Bonus TBP Book Club Title Announced for June 2021!

Logo for Center for the Book

The Talking Book Program is participating in the Read Across Texas initiative sponsored by the Texas Center for the Book. In honor of this event, we will be hosting a bonus book club meeting so that our patrons can participate in this year’s event. For more information visit https://www.tsl.texas.gov/readacrosstexas.

Please join us on Thursday, June 24 at 7:00 p.m. (Central Time) for our book club discussion of WHAT UNITES US: REFLECTIONS ON PATRIOTISM by Dan Rather (DB 90479).

Please join us on Thursday June 24 at 7 pm (Central Time) for our book club discussion of WHAT UNITES US: REFLECTIONS ON PATRIOTISM by Dan Rather.

NLS Annotation: Essays from the television journalist and his longtime collaborator that celebrate the values that tend to be shared throughout America, particularly those related to patriotism. Topics discussed include public institutions such as parks and libraries, the drive for innovation, and more. Narrated by Dan Rather. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2017.

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 (RSVP preferred by May 27) or email us at: tbp.ral@tsl.texas.gov. Please indicate if you would like us to mail you the book in digital cartridge or if you prefer to download the audio version from BARD.

Beverly Cleary Passes Away at Age 104

Celebrated author Beverly Cleary passed away on March 25 at age 104. The author of more than 40 books for children, Cleary was declared a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress in 2000.

Bevely Cleary author

Born on April 12, 1916, in rural Oregon, her family moved to Portland when Cleary was in grade school.  She was placed in the school’s “low reading circle,” an experience which fostered a lifelong affinity for children who had trouble reading.

Cleary grew to love reading, and after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, became a Children’s Librarian. However, she didn’t begin writing until she was in her early thirties. Cleary said she was motivated to become an author by a boy at her library who asked why nobody writes books about kids like him.

Beginning with her first book, Henry Huggins, Cleary wrote books about “kids like him.”  Characters like Ramona Quimby, Ellen Tebbits, and Henry Huggins—not to mention Ralph S. Mouse, Socks the cat, and Henry’s dog, Ribsy—helped generations of children navigate their own often incomprehensible worlds.

Before becoming an author herself, Judy Blume delighted in reading Beverly Cleary books with her children because they were so much fun. However, Cleary didn’t wrap her characters in a cocoon of sugar-coated protective wrapping. The family of her most endearing character, Ramona Quimby, weathers years of financial difficulties. Leigh Botts, the protagonist of Dear Mr. Henshaw, struggles with his parents’ divorce and bullying at school.

Cleary won numerous awards, including the National Book Award for Ramona and Her MotherDear Mr. Henshaw won the Newbery Medal, while Ramona and Her Father and Ramona Quimby, Age 8 were both Newbery Honor Books.

In addition to children’s novels, Cleary wrote two autobiographies, including A Girl from Yamhill, which offers a touching portrait of life in the Pacific Northwest during the Roaring Twenties and Great Depression.

Sample some of these favorites and discover why Beverly Cleary was a “Living Legend.”

A GIRL FROM YAMHILL: A MEMOIR

The popular children’s author has written an account of her own early years. Beverly was transplanted to city life in Portland, Oregon, when the family farm failed. There, her father, who loved the outdoors, spent years as a bank guard while her demanding and difficult mother devoted herself to Beverly.

DB 29704; BR 09166

DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Leigh, a sixth grade boy, writes letters to Mr. Henshaw, who has been his favorite author since second grade. Leigh begins writing the letters because of a school assignment, then he discovers that he likes writing, especially when Mr. Henshaw writes back. And Mr. Henshaw’s surprising answers to Leigh’s questions change the boy’s life. For grades 4-7.  Newbery Medal Winner.  1983.

DB 21309; BR 15447

HENRY HUGGINS

A tonsillectomy and a broken arm are the most exciting things in Henry Huggins’ life until a hungry old mutt begs for Henry’s ice cream cone and a home.

DB 35642; DB 58985 (Spanish); BT 02469; LB 04239

MOUSE AND THE MOTORCYCLE

A young mouse named Ralph makes friends with a boy and discovers the joys of motorcycling.

DB 24692; BT 03505; LB 04206

RAMONA AND HER MOTHER

Ramona feels that seven and a half is an awkward age–too young to be home alone but too big to play with pesky little Willa Jean at the sitter’s house. And yet Ramona would like to still be her mother’s “little rabbit.” For grades 2-4.  1979.

DB 24836; BR 09251

RAMONA COLLECTION.  VOL 1

Four previously published books, written between 1955 and 1977, featuring the adventures of young Ramona Quimby. In Beezus and Ramona, Ramona provokes her family when she invites fifteen children to a party unannounced. Includes Ramona the Pest, Ramona the Brave, and Ramona and Her Father. For grades 2-4.  2013.

DB 90198

Nebula Awards Finalists 2021

The Nebula Awards were established by the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) in 1965  in order to create an annual anthology of the best science fiction stories of the year. The finalists were announced March 15. Winners will be announced June 5.

https://nebulas.sfwa.org/sfwa-announces-the-56th-annual-nebula-award-finalists/

Here are the finalists for 2021 that are in the TBP collection.

NOVEL


PIRANESI
CLARKE, SUSANNA
Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, and an ocean is imprisoned within its walls. He shares the house with the Other, who asks Piranesi for help but hides his true intentions. Strong language. 2020.
DB 100700 

CITY WE BECAME
JEMISIN, N.K.
Every great city has a soul. New York City? She’s got six, all newly awakened to their power. But every city also has a dark side. An ancient evil stirs, threatening to destroy New York and her six newborn avatars unless they can come together to stop it. Strong language, explicit descriptions of sex, and some violence. Commercial audiobook. 2020.
DB 98901
 
MEXICAN GOTHIC
MORENO-GARCIA, SILVIA
Mexico City, 1950. After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, socialite Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. Both the home and its owners seem to have a dark past. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2020.
DB 99404
 
BLACK SUN
ROANHORSE, REBECCA
In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice celebration is coinciding with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event the Sun Priest believes will lead to an unbalancing of the world. As the priests prepare, a ship heads towards Tova with a seemingly harmless passenger. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.
DB 101429
 
NETWORK EFFECT: THE MURDERBOT DIARIES
WELLS, MARTHA
Murderbot’s human associates that are definitely not its friends are captured and another not-friend from its past also requires urgent assistance, leaving Murderbot no choice but to take drastic action. Commercial audiobook. 2020.
DB 100216

NOVELLA

RING SHOUT: OR, HUNTING KU KLUXES IN THE END TIMES
CLARK, P. DJELI
In 1915, the Ku Klux Klan spread fear and violence in their plan to bring Hell to Earth. Standing in their way is Maryse Boudreaux and her fellow resistance fighters. Armed with blade, bullet, and bomb, they hunt their hunters and send the Klan’s demons straight to Hell. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.
DB 101148
 
RIOT BABY
ONYEBUCHI, TOCHI
Siblings Ella and Kev have extraordinary power, but they face structural racism and brutality while growing up. When Kev is put in prison, Ella works to inspire him to fight against America’s broken society. Strong language and some violence. 2020.
DB 98546; BR 23284

THE ANDRE NORTON NEBULA AWARD FOR MIDDLE GRADE AND YOUNG ADULT FICTION

RAYBEARER
IFUEKO, JORDAN
Raised in isolation, Tarisai yearns for the closeness she could have as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of Eleven. But her mother, The Lady, has magically compelled Tarisai to kill the Crown Prince. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2020.
DB 100566
 
ELATSOE
LITTLE BADGER, DARCIE
In an America shaped dramatically by magic and monsters, seventeen-year-old Ellie uses her ability to raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family, to find out who murdered her cousin. Some violence and some strong language. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2020.
DB 101473
 
GAME OF FOX & SQUIRRELS
REESE, JENN
After an incident shatters their family, eleven-year-old Samantha and her older sister, Caitlin, are sent to live with an aunt they’ve never met. When Aunt Vicky gives Sam a mysterious card game, Sam is swept up in the dangerous quest, where the line between magic and reality grows thin. For grades 5-8. 2020.
DB 100744

Workshops from the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area

The Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area will soon offer two workshops of interest to seniors and their caregivers:

  • The Chronic Pain Self-Management workshop is available to seniors age 60 or older. This six-week virtual course is available online or by phone and will run for two and a half hours each Thursday from 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. beginning on May 13 and ending on June 17.
  • The Caregiver workshop is for anyone who provides care for a senior who is 60 or older. This six-week virtual course is available online or by phone and will run for two and a half hours each Wednesday from 1:30 – 4:00 p.m. beginning on April 14 and ending on May 19.

Both workshops are free, but registration is required, and class size is limited. Contact Jessica Martone at 512-916-6180, or email jmartone@capcog.org for more information, or to register.

The Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area serves the counties of Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, Travis, and Williamson.

Other Area Agencies on Aging in Texas will have these workshops available at various times. To find the office that serves your county, visit https://apps.hhs.texas.gov/contact/aaa.cfm or call 1-800-252-9240.

Talking Book Program 2020 Poetry Contest Winners

2020 Texas Talking Book Program Poetry Contest Winners Announced!

We are pleased to announce the winners of the Talking Book Program Poetry Contest. Thank you to all that participated this year! We received a wide range of poems – some were inspiring, some were sentimental, and some were downright funny.

First Place

ONE HALLOWEEN NIGHT by Bennie Davis

Have you ever been in the woods on Halloween?
I have, and it’s the spookiest place I’ve ever seen!
There were witches and goblins behind every tree,
And I saw shiny eyes staring out at me.
The wind was blowing and all over the ground,
There was shadows and lights and ghosts dancing around.
And I heard a hoot owl away off somewhere hollering –who, who—
Who goes there?
Now, I wasn’t scared and that’s a fact,
But I thought Mom might be worried, so I hurried back.
I heard the frogs croak, and the crickets sing,
Or was that a witch or a goblin scream?
The limbs on the trees waved and reached for me,
But I didn’t look back, there was nothing to see!
Now I see something up by my house,
With lots of teeth and a great big mouth, with a triangle shaped nose and glaring eyes.
Oh! That’s the jack-o-lantern I made after Mom made her pies.
Now this is all good and I was really having fun,
But it was getting late and I thought I’d better run.
I ran through the door and up to my room,
And I locked out the shadows, the ghost and gloom.
I took off my clothes and jumped into bed.
I snuggled down close and I shook my head,
And all the witches and goblins were gone,
But heck, I wasn’t scared. I was just puttin’ on!

Second Place

LIFE CHANGES by Donna Wilson

My eyes are dim. I cannot see.
My specs are little use to me.

An accident from afar; suddenly a speeding car,
Left my body painfully bleeding and ajar!
My wheelchair became my best friend,
I thought my life was at an end.

My days were long and empty then,
My unread books stared at me from dusty bins.

Then the mail came with a new surprise,
The TALKING BOOK CLUB catalog arrived!
I anxiously scanned its pages,
Filled with adventure and mystery for all ages!

I quickly placed my audio tape,
Into the space I found agape

Now my days fly by with ease,
As I explore deep seas and mysteries.
I would be quite lost and bored,
Without my TALKING BOOK RECORD!


Honorable Mention

A TALKING BOOK READER’S HAIKU by Neva Fairchild

With limitless use
Of stories from my bookshelf,
I experience!

African American Authors – Biographies, Autobiographies, and Memoirs

From classic African American authors from the early 20th century like James Baldwin and Langston Hughes to newer authors such as Saeed Jones and Nnedi Okorafor, the National Library Service (NLS) has books that tell the stories of their lives.

Biographies

ALICE WALKER: A LIFE
WHITE, EVELYN C.
Chronicles the life of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple (DB 58842, BR 12265). Traces Walker’s experiences as the daughter of Georgia sharecroppers, an acclaimed writer, and wife of a white NAACP lawyer. Explores her feminist and civil rights activism. Strong language. 2004.
DB 59554
 
CHESTER HIMES: A LIFE
SALLIS, JAMES
Discusses the African American novelist’s Missouri childhood, the inception of his writing career from prison, and the failure of his early works in a racially charged climate. Explains that Himes became famous writing crime stories while an expatriate in Europe. Some strong language.
DB 52754
 
LIFE OF LANGSTON HUGHES, VOLUME 1: 1902-1941. I, TOO, SING AMERICA
RAMPERSAD, ARNOLD
Rampersad’s biography of the American poet and writer takes Hughes from a tumultuous childhood in the Midwest, through worldwide travels and ramblings, to the early literary successes in New York. Tracing Hughes’s development and experiences, the book highlights the character of the artist, portraying him as a driven man devoted to his writing. 1986. Followed by LIFE OF LANGSTON HUGHES: VOLUME 2, 1941-1967: I DREAM A WORLD which continues the story of the noted poet (DB 28699)
DB 27535
 
LOOKING FOR LORRAINE: THE RADIANT AND RADICAL LIFE OF LORRAINE HANSBERRY
PERRY, IMANI
A portrait of the activist and writer best known for A Raisin in the Sun (DB 15750). Discusses Hansberry’s bold stances on civil rights, the prominent figures with whom she associated, her involvement in one of the nation’s first lesbian organizations, and the attention she drew from the FBI. Some strong language. Commercial audiobook. 2018.
DB 92981
 
NEVER WOULD HAVE MADE IT: THE RISE OF TYLER PERRY, THE MOST POWERFUL ENTERTAINER IN BLACK AMERICA (AND WHAT IT REALLY TOOK HIM TO GET THERE)
CHILDS, MELVIN
Entertainment producer describes the rise of African American comedian Tyler Perry as his career expanded from the “chitlin’ circuit” of black Southern clubs into a multi-billion-dollar enterprise. Highlights the financial side of show business and the author’s estrangement from Perry. Strong language. 2012.
BR 19674
 
RALPH ELLISON: A BIOGRAPHY
RAMPERSAD, ARNOLD
Professor analyzes the life of African American writer Ralph Ellison, whose only novel, Invisible Man (DB 56346, BR 14988), won the 1953 National Book Award. Uses Ellison’s correspondence to detail the personal and artistic struggles he endured, as well as his social and cultural milieu. 2007.
DB 65148
 
RICHARD WRIGHT: THE LIFE AND TIMES
ROWLEY, HAZEL
Interweaving journals, letters, and personal recollections, biographer Rowley illuminates the important African American novelist’s life, work, and ideas. Portrays Wright as a self-taught intellectual, an independent thinker, and an outspoken critic of racism. Examines his relationships with other writers, such as Ralph Ellison and Langston Hughes. Bestseller.
DB 53071
 
STREET POISON: THE BIOGRAPHY OF ICEBERG SLIM
GIFFORD, JUSTIN
Literature professor chronicles the life of Robert Beck (1918-1992), better known as Iceberg Slim, author of Pimp (DB 79726), Doom Fox (DB 80092), and Trick Baby (DB 80284). Discusses Slim’s criminal lifestyle and how it influenced his later writings, and appraises his significance in popular culture. Strong language. 2015.
DB 83628
 
SORROW’S KITCHEN: THE LIFE AND FOLKLORE OF ZORA NEALE HURSTON
LYONS, MARY E.
Lyons inserts samples of Hurston’s fiction, autobiography, and folklore collected in Florida, Louisiana, and the West Indies into this account of the African American anthropologist and Harlem Renaissance writer of stories, plays, essays, and articles.
DB 41455
 
SURPRISED QUEENHOOD IN THE NEW BLACK SUN: THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF GWENDOLYN BROOKS
JACKSON, ANGELA
Biography of author of Bronzeville Boys and Girls (DB 63916). Discusses Brooks’ early years in Chicago, personal relationships, racism she experienced, and publishing career. Examines the influence of her experiences on specific pieces of her work. Commercial audiobook. 2017.
DB 88823

Autobiographies and Memoirs

AMERICAN HUNGER
WRIGHT, RICHARD
Compelling autobiographical continuation of BLACK BOY (DB 20415, BR 04398) covering Wright’s struggle to make his way in Chicago and New York. Traces his experience with poverty and racism, his development as a writer, and his conversion to and estrangement from the Communist Party. Some strong language.
DB 10660
 
BROKEN PLACES & OUTER SPACES: FINDING CREATIVITY IN THE UNEXPECTED
OKORAFOR, NNEDI
The author recounts how a simple operation took her from track star to paralyzed. Confined in a hospital bed for months, she began to imagine fantastical things and turn those experiences into writing. Also discusses her childhood and other authors who have used hardship to fuel their work. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2019.
DB 96603
 
FATHERALONG: A MEDITATION ON FATHERS AND SONS, RACE AND SOCIETY
WIDEMAN, JOHN EDGAR
A collection of six essays examining a strained father son relationship in terms of social issues about race and family. Wideman, an award-winning novelist who wrote about his brother and himself in “Brothers and Keepers” (DB 23360), here combines a memoir of his father with observations about African-American life. Some strong language.
DB 40624
 
HOW WE FIGHT FOR OUR LIVES: A MEMOIR
JONES, SAEED
A poet describes his experiences growing up as black and gay in the American South through a series of vignettes. Describes familial relationships, romantic flings, and friendships. Examines what people do for and to each other in the search for identity. Strong language and some descriptions of sex.  Commercial audiobook. 2019.
DB 98361; BR 21014)
 
I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS
ANGELOU, MAYA
The first book in an autobiographical series. The author describes the childhood and adolescence of a black girl in rural Arkansas, St. Louis, and San Francisco.  She is a strong and sensitive young woman who endures and overcomes many horrors in her life. 1969. Followed by GATHER TOGETHER IN MY NAME (DB 56481; BR 16910).
DB 24959; BR 15665)
 
NO NAME IN THE STREET
BALDWIN, JAMES
Best known for GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN (DB 33488, BR 08734 ), in this personal statement Baldwin tells of his years of self- exile and renewal abroad, of his activities in the civil rights movement, and his road back to complete involvement in the cause of black people in America.
DB 25147
 
REGION NOT HOME: REFLECTIONS FROM EXILE
MCPHERSON, JAMES ALAN
First African American winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for ELBOW ROOM (DB 16996; BR 12600), in this collection of essays the author discusses his pursuits, from the segregated South to Morris Brown College, Harvard Law School, the University of Virginia, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Reflects on his love for his daughter, the experiences of Americans, life’s sorrows and delights, and works by other authors. Some strong language.
DB 52007
 
WHAT BECOMES OF THE BROKENHEARTED: A MEMOIR
HARRIS, E. LYNN
Autobiography by gay, African American, bestselling author of Invisible Life (DB 38731). Describes his humble beginnings in Arkansas, his career development, failed romantic relationships, bouts with depression, and deep faith in God. Strong language and some violence. Bestseller. 2003.
DB 56881

A Mighty Good Time Programming for Seniors

A Mighty Good Time is a web site for older adults living in the Central Texas area that lists online and in-person programming designed for senior citizens. As most events are virtual for the foreseeable future, this programming can now be accessed from anywhere. These events include a variety of exercise options, virtual tours of museums and world landmarks, cooking demonstrations, book clubs, current event discussions, learning about technology, history lectures, games, and much more. Some of the programs are limited to seniors fifty years and older, but many have no age requirement. And most of the programs are free. Most require Internet access, but some may be accessed by phone or Internet.

During this time of isolation, A Mighty Good Time offers a wealth of social, physical, and intellectual enrichment opportunities. Visit www.amightygoodtime.com and start filling up your calendar.

Senior Planet’s Aging Connected Technology Sessions

Senior Planet is a national organization committed to providing free online programming to older adults. Every week seniors can access a variety of events such as types of exercise, book clubs, and learning opportunities. There are Senior Planet offices in a few cities, including San Antonio.

Recently Senior Planet launched Aging Connected, with the goal of helping seniors learn about technology. Each week Aging Connected highlights the one hour programs that Senior Planet offers about different aspects of current technology, such as getting connected, online shopping, mobile health apps, virtual platforms such as Zoom, transportation apps, and much more. These sessions are interactive, and participants are encouraged to ask questions, and share ideas and resources.

For more information, visit https://seniorplanet.org/aging-connected. You can also call the Aging Connected hotline at 877-745-1930.

Transportation in Travis County

The United Way of Central Texas can provide transportation through the ride share service Lyft for individuals in Travis County who need rides to doctor appointments, job interviews, or for grocery shopping.

United Way sets up the rides, so the individual does not need a smart phone or mobile device. Interested persons can call Connect ATX for more information at 833-512-2289. Connect ATX operates from 9 am – 4 pm Monday – Friday.

March 2021 TBP Book Club Title Announced!

Please join us on Tuesday, March 23, 2021, at 7:00 p.m. Central for our Book Club discussion of THE BODY: A GUIDE FOR OCCUPANTS, by Bill Bryson.

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

To register, please call the Talking Book Program at 1-800-252-9605; or email us at tbp.ral@tsl.texas.gov.

THE BODY: A GUIDE FOR OCCUPANTS is available by mail as a digital cartridge and in large print. It is also available to download on BARD.

Please indicate if you would like us to mail you a digital or large print copy of the book, or if you will download it from BARD.

We ask that everyone remember the following:

  • Be courteous and respectful of differing opinions.
  • Keep discussion points concise and relevant to the book.
  • Keep external distractions to a minimum.

THE BODY: A GUIDE FOR OCCUPANTS

Bill Bryson

Guides readers through the human body—how it functions, its remarkable ability to heal itself, and the ways it can fail.  Using facts—your body made a million red blood cells since you started reading this—and anecdotes, creates a deeper understanding of the miracle that is you.  Unrated.  Commercial audiobook.  Bestseller.  2019.  DB 96770; LB 12649

We look forward to having you join us on March 23!