Staff Pick – Laura Jean– BEST TO LAUGH: A NOVEL by Lorna Landvik, DBC 02662

If you like books that have a nostalgic and upbeat tone, similar to FRIED GREEN TOMATOES AT THE WHISTLESTOP CAFÉ by Fannie Flagg, you may really enjoy BEST TO LAUGH by Lorna Landik.

You can get a sense of Ms. Landvik’s sense of humor and writing style from the Bio and FAQ section on her webpage. She explains how she gets ideas for her books with the following quote: “I buy them from the Idea Man; two for a dollar. Early in my career, he tried to sell me an idea about a girl with a dragon tattoo, but I bought the idea for The Tall Pine Polka instead. When he’s out on the road, selling stuff I declined to J. K. Rowling or Suzanne Collins, I scavenge around and find ideas in roadside cafes, in a whiff of pipe smoke or ripe peaches, in an autumn vista, in a song fading out on the car radio, in the stillness of my monkey mind.”

Ms. Landvik brings this same wit and whimsy to the protagonist in BEST TO LAUGH, Candy, who with the help of an ensemble of zany friends and her personal “life saber”, embraces her new life in 1970s Hollywood.

 

NLS Annotation As a child, Candy Pekkala seemed to get unhappy experiences in Minnesota, so when a cousin called with a Hollywood apartment, Candy jumped at it. Her new fellow tenants include a female bodybuilder, a ruined nightclub impresario, and a well-connected old Romanian fortune-teller. Candy figured if she always lived by her wits here, she would have a chance to live with them. There are game show appearances, temp jobs and the allure of stand-up comedy. For high school and adult readers.

If you enjoyed this book or generally like humorous books with a host of quirky characters, you might try BIG STONE GAP by Adriana Trigiani, DB 52742.

Staff Pick – Laura Jean– BOY KINGS OF TEXAS: A MEMOIR by Domingo Martinez, DT 07183

New York Times Best Seller and 2012 National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction, BOY KINGS OF TEXAS is a memoir about growing up in the rural area around Brownsville, Texas during the 1980s. Written in an engaging and gritty, yet at times lyrical style, Mr. Martinez is unflinchingly and brutally honest about the poverty and abuse he endured during his childhood. However, he is able to see what causes his family’s behavior as well as his own. It results in a fascinating view into the lives of a Mexican American family.

NLS Annotation: Brownsville, Texas. Domingo Martinez lays bare his interior and exterior worlds as he struggles to make sense of the violent and the ugly, along with the beautiful and the loving. Partly a reflection on the culture of machismo and partly an exploration of the author’s boyhood spent in his sister’s hand-me-down clothes, this book delves into the enduring and complex bond between Martinez and his deeply flawed, but fiercely protective older brother. Violence, strong language, and some explicit descriptions of sex. 2012.

If you enjoy this book there is a sequel, MY HEART IS A DRUNKEN COMPASS: A MEMOIR (DB 80854)

October 2017 TBP Book Club Title Announced!

Texas Talking Book patrons: please join us on Thursday October 12th at 7 pm (Central Time) for our book club discussion of ROAD TO CHARACTER by David Brooks (DB   81325, LB   08536)

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 September 21st) or email us at: tbp.ral@tsl.texas.gov.  Please indicate if you would like us to mail you the digital cartridge or if you prefer to download it from BARD.

NLS Annotation:

The author of The Social Animal (DB 72914) looks at the lives of ten famous men and women known for having overcome personal weakness to achieve outward success and inner worth. Each exemplifies humility, hard work, and devotion to a cause. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. Some violence, some strong language and some descriptions of sex. 2015.

25 True Tales of Survival

Do you enjoy stories of adventure and endurance through hardship? Here are 25 stories of real life survival. From stories of perseverance through natural terrors such as avalanches, storms, and wild animals to stories of escape from more man-made horrors such as religious sects, kidnappers, and war; this list includes books that will thrill you from the comfort of your own reading chair.

Title: AFTER THE FIRE: A TRUE STORY OF FRIENDSHIP AND SURVIVAL
Author: FISHER, ROBIN GABY
DB 68376

Title: BEYOND BELIEF: MY SECRET LIFE INSIDE SCIENTOLOGY AND MY HARROWING ESCAPE
Author: HILL, JENNA MISCAVIGE
DB 76369, LB 07396

Title: BOY CAPTIVES: SUBTITLE READS: BEING THE TRUE STORY OF THE EXPERIENCES AND HARDSHIPS OF CLINTON L. SMITH AND JEFF D. SMITH AMONG THE COMANCHE AND APACHE INDIANS
Author: SMITH, CLINTON L. (CLINTON LAFAYETTE)
DT 07191

Title: CRAZY FOR THE STORM: A MEMOIR OF SURVIVAL
Author: OLLESTAD, NORMAN
DB 69509

Title: DEEP DOWN DARK: THE UNTOLD STORIES OF THIRTY-THREE MEN BURIED IN A CHILEAN MINE, AND THE MIRACLE THAT SET THEM FREE
Author: TOBAR, HECTOR
DB 80548

Title: DRESSMAKER OF KHAIR KHANA: FIVE SISTERS, ONE REMARKABLE FAMILY, AND THE WOMAN WHO RISKED EVERYTHING TO KEEP THEM SAFE
Author: TZEMACH LEMMON, GAYLE
DB 73665, LB 06821

Title: ESCAPE FROM CAMP FOURTEEN: ONE MAN’S REMARKABLE ODYSSEY FROM NORTH KOREA TO FREEDOM IN THE WEST
Author: HARDEN, BLAINE
DB 76532, LB 07479

Title: HIDING PLACE
Author: TEN BOOM, CORRIE
BR 02785, DB 43746, LB 01593

Title: HOLOCAUST TESTIMONIES: THE RUINS OF MEMORY
Author: LANGER, LAWRENCE L
DB 35346

Title: HOPE: A MEMOIR OF SURVIVAL IN CLEVELAND
Author: BERRY, AMANDA
DB 81802

Title: IN THE HEART OF THE SEA: THE TRAGEDY OF THE WHALESHIP ESSEX
Author: PHILBRICK, NATHANIEL
DB 50271

Title: IN THE KINGDOM OF ICE: THE GRAND AND TERRIBLE POLAR VOYAGE OF THE USS JEANNETTE
Author: SIDES, HAMPTON
DB 79535, LB 08615

Title: INTO THE ABYSS: AN EXTRAORDINARY TRUE STORY
Author: SHABEN, CAROL
DB 77894

Title: INTO THIN AIR: A PERSONAL ACCOUNT OF THE MOUNT EVEREST DISASTER
Author: KRAKAUER, JON
DB 44525

Title: ISAAC’S STORM: A MAN, A TIME, AND THE DEADLIEST HURRICANE IN HISTORY
Author: LARSON, ERIK
DB 48811

Title: LONE SURVIVOR: THE EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT OF OPERATION REDWING AND THE LOST HEROES OF SEAL TEAM TEN
Author: LUTTRELL, MARCUS
BR 21319, DB 64802

Title: LOST IN SHANGRI-LA: A TRUE STORY OF SURVIVAL, ADVENTURE, AND THE MOST INCREDIBLE RESCUE MISSION OF WORLD WAR II
Author: ZUCKOFF, MITCHELL
DB 73456

Title: MIRACLES ON THE WATER: THE HEROIC SURVIVORS OF A WORLD WAR II U-BOAT ATTACK
Author: NAGORSKI, TOM, 1962-
DB 82289

Title: SEA OF SHARKS: A SAILOR’S WORLD WAR II SURVIVAL STORY
Author: RENNER, ELMER
DB 60551

Title: SEDUCTIVE POISON: JONESTOWN SURVIVOR’S STORY OF LIFE AND DEATH
Author: LAYTON, DEBORAH
DB 48730

Title: STOLEN INNOCENCE: MY STORY OF GROWING UP IN A POLYGAMOUS SECT, BECOMING A TEENAGE BRIDE, AND BREAKING FREE OF WARREN JEFFS
Author: WALL, ELISSA
DB 66943

Title: STOLEN LIFE: A MEMOIR
Author: DUGARD, JAYCEE LEE
DB 73692

Title: TEN DEGREES OF RECKONING: THE TRUE STORY OF A FAMILY’S LOVE AND THE WILL TO SURVIVE
Author: RUMBERG, HESTER
DB 68440

Title: TIGER: A TRUE STORY OF VENGEANCE AND SURVIVAL
Author: VAILLANT, JOHN
DB 74579

Title: TRAPPED UNDER THE SEA: ONE ENGINEERING MARVEL, FIVE MEN, AND A DISASTER TEN MILES INTO THE DARKNESS
Author: SWIDEY, NEIL
DB 79523

Title: WALL OF WHITE: THE TRUE STORY OF HEROISM AND SURVIVAL IN THE FACE OF A DEADLY AVALANCHE
Author: WOODLIEF, JENNIFER
DB 71805

Staff Pick – Laura Jean– RELIC MASTER by Christopher Buckley, DB 83947

It is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation so we thought that patrons who enjoy historical fiction might like a novel dealing with that time and place in European History.  The 2002 winner of the Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence as well as the 2004 winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor, Christopher Buckley has created a witty and irreverent satire of 16th century Europe in his most recent novel RELIC MASTER.

relicmaster

NLS Annotation Switzerland, 1517. Dismas, a relic dealer, balances the demands of his two most prominent clients–Frederick, the ruler of Saxony, and the archbishop of Mainz. When his nest egg is stolen, his friend Albrecht Durer suggests creating the shroud that the archbishop covets. Some strong language. 2015.

If you enjoyed this novel, but would like to learn more about the historical figures that feature prominently in RELIC MASTER told in an informative yet entertaining manner, try HERETICS AND HEROES: HOW RENAISSANCE ARTISTS AND REFORMATION PRIESTS CREATED OUR WORLD part of the Hinges of History series written by Thomas Cahill, DB 78469.

Bill Gates’ 2017 Summer Reading List

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, has just announced his summer reading list for 2017. The Texas Talking Book Program has 80% of them in our collection. This year many of his selections are memoirs. Mr. Gates states that he chose books that took him outside of his own personal experiences in order to view the world from different perspectives. He hopes that these book selections will help readers to think about what it really means to connect with other people and find purpose in their lives.

For more information directly from Bill Gates himself: https://www.gatesnotes.com/About-Bill-Gates/Summer-Books-2017

The books in TBP’s collection:

Title: FULL LIFE: REFLECTIONS AT NINETY
Author: CARTER, JIMMY

Nobel Peace Prize winner and thirty-ninth President of the United States Jimmy Carter reflects on his life, both private and public. He discusses his youth in rural Georgia, his family, his military service, his decision to enter politics, and more. Carter reveals what he is proud of as well as his regrets. Bestseller. 2015
DB 83306; LB 08215

Title: BORN A CRIME: STORIES FROM A SOUTH AFRICAN CHILDHOOD
Author: NOAH, TREVOR

The host of TV’s The Daily Show shares his coming-of-age story as the child of a white father and black mother in South Africa. Their very union was considered a crime, and when the author was born during
apartheid, his biracial status made him an outcast. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2016.
DB 86608

Title: HILLBILLY ELEGY: A MEMOIR OF A FAMILY AND CULTURE IN CRISIS
Author: VANCE, J. D

Memoir of growing up in the Ohio Rust Belt in a family culture rooted in Scots-Irish Appalachia. Explores political themes affecting these community cultures through the lens of personal and familial experiences. Discusses what it took to go from nearly failing high school to graduating from Yale Law School. Some strong language. Bestseller. 2016.
DB 85796; LB 08948

Title: HOMO DEUS: A BRIEF HISTORY OF TOMORROW
Author: HARARI, YUVAL N

Author of Sapiens (DB 81335) examines the grand projects, dreams, and nightmares facing the human race at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Discusses changing economies, the role of faith systems, and humanity’s interconnectedness with the world around itself. Translated from the original 2015 Hebrew edition. Bestseller. 2017.
DB 87653 (In Process)

Sero App

Sero, formerly known as iBlink Radio, is an app that offers radio stations, podcasts and reading services of special interest to individuals with blindness or visual impairments. Each station offered is part of Community Radio and/or operated by persons with limited-to-no eyesight. Music offered spans various genres from classics of the 1950s to modern alternative rock. Reading services offered by the app include thousands of narrated newspapers, magazines and periodicals, including the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. The available podcasts are produced by blind or visually-impaired individuals on a variety of topics, including technology, independent living and travel.

Sero can be downloaded from the Apple App Store for iPhone and iPad, Google Play for Android devices, Amazon App Store for Kindle Fire and the Mac App Store for Apple computers.

This app is free, however without a subscription or free trial, you’ll have access to a small subset of the audio content, and none of the community features such as forums or voice chat. For unlimited access, there is an auto-renewing subscription available within the app for $5.99 per month.

To download Sero App for iOS, go to: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sero-formerly-iblink-radio/id332027117?mt=8

To download the Sero App for Android, go to: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.serotek.iblink&hl=en

Mention of a product or service in this blog does not constitute endorsement by this library. Our intention is to increase an awareness of programs and items that may be helpful to our patrons.

Texas Music and Musicians

Austin promotes itself as “The Live Music Capital of the World,” a reference to the many musicians and live music venues within the city, as well as the TV concert series Austin City Limits. However, the entire state of Texas has a long and varied musical history. It is the birthplace of many singers, songwriters and musicians who represent many different types of music. From traditional country musicians like Gene Autry and Tex Ritter to contemporary R & B groups like Destiny’s Child, The Talking Book Program has biographies and memoirs as well as more general books on Texas music in our collection.

General
Title: NEVER HEARD OF ‘EM: AUSTIN’S MUSIC EXPLOSION, 1994-2000
Author: DONAHOE, SUE
DT 07268 DBC 04845 (BARD)

Title: TEXAS RHYTHM, TEXAS RHYME: A PICTORIAL HISTORY OF TEXAS MUSIC
Author: WILLOUGHBY, LARRY
DT 03981

Gene Autry
Title: BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN
Author: AUTRY, GENE
DB 16849

Rodney Crowell
Title: CHINABERRY SIDEWALKS
Author: CROWELL, RODNEY
DB 73893

Kirk Franklin
Title: CHURCH BOY
Author: FRANKLIN, KIRK
DB 70436

Buddy Holly
Title: BUDDY HOLLY: A BIOGRAPHY
Author: AMBURN, ELLIS
DT 07070

Sam Lightnin’ Hopkins

Title: RAGGIN’ THE BLUES: LEGENDARY COUNTRY BLUES AND RAGTIME MUSCICIANS
Author: WILDS, MARY
DR 04188

Waylon Jennings
Title: WAYLON: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Author: JENNINGS, WAYLON
DB 43334

George Jones
Title: I LIVED TO TELL IT ALL
Author: JONES, GEORGE
DB 42850

Title: THREE OF US: GROWING UP WITH TAMMY AND GEORGE
Author: JONES, GEORGETTE
DB 76171

Janis Joplin
Title: JANIS JOPLIN: RISE UP SINGING
Author: ANGEL, ANN
BR 19426, DB 73764

Scott Joplin
Title: KING OF RAGTIME: SCOTT JOPLIN AND HIS ERA
Author: BERLIN, EDWARD A
DB 42223 (BARD)

Beyonce Knowles & Kelly Rowland
Title: SOUL SURVIVORS: THE OFFICIAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF DESTINY’S CHILD
Author: KNOWLES, BEYONCE
DB 55896 (BARD)

Willie Nelson
Title: FACTS OF LIFE AND OTHER DIRTY JOKES
Author: NELSON, WILLIE
DB 58592

Title: ROLL ME UP AND SMOKE ME WHEN I DIE: MUSINGS FROM THE ROAD
Author: NELSON, WILLIE
DB 75901

Title: IT’S A LONG STORY: MY LIFE
Author: NELSON, WILLIE
DB 81617

Title: WILLIE NELSON: AN EPIC LIFE
Author: PATOSKI, JOE NICK
DB 66762

Tex Ritter
Title: TEX RITTER
Author: Ritter, Tex
DBM 00878 (BARD)

Selena
Title: SELENA! PHENOMENAL LIFE AND TRAGIC DEATH OF THE TEJANO MUSIC QUEEN
Author: RICHMOND, CLINT
Bilingual
DB 44470

B. J. Thomas
Title: HOME WHERE I BELONG
Author: THOMAS, B.J
DB 14755 (BARD)

Tanya Tucker
Title: NICKEL DREAMS: MY LIFE
Author: TUCKER, TANYA
DB 48356

Townes Van Zandt
Title: TO LIVE’S TO FLY: THE BALLAD OF THE LATE, GREAT TOWNES VAN ZANDT
Author: KRUTH, JOHN
DT 07063 DBC 04839 (BARD)

Bob Wills
Title: LONE STAR SWING: ON THE TRAIL OF BOB WILLS AND HIS TEXAS PLAYBOYS
Author: MCLEAN, DUNCAN
DB 48652

Staff Pick – Laura Jean– THIRTEEN REASONS WHY by Jay Asher, DB 70544

The recent release on March 31st of Netflix’s series 13 Reasons, has generated new interest in the book on which it is based. THIRTEEN REASONS WHY. Character-driven with an emotionally intense tone, this book tells the story of Hannah Baker, through a series of audio cassettes recorded for the 13 different people who impacted her life…and in her opinion…precipitated her death.

Cover of Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Winner of multiple state book awards for young adults as well as a recipient of a coveted five stars from Teen Book Review, this book is author Jay Asher’s debut novel.

NLS Annotation Clay Jensen receives a box of audiocassettes in the mail with no return address. Hannah Baker–a girl he barely knew but secretly liked, who committed suicide–recorded a final message for thirteen people to listen to and then pass on to the next person. For senior high readers. 2007.

If you have already read this book and enjoy realistic young adult fiction that deals with coping with the suicide of an acquaintance try LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green, DB 61873. Or if you’d prefer the point of view be from the person contemplating suicide, try FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK by Matthew Quick, DB 77255.

June 2017 TBP Book Club Title Announced!

Texas Talking Book patrons: please join us on Tuesday June 6th at 7 pm (Central Time) for our book club discussion of ONE-HUNDRED-YEAR-OLD MAN WHO CLIMBED OUT THE WINDOW AND DISAPPEARED by Jonas Jonasson (DB 75820)

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 16th) or email us at: tbp.ral@tsl.texas.gov. Please indicate if you would like us to mail you the digital cartridge or if you prefer to download it from BARD.
NLS Annotation:
Sweden. On his one-hundredth birthday, former demolitions expert Allan Karlsson escapes from an old folks’ home, steals a suitcase filled with money, and begins a madcap adventure running from criminals and the police. Originally published in Swedish in 2009. Some strong language. 2012.