Bill Gates’ 2016 Summer Reading List

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:

Title: SEVENEVES
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.
DB 83040

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.
DB 81335

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.
DB 79914

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

Staff Pick – Laura Jean– IN A DARK, DARK WOOD by Ruth Ware, DB 82625

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.

Cover of In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

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.

Staff Pick – Laura Jean– FIFTH SEASON by N. K. Jemisin, DB 82240

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.

FifthSeason

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).

Pat Conroy, Author of The Prince of Tides, Dies at Age 70

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

Fiction

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

Non-Fiction

Title: BOO
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

Title: WATER IS WIDE
DB 38036 & BARD

Staff Pick – Laura Jean– GIRL IN THE DARK by Anna Lyndsey, DB 81009

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).

Goodreads 2015 Choice Awards Announced

The social cataloging website for book lovers, goodreads, has just announced their Readers’ Choice Awards for 2015. The Texas Talking Book Program has many of them in our collection.

Are you looking for a thrilling mystery? Goodreads members chose Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (BR 20688; DB 80635; LB 08072) as their favorite mystery for this past year.

Are you more interested in non-fiction? Try Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson (DB 80936).

Perhaps you’re in the market for a new author to explore. Goodreads readers awarded Victoria Aveyard the honor of Debut Goodreads Author for her book Red Queen (DB 81314).

No matter what genre you enjoy, the bibliophiles at Goodreads have chosen their favorite  book published this year. Contact us and we can help you find your next favorite book.

For more information on the goodreads Choice Awards: https://www.goodreads.com/choiceawards/best-books-2015

Staff Pick – Laura Jean– NEVERHOME by Laird Hunt, DB 79591

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.

NLS Annotation:

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).

September 2015 TBP Book Club Title Announced!

Texas Talking Book patrons are invited to join us on Thursday, September 24th at 7 pm (Central Time) for our book club discussion of WILD: FROM LOST TO FOUND ON THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL by Cheryl Strayed.

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 3rd) 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 the book from BARD.

NLS Annotation:

Author recounts the three-month, 1,100-mile solo hike she took on a whim in 1995, after years of devastating personal losses. Describes her encounters with rattlesnakes, locals, fellow hikers, and her own thoughts during her trek from Los Angeles to Washington State on the Pacific Crest Trail. Strong language. Bestseller. 2012.

In Their Own Words – Books Written by 2016 Presidential Candidates

The pool of candidates for the 2016 Presidential election is broad, and many of the candidates have published books that discuss their political and personal views. Here is a list of some of the 2016 presidential candidates and non-fiction books that they have authored.

Unfortunately, not all of the candidates have authored books, and some of them have written books that haven’t been recorded by the National Library Service and are not available in Braille. This list, in alphabetical order by candidates’ names, includes all of the books written by presidential hopefuls that are currently available via TBP.

Harry Braun

THE PHOENIX PROJECT: AN ENERGY TRANSITION TO RENEWABLE RESOURCES
AVAILABLE FROM INTERLIBARY LOAN

Ben Carson

AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL: REDISCOVERING WHAT MADE THIS NATION GREAT
DB   76329

GIFTED HANDS
DB 36784

ONE NATION: WHAT WE CAN ALL DO TO SAVE AMERICA’S FUTURE
DB   79695

Hilary Clinton

HARD CHOICES (DECISIONES DIFICILES)
DB   79036  Also in Spanish: DB   77983

LIVING HISTORY (HISTORIA VIVA)
DB 55882 Also in Spanish: DB 60983

Mike Huckabee

DEAR CHANDLER, DEAR SCARLETT: A GRANDFATHER’S THOUGHTS ON FAITH, FAMILY AND THE THINGS THAT MATTER MOST
BR   19848

SIMPLE CHRISTMAS: TWELVE STORIES THAT CELEBRATE THE TRUE HOLIDAY
DB   69899

SIMPLE GOVERNMENT: TWELVE THINGS WE REALLY NEED FROM WASHINGTON (AND A TRILLION THAT WE DON’T)
DB   73461

John Kasich

EVERY OTHER MONDAY: TWENTY YEARS OF LIFE, LUNCH, FAITH AND FRIENDSHIP
DB 81574 IN PROCESS

Rick Perry

FED UP! OUR FIGHT TO SAVE AMERICA FROM WASHINGTON
DB   73851

Marco Rubio

AMERICAN SON: A MEMOIR (HIJO AMERICANO)
DB   75113           Also in Spanish: DB   74960

Rick Santorum

IT TAKES A FAMILY: CONSERVATISM AND THE COMMON GOOD
DB   61613

Donald Trump

THINK BIG AND KICK ASS IN BUSINESS AND LIFE
DB 66388

TRUMP: HOW TO GET RICH
DB 58051 (BARD)

TRUMP: THE ART OF THE COMEBACK
DB 45334 (BARD)

TRUMP: THE ART OF THE DEAL
DB 26956 (BARD)

WHY WE WANT YOU TO BE RICH: TWO MEN–ONE MESSAGE
DB 64018 (BARD)

Scott Walker

UNINTIMIDATED: A GOVERNOR’S STORY AND A NATION’S CHALLENGE
DIP  98634 IN PROCESS

Jim Webb

BORN FIGHTING: HOW THE SCOTS-IRISH SHAPED AMERICA
DB   61597 (BARD)

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.