Staff Pick – Laura Jean– WOLF HALL by Hilary Mantel, DB 70074

The recent adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall (Digital: DB 70074, Large print: LB 07612) for the screen and stage has brought renewed interested in this 2009 Man Booker Prize winning novel. Wolf Hall relates the story of Henry VIII’s marriage to Anne Boleyn and the religious and political repercussions that ensued. The author adds a unique twist by telling this tale through the viewpoint of Henry’s advisor, Thomas Cromwell. Richly detailed, slow-paced, and character driven, Wolf Hall truly immerses the reader in the world of the sixteenth century English court.

NLS Annotation: Thomas Cromwell, a closet Protestant and blacksmith’s son who becomes advisor to Henry VIII of England, realizes that he can accumulate power and wealth by assisting the king in obtaining an annulment and simultaneously help commoners and his country by destroying the corrupt Catholic clergy. Booker Prize. Bestseller.  2009.

Wolf Hall is the first book in Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy. It is followed by Bring Up the Bodies (DB 74880) and will conclude with The Mirror and the Light, which is currently scheduled to be published later this year.

For an another fictional view of Anne Boleyn’s rise and fall, through the eyes of her sister Mary, try The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory (DB 58873). To read Anne’s story from her own perspective, try Lady in the Tower,  the fourth book in the Queens of England series by Jean Plaidy (Digital cartridge: DX 32305; BARD: DB 32305).

TBP visits Rio Grande City Public Library

One of our TBP Readers Advisory Librarians recently visited the Rio Grande City Public Library to inform patrons of the services made available through our Talking Book Program. In this video, produced by Rio Grande City TV, we go step by step through the process of signing up for, receiving and returning the FREE materials offered through TBP.

Bertrice Small, Historical Romance Author, Dies at Age 77

Bertrice Small, New York Times bestselling novelist of historical romance and contemporary erotica, passed away on February 24th in Southold, New York. The author of more than 50 novels since her debut novel Kadin in 1978, Small was considered a pioneer in the genre of modern romance.

Known as one of the original “Avon Ladies”, Small belonged to a group of novelists who radically changed the public perception of romance during the late 1970s.  Bringing more erotic content as well as strong female protagonists to her novels, Small helped transform the genre from the gentle romances of Anya Seton and Taylor Caldwell and pave the way for contemporary romance authors such as Diana Gabaldon.

Fans of the genre supported her innovative approach to romance. Small not only appeared frequently on  best-seller lists; she was also the recipient of multiple awards such as Best Historical Romance, Outstanding Historical Romance Series, Career Achievement for Historical Fantasy and several Reviewers’ Choice awards from the industry publication, Romantic Times. She was also awarded a “Silver Pen” from Affaire de Coeur, and an Honorable Mention from the West Coast Review of Books. In 2014 she was granted the most prestigious honor awarded by the Romance Writers of America, the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award.

Titles by Beatrice Small in the TBP collection:

Skye O’Malley Saga series

  1. Skye O’Malley                        DB   18031/ DX   18031 (also available on BARD)
  2. All the Sweet Tomorrows       DB   76411
  3. Love for All Time                    DB   76564
  4. This Heart of Mine                  DB   76757
  5. Lost Love Found                     DB   77075
  6. Wild Jasmine                          DB   77266

Skye’s Legacy series

  1. Darling Jasmine                    DB   77629
  2. Bedazzled                             DB   77829 (numbers 2-5 are on one cartridge)
  3. Besieged                               DB   77829
  4. Intrigued                                DB   77829
  5. Just Beyond Tomorrow         DB   77829
  6. Vixens                                   DB   55861/ DX   55861 (also available  on BARD)

Friarsgate Inheritance series

  1. Rosamund                           DB   55518/ DX   55518 (also available  on BARD)
  2. Until You                              DB   59491/ DX   59491
  3. Philippa                                DB   60223/ DX   60223 (also available  on BARD)
  4. Last Heiress                         DB   63776/ DX   63776 (also available  on BARD)

Border Chronicles series

  1. Dangerous Love                  DB   66278
  2. Border Lord’s Bride             DB   71596
  3. Captive Heart                       DB   68669/ LB   06238
  4. Border Lord and the Lady    DB   72508
  5. Border Vixen                        DB   73159
  6. Bond of Passion                   DB   74799

Standalone Titles

To Love Again                      DB   44158/ DX 44158 (also available  on BARD)

Love Slave                           DB   45233/ DX 45233 (also available  on BARD)

Duchess                               BR   13502/ DB 52457 (also available  on BARD)



Statewide Independent Living Conference March 1-3, 2015

The Texas State Independent Living Conference will take place on March 1 – 3, 2014, in Austin, at the Austin Marriott South, 4415 S. IH 35. The theme of this year’s conference is F.I.R.E. – Future Independence through Resources and Education.

This conference offers panel discussions, advocacy training, networking opportunities, and access to exhibitors promoting disability-related services and products.

The Independent Living Conference will coincide with two important events: the operation of the 84th Texas Legislature, and a visit from the Legacy Project, a bus touring the country to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

For more information about the conference, please visit:

March 2015 TBP Book Club Title Announced!

Texas Talking Book patrons: please join us on Thursday March 26th at 7 pm (Central Time) for our book club discussion of UNBROKEN: A WORLD WAR II STORY OF SURVIVAL, RESILIENCE, AND REDEMPTION by Laura Hillenbrand (DB 72129).

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 March 12th) or email us at:  Please indicate if you would like us to mail you the digital cartridge or if you prefer to download the book from BARD.

NLS Annotation:


Author of SEABISCUIT (DB 51968) details the life of Louis Zamperini (b. 1917), an Olympic runner and World War II bombardier, who survived a plane crash and forty-seven days adrift at sea only to become a POW in Japan. Relates Louis’ later religious awakening under Billy Graham’s ministry. Violence. Bestseller. 2010.


Colleen McCullough, Author of The Thorn Birds, Dies at Age 77

Colleen McCullough, author of the enormously popular 1977 Australian romance The Thorn Birds, passed away on Thursday in Norfolk Island due to kidney failure. When the novel was first published, McCullough received $1.9 million for the paperback rights to The Thorn Birds–a record at the time. Since then, more than 30 million copies have been sold worldwide. This success enabled her to trade her poorly-paid career as a neurophysiologist for a life in writing.

The Thorn Birds, a romance novel about the Cleary dynasty and the forbidden relationship between Maggie and Catholic priest Ralph de Bricassart, later spawned the TV mini-series of the same name starring Richard Chamberlain and Rachel Ward. According to the New York Times, the mini-series was seen by more than 100 million people.

McCullough went on to write more than 20 books, including a memoir and two series -one of them about the saga of ancient Rome and its rulers. Although the public loved her work and consumed it accordingly, literary critics were not always kind. They decried her style of dialogue and her frequent use of exclamation points. McCullough, however, was unaffected by criticism. In fact, she was well known for her immovable self-confidence and strong opinions.

The New York Times quotes McCullough’s 2007 response to her critics on Australian Television: “I think in their heart of hearts all these people know that I’m more secure than they are, more confident than they are, and smarter than they are.”  Who can argue with that?

Titles by Colleen McCullough in the TBP collection:

  • TIM  (1974)  LB 01728
  • THORN BIRDS (1977)  BR 04284 / DB 51148 / DX 51148 / LB 02198
  • INDECENT OBSESSION (1981) BR 05058 / LB 02873
  • CREED FOR THE THIRD MILLENNIUM (1985) BR 06186 / RC 21535 / DX 21535
  • LADIES OF MISSALONGHI (1987)  BR 06907 / RC 25980 / DB 25980 (digital format of this title currently for download only)
  • FIRST MAN IN ROME: MASTERS OF ROME, BOOK 1 (1990) RC 32043 / DB 32043 (digital format of this title currently for download only)
  • GRASS CROWN: MASTERS OF ROME, BOOK 2 (1991)  RC 33912 / DX 33912
  • OCTOBER HORSE: MASTERS OF ROME, BOOK 6 (2002) RC 56136 / DX 56136
  • MORGAN’S RUN (2000) DB 50934  (digital format for this title currently for download only)
  • TOUCH (2003) DB 57769

February is Library Lover’s Month, and TBP is On the Road to Celebrate

February is Library Lover’s Month, so love your Talking Book Program by telling others who may be eligible for our service but may not have heard about TBP.  Spread the love – and the access to great books and magazines.

TBP Braille Story Time

TBP will be travelling all over Texas visiting public libraries for Braille Story Time – see below for more information – as well as visiting other events to promote our service and answer questions.  Look for us in your community soon!

Would your school or library like a unique story time program free of charge?  The Talking Book Program offers a story time that incorporates Braille as a teaching tool.

The program:

Our Public Awareness Coordinator, Heather Bailey, reads 2 – 3 classic picture books that have Braille and text.  Children of all ages get to feel the Braille alphabet and learn how vision impaired children and adults read the same stories others read.

A fun activity is included: each child will get to decode a Braille message using supplied Braille alphabet cards.  All materials are provided by the Talking Book Program.

Benefits of the program include sensory exposure using touch, compassion and understanding for others, and introduction to the language of Braille.

If your library or school is interested in TBP Story Time contact Heather Bailey at

512-463-5452 or

Outreach Dates for February 2015:

02/02 Braille Story Time – Lake Travis Library

02/04-02/05 ARC of Texas – San Marcos, TX

02/06 Special Olympics – Austin, TX

02/09 Braille Story Time  at Salado Public Library and at Boerne Public Library

02/10-02/12 Braille Story Time at Palacios Library, Calhoun Library, Jackson Library, Bay City Library and Victoria Library

02/14 Braille Story Time at Clara Mounce Library – Bryan, TX

02/19-02/20 Texas Transitions Conference – Dallas, TX

02/24 Braille Story Time at Boerne Library

02/28 Parent Resource Fair – Houston, TX


And the Winner is…

Oscar season is here and the nominees are in. As usual, some of the films nominated are based on books. Here is a list of some of those films and their corresponding books. Hurry up and read them so you can impress your friends on Oscar night!

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. The term glaucoma encompasses a number of eye diseases that affect the optic nerve. Individuals over the age of 60, especially people of color, and those with a family history are more at risk than the general population. Regular eye exams that check the pressure within the eye can detect glaucoma in the early stages. When diagnosed early, treatments for glaucoma can prevent serious vision loss.

For more information about glaucoma, please visit the following web sites:
Mayo Clinic:
Medline Plus:
National Eye Institute:

The following are glaucoma organizations that provide education and research-related information:
American Glaucoma Society: 415-561-8587,,
Bright Focus Foundation: 855-345-6647,,
The Glaucoma Foundation: 212-285-0080,,
Glaucoma Research Foundation: 415-986-3162 or 800-826-6693,,


The ABLE Act is a piece of legislation, recently passed by Congress and awaiting approval by President Obama, that will allow individuals with disabilities to set up tax free savings accounts.

Historically, being eligible for social service programs such as Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, and other services has meant that persons with disabilities have been mired in poverty because they were not allowed to have more than $2000 in savings. With this legislation, individuals will be able to deposit a maximum of $14,000 per year to use for education, housing, transportation, medical care, and other expenses.

The main limitations of this bill are that each person can only have one ABLE account, and the person must have acquired the disability before the age of 26.

For more information about the ABLE Act, please visit: