Are you a large print reader who loves a good mystery, a sweeping romance, or an exciting western story with a shoot-out at high noon? Or maybe you’d prefer a best seller or a gentle read? Check out our updated, comprehensive genre lists to find your next favorite read!
If you are interested in any of these titles, please contact a Reader Consultant to order by phone or e-mail: 1-800-252-9605 (toll-free in Texas); 512-463-5458 (Austin area); email@example.com
If you like contemporary mysteries with a western flavor such as the Walt Longmire Series by Craig Johnson or the Joe Pickett Series by C. J. Box, you might try the Texana Jones Mystery Series by Allana Martin, starting with DEATH OF A HEALING WOMAN (DB 47921). Winner of the 1996 Spur Award, this story, set in rural El Polvo, Texas, follows local resident Texana Jones as she investigates the murder of the local curandera, Rhea Fair.
Plot driven with a strong sense of place, this suspenseful mystery also hosts a cast of vividly memorable characters. The author, Allana Martin, lives in Marfa, Texas and her knowledge of the area reveals itself in her detailed descriptions of the people, culture and landscape of the border region.
Texana Jones operates a trading post on the Mexican-American border. She is still mourning the death of two friends when she finds the body of a third, healer Rhea Fair. The authorities blame drug couriers. As Texana investigates, an outbreak of rabies spreads through the countryside. Spur Award Winner. Some violence. 1996.
If you’ve already read this book and enjoy a good mystery series with a female protagonist that takes place in rural setting, you may try the Anna Pigeon Series by Nevada Barr, starting with TRACK OF THE CAT (DB 65648) If you’d prefer a male lead, try the Sheriff Dan Rhodes Series by Bill Crider.
If you enjoy literary historical Biblical fiction that is realistic in nature, you may enjoy THE SECRET CHORD. Nominated for the 2016 Women’s Prize for Fiction as well making Booklist’s Best Historical Fiction for 2016 list, THE SECRET CHORD tells the story of the Old Testament warrior, King David, from the viewpoint of Natan, his prophet and advisor.
Ms. Brooks, who won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for MARCH (DB 64617), provides a vivid, richly detailed view of the land of Israel a millennium prior to the birth of Christ. Amid this setting, she places a variety of characters who each relate a part of David’s life.
NLS Annotation: King David rules Israel during the Second Iron Age. As he moves from a lowly shepherd to the leader of the Israelites, the lives of those he impacts, including the prophet Natan, his wives, and his son Solomon, reflect back on him. Violence, strong language, and descriptions of sex. Commercial audiobook. 2015.
For a non-fiction look at the life of King David try KING DAVID: THE REAL LIFE OF THE MAN WHO RULED ISRAEL by Jonathan Kirsch DB 56945. Or if you’d enjoy another historical fictional account of this legendary man, try the Children of the Lion series by Peter Danielson. The eighteenth and nineteenth books in the series, THE SHINING KING DB 51108 and TRIUMPH OF THE LION DB 51109, both deal specifically with the life of King David.
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, has just announced his summer reading list for 2016. The Texas Talking Book Program has the majority of the list in our collection. Although many of his selections deal with math and science, Mr. Gates emphatically states that he chose books that made him think and kept him up at night reading instead of sleeping. He explains that he only chose ones that he genuinely loved.
For more information directly from Bill Gates himself, click on the video below.
In TBP’s collection:
Author: STEPHENSON, NEAL
A catastrophic event forces humanity to band together to survive, though only a handful succeed and flee Earth. Five thousand years later, their descendants number three billion and comprise seven distinct races. They embark on a journey into the unknown, to an alien world–Earth. Some strong language. Bestseller. 2015.
Title: SAPIENS: A BRIEF HISTORY OF HUMANKIND
Author: HARARI, YUVAL N
A discussion of the development of human culture and history, from the emergence of the first species of the genus Homo over 2 million years ago to the twenty-first century. Examines progress from the standpoints of biology, anthropology, paleontology, and economics. Translated from the 2011 Hebrew edition. Bestseller. 2015.
Title: HOW NOT TO BE WRONG: THE POWER OF MATHEMATICAL THINKING
Author: ELLENBERG, JORDAN, 1971-
Mathematician–and former child prodigy–reveals the mathematical patterns and principles that underlie everyday life. Ellenberg argues that math is an extension of common sense and can be learned by paying attention to aspects of the world around us–including electoral politics, the stock market, and grocery shopping. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2014.
Title: VITAL QUESTION: ENERGY, EVOLUTION, AND THE ORIGINS OF COMPLEX LIFE
Author: LANE, NICK, 1967-
Biochemist theorizes the emergence of morphologically complex life two billion years ago, two billion years after simple bacterial life arose. Discusses the basis for the question he is trying to answer, and presents evidence for his hypotheses, including cellular morphology and biochemistry, genetic divergence–including sex–and a 2010 discovery. 2015.
BR 21297; DB 83289
If you enjoy psychologically suspenseful novels such as GONE GIRL or GIRL ON THE TRAIN, you may enjoy Ruth Ware’s début novel IN A DARK, DARK WOOD (Digital: DB 82625, Large print: LB 08245, Braille: BR 21161). Set in the contemporary English countryside, this book tells the story of Leonora Shaw, who attends the bachelorette party of a high school friend.
Fast-paced with a menacing tone, Ms. Ware’s compelling writing kept me on the edge of my seat as I navigated the intricate plot twists. As the story progresses, Leonora proves to be an unreliable narrator, and secrets from her past influence events during the course of the weekend.
NLS Annotation: Twenty-six-year-old British crime-fiction writer Leonora Shaw is shocked to be invited to her long-estranged friend’s hen party. Soon after their arrival at the remote glass house in the woods, it becomes obvious that someone besides the invitees is on the property. Then Leonora awakens in the hospital. Strong language and some violence. 2015.
For another psychological suspenseful mystery featuring an unreliable female protagonist, try WIDOW by Fiona Barton DB 83700. Or try one of the classics in this genre, AND THEN THERE WERE NONE by Agatha Christie DB 11077. This book was specifically mentioned during the course of IN A DARK, DARK WOOD and Ms. Ware counts it as one of the influences of her work.
Winner of the 2016 Hugo Award, FIFTH SEASON tells the story of how the world ends – for the last time. Told from three different viewpoints, N. K. Jemisin weaves a story of survival against the backdrop of the Stillness, a world constantly threatened by catastrophic geologic upheaval.
Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award nominated author, N. K. Jemisin, describes the plight of the orogenes, a feared section of the population, who have the ability to control the geologic energy held within the Earth. Written in a compelling manner with a gritty tone, she deftly describes the events leading up to the beginning of the Fifth Season, a time of catastrophic climate change.
NLS Annotation for FIFTH SEASON by N. K. Jemisin (DB 82240): Essun is a woman living in a world ruled by the violent tectonic activity it experiences. She comes home to find her husband has killed her son and kidnapped her daughter, all for the secret ability Essun and her children have to control the Earth. Strong language, some explicit descriptions of sex, and some violence. 2015.
If you have already read this book or enjoy fantasy fiction with apocalyptic overtones, try WHO FEARS DEATH by Nnedi Okoafor (DB 73989). Or if you’d like to try something similar with more of a science fiction feel, try the Pure Trilogy by Julianna Baggott starting with PURE (DB 78234).
After a brief battle with pancreatic cancer, author Pat Conroy died on Saturday March 4, 2016. Best known for his books THE GREAT SANTINI and THE PRINCE OF TIDES, Mr. Conroy wrote lyrically about troubled families set amid the coastal marshes of South Carolina. These stories were greatly inspired by his own dysfunctional childhood and were later made into Oscar nominated films.
Mr. Conroy was also known for his memoirs. Two of these, THE BOO and MY LOSING SEASON, documented his personal experiences as a student at The Citadel. His most recent memoir, THE DEATH OF SANTINI, related the effect his novel THE GREAT SANTINI, had on his family and especially his relationship with his father. At the time of his death, he was at work on both a novel and a memoir about living in Atlanta in the 1970s.
Titles by Pat Conroy in the TBP collection
Title: BEACH MUSIC
DB 40753 & BARD
Title: GREAT SANTINI
DB 30051 & BARD
Title: LORDS OF DISCIPLINE
DB 23429 & BARD
Title: PRINCE OF TIDES
DB 25248 & BARD
Title: SOUTH OF BROAD
DB 69381, BR 18480 & BARD
DBC 00088 (BARD only)
Title: DEATH OF SANTINI: THE STORY OF A FATHER AND HIS SON
DB 77742 & BARD
Title: MY LOSING SEASON
DB 55514 & BARD
Title: MY READING LIFE
DBC 05157 (BARD only)
Title: PAT CONROY COOKBOOK: RECIPES OF MY LIFE
DB 67321 & BARD
Written in a lyrical and literary manner, GIRL IN THE DARK describes the life of the author, Anna Lyndsey, as she struggles with the onset of an illness that causes an intense sensitivity to light. Each section of the book deals with an aspect of her life; whether it is the months leading up to the beginning of her condition, an event that occurs during the course of her seclusion, her conversations with friends and acquaintances, or the ways she passes the time while isolated in her protective dark room. The author describes her life with honesty and humor.
NLS Annotation for GIRL IN THE DARK by Anna Lyndsey (DB 81009): A young woman writes of a light sensitivity that has forced her to live in darkness. She describes how the first symptom–her face burning from the computer screen–progressed to her entire body’s intolerance of fluorescent light and sunlight. Audiobooks, word games, occasional relative remissions, and the man she loves make it bearable. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2015.
If you have already read this book or enjoy memoirs written by people battling chronic illness, try BRAIN ON FIRE: MY MONTH OF MADNESS by Susannah Cahalan (DB 76074).
If you enjoy realistic literary historical fiction, you may enjoy Laird Hunt’s novel Neverhome (Digital: DB 79591, Large print: LB 07986). Set during the United States’ Civil War, Neverhome is told from the viewpoint of Ash Thompson, a young married woman who leaves her Illinois farm, disguises herself as a man, and sets off to fight in the war.
Neverhome is a short novel but it packs a punch. Hunt’s writing is spare yet compelling as he creates a realistic view of life as a soldier during the Civil War. As the story progresses, Ash proves to be an unreliable narrator, omitting crucial tidbits of knowledge from the reader, which lends this story a psychological element and renders Ash even more of a mystery.
Ash Thompson wears the uniform of a Union soldier, and through many exploits becomes a legend among the other soldiers. But Ash hides a secret. Ash is really a runaway farmer’s wife–Constance. After witnessing the horrors of war, Ash must decide about becoming Constance again. Violence and some strong language. Commercial audiobook. 2014.
If you enjoy this book, try Revolutionary by Alex Meyers (DB 78228) to read about a female soldier during the American Revolutionary War. For a historically accurate non-fiction look at the women soldiers during the Civil War, try Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott (DB 80094).