September 6: National Read a Book Day

The Talking Book Program (TBP) always advocates reading. Our motto is: That All May Read. National Read a Book Day, celebrated on September 6 of every year, is a day that invites everyone to read. So TBP and National Read a Book Day just naturally go together. There are so many ways to celebrate:

  1. Read a book!
  2. Share your passion for books and reading with someone.
  3.  Read a book from a new or different genre.
  4. Read a favorite book from childhood or a book that is a friend or family member’s favorite.
  5. Share the stories you are reading using #ReadABookDay to post on social media.

ProTip: Don’t have time to read entire book? Try reading a magazine issue, a book of poetry, or a story from an essay or short story collection.

Facts from the Texas Talking Book Program

  • Texas has over 17,000 TBP patrons.
  • In 2021, TBP circulated 688,186 braille, large print, and audio cartridges via mail to our patrons.
  • Texas patrons downloaded 302,789 books via the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) in 2021.
  • We added 345 large print and 125 braille titles to our physical collection in 2021.
  • In 2021, 292 books were recorded and uploaded to BARD from our Texas recording studio.

There are many more books to choose from for National Reading Day!

Books about Books, Librarians, and Bookstores

  • Do you like cozy mysteries? Try the Booktown Mystery Series by Lorna Barrett or the Mystery Bookshop Mystery Series by V. M. Burns
  • Is romance more your style? Try the Librarians in Love Series by Sarah Title or BOOKISH LIFE OF NINA HILL (DB 95745, LB 12621)
  • Does Science Fiction make you want to snuggle up with a good book? Try the Borrowed Man Series by Gene Wolfe
  • Or do you want the facts, and nothing but the facts? Here are some nonfiction books about books you may enjoy. Try SHELF LIFE: ROMANCE, MYSTERY, DRAMA, AND OTHER PAGE-TURNING ADVENTURES FROM A YEAR IN A BOOKSTORE (DB 60048) by Suzanne Strempek Shea or if you prefer more of a true crime twist, try LIBRARY BOOK (DB 92869, LB 11432) BY Susan Orleans.

Not sure what you want to read? Contact the Talking Book Program at 1-800-252-9605 (if in Austin, call our local number at 512-463-5458) and one of our readers consultants or readers’ advisory librarians can help you choose your next favorite book.


 

Library of Congress Announces New U.S. Poet Laureate, Ada Limón

On July 12, 2022, Ada Limon was named the 24th Poet Laureate of the United States by the Library of Congress. The position was authorized by an act of Congress in 1985. Appointed by the Librarian of Congress, the poet laureate’s office is administered by the Center for the Book. Limón will assume her duties on September 29,. In the meantime, here are the books by previous U.S. Poet Laureates in the NLS Collection.

For more information: https://newsroom.loc.gov/news/librarian-of-congress-names-ada-lim-n-the-nation-s-24th-u.s.-poet-laureate/s/44d3bf04-61fa-465d-89f7-6ace60f0790a

2022-present: Ada Limón

2019–2022: Joy Harjo

AMERICAN SUNRISE: POEMS
DB 101306, BR 22723
CONFLICT RESOLUTION FOR HOLY BEINGS: POEMS
DB 100519, BR 22835
CRAZY BRAVE: MEMOIR
DB 97592, BR 22807
HOW WE BECAME HUMAN: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS
DB 96674, BR 22778
POET WARRIOR
LB 13827

2017–2019: Tracy K. Smith

LIFE ON MARS: POEMS
DB 74916, en español: DB 104879
SUCH COLOR: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS
DB 106653
WADE IN THE WATER: POEMS
DB 91468, BR 22310

2015–2017: Juan Felipe Herrera

BORDER-CROSSER WITH A LAMBORGHINI DREAM: POEMS
DB 106520
FEATHERLESS/DESPLUMADO: STORY/CUENTO
BR 16017
HALF OF THE WORLD IN LIGHT: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS
DBE 00018
JABBERWALKING
BR 22695
UPSIDE DOWN BOY: EL NINO DE CABEZA
BR 13098

2014–2015: Charles Wright

BLACK ZODIAC
BR 11995
OBLIVION BANJO: THE POETRY OF CHARLES WRIGHT
DB 102171

2012–2014: Natasha Trethewey

BEYOND KATRINA: A MEDITATION ON THE MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST
BR 19612
MEMORIAL DRIVE: A DAUGHTER’S MEMOIR
DB 100452
MONUMENT: POEMS: NEW AND SELECTED
DB 94262, BR 22650
NATIVE GUARD
DB 65666
THRALL: POEMS
DB 75891

2011–2012: Philip Levine

MERCY: POEMS
BR 12822
NEW SELECTED POEMS
DB 74619
SEVEN YEARS FROM SOMEWHERE: POEMS
BR 04555
SIMPLE TRUTH: POEMS
BR 10139
WHAT WORK IS: POEMS
DB 34000

2010–2011: W. S. Merwin

LOST UPLAND
DB 36307
OPENING THE HAND
DB 32064
UNFRAMED ORIGINALS: RECOLLECTIONS
DB 19263

2008–2010: Kay Ryan

BEST OF IT: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS
DB 72287
SYNTHESIZING GRAVITY: SELECTED PROSE
DB 100002, BR 23143

2007–2008: Charles Simic

BOOKS OF GODS AND DEVILS
DB 33645
HOTEL INSOMNIA
DB 37392
NEW AND SELECTED POEMS: 1962-2012
DB 83462
SCRIBBLED IN THE DARK: POEMS
DB 89595
VOICE AT 3:00 A.M.: SELECTED LATE AND NEW POEMS
DB 63320
WALKING THE BLACK CAT: POEMS
BR 10814
WEDDING IN HELL: POEMS
DB 39978
WORLD DOESN’T END
DB 32955, BR 08498

2006–2007: Donald Hall

CARNIVAL OF LOSSES: NOTES NEARING NINETY
DB 92353, BR 22422
CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN POETRY
BR 01245
ESSAYS AFTER EIGHTY
DB 80647, BR 20675
HERE AT EAGLE POND
DB 34441
IDEAL BAKERY
DB 28382
LIFE WORK
DB 37596
LUCY’S CHRISTMAS
DB 40911
LUCY’S SUMMER
DB 40904
OLD AND NEW POEMS
DB 34487
OLD HOME DAY
DB 45071
ONE DAY: A POEM IN THREE PARTS
DB 30743
OX-CART MAN
DB 21584, BR 05914
POETRY SAMPLER
LB 00200
PRINCIPAL PRODUCTS OF PORTUGAL: PROSE PIECES
DB 41857
SEASONS AT EAGLE POND
DB 28160
SELECTED POEMS OF DONALD HALL
DB 85035, BR 21568
STRING TOO SHORT TO BE SAVED
LB 02513
UNPACKING THE BOXES: A MEMOIR OF A LIFE IN POETRY
DB 68474
WHEN WILLARD MET BABE RUTH
BR 10788
WHITE APPLES AND THE TASTE OF STONE: SELECTED POEMS, 1946-2006
DB 64104
WITHOUT: POEMS
BR 11891

2004–2006: Ted Kooser

DELIGHTS AND SHADOWS
DB 60382
POETRY HOME REPAIR MANUAL: PRACTICAL ADVICE FOR BEGINNING POETS
DB 61714
MR POSEY’S NEW GLASSES
DB 106348
WHEELING YEAR
DBC 01971

2003–2004: Louise Glück

AMERICAN ORIGINALITY: ESSAYS ON POETRY
DB 101223, BR 23461
FAITHFUL AND VIRTUOUS NIGHT
DB 101237, BR 23465
MEADOWLANDS
DB 43058
POEMS 1962-2012
DB 79850
TRIUMPH OF ACHILLES
BR 06473
WILD IRIS
DB 37600
WINTER RECIPES FROM THE COLLECTIVE
DB 106655

2001–2003: Billy Collins

AIMLESS LOVE: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS
DB 77867, BR 20375
POETRY 180: A TURNING BACK TO POETRY
DB 75492
RAIN IN PORTUGAL: POEMS
DB 87464, BR 21825
SAILING ALONE AROUND THE ROOM: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS
DB 53069

2000–2001: Stanley Kunitz

COLLECTED POEMS
DB 52239
INTERVIEWS AND ENCOUNTERS WITH STANLEY KUNITZ
DB 52177
PASSING THROUGH: THE LATER POEMS, NEW AND SELECTED
DB 42433
WELLFLEET WHALE AND COMPANION POEMS
DBC 04231

1997–2000: Robert Pinsky

AMERICANS’ FAVORITE POEMS: THE FAVORITE POEM PROJECT ANTHOLOGY
DB 5000, BR 12771
FIGURED WHEEL: NEW AND COLLECTED POEMS, 1966-1996
BR 11292
HISTORY OF MY HEART
DB 22693
JERSEY RAIN
DB 56663
LIFE OF DAVID
BR 16614
POEMS TO READ: A NEW FAVORITE POEM PROJECT ANTHOLOGY
DB 55374, BR 14510

1995–1997: Robert Hass

APPLE TREES AT OLEMA: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS
DB 73030
HUMAN WISHES
DB 40909
SUMMER SNOW: NEW POEMS
DB 98754
SUN UNDER WOOD: NEW POEMS
BR 10828
TIME AND MATERIALS: POEMS 1997-2005
DB 66784
TWENTIETH CENTURY PLEASURES: PROSE ON POETRY
DB 25022

1993–1995: Rita Dove

DARKER FACE OF THE EARTH: A VERSE PLAY IN FOURTEEN SCENES
DB 39360
MOTHER LOVE: POEMS
DB 41331
ON THE BUS WITH ROSA PARKS
BR 12555
PLAYLIST FOR THE APOCALYPSE: POEMS
DB 105310, BR 23936
SELECTED POEMS
DB 40038
THOMAS AND BEULAH
DB 27316
THROUGH THE IVORY GATE
DB 36005

1992–1993: Mona Van Duyn

FIREFALL: POEMS
DB 37002
IF IT BE NOT I: COLLECTED POEMS, 1959-1982
DB 37854
NEAR CHANGES: POEMS
DB 35335

1991–1992: Joseph Brodsky

COLLECTED POEMS IN ENGLISH
DB 51984
LESS THAN ONE: SELECTED ESSAYS
DB 24352, BR 08784
NATIVITY POEMS
BR 14350
ON GRIEF AND REASON: ESSAYS
DB 42661
SO FORTH: POEMS
BR 10774
TO URANIA: SELECTED POEMS
DB 28616
WATERMARK
DB 35031

1990–1991: Mark Strand

BLIZZARD OF ONE: POEMS
DB 50109
CONTINUOUS LIFE
DB 32952
DARKER
DB 32314
MONUMENT
DB 32599
SELECTED POEMS
DB 37399

1988–1990: Howard Nemerov

HOWARD NEMEROV READER
DB 39005
INSIDE THE ONION
DB 21035
TRYING CONCLUSIONS: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS, 1961-1991
DB 36418

1987–1988: Richard Wilbur

COLLECTED POEMS, 1943-2004
DB 63295
NEW AND COLLECTED POEMS
BR 07575

1986–1987: Robert Penn Warren

ALL THE KING’S MEN
DB 53553, BR 13840
AUDUBON, A VISION
BR 01238
BAND OF ANGELS
DB 11520
CIRCUS IN THE ATTIC AND OTHER STORIES
DB 46060, BR 11646
LEGACY OF THE CIVIL WAR
DBC 03376, BR 12296
NEW AND SELECTED ESSAYS
DB 29919, BR 08067
NEW AND SELECTED POEMS, 1923-1985
DB 42648
PLACE TO COME TO
DB 52041
PORTRAIT OF A FATHER
DB 29884
WORLD ENOUGH AND TIME
DB 60856

August 27: Lyndon Baines Johnson Day

On August 27, 1908, Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) was born in a small stone farmhouse in Stonewall, Texas. He went on to become a Texas State Senator and then later, President of the United States. After his death in 1973, August 27 was designated as a Texas state holiday in his honor.

This year, August 27 falls on a Saturday, so you can spend the entire day celebrating LBJ’s life and accomplishments. The LBJ Presidential Library in Austin offers free admission on the day. But even if you do not live nearby, you can still celebrate by reading one of the books about Lyndon Johnson in our Talking Book Program collection.

For More information

Books about LBJ in our collection:

For the most in-depth look at LBJ’s life, try the four- book series YEARS OF LYNDON JOHNSON, written by Robert Caro:

PATH TO POWER: THE YEARS OF LYNDON JOHNSON VOLUME 1
DB 18676,
MEANS OF ASCENT: THE YEARS OF LYNDON JOHNSON, VOLUME 2
DB 30837
MASTER OF THE SENATE: THE YEARS OF LYNDON
DB 54174
PASSAGE OF POWER: THE YEARS OF LYNDON JOHNSON
DB 74635

If you are looking for a slightly less detailed biography you might like to read the two-volume series by Robert Dallek:

LONE STAR RISING: LYNDON JOHNSON AND HIS TIMES, 1908-1960
DB 34378
FLAWED GIANT: LYNDON JOHNSON AND HIS TIMES, 1961-1973
DB 47275

Perhaps you would like to read a memoir written by someone who knew LBJ personally. Doris Kearns Goodwin was a White House Fellow in 1967, and her book is based on interviews conducted during the last five years of President Johnson’s life.

LYNDON JOHNSON AND THE AMERICAN DREAM
DB 09793

Or you could look at his time in the White House through the eyes of his wife, Lady Bird Johnson.

WHITE HOUSE DIARY
DBC 18116

Or if you are looking for a way for younger readers to learn about LBJ, here’s one you could try:

LYNDON B. JOHNSON: THIRTY-SIXTH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
Grades 5-8
DB 30136, BR 08027

Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2022

Since 1996, the Women’s Prize for Fiction honors books written in English by women. Six books were named as short list titles on April 27, and the winner was announced June 15. We’ve placed it first, but included the rest of the books that were selected as finalists because they are all truly wonderful reads.

For more information: https://womensprizeforfiction.co.uk/features/features/news/announcing-the-womens-prize-2022-longlist

Here are the finalists for 2022 that are in the TBP collection.

BOOK OF FORM AND EMPTINESS by Ruth Ozeki (DB 105146)
BULD YOUR HOUSE AROUND MY BODY: A NOVEL by Violet Kupersmith (DB 104783)
GREAT CIRCLE by Maggie Shipstead (DB 103266, LB 13435)
FINAL REVIVAL OF OPAL & NEV by Dawnie Walton (DB 102932)
ISLAND OF MISSING TREES by Elif Shafak (DB 106690)
PAPER PALACE by Miranda Cowley Heller (DB 104340)
SENTENCE: A NOVEL by Louise Erdrich (DB 105798)

LAMBDA Award Finalists 2022

Since 1988, the Lambda Literary Awards, or the Lammys, have been awarded to the best lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender writing. The winners were announced on June 11. Here are the finalists for 2022 that are in the TBP collection.

2022 Lambda Literary Award Finalists – Lambda Literary

Lesbian Fiction

HOW TO WRESTLE A GIRL: STORIES by Venita Blackburn (DB 106092)
MATRIX by Lauren Groff (DB 104843, BR 23948, LB 13522)
FIVE WOUNDS by Kirstin Valdez Quade (DB 103802)

Gay Fiction

LADRILLEROS by Selva Almada (IN PROCESS)

Bisexual Fiction

MILK FED: A NOVEL by Melissa Broder (DB 103078)
MONSTER IN THE MIDDLE by Tiphanie Yanique (DB 105660)

Transgender Nonfiction

DETRANSITION BABY by Torrey Peters (DB 101806)
SHE WHO BECAME THE SUN by Shelley Parker-Chan (DB 104810)

Lesbian Memoir/Biography

WHY LABELLE MATTERS by Adele Bertei (IN PROCESS)

Gay Memoir/Biography

PUNCH ME UP TO THE GODS by Brian Brammer (DB 106011)

LGBTQ Young Adult

HANI AND ISHU’S GUIDE TO FAKE DATING by Adiba Jaigirdar (DB 105388)
CITY BEAUTIFUL by Aden Polydoros (DB 106736, BR 24088)
PASSING PLAYBOOK by Isaac Fitzsimons (DB 105272)

June 19: Juneteenth

Juneteenth celebrates African American Emancipation. With the following words, General Granger informed the people of Galveston that all slaves had been liberated on June 19, 1865.

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”

Celebrations following the declaration led to an annual acknowledgement and celebration of freedom to African Americans. Celebrations, today, take place around the United States and throughout the rest of the world.

In honor of Juneteenth, we have listed the books specifically about Juneteenth in our collection for a range of reading levels both in fiction and non-fiction.

For more information on Juneteenth: https://www.juneteenth.com/

Juvenile Fiction

JUNETEENTH FOR MAZIE by Floyd CooperKindergarten – Grade 3
DB 105650
FREEDOM’S GIFTS: A JUNETEENTH STORY by Valerie Wilson Wesley Grade 3 – Grade 6
DBC 04831
OSCEOLA: MEMORIES OF A SHARECROPPER’S DAUGHTER by Osceola Mays
Grade 3 – Grade 6
DB 50524

Juvenile Non-fiction

OPAL LEE AND WHAT IT MEANS TO BE FREE: THE TRUE STORY OF THE GRANDMOTHER OF JUNETEENTH by Alice Faye Duncan
Kindergarten – Grade 3
DBC 26479
JUNETEENTH by Vaunda Micheaux NelsonGrade 2 – Grade 4
DBC 10089

Adult Fiction

JUNETEENTH by Ralph Ellison
DB 48438; BR 12277

Adult Nonfiction

ON JUNETEENTH by Annette Gordon-Reed
DB 103364
FOUR HUNDRED SOULS: A COMMUNITY HISTORY OF AFRICAN AMERICA, 1619-2019
DB 102425, BR 23615, LB 13468

Nebula Awards Finalists 2022

Since 1965, the Nebula Awards were established by the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) in order to create an annual anthology of the best stories of the year. The finalists were announced March 8. The winners will be announced May 21.

https://nebulas.sfwa.org/sfwa-announces-the-56th-annual-nebula-award-finalists/

Here are the finalists for 2022 that are in the TBP collection.

NOVEL


UNBROKEN 
CLARK, C.L.
Soldier Touraine and her company are sent to quell a rebellion in her homeland. Meanwhile, Luca seeks someone who can sway the rebels to peace while Luca focuses on dethroning her uncle. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2021.
DB 102840
 
MASTER OF DJINN
CLARK, P. DJELI
An agent with the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, Fatma el-Sha’arawi investigates the murder of a secret brotherhood. The murderer claims to be the long-missing al-Jahiz, a man who opened the veil to the magical realms forty years prior. Some violence, some strong language, and some descriptions of sex. Commercial audiobook. 2021.
DB 103858
 
MACHINEHOOD
DIVYA, S.B.
Humanity is increasingly dependent on designer pills to enhance performance and maintain health. New terrorist group the Machinehood attacks several major pill funders with operatives that are part human and part machine. After a client is killed in front of her, bodyguard Welga is pulled in to help fight the Machinehood. Strong language, some violence, and some descriptions of sex. Commercial audiobook. 2021.
DB 104112
 
DESOLATION CALLED PEACE
MARTINE, ARKADY
An alien armada lurks on the edges of Teixcalaanli space, refusing to communicate. Running out of options, Fleet Captain Nine Hibiscus sends Mahit Dzmare and Three Seagrass as a diplomatic envoy. Sequel to A Memory Called Empire (DB 94528). Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2021.
DB 102760

NOVELLA

PSALM FOR THE WILD-BUILT
CHAMBERS, BECKY
Centuries ago, the robots of Panga gained self-awareness and disappeared into the wilderness. When Sibling Dex, a tea monk, meets Splendid Speckled Mosscap, a robot, they are the first person to encounter a robot in years. Dex and Mosscap travel through the woods together, engaging in philosophical conversation. Strong language. Commercial audiobook. 2021.
DB 104764; BR 24116
 
FIREHEART TIGER
BODARD, ALIETTE DE
Princess Thanh returns to her mother’s court after years as a political hostage. In her new role as a diplomat, she crosses paths with her first love, Eldris. But Eldris wants more than romance–he has plans for Thanh’s home as well. 2021.
DB 103041; BR 23679
 
SUN-DAUGHTERS, SEA-DAUGHTERS
OGDEN, AIMEE
In this space opera reimagining of “The Little Mermaid,” gene-edited human clans have scattered throughout the galaxy, adapting to their new environments. The daughter of a Sea-Clan lord sparks a war when she rejects her people by choosing her land-dwelling love. Strong language and some descriptions of sex. 2021.
DB 104380; BR 23760

THE ANDRE NORTON NEBULA AWARD FOR MIDDLE GRADE AND YOUNG ADULT FICTION

VICTORIES GREATER THAN DEATH
ANDERS, CHARLIE JANE
Tired of hiding in obscurity on Earth, Tina, the human clone of a brilliant alien tactician, pursues her destiny in space. But success is elusive until Tina and her best friend Rachael assemble a ragtag crew and set out to save all the worlds. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
DB 102993
 
REDEMPTOR
IFUEKO, JORDAN
Contending with the lives of her loved ones in danger, assassination attempts, and a new stranger she can’t entirely trust, Empress Redemptor Tarisai must decide if she is willing to die for justice–or to live for it. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
DB 105200

SNAKE FALLS TO EARTH
LITTLE BADGER, DARCIE
Nina, a Lipan Apache, lives in the real world and still believes in the old stories. Oli, a cottonmouth snake boy, lives in the Reflecting World. But a catastrophic event on Earth, and a strange sickness that befalls Oli’s best friend, drive their worlds together in ways they haven’t been in centuries. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
DB 106018
 
ROOT MAGIC
ROYCE, EDEN
Wadmalaw, South Carolina. Eleven-year-old twins Jezebel and Jay begin lessons in rootwork for healing and protection. As they train, they face threats from the local police deputy, school bullies, and others. Commercial audiobook. For grades 3-6. 2021.
DB 106014
 

June 23, 2022, Summer Reading Program BONUS Book Club Title Announced!

As part of TBP’s Summer Reading Program this year, we’ll be hosting a bonus book club meeting!

TSLAC TBP Book Club Logo

Please join us on Thursday, June 23 at 7:00 p.m. (CT) for our book club discussion of GULF: THE MAKING OF AN AMERICAN SEA by Jack E. Davis. (DB 88197)

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 or email us at: tbp.ral@tsl.texas.gov. Please indicate if you would like us to mail you the book in digital cartridge or if you prefer to download the audio version from BARD. RSVP preferred by June 2.

NLS Annotation: A history of the Gulf of Mexico, extending from the Pleistocene age until the twenty-first century. Discusses the marine environment, its role in human society, and many of the individuals whose lives were intertwined with the Gulf. Pulitzer Prize for history, 2018.

We request that everyone remember the following:

  • Keep external distractions to a minimum.
  • Be courteous. Be respectful of differing opinions.
  • Keep discussion points concise and relevant to the book.

We look forward to having you join us on Thursday, June 23!

Bram Stoker Awards® Final Ballot 2021

Since 1987, the Horror Writers Association (HWA) has presented the Bram Stoker Awards® to the best works of horror and dark fiction. The finalists were announced February 28. The winners will be announced May 14, 2022. Here are the finalists for 2021 that are in the TBP collection.

For more information about the Bram Stoker Awards®: https://www.thebramstokerawards.com/front-page/4491/

Superior Achievement in a Novel

QUEEN OF CICADAS by V. Castro. (DB 105835)

FINAL GIRL SUPPORT GROUP by Grady Ghendrix. (DB 104247)

MY HEART IS A CHAINSAW by Stephen Graham Jones. (DB 104847)

CHILDREN OF CHICAGO by Cynthia Pelayo. (DB 103216)

BOOK OF ACCIDENTS by Chuck Wendig. (DB 104297)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

ALL THESE BODIES by Kendare Blake. (DB 105366)

BAD WITCH BURNING by Jessica Lewis. (DB 104823)

HOUSE OF HOLLOW by Krystal Sutherland. (DB 102984)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

NOTHING BUT BLACKENED TEETH by Cassandra Khaw. (DB 105453)

That ALL May Read: Graphic Novels

For the longest time, I believed graphic novels were not for me. I was born legally blind and came of age around the time that MAUS by Art Spiegelman won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992. As a book lover this was troublesome because I want to read ALL THE BOOKS. Just the concept that there were books that were obviously SO GOOD, yet beyond my ability to access, upset me greatly.

So, I tried. I used the vision I did have to read MAUS and later PERSEPOLIS by Marjane Satrapi and FUN HOME by Alison Bechdel. I used a magnifying glass and I asked my roommate for occasional assistance. But here’s the thing: as graphic novels continue to win awards and become a more firmly entrenched format in the public consciousness, it should NOT be so difficult for me to access them. They should be accessible for all.

And the National Library Service (NLS) agrees.

Starting small with books like CAN’T WE TALK ABOUT SOMETHING MORE PLEASANT by Roz Chast (DB 80646) and Brian Selznick’s WONDERSTRUCKk (DB 74157) which is a combination of standard text and full-page illustrations, NLS made the leap into creating audio recordings of full-length graphic novels with the three volume MARCH TRILOGY by John Lewis (DB 87098). 

It’s not a simple process.

According to NLS Senior Selection Librarian, Jill Garcia, “Unlike commercial audiobook producers, when we do graphical material, we describe all the images. Fortunately, Laura Giannarelli volunteered.”

Once NLS selects a graphic novel to be added to their audio collection, the narrator then creates a script. 40-year veteran NLS narrator, Laura Giannarelli, describes the process:

“It takes me probably an hour to write a script for each ten pages. My method is to describe what I see as objectively as possible. Rather than say, ‘He is surprised,’ I’ll say, ‘His mouth is open, his eyebrows are raised, and his eyes are wide.’ You try as much as possible to give the facts and let the reader interpret. But there’s also an art to balancing the details of the pictures with the forward momentum of the text. As a scene heats up, you drop the details and focus on the words.”

I for one truly appreciate the effort taken to not only describe the illustrations accurately, but to consider my desire to interpret the meaning of the scenes myself. And MARCH TRILOGY was merely the first in what has continued to be a steady stream of full-length graphic novels being produced by NLS including FAITHFUL SPY: DIETRICH BONHOEFFER AND THE PLOT TO KILL HITLER by John Hendrix (DB 94260). I’m particularly excited to read this one as it was nominated by YALSA for the excellence in Nonfiction Award for 2019. And I recently learned that NLS is currently working on recording MAUS.

Now if I can just get a self-driving car, I’ll be all set. 

For more information: https://www.loc.gov/nls/about/news/quarterly-newsletter-news/april-june-2017-newsletter/#_graphic