To Kill A Mockingbird Read-a-thon

Barnes and Noble held a nation wide read-a-thon of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD on July 13th in anticipation of the release of Harper Lee’s new book GO SET A WATCHMAN.  Victor, a Reader Consultant, represented The Talking Book Program by reading a chapter of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD in Braille.

A photo of Victor seated at a podium, reading.

A photo of the book, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, with Victor in the background.

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is available for TBP patrons to borrow in Braille (BR 12850), Digital Cartridge (DB 77672; DX 36414) and to download from BARD (DB 77672; DB 36414).

NLS Annotation: Scout Finch is an outspoken and literate six-year-old tomboy when she begins her tale of growing up in a small Alabama town with her brother Jem and her attorney father Atticus. The children’s intense curiosity about a reclusive neighbor is eclipsed by Atticus’s attempt to defend a black man against charges of raping a white woman. Pulitzer Prize winner. For high school and older readers.

If you loved TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, you may also be interested in:

MOCKINGBIRD NEXT DOOR: LIFE WITH HARPER LEE (DB 79569) NLS Annotation: Journalist describes becoming friends with author Harper Lee (born 1926), known to her family and friends as Nelle, and her sister Alice and eventually moving in next door to them. Provides insights into Lee’s reclusiveness and reluctance about writing another novel after To Kill a Mockingbird (DB 36414/77672). Bestseller. 2014.

MOCKINGBIRD: A PORTRAIT OF HARPER LEE  (DB 64071; DX 64071; LB 05211) NLS Annotation: Biography of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of To Kill a Mockingbird based on extensive interviews with acquaintances and the papers of Lee’s lifelong friend Truman Capote. Traces Lee’s Alabama childhood, time in 1950s New York City, and reclusive life after the 1960 publication of her only novel. 2006.


January 2015 TBP Book Club Title Announced!

Texas Talking Book patrons: please join us on Tuesday, January 27th at 7 pm (Central Time) for our book club discussion of THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY by Rachel Joyce (DB 76196).

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 January 13th) or email us at:  Please indicate if you would like us to mail you the digital cartridge or if you prefer to download it from BARD.

NLS Annotation:

Six months after retiring, Harold Fry receives a letter from former coworker Queenie Hennessy, who is dying of cancer. Intending to post a reply, Harold instead walks the length of England to personally deliver his note, leaving behind his wife Maureen. Along the way Harold ruminates on his life. Some strong language. 2012.

Staff Pick – Laura – OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, DB 36535

With the television adaptation premiering this month, the OUTLANDER book series by Diana Gabaldon is experiencing a resurgence of popularity.  If you enjoy historical novels that vividly describe the time and place of their setting with a fiery love story and a slight fantastical twist, you will undoubtedly enjoy this series.  Start with OUTLANDER (DB 36535).

NLS Annotation for OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon (DB 36535):  It is 1945. Frank and Claire Randall are on a second honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands, where Claire is studying rare plants and Frank is researching family origins. One day Claire steps into an ancient stone circle and is hurled back in time to 1743. She is nearly raped by one of Frank’s ancestors before being rescued and forced into marriage. Violence, strong language, and explicit descriptions of sex. Prequel to Dragonfly in Amber (DB 36536).

Have you read the entire OUTLANDER series?  Try THE RIVER OF NO RETURN by Bee Ridgeway (DB 76677) for another exciting, time-traveling historical-romance.

YALSA’s Young Adult Literature Symposium

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association, is holding it’s forth annual Young Adult Literature Symposium in Austin, TX on November 14-16, 2014.  This year’s theme is Keeping it Real: Finding the True Teen Experience in YA Literature. More than forty-five authors are planning to participate in the symposium, including Lauren Oliver, Maggie Stiefvater, and Jacqueline Woodson – just to name a few–and you don’t have to be a librarian to get in on the fun! If you’re a fan of young adult fiction, be sure to check out the website for the preliminary program and list of participating authors.  The symposium isn’t until November, but registration is already open and early bird pricing is available. More information can be found here:



Staff Pick – Laura – ORYX AND CRAKE by Margaret Atwood, DB 56234

Snowman, once known as Jimmy, struggles to survive as the last human in a world destroyed by a bio-engineered plague. Starving and sometimes drunk, he is tormented by flashes of memory of his best friend, Crake, his love, Oryx, and the events that led up to the destruction of humankind. Surrounded by a new race, the Crakers, and genetically engineered animals now running free in the wild, Snowman struggles to remember. He decides to journey back to where the end began. Through a series of flashbacks, the reader glimpses a society obsessed with scientific advancement for profit where dissenters are silenced by mega-corporations. As Snowman travels closer to the compound, he moves closer to the truth of what happened. This is an unsettling, darkly humorous, and engrossing read.

ORYX AND CRAKE is the first book in Margaret Atwood’s MADDADAM TRILOGY.  It is followed by THE YEAR OF THE FLOOD (DB 69893) and concludes with MADDADAM (DB 77487)

NLS ANNOTATION: In the near future, a lone human amidst genetically engineered creatures torments himself with memories of the devastation of the natural world. Calling himself “Snowman,” he recalls the role of his best friend Crake and mourns the loss of their mutually beloved Oryx.  Some descriptions of sex and some strong language. 2003.  DB 56234

Staff Picks – Laura – THE MINDFUL CARNIVORE, DB 76169

A lot has been published in the last ten years on the American diet and our relationship with food.  Some of the books focus on how factory farming and industrialized agriculture have changed our health and culture as a nation.  Some speak to the environmental impact of our modern food systems.  Many question the morality of participating in these systems and present alternatives like eating a vegetarian diet or only eating locally grown, organic food.  THE MINDFUL CARNIVORE is a personal account of one man who considers these questions and struggles to find a responsible solution.  Author Tovar Cerulli shares his transition from an omnivorous child, to staunch vegan, and finally to a compassionate hunter and meat eater.   If you like slowly-unfolding personal narratives and examining the relationship between humans and their food, you might enjoy this book.


Author chronicles his dietary journey from his childhood as an omnivore and avid fisherman, to early adulthood as a strict vegan, and later a more thoughtful carnivore. Explores the history of vegetarianism in American culture, and ways his personal relationships affected his thoughts on the acquisition of food. 2012. DB 76169

If you enjoyed THE MINDFUL CARNIVORE, you might also like the author Michael Pollan.  Start with THE OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA: A NATURAL HISTORY OF FOUR MEALS – DB 62557



Staff Picks – Laura – LET’S EXPLORE DIABETES WITH OWLS, DB 76599

LET’S EXPLORE DIABETES WITH OWLS is a collection of amusing essays that focus on David Sedaris’ experiences living abroad, his dysfunctional family, and a smattering of other topics told in his distinctive voice.  If you enjoy witty, self deprecating humor that can pack an emotional punch, this collection might be for you.   THE HAPPY PLACE, which recounted Sedaris’ first experience getting a colonoscopy, had me laughing so hard I cried.

NLS Annotation:


Twenty-six essays by the humorist. “Dentists without Borders” describes the nonchalance of his doctor, dentist, and periodontist in France. In “Understanding Understanding Owls” Sedaris shops for a stuffed owl for his boyfriend and is disconcerted by how accurately the taxidermist sizes him up. Some strong language. Commercial Audiobook. 2013.

DB   76599

Staff Picks – Laura – OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE, DB 77198

THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE begins as a man returns to his childhood home for a funeral.  As he explores his old neighborhood he is inexplicably pulled towards the farm of his childhood friend Lettie.  There he finds her family still living, unchanged despite the years.  As he sits by their pond, memories of the terrifying events of his childhood unfold.  Through the eyes of his seven year old self, we learn how the boy befriended Lettie, who, though she was 11, had been so for a very, very long time, and how they together encountered a malevolent presence from another world that used him as a conduit to cross into ours.  When he and Lettie confronted the presence to send it back, tragedy occurred.  This haunting and affecting story deftly portrays the loneliness of childhood and how tragedy can follow you your entire life, floating right below the surface of memory.

NLS Annotation:


Sussex, England. A man returns to his childhood home for a funeral.  While there, he is drawn to the farm where his friend Lettiee lived with her mother and grandmother. After he enters the property, he remembers the terrifying experiences he and Lettiee shared. Some violence. Bestseller. 2013.  DB   77198; BR   20187

Staff Picks – Laura – Doll Bones, DB 76559

Doll Bones by Holly Black is middle-grade fiction that seems to defy classification.  It is many genres all rolled into one book!  It is a friendship tale, a coming of age story, an adventure, a bit of a mystery, and a dash of a ghost story too.  These elements mesh together to create an engaging tale of three friends on the edge of adolescence (with all its complications and confusions) who band together on a quest to bring peace to an uneasy spirit inhabiting a china doll.  The characters are realistic, the adventure is exciting, and the atmosphere is eerie and creepy without crossing over into the land of nightmares.

NLS annotation: Preteens Zach, Alice, and Poppy act out adventures with action figures and a china doll long after their classmates have stopped such play.  But when Poppy is haunted by dreams about the eerie doll, the friends begin a real-life exploit. For grades 5-8 and older readers.  2013.  DB 76559.

Can’t get enough of creepy dolls?  Try Coraline by Neil Gaiman.  DB   54845  DLD