  

 

Title: WHITE COAT, WHITE CANE                                                

Author: HARTMAN, DAVID                                    Original Date: 1978

 Account of the obstacles the blind author encountered in becoming a psychiatrist. He credits a "persistent brattiness" and bouts with a competitive sister for his considerable drive. Some strong language.                                                                                

BR   04076, RC   14631                                                                                                        

 

 

Page last modified: March 21, 2013