Classics with a Twist

The security of all things familiar can be a steady rock in uncertain times, but exploring new things outside your comfort zone is also important for true growth. Find an intriguing balance with these diverse titles that are inspired by or expand upon classic novels.

ON BEAUTY by Zadie Smith (DB 61204)
Inspired by E.M. Forster’s “Howard’s End.” Philandering liberal Englishman Howard Belsey teaches art at a New England college. When Howard’s biracial son Jerome falls in love with the daughter of the conservative Trinidadian Monty Kipps, Howard is dismayed. But Howard’s and Monty’s wives become friends. Strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex.

AYESHA AT LAST by Uzma Jalaluddin (DB 95458)
In this twenty-first-century Muslim retelling of “Pride and Prejudice,” Ayesha is lonely but does not want an arranged marriage. She meets Khalid, who is smart and handsome, but also conservative and judgmental. Ayesha is torn when Khalid becomes engaged to her flighty young cousin.

THE PENELOPIAD by Margaret Atwood (BR 16454 and DB 63014)
Retelling of Homer’s “The Odyssey.” Penelope is in Hades recalling the events of her life in this contemporary retelling of the ancient Greek tale of the faithful wife of Odysseus and her twelve hanged maids.

THE INNOCENTS by Francesca Segal (BR 20247 and DB 77527)
Retelling of “The Age of Innocence” by Edith Wharton. London. Adam Newman is engaged to his long-time girlfriend Rachel Gilbert and works at her father’s firm. When Rachel’s cousin Ellie returns from New York, Adam is drawn to her and her scandalous reputation. But Adam’s tight-knit Jewish community impedes his infatuation. Some strong language.

THE ART OF FIELDING by Chad Harbach (DB 73791)
Inspired by Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick.” Henry Skrimshander is a baseball star at his small Wisconsin college, but his life goes awry after he throws a wayward ball. Meanwhile, Henry’s gay roommate has a risky affair with the school president, Guert Affenlight. Guert’s long-lost daughter returns home after a divorce. Strong language.

BOY, SNOW, BIRD by Helen Oyeyemi (LB 07864 and DB 78650)
Retelling of “Snow White” by The Brothers Grimm. 1950s. A woman named Boy Novak flees Manhattan for suburban Massachusetts. There, she falls in love and marries Arturo Whitman, father to six-year-old Snow. When Boy and Arturo’s own daughter, Bird, is born, it is revealed that Arturo and Snow are African Americans passing for white. Some violence.

BRAZIL by John Updike (DB 38064)
A variation on the famous legend “Tristan and Isolde” in which Tristan is an uneducated black youth who meets Isabel, a convent-trained blond girl, on the beach in Rio. Convinced their fate is to be together, the young lovers marry and run away. Isabel’s diplomat father brings her home and sends her to college. Reunited two years later, the couple embarks on a life of passion that leads to tragedy. Strong language, violence, and some explicit descriptions of sex.

FRANKENSTEIN IN BAGHDAD by Ahmad Saadawi (DB 90221)
Retelling of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.” In US-occupied Baghdad, scavenger Hadi stitches together found human body parts as a message to the government that the dead need proper burial. After the corpse disappears, however, a string of murders occurs, and witnesses report a monster who cannot be killed. Some violence and some strong language.

THE GOLDEN HOUSE by Salman Rushdie (DB 89015)
Inspired by Tom Wolfe’s “Bonfire of Vanities.” A filmmaker insinuates himself into the Greenwich Village mansion of the Golden family. Nero Golden is an eccentric billionaire with three adult sons: alcoholic Petya, artist Apu, and D, whose mother is known only to Nero. Nero’s new wife, Russian expat Vasilisa, enters the household. Some violence and some descriptions of sex.

HOME FIRE by Kamila Shamsie (DB 89016)
Retelling of “Antigone” by Sophocles. After years in London taking care of her siblings, Parvaiz and Aneeka, Isma gets a chance to study in America. While there, she meets Eamonn, son of a powerful London politician. When headstrong Parvaiz runs off to Syria to become a jihadi, Aneeka turns to Eamonn for help. Violence and some strong language.

JANE STEELE by Lyndsay Faye (DB 84049)
In a reimagining of Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre,” orphaned Jane Steele escapes to London, leaving the corpses of her tormentors behind her. After years of hiding from the law, Jane discovers her childhood home has a new master who seeks a governess, and she takes the position incognito. Violence, explicit descriptions of sex, and some strong language.

KILLING COMMENDATORE by Haruki Murakami (DB 92509)
Inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.” After finding himself abandoned by his wife, a portraitist hides away in the mountain retreat of famous painter Tomohiko Amada. While exploring the house, he discovers an unseen painting that opens a circle of mysterious circumstances that he must solve. Unrated.

MARCH by Geraldine Brooks (DB 64617)
Spin-off of Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women.” Reverend March leaves Connecticut to become an army chaplain during the Civil War. An assignment to teach freed slaves on a plantation changes March’s view of humanity while hardship hurts his family. Strong language and some violence.

THE STORY OF EDGAR SAWTELLE (BR 17799 and DB 66656)
Retelling of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” Wisconsin, 1970s. Gar and Trudy Sawtelle raise an intuitive and intelligent dog breed on their farm. One dog, Almondine, can communicate with the Sawtelle’s mute son Edgar. After Gar’s brother arrives, Gar dies, and fourteen-year-old Edgar flees into the forest with three of the dogs. Some strong language.

WHEN SHE WOKE by Hillary Jordan (DBC 08668)
A dystopian reimagining of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter,” set in a future theocratic America where rather than being imprisoned and rehabilitated, criminals are punished by being “chromed”—having their skin color genetically altered to signal their crime—and released into the general population to survive as best they can. Some descriptions of sex and some violence.

We hope you find something newly familiar within this selection. Happy reading!

Goodreads 2021 Choice Awards Announced

The social cataloging website for book lovers, Goodreads, has just announced their readers’ Choice Awards for 2021. The Texas Talking Book Program has a good number of them in our collection. Are you looking for a thrilling mystery? Goodreads members chose LAST THING HE TOLD ME by Laura Dave (DB 103326) as their favorite mystery & thriller book for this past year. Are you more interested in non-fiction? CRYING IN H MART: A MEMOIR by Michelle Zauner (DB 103413, LB 13446) was chosen as the best autobiography/memoir while EMPIRE OF PAIN: THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE SACKLER DYNASTY by Patrick Radden Keefe (DB 102965, LB 13410) was selected as the best historical non-fiction book.  Perhaps you’ve had too much reality in the last couple of years and would like to relax with a popular romance. Goodreads readers declared PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION by Emily Henry (DB 103191) as their top choice for this category.  No matter which genre you enjoy, the bibliophiles at Goodreads have chosen a favorite book published this year. Contact us and we can help you find your next favorite book.

For more information: https://www.goodreads.com/choiceawards/best-fiction-books-2021

NPR’s Book Concierge 2021

National Public Radio (NPR) has just released the Book Concierge for 2021. This is NPR’s annual, interactive, year-end reading guide. They compile their list by requesting staffers and trusted critics to nominate their favorite books of the year. Then, the editors and producers at NPR Books sit down and select their favorites. 

The books on this list cover a variety of genres such as biographies, book club ideas, and nonfiction as well as the more traditional categories like mysteries and thrillers, and historical fiction. We have indicated the categories that NPR assigned each book beneath the title in BOLD.

The Texas Talking Book Program has a good number of them in our collection. No matter which genre you enjoy, the staff at National Public Radio have chosen a favorite book published this year. Contact us and we can help you find your next favorite book.

For more information: https://apps.npr.org/best-books/#view=covers&year=2021

Here are all of the selections in the NLS collection:

CALLING FOR CHARLIE BARNES by Joshua Ferris (DB 105476) (Book Club Ideas, Family Matters, Funny Stuff, Realistic Fiction, Seriously Great Writing, The States We’re In )  

LITTLE DEVIL IN AMERICA: NOTES IN PRAISE OF BLACK PERFORMANCE by Hanif Abdurraqib (DB 103276) (Biography & Memoir, Eye-Opening Reads, For Music Lovers, Identity & Culture, No Biz Like Show Biz, Nonfiction, Seriously Great Writing, Short Stories, Essays, & Poetry, The States We’re In)  

LOT LIKE ADIOS: A NOVEL by Alexis Daria (DB 105060, BR 23946) (Identity & Culture, Ladies First, Let’s Talk About Sex, Love Stories, Staff Picks)  

MARVELLOUS LIGHT by Freya Marske (IN PROCESS) (Historical Fiction, Let’s Talk About Sex, Love Stories, Sci Fi, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction)  

PSALM FOR THE WILD-BUILT by Becky Chambers (DB 104764) (It’s All Geek To Me, Rather Short, Sci Fi, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction, Staff Picks)  

SLOW FIRE BURNING by Paula Hawkins (DB 104949) (Ladies First, Mysteries & Thrillers, Staff Picks, The Dark Side)  

SWIM IN A POND IN THE RAIN: IN WHICH FOUR RUSSIANS GIVE A MASTER CLASS ON WRITING, READING AND LIFE by George Saunders (DB 103448) (Nonfiction, Seriously Great Writing, Short Stories, Essays, & Poetry, Staff Picks, Tales From Around the World)  

THOUSAND SHIPS by Natalie Haynes (DB 102213) (Book Club Ideas, Historical Fiction, Ladies First, Seriously Great Writing, Staff Picks, Tales From Around The World)  

ACCIDENTALLY ENGAGED by Farah Heron (DB 104016) (Ladies First, Let’s Talk About Sex, Love Stories, Staff Picks)  

ACT YOUR AGE, EVE BROWN by Talia Hibbert (DB 102611, BR 23740) (Ladies First, Let’s Talk About Sex, Love Stories, Staff Picks)  

AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERS by B. B. Alston (DB 102312, BR 23699) (Family Matters, Kids’ Books, Ladies First, Sci Fi, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction, Staff Picks)

AMERICA MY LOVE, AMERICA MY HEART by Daria Peoples-Riley (DB 103935, BR 23893) (Identity & Culture, Kids’ Books, Love Stories, The States We’re In)  

ANTHROPOCENE REVIEWED: ESSAYS ON A HUMAN-CENTERED PLANET by John Green (DB 103903, LB 13412) (Eye-Opening Reads, For History Lovers, Nonfiction, Science!, Short Stories, Essays, & Poetry, Staff Picks)  

BEAUTIFUL WORLD, WHERE ARE YOU by Sally Rooney (DB 104825) (Book Club Ideas, Let’s Talk About Sex, Love Stories, Realistic Fiction, Seriously Great Writing, Staff Picks, Tales From Around The World)  

BEWILDERMENT by Richard Powers (DB 105190, Braille IN PROCESS) (Book Club Ideas, Family Matters, Realistic Fiction, Sci Fi, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction, Seriously Great Writing, Staff Picks, The Dark Side)  

BRIGHT STAR by Yuyi Morales (DB 105410) (Identity & Culture, Kids’ Books, Tales From Around the World, The States We’re In)  

BROKEN HORSES: A MEMOIR by Brandi Carlile (DB 102961) (Biography & Memoir, For Music Lovers, Ladies First, Nonfiction, Staff Picks, The States We’re In)  

BUILD YOUR HOUSE AROUND MY BODY: A NOVEL by Violet Kupersmith (DB 104783) (Book Club Ideas, Identity & Culture, Mysteries & Thrillers, Sci Fi, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction, Staff Picks, Tales From Around The World, The Dark Side)  

CHAOS ON CATNET by Naomi Kritzer (DB 103385) (Identity & Culture, Mysteries & Thrillers, Sci Fi, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction, Young Adult)  

CLOUD CUCKOO LAND by Anthony Doerr (DB 105285) (Book Club Ideas, Historical Fiction, Rather Long, Realistic Fiction, Sci Fi, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction, Seriously Great Writing)  

COMMITTED by Viet Thanh Nguyen (DB 103246) (Book Club Ideas, Identity & Culture, Mysteries & Thrillers, Realistic Fiction, Seriously Great Writing, Staff Picks, Tales From Around The World)  

CONCRETE ROSE by Angie Thomas (DB 101950) ROSA EN EL ASFALTO by Angie Thomas (DB 105418) (Family Matters, Identity & Culture, Realistic Fiction, Staff Picks, The States We’re In, Young Adult)  

CONFIDENCE MEN: HOW TWO PRISONERS OF WAR ENGINEERED THE MOST REMARKABLE ESCAPE IN HISTORY by Margalit Fox (DB 103797) (Eye-Opening Reads, For History Lovers, Funny Stuff, Nonfiction, Staff Picks, Tales From Around The World)  

COOK THIS BOOK: TECHNIQUES THAT TEACH & RECPIES TO REPREAT by Molly Baz (DB 104281, BR 23800) (Cookbooks & Food, Staff Picks)  

CROSSROADS by Jonathan Franzen (DB 105192) (Book Club Ideas, Family Matters, Rather Long, Realistic Fiction, Staff Picks)  

CRUELTY IS THE POINT: THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE OF TRUMP’S AMERICA by Adam Serwer (DB 104242) (Eye-Opening Reads, For History Lovers, Nonfiction, Seriously Great Writing, Short Stories, Essays & Poetry, Staff Picks, The States We’re In)  

CRYING IN H MART: A MEMOIR by Michelle Zauner (DB 103413, LB 13446) (Biography & Memoir, Book Club Ideas, Cookbooks & Food, Family Matters, For Music Lovers, Identity & Culture, Nonfiction, Seriously Great Writing, Staff Picks)  

CULTISH: THE LANGUAGE OF FANATICISM by Amanda Montell (DB 104075) (Book Club Ideas, Eye-Opening Reads, For History Lovers, Identity & Culture, Nonfiction, Staff Picks, The Dark Side)  

DATING PLAYBOOK by Farrah Rochon (DB 104752) (For Sports Lovers, Funny Stuff, Ladies First, Let’s Talk About Sex, Love Stories)  

DEAR MISS METROPOLITAN by Carolyn Ferrell (IN PROCESS) (Book Club Ideas, Realistic Fiction, Seriously Great Writing)  

DEATH OF JANE LAWRENCE by Caitlin Starling (IN PROCESS) (Love Stories, Mysteries & Thrillers, Sci Fi, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction, Staff Picks, The Dark Side)  

DEMYSTIFYING DISABILITY: WHAT TO KNOW, WHAT TO SAY, AND HOW TO BE AN ALLY by Emily Ladau (IN PROCESS IN AUDIO & BRAILLE) (Eye-Opening Reads, Identity & Culture, Nonfiction, Rather Short, Staff Picks)  

DETRANSITION, BABY by Torrey Peters (DB 101806) (Book Club Ideas, Eye-Opening Reads, Family Matters, Identity & Culture, Ladies First, Let’s Talk About Sex, Seriously Great Writing, Staff Picks)  

DIAL A FOR AUNTIES by Jesse Q. Sutanto (DB 103081) (Family Matters, Ladies First, Love Stories, Mysteries & Thrillers, Staff Picks)  

DREAM GIRL by Laura Lippman (DB 104081) (Ladies First, Mysteries & Thrillers, Staff Picks, The Dark Side)  

EMPIRE OF PAIN: THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE SACKLER DYNASTY by Patrick Radden Keefe (DB 102965, LB 13410) (Eye-Opening Reads, Nonfiction, Rather Long, Science!, Staff Picks, The Dark Side)  

EX TALK by Rachel Solomon (DB 101962) (It’s All Geek To Me, Ladies First, Let’s Talk About Sex, Love Stories, Staff Picks)  

EYES THAT KISS IN THE CORNERS by Joanna Ho (BR 23755) (Family Matters, Identity & Culture, Kids’ Books)  

FACING THE MOUNTAIN: A TRUE STORY OF JAPANESE AMERICAN HEROES IN WORLD WAR II by Daniel James Brown (DB 103646; BRAILLE IN PROCESS) (Biography & Memoir, Eye-Opening Reads, For History Lovers, Identity & Culture, Nonfiction, Rather Long, The States We’re In)  

FIGHT NIGHT by Miriam Toews (DB 105332) (Book Club Ideas, Family Matters, Ladies First, Realistic Fiction, Seriously Great Writing)  

FINAL GIRL SUPPORT GROUP by Grady Hendrix (DB 104247) (It’s All Geek To Me, Ladies First, Mysteries & Thrillers, No Biz Like Show Biz, The Dark Side)  

FINAL REVIVAL OF OPAL & NEV by Dawnie Walton (DB 102932) (Book Club Ideas, For Music Lovers, Identity & Culture, Realistic Fiction, Staff Picks)

FIREKEEPER’S DAUGHTER by Angeline Boulley (DB 102762) (Identity & Culture, Mysteries & Thrillers, Rather Long, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult)  

FIRST COMES LIKE by Alisha Rai (DB 102474) (Family Matters, Identity & Culture, Love Stories, Staff Picks)  

FIVE WOUNDS: A NOVEL by Kirstin Valdez QuadE (DB 103802) (Book Club Ideas, Family Matters, Realistic Fiction, Seriously Great Writing, Staff Picks, The States We’re In)  

FOLKLORN by Angela Mi Young Hur (DB 103997) (Book Club Ideas, Identity & Culture, Realistic Fiction, Science!, Seriously Great Writing, Tales From Around The World)  

FOUR LOST CITIES: A SECRET HISTORY OF THE URBAN AGE by Annalee Newitz (DB 104114) (Book Club Ideas, Eye-Opening Reads, For History Lovers, It’s All Geek To Me, Nonfiction, Staff Picks, Tales From Around The World)  

FROM A WHISPER TO A RALLYING CRY: THE KILLING OF VINCENT CHIN AND THE TRIAL THAT GALVANIZED THE ASIAN AMERICAN MOVEMENT by Paula Yoo (DB 103862) (Biography & Memoir, Book Club Ideas, Eye-Opening Reads, Family Matters, For History Lovers, Identity & Culture, Nonfiction, Young Adult)  

FULFILLMENT: WINNING AND LOSING IN ONE-CLICK AMERICA by Alec Macgillis (DB 102818) (Book Club Ideas, Eye-Opening Reads, For History Lovers, It’s All Geek To Me, Nonfiction, Staff Picks, The States We’re In)  

FUZZ: WHEN NATURE BREAKS THE LAW by Mary Roach (DB 105210) (Eye-Opening Reads, Funny Stuff, Nonfiction, Science! Seriously Great Writing, Staff Picks)  

GAY BAR: WHY WE WENT OUT by Jeremy Atherton Lin (DB 102233) (Book Club Ideas, Eye-Opening Reads, For History Lovers, Identity & Culture, Let’s Talk About Sex, Nonfiction)  

GILDED ONES by Namina Forna (DB 104117) (Identity & Culture, Ladies First, Sci Fi, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction, Staff Picks, Young Adult)

GOLD DIGGERS: A NOVEL by Sanjena Sathian (DB 102821) (Book Club Ideas, Eye-Opening Reads, Family Matters, Identity & Culture, The States We’re In)  

GOOD GIRLS: AN ORDINARY KILLING by Sonia Faleiro (DB 102319) (Book Club Ideas, Eye-Opening Reads, Identity & Culture, Nonfiction, Seriously Great Writing, Tales From Around The World)  

GREAT CIRCLE by Maggie Shipstead (DB 103266, LB 13435) (Historical Fiction, No Biz Like Show Biz, Rather Long, Seriously Great Writing, Staff Picks, Tales From Around The World)  

GUNCLE by Steven Rowley (DB 103560) (Book Club Ideas, Family Matters, Funny Stuff, Identity & Culture, Realistic Fiction, Staff Picks)  

HALFWAY HOME: RACE, PUNISHMENT, AND THE AFTERLIFE OF MASS INCARCERATION by Reuben Jonathan Miller (DB 102236) (Book Club Ideas, Eye-Opening Reads, Identity & Culture, Nonfiction, The States We’re In)  

HARLEM SHUFFLE by Colson Whitehead (DB 104914) (Book Club Ideas, Family Matters, Historical Fiction, Identity & Culture, Mysteries & Thrillers, Seriously Great Writing)  

HAUNTING OF ALMA FIELDING: A TRUE GHOST STORY by Kate Summerscale (DB 103054) (Book Club Ideas, For History Lovers, Ladies First, Nonfiction, Seriously Great Writing, Tales From Around the World, The Dark Side)  

HEART PRINCIPLE by Helen Hoang (DB 104837, BR 23916) (Identity & Culture, Ladies First, Let’s Talk About Sex, Love Stories, Staff Picks)  

HELL OF A BOOK: OR THE ALTOGETHER FACTUAL, WHOLLY BONA FIDE STORY OF BIG DREAMS, HARD LUCK, AMERICAN-MADE MAD KID by Jason Mott (DB 104515) (Book Club Ideas, Funny Stuff, Identity & Culture, Love Stories, Realistic Fiction, Seriously Great Writing, Staff Picks)  

HONEY GIRL by Morgan Rogers (DB 104321) (Identity & Culture, Ladies First, Love Stories, Realistic Fiction, Staff Picks)  

HUMMINGBIRD SALAMANDER by Jeff Vandermeer (DB 104087) (Mysteries & Thrillers, Sci Fi, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction, Science!, The Dark Side)  

I ALONE CAN FIX IT: DONALD J. TRUMP’S CATASTROPHIC FINAL YEAR by Carol Leonnig (DB 104773) (Eye-Opening Reads, Nonfiction, Rather Long, Staff Picks, The States We’re In)  

ISLAND QUEEN: A NOVEL by Vanessa Riley (DB 104936) (Book Club Ideas, Historical Fiction, Ladies First, Rather Long, Tales From Around The World)  

JUST AS I AM by Cicely Tyson (DB 102432) (Biography & Memoir, Identity & Culture, Ladies First, No Biz Like Show Biz, Nonfiction, Rather Long, Staff Picks)  

KENNEDY’S AVENGER: ASSASSINATION, CONSPIRACY, AND THE FORGOTTEN TRIAL OF JACK RUBY by Dan Abrams (DB 104322) (Eye-Opening Reads, For History Lovers, Nonfiction, Staff Picks, The Dark Side, The States We’re In)  

KLARA AND THE SUN by Kazuo Ishiguro (DB 102764, LB 13405) (Book Club Ideas, Family Matters, Sci Fi, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction, Seriously Great Writing, Staff Picks)  

LANDSLIDE: THE FINAL DAYS OF THE TRUMP PRESIDENCY by Michael Wolff (DB 104337) (Eye-Opening Reads, Nonfiction, Staff Picks, The States We’re In)  

LAST BEST HOPE: AMERICA IN CRISIS AND RENEWAL by George Packer (DB 104090) (Eye-Opening Reads, Nonfiction, Seriously Great Writing, Staff Picks, The States We’re In)  

LAST CALL: A TRUE STORY OF LOVE, LUST, AND MURDER IN QUEER NEW YORK by Elon Green (DB 102827) (Eye-Opening Reads, For History Lovers, Identity & Culture, Nonfiction, The States We’re In)  

LAST CHANCE TEXACO: CHRONICLES OF AN AMERICAN TROUBADOUR by Rickie Lee Jones (DB 103417) (Biography & Memoir, For Music Lovers, Ladies First, No Biz Like Show Biz, Nonfiction, Staff Picks)  

LAST NIGHT AT THE TELEGRAPH CLUB by Malinda Lo (DB 104015) (Book Club Ideas, Family Matters, Identity & Culture, Love Stories, Realistic Fiction, Seriously Great Writing, The States We’re In, Young Adult)  

LEAVING ISN’T THE HARDEST THING: ESSAYS by Lauren Hough (DB 104267) (Book Club Ideas, Family Matters, Identity & Culture, Nonfiction, Seriously Great Writing, Short Stories, Essays & Poetry, The Dark Side, The States We’re In)  

LET ME TELL YOU WHAT I MEAN by Joan Didion (DB 102565, LB 13430) (Book Club Ideas, Identity & Culture, Nonfiction, Seriously Great Writing, Short Stories, Essays & Poetry, Staff Picks)  

LIAR’S DICTIONARY by Eley Williams (DB 103312, LB 13379) (Book Club Ideas, Funny Stuff, Historical Fiction, Love Stories, Realistic Fiction, Seriously Great Writing, Tales From Around The World)  

LIFE OF THE MIND by Christine Smallwood (DB 105168) (Book Club Ideas, Funny Stuff, Ladies First, Realistic Fiction, Staff Picks)  

LIGHT OF DAYS: THE UNTOLD STORY OF WOMEN RESISTANCE FIGHTERS IN HITLER’S GHETTOS by Judith Batalion (DB 102986, LB 13428) (Eye-Opening Reads, For History Lovers, Ladies First, Nonfiction, Staff Picks, Tales From Around The World)  

LINCOLN HIGHWAY by Amor Towles (DB 105197) (Book Club Ideas, Historical Fiction, Rather Long, Realistic Fiction, Seriously Great Writing, The States We’re In)  

LOST VILLAGE by Camilla Sten (DB 102752) (Family Matters, Identity & Culture, Ladies First, Mysteries & Thrillers, Tales From Around The World, The Dark Side)  

LOVE SONGS OF W.E.B. DU BOIS: A NOVEL by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers (DB 104944) (Book Club Ideas, Family Matters, Identity & Culture, Rather Long, Staff Picks, The States We’re In)  

MAGICIAN by Colm Toibin (DB 104906) (Book Club Ideas, Eye-Opening Reads, Family Matters, Historical Fiction, Rather Long, Realistic Fiction, Seriously Great Writing, Tales From Around The World)  

MARY JANE: A NOVEL by Jessica Anya Blau (DB 103483) (Book Club Ideas, Family Matters, For Music Lovers, Historical Fiction, Ladies First, The States We’re In)  

MATRIX by Lauren Groff (DB 104843, BR 23948) (Book Club Ideas, Historical Fiction, Ladies First, Seriously Great Writing, Staff Picks)  

MIKE NICHOLS: A LIFE by Mark Harris (DB 102244) (Biography & Memoir, Funny Stuff, No Biz Like Show Biz, Nonfiction, Rather Long, Staff Picks)  

MONSTER IN THE MIDDLE by Tiphanie Yanique (IN PROCESS) (Family Matters, Love Stories, Realistic Fiction, Tales From Around The World, The States We’re In)  

MORNING STAR by Karl Ove Knausgard (DB 105567) (Rather Long, Realistic Fiction, Sci Fi, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction, Seriously Great Writing, Staff Picks, Tales From Around The World)  

MY BRILLIANT LIFE by Ae-Ran Kim (DB 102437) (Family Matters, Identity & Culture, Realistic Fiction, Tales From Around The World)  

MY BROKEN LANGUAGE: A MEMOIR by Quiara Alegria Hudes (DB 104244) (Biography & Memoir, Family Matters, For Music Lovers, Identity & Culture, No Biz Like Show Biz, Nonfiction, Staff Picks, The States We’re In)  

MY HEART IS A CHAINSAW by Stephen Graham Jones (DB 104847, BR 23937) (Identity & Culture, Mysteries & Thrillers, Staff Picks, The Dark Side, The States We’re In)  

MY MONTICELLO by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson (IN PROCESS) (Book Club Ideas, For History Lovers, Identity & Culture, Realistic Fiction, Short Stories, Essays & Poetry, Staff Picks, The States We’re In)  

NICKY & VERA: A QUIET HERO OF THE HOLOCAUST AND THE CHILDREN HE RESCUED by Peter Sis (DB 103572) (Biography & Memoir, Eye-Opening Reads, Family Matters, For History Lovers, Identity & Culture, Kids’ Books, Nonfiction, Tales From Around The World)  

NINA by Traci N Todd (DB 105557) (Biography & Memoir, For History Lovers, For Music Lovers, Kids’ Book, Ladies First, Nonfiction)  

NO GODS, NO MONSTERS: A NOVEL by Cadwell Turnbull (DB 105061) (Book Club Ideas, Identity & Culture, Sci Fi, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction, The Dark Side)  

NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT THIS: A NOVEL by Patricia Lockwood (DB 103166) (Book Club Ideas, It’s All Geek To Me, Realistic Fiction, Seriously Great Writing, Staff Picks, The Dark Side)  

OH WILLIAM! by Elizabeth Strout (DB 105315) (Book Club Ideas, Family Matters, Ladies First, Love Stories, Realistic Fiction, Seriously Great Writing, The States We’re In)  

ON JUNETEENTH by Annette Gordon-Reed (DB 103364) (Biography & Memoir,  For History Lovers, Identity & Culture, Nonfiction, Rather Short, Staff Picks, The States We’re In)  

ONE LAST STOP by Casey Mcquiston (DB 103484) (Identity & Culture, Ladies First, Let’s Talk About Sex, Love Stories, Staff Picks)  

ONE THING YOU’D SAVE by Linda Sue Park (DB 103047) (Family Matters, Identity & Culture, Kids’ Books)  

OTHER BLACK GIRL by Zakiya Dalia Harris (DB 103816) (Book Club Ideas, Identity & Culture, Ladies First, Mysteries & Thrillers, Realistic Fiction, The Dark Side)  

OUR WOMAN IN MOSCOW: A NOVEL by Beatriz Williams (DB 103711, LB 13466) (Family Matters, Historical Fiction, Ladies First, Mysteries & Thrillers, Rather Long, Staff Picks, Tales From Around The World, The Dark Side)  

OUTLAWED: A NOVEL by Anna North (DB 102210) (Book Club Ideas, Historical Fiction, Ladies First, Staff Picks, The States We’re In)  

PAPER PALACE by Miranda Cowley Heller (DB 104340) (Family Matters, Love Stories, Realistic Fiction, Staff Picks)  

PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION by Emily Henry (DB 103191) (Love Stories, Staff Picks)  

PERSONAL LIBRARIAN by Marie Benedict (DB 103929) (Book Club Ideas, For Art Lovers, Historical Fiction, Identity & Culture, Ladies First, Staff Picks)  

PLAYLIST FOR THE APOCALYPSE: POEMS by Rita Dove (DB 105310, BR 23936) (Biography & Memoir, Identity & Culture, Nonfiction, Seriously Great Writing, Short Stories, Essays & Poetry)  

POSTSCRIPT MURDERS by Elly Griffiths (DB 103653) (Mysteries & Thrillers, Staff Picks, The Dark Side)  

PRICE YOU PAY FOR COLLEGE: AN ENTIRELY NEW ROAD MAP FOR THE BIGGEST FINANCIAL DECISION YOUR FAMILY WILL EVER MAKE by Ron Lieber (DB 102317) (Eye-Opening Reads, Family Matters, Nonfiction, Staff Picks)  

PROPHETS by Robert Jones, Jr. (DB 101843, LB 13422) (Book Club Ideas, Historical Fiction, Identity & Culture, Love Stories, Seriously Great Writing, The States We’re In)  

QUIET IN HER BONES by Nalini Singh (DB 102275) (Family Matters, Mysteries & Thrillers, Staff Picks, Tales From Around The World, The Dark Side)  

RAZORBLADE TEARS by S. A. Cosby (DB 104101, BR 23915) (Book Club Ideas, Family Matters, Identity & Culture, Mysteries & Thrillers, The Dark Side, The States We’re In)  

REDEMPTOR by Jordan Ifueko (DB 105200) (Ladies First, Sci Fi, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction, Staff Picks, Young Adult)

REMEMBER: THE SCIENCE OF MEMORY AND THE ART OF FORGETTING by Lisa Genova (DB 102911, BR 23798) (Book Club Ideas, Eye-Opening Reads, Nonfiction, Science!, Staff Picks)  

REZ DOGS by Joseph Bruchac (DB 103860) (Family Matters, Identity & Culture, Kids’ Books, Short Stories, Essays & Poetry, The States We’re In)  

ROBERT E. LEE AND ME: A SOUTHERNER’S RECKONING WITH THE MYTH OF THE LOST CAUSE by Ty Seidule (DB 103117) (Eye-Opening Reads, For History Lovers, Identity & Culture, Nonfiction, Staff Picks, The States We’re In)  

ROSALINE PALMER TAKES THE CAKE by Alexis J. Hall (DB 103451) (Cookbooks & Food, Ladies First, Let’s Talk About Sex, Love Stories, No Biz Like Show Biz, Staff Picks)  

SENTENCE by Louise Erdrich (IN PROCESS) (Book Club Ideas, Identity & Culture, Realistic Fiction, Sci Fi, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction, The States We’re In)  

SEVEN DAYS IN JUNE: A NOVEL by Tia Williams (DB 103670) (Book Club Ideas, Identity & Culture, Love Stories, Realistic Fiction, Staff Picks)  

SIX CRIMSON CRANES by Elizabeth Lim (DB 104326) (Family Matters, Rather Long, Sci Fi, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction, Young Adult)  

SOMEBODY’S DAUGHTER: A MEMOIR by Ashley C. Ford (DB 104167) (Biography & Memoir, Book Club Ideas, Family Matters, Identity & Culture, Ladies First, Nonfiction, Seriously Great Writing, Staff Picks, The States We’re In)  

SUMMERWATER by Sarah Moss (DB 102285) (Family Matters, Love Stories, Realistic Fiction, Seriously Great Writing, Tales From Around The World)  

SUNNY SONG WILL NEVER BE FAMOUS by Suzanne Park (DB 105267) (Funny Stuff, Identity & Culture, Realistic Fiction, The States We’re In, Young Adult)  

SWEETNESS OF WATER by Nathan Harris (DB 103932) (Book Club Ideas, Family Matters, Historical Fiction, Identity & Culture, Seriously Great Writing, The States We’re In)  

TAKE BACK THE BLOCK by Chrystal D. Giles (DB 105558) (Family Matters, Identity & Culture, Kids’ Books, Realistic Fiction)  

TASTE: MY LIFE THROUGH FOOD by Stanley Tucci (DB 105460) (Biography & Memoir, Cookbooks & Food, No Biz Like Show Biz, Nonfiction, Staff Picks, Tales From Around The World)  

THESE TOXIC THINGS by Rachel Howzell Hall (DB 105221) (Family Matters, Identity & Culture, Ladies First, Mysteries & Thrillers, The Dark Side)  

THIS IS YOUR MIND ON PLANTS by Michael Pollan (DB 104170) (Cookbooks & Food, Eye-Opening Reads, Nonfiction, Science!, Staff Picks, The States We’re In)  

THREE MOTHERS: HOW THE MOTHERS OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., MALCOLM X, AND JAMES BALDWIN SHAPED A NATION by Anna Malaika Tubbs (DB 104172) (Biography & Memoir, Book Club Ideas, Eye-Opening Reads, Family Matters, For History Lovers, Identity & Culture, Ladies First, Nonfiction, Staff Picks)  

TODAY A WOMAN WENT MAD IN THE SUPERMARKET: STORIES by Hilma Wolitzer (IN PROCESS) (Book Club Ideas, Family Matters, Ladies First, Love Stories, Realistic Fiction, Seriously Great Writing, Short Stories, Essays & Poetry)  

TOO BRIGHT TO SEE by Kyle Lukoff (DB 105462) (Family Matters, Identity & Culture, Kids’ Books, Mysteries & Thrillers, Sci Fi, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction, Seriously Great Writing)  

TURNOUT by Megan E. Abbott (DB 104549) (Family Matters, For Sports Lovers, Mysteries & Thrillers, No Biz Like Show Biz, Seriously Great Writing, The Dark Side)

TWILIGHT ZONE by Nona Fernandez (DB 103591) (Rather Short, Realistic Fiction, Seriously Great Writing, Tales From Around The World)  

UNDER A WHITE SKY: THE NATURE OF THE FUTURE by Elizabeth Kolbert, (DB 102448) (Nonfiction, Science!, Staff Picks, The Dark Side)  

UNSPEAKABLE: THE TULSA RACE MASSACRE by Carole Boston Weatherford, (DB 103676) (For History Lovers, Identity & Culture, Kids’ Books, Nonfiction, Seriously Great Writing, The States We’re In)  

UNTIL PROVEN SAFE: THE HISTORY AND FUTURE OF QUARANTINE by Geoff Manaugh (DB 104749) (Eye-Opening Reads, For History Lovers, Nonfiction, Science!)

VELVET WAS THE NIGHT by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (DB 104794) (Book Club Ideas, For Music Lovers, Historical Fiction, Mysteries & Thrillers, Seriously Great Writing, Staff Picks, Tales From Around The World, The Dark Side)  

VICTORIES GREATER THAN DEATH by Charlie Jane Anders (DB 102993) (Identity & Culture, Ladies First, Sci Fi, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction, Young Adult)  

VIXEN: A NOVEL by Francine Prose (DB 104346) (Book Club Ideas, Family Matters, Funny Stuff, Historical Fiction, Love Stories, Mysteries & Thrillers, Staff Picks)  

WE DO THIS ‘TIL WE FREE US: ABOLITIONIST ORGANIZING AND TRANSFORMING JUSTICE by Mariame Kaba (DB 103789) (Book Club Ideas, Eye-Opening Reads, Identity & Culture, Nonfiction, Short Stories, Essay & Poetry, Staff Picks, The States We’re In)  

WE HAD A LITTLE REAL ESTATE PROBLEM: THE UNHERALDED STORY OF NATIVE AMERICANS AND COMEDY by Kliph Nesteroff (DB 102627) (Book Club Ideas, Funny Stuff, Identity & Culture, No Biz Like Show Biz, Nonfiction, Staff Picks, The States We’re In)  

WE WERE NEVER HERE by Andrea Bartz (DB 104443) (Book Club Ideas, Ladies First, Mysteries & Thrillers, Realistic Fiction, Staff Picks, Tales From Around The World, The Dark Side)  

WHAT STRANGE PARADISE by OMAR EL AKKAD (IN PROCESS) (Book Club Ideas, Eye-Opening Reads, Identity & Culture, Realistic Fiction, Seriously Great Writing, Tales From Around The World)  

WHEN EVIL LIVED IN LAUREL: “WHITE KNIGHTS” AND THE MURDER OF VERNON DAHMER by Curtis Wilkie (DB 105586) (For History Lovers, Identity & Culture, Nonfiction, Staff Picks, The States We’re In)  

WHILE WE WERE DATING by Jasmine Guillory (DB 104313) (Let’s Talk About Sex, Love Stories, No Biz Like Show Biz, Staff Picks, The States We’re In)  

WHITENESS OF WEALTH: HOW THE TAX SYSTEM IMPOVERISHES BLACK AMERICANS–AND HOW WE CAN FIX IT by Dorothy A. Brown (DB 102901) (Book Club Ideas, Eye-Opening Reads, For History Lovers, Identity & Culture, Nonfiction, Staff Picks, The States We’re In)  

WILD RAIN: WOMEN WHO DARE by Beverly Jenkins (DB 102585) (Historical Fiction, Ladies First, Let’s Talk About Sex, Love Stories)   YEARBOOK by Seth Rogen (DB 103565) (Biography & Memoir, Funny Stuff, No Biz Like Show Biz, Nonfiction, Short Stories, Essays & Poetry, Staff Picks)  

YELLOW WIFE: A NOVEL by Sadeqa Johnson (DB 102908, BR 23680) (Book Club Ideas, Historical Fiction, Ladies First, The States We’re In)  

YOLK by MARY H. K. Choi (DB 104179) (Family Matters, Identity & Culture, Realistic Fiction, Staff Picks, Young Adult)  

ZORRIE by Laird Hunt (DB 102689) (Book Club Ideas, Historical Fiction, Rather Short, Seriously Great Writing, Staff Picks, The States We’re In)        

January 2022 Book Club Title Announced!

Please join us on Thursday, January 27 at 7:00 p.m. CT for our Book Club discussion of THE TIME IT NEVER RAINED by Elmer Kelton (DB 49217, LB 03803).

We host our Book Club meetings via toll free phone-in. All you need to participate is a telephone!

To RSVP, please reply to this email, or call the Talking Book Program at 1-800-252-9605.  (RSVP preferred by January 6).

Please indicate if you would like us to mail you the digital cartridge, send a large print copy, or if you prefer to download it from BARD. Also, please let us know if you would like a reminder via email or phone-call (or both).

We request that everyone remember the following:

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

NLS Annotation:

A cantankerous, independent-minded Texan, Charlie Flagg, fights to save his medium-sized ranch in Rio Seco during a drought. His problems are compounded by ineffectual federal aid programs and difficulties with Mexican ranch workers. Some strong language. 1973.

DB   49217, LB 03803

We look forward to having you join us on January 27!

Holiday Reads

The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting colder, and holiday music is suddenly blaring through every radio station, convenience store, and shopping mall. That’s right, December has arrived. To welcome the season, we’ve gathered some of our favorite titles in a few genres. So, gather your coziest blanket and warmest beverage and get into the holiday mood with these novels.

Festive Favorites:

STORY OF HANUKKAH by Amy Ehrlich (BR 08929 and DB 33242)
Retells the biblical story that is celebrated by Jewish people in the feast of Hanukkah.

SEVEN SPOOLS OF THREAD by Angela Shelf Medearis (BR 13078 and DB 97859)
Tale about seven argumentative Ashanti brothers, who are given the seemingly impossible task of turning spools of silk thread into gold. They join together to solve the problem, thus exhibiting the spirit of Kwanzaa.

LETTERS FROM FATHER CHRISTMAS by J.R.R. Tolkien (DB 63808)
A collection of Christmas letters penned by J.R.R. Tolkien and signed as Father Christmas that were sent to Tolkien’s children from 1920-1943. Each recapped activities of the preceding year at the North Pole, including reindeer running amok and the North Polar Bear breaking the moon into four pieces.

MR. DICKENS AND HIS CAROL by Samantha Silva (LB 09285 and DB 87973)
Depressed about the failure of his most recent book, feeling pressured by his publisher to write a Christmas book, and worried over his family’s financial stability, Charles Dickens seeks refuge in nightly walks. On one, he meets Eleanor Lovejoy, who takes him on a Scrooge-like journey.

Hallmark Holiday:

ROYAL HOLIDAY by Jasmine Guillory (BR 22879 and DB 96768)
When her daughter gets a job styling a member of the British royal family for the holidays, Vivian Forest jumps at the chance to travel with her. She is intrigued by Malcolm Hudson, a private secretary to the Queen, but Vivian is supposed to return home after Christmas. Some strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex.

TWELVE DATES OF CHRISTMAS by Jenny Bayliss (DB 101994)
The sleepy town of Blexford, England, isn’t exactly brimming with dating prospects, but thirty-four-year-old Kate Turner’s best friend signs her up for a dating agency that promises to help singles find love before the holidays. With twelve dates with twelve different men, she hopes for love by Christmas. Unrated.

WINTER NIGHTS by Francis Ray (DB 52196)
Compilation of three short African American Christmas novels. In “Until Christmas” Samantha becomes a housekeeper for Principal Rawlings and his twins. “Kwanzaa Angel” finds Erin being reintroduced to an old high school crush. In “Round Midnight” radio talk-show host Summer falls in love with her director. Some descriptions of sex.

Family Fiascos:

SEVEN DAYS OF US by Francesca Hornak (DB 89399)
The Birch family are under the same roof at Christmas for the first time in years, including Olivia, a doctor usually off saving the world. When Olivia is told she must stay in quarantine for a week, it means she and her family are stuck together for the duration. Some strong language.

CHRISTMAS STORY by Jean Shepherd (DBC 13520)
This edition of A Christmas Story gathers in one hilarious volume the gems of autobiographical humor that Jean Shepherd drew upon to create this enduring film. The pieces that comprise A Christmas Story coalesce in a magical fashion to become an irresistible piece of Americana, quite the equal of the film in its ability to warm the heart and tickle the funny bone.

SKIPPING CHRISTMAS by John Grisham (BR 13636, DB 52929, and LB 04959)
Tax accountant Luther Krank calculates that a Caribbean cruise will cost less than what he and his wife, Nora, spent celebrating the holidays last year. Since daughter Blair is in the Peace Corps, they plan to skip Christmas. Luther, however, doesn’t anticipate the town’s reaction. Some strong language.

Murder, Mystery, and More:

FOOTSTEPS IN THE DARK by Georgette Heyer (DBC 11081 and LB 07187)
Locals claim it is haunted and refuse to put a single toe past the front door, but to siblings Peter, Celia, and Margaret, the Priory is nothing more than a rundown estate inherited from their late uncle and the perfect setting for a much-needed holiday. But when a murder victim is discovered in the Priory halls, the once unconcerned trio begins to fear that the ghostly rumors are true, and they are not alone after all. Some strong language and some violence.

MISTLETOE AND MURDER by Carola Dunn (DB 73122)
England, 1923. Daisy Dalrymple, her husband Alec, and other relatives spend Christmas at Brockdene, Lord Westmoor’s Cornish estate, which Daisy is writing about. They are hosted not by Westmoor but by his poor Indian relations who reside there. Daisy and Alec investigate when a visiting Indian cleric is murdered.

IN A HOLIDAZE by Christina Lauren (DB 101089)
With her life a mess, Maelyn Jones is looking forward to spending one last Christmas at her family’s cabin in Utah. On her way, she is in an accident, and wakes to find herself in a time loop where she relives the same holiday over and over. Descriptions of sex and some strong language.

Nonfiction Noel Narratives:

CHRISTMAS MEMORY by Truman Capote (DB 30913)
A late November morning and the exclamation “Oh my, it’s fruitcake weather,” conjure up for Truman Capote the memory of a beloved cousin, Miss Sook Faulk, and Queenie, a little rat terrier “who has survived distemper and two rattlesnake bites.”  They make fruit- cake on this, their last Christmas together.

MIRACLE ON 10TH STREET AND OTHER CHRISTMAS WRITINGS by Madeleine L’Engle (DB 63705)
Selections from forty years of the award-winning author’s reflections on Christmas themes conveyed in stories, poems, essays, letters, and journal entries. Topics follow the Christmas season: Advent, Incarnation, Epiphany, Glorious Mystery, Redemption, and Celebration. The title piece recalls a past Christmas when L’Engle feared her daughter had leukemia.

Xavier Society for the Blind Hosts Zoom Event with Author Robert Hanley

Book jacket for Do You See What I See? Discovering the Obvious by Robert Hanley

The Xavier Society for the Blind is hosting a virtual meet and greet with actor/author Robert Hanley on Thursday, October 21, at 6 p.m. Eastern Time. Tickets are $25 each and will benefit the mission of the Xavier Society for the Blind.

The author of one of the society’s most popular audio books, DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE? DISCOVERING THE OBVIOUS, Hanley will discuss his book and answer questions from the audience.  The Texas Talking Book Program has copies of Hanley’s book on audio cartridge. To request a copy, please call us at 1-800-252-9605 or 512-463-5458, or send an email to tbpral@tsl.texas.gov.

Robert Hanley is an author, comedian, singer, and actorIn addition, he founded The Fireside Fellowship – a spiritual supplement to his book, providing a space for people to share their everyday experiences, feelings, and faith as they pertain to pertinent universal topics (e.g., gratitude, coincidence, humor, work) and offering practical and spiritual perspectives to effect a positive change in the life and faith of each person.

The Texas Talking Book Program has copies on audio cartridge. Call us at 1-800-252-9605 or 512-463-5458 or email us at tbpral@tsl.texas.gov to request a copy.

For more information about the event visit: An Evening of Storytelling with actor/author Robert Hanley (donorview.com)

Robert Hanley is an author, comedian, singer, and actor who founded The Fireside Fellowship, a spiritual supplement to his book. The fellowship provides a space for people to share everyday experiences, feelings, and faith and offers practical and spiritual perspectives in hopes of providing positive changes.

Virtual Meet and Greet with Author, Robert Hanley Hosted by the Xavier Society for the Blind
Date: Thursday, October 21st
Time: 6:00 PM EST

September 2021 Book Club Title Announced

Texas Talking Book patrons: please join us on Thursday, September 23 at 7:00 p.m. (Central) for our book club discussion of SAM HOUSTON AND THE ALAMO AVENGERS by Brian Kilmeade (DB 97726, LB 12663).

Book Cover for Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers

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 March 5) 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:

An account of America’s continued fight for Texas after the crushing massacre at the Alamo. The author describes how that defeat galvanized Texans to ultimately win independence for the state. Violence. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2019.We request that everyone remember the following:

  • Keep external distractions to a minimum.
  • Be courteous. Be succinct so as to give everyone a chance to talk; be respectful of differing opinions.
  • Keep discussion points concise and relevant to the book.

We look forward to the discussion on September 23!

Bonus TBP Book Club Title Announced for June 2021!

Logo for Center for the Book

The Talking Book Program is participating in the Read Across Texas initiative sponsored by the Texas Center for the Book. In honor of this event, we will be hosting a bonus book club meeting so that our patrons can participate in this year’s event. For more information visit https://www.tsl.texas.gov/readacrosstexas.

Please join us on Thursday, June 24 at 7:00 p.m. (Central Time) for our book club discussion of WHAT UNITES US: REFLECTIONS ON PATRIOTISM by Dan Rather (DB 90479).

Please join us on Thursday June 24 at 7 pm (Central Time) for our book club discussion of WHAT UNITES US: REFLECTIONS ON PATRIOTISM by Dan Rather.

NLS Annotation: Essays from the television journalist and his longtime collaborator that celebrate the values that tend to be shared throughout America, particularly those related to patriotism. Topics discussed include public institutions such as parks and libraries, the drive for innovation, and more. Narrated by Dan Rather. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2017.

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 27) 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.

Nebula Awards Finalists 2021

The Nebula Awards were established by the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) in 1965  in order to create an annual anthology of the best science fiction stories of the year. The finalists were announced March 15. Winners will be announced June 5.

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

Here are the finalists for 2021 that are in the TBP collection.

NOVEL


PIRANESI
CLARKE, SUSANNA
Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, and an ocean is imprisoned within its walls. He shares the house with the Other, who asks Piranesi for help but hides his true intentions. Strong language. 2020.
DB 100700 

CITY WE BECAME
JEMISIN, N.K.
Every great city has a soul. New York City? She’s got six, all newly awakened to their power. But every city also has a dark side. An ancient evil stirs, threatening to destroy New York and her six newborn avatars unless they can come together to stop it. Strong language, explicit descriptions of sex, and some violence. Commercial audiobook. 2020.
DB 98901
 
MEXICAN GOTHIC
MORENO-GARCIA, SILVIA
Mexico City, 1950. After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, socialite Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. Both the home and its owners seem to have a dark past. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2020.
DB 99404
 
BLACK SUN
ROANHORSE, REBECCA
In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice celebration is coinciding with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event the Sun Priest believes will lead to an unbalancing of the world. As the priests prepare, a ship heads towards Tova with a seemingly harmless passenger. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.
DB 101429
 
NETWORK EFFECT: THE MURDERBOT DIARIES
WELLS, MARTHA
Murderbot’s human associates that are definitely not its friends are captured and another not-friend from its past also requires urgent assistance, leaving Murderbot no choice but to take drastic action. Commercial audiobook. 2020.
DB 100216

NOVELLA

RING SHOUT: OR, HUNTING KU KLUXES IN THE END TIMES
CLARK, P. DJELI
In 1915, the Ku Klux Klan spread fear and violence in their plan to bring Hell to Earth. Standing in their way is Maryse Boudreaux and her fellow resistance fighters. Armed with blade, bullet, and bomb, they hunt their hunters and send the Klan’s demons straight to Hell. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.
DB 101148
 
RIOT BABY
ONYEBUCHI, TOCHI
Siblings Ella and Kev have extraordinary power, but they face structural racism and brutality while growing up. When Kev is put in prison, Ella works to inspire him to fight against America’s broken society. Strong language and some violence. 2020.
DB 98546; BR 23284

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

RAYBEARER
IFUEKO, JORDAN
Raised in isolation, Tarisai yearns for the closeness she could have as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of Eleven. But her mother, The Lady, has magically compelled Tarisai to kill the Crown Prince. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2020.
DB 100566
 
ELATSOE
LITTLE BADGER, DARCIE
In an America shaped dramatically by magic and monsters, seventeen-year-old Ellie uses her ability to raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family, to find out who murdered her cousin. Some violence and some strong language. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2020.
DB 101473
 
GAME OF FOX & SQUIRRELS
REESE, JENN
After an incident shatters their family, eleven-year-old Samantha and her older sister, Caitlin, are sent to live with an aunt they’ve never met. When Aunt Vicky gives Sam a mysterious card game, Sam is swept up in the dangerous quest, where the line between magic and reality grows thin. For grades 5-8. 2020.
DB 100744

African American Authors – Biographies, Autobiographies, and Memoirs

From classic African American authors from the early 20th century like James Baldwin and Langston Hughes to newer authors such as Saeed Jones and Nnedi Okorafor, the National Library Service (NLS) has books that tell the stories of their lives.

Biographies

ALICE WALKER: A LIFE
WHITE, EVELYN C.
Chronicles the life of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple (DB 58842, BR 12265). Traces Walker’s experiences as the daughter of Georgia sharecroppers, an acclaimed writer, and wife of a white NAACP lawyer. Explores her feminist and civil rights activism. Strong language. 2004.
DB 59554
 
CHESTER HIMES: A LIFE
SALLIS, JAMES
Discusses the African American novelist’s Missouri childhood, the inception of his writing career from prison, and the failure of his early works in a racially charged climate. Explains that Himes became famous writing crime stories while an expatriate in Europe. Some strong language.
DB 52754
 
LIFE OF LANGSTON HUGHES, VOLUME 1: 1902-1941. I, TOO, SING AMERICA
RAMPERSAD, ARNOLD
Rampersad’s biography of the American poet and writer takes Hughes from a tumultuous childhood in the Midwest, through worldwide travels and ramblings, to the early literary successes in New York. Tracing Hughes’s development and experiences, the book highlights the character of the artist, portraying him as a driven man devoted to his writing. 1986. Followed by LIFE OF LANGSTON HUGHES: VOLUME 2, 1941-1967: I DREAM A WORLD which continues the story of the noted poet (DB 28699)
DB 27535
 
LOOKING FOR LORRAINE: THE RADIANT AND RADICAL LIFE OF LORRAINE HANSBERRY
PERRY, IMANI
A portrait of the activist and writer best known for A Raisin in the Sun (DB 15750). Discusses Hansberry’s bold stances on civil rights, the prominent figures with whom she associated, her involvement in one of the nation’s first lesbian organizations, and the attention she drew from the FBI. Some strong language. Commercial audiobook. 2018.
DB 92981
 
NEVER WOULD HAVE MADE IT: THE RISE OF TYLER PERRY, THE MOST POWERFUL ENTERTAINER IN BLACK AMERICA (AND WHAT IT REALLY TOOK HIM TO GET THERE)
CHILDS, MELVIN
Entertainment producer describes the rise of African American comedian Tyler Perry as his career expanded from the “chitlin’ circuit” of black Southern clubs into a multi-billion-dollar enterprise. Highlights the financial side of show business and the author’s estrangement from Perry. Strong language. 2012.
BR 19674
 
RALPH ELLISON: A BIOGRAPHY
RAMPERSAD, ARNOLD
Professor analyzes the life of African American writer Ralph Ellison, whose only novel, Invisible Man (DB 56346, BR 14988), won the 1953 National Book Award. Uses Ellison’s correspondence to detail the personal and artistic struggles he endured, as well as his social and cultural milieu. 2007.
DB 65148
 
RICHARD WRIGHT: THE LIFE AND TIMES
ROWLEY, HAZEL
Interweaving journals, letters, and personal recollections, biographer Rowley illuminates the important African American novelist’s life, work, and ideas. Portrays Wright as a self-taught intellectual, an independent thinker, and an outspoken critic of racism. Examines his relationships with other writers, such as Ralph Ellison and Langston Hughes. Bestseller.
DB 53071
 
STREET POISON: THE BIOGRAPHY OF ICEBERG SLIM
GIFFORD, JUSTIN
Literature professor chronicles the life of Robert Beck (1918-1992), better known as Iceberg Slim, author of Pimp (DB 79726), Doom Fox (DB 80092), and Trick Baby (DB 80284). Discusses Slim’s criminal lifestyle and how it influenced his later writings, and appraises his significance in popular culture. Strong language. 2015.
DB 83628
 
SORROW’S KITCHEN: THE LIFE AND FOLKLORE OF ZORA NEALE HURSTON
LYONS, MARY E.
Lyons inserts samples of Hurston’s fiction, autobiography, and folklore collected in Florida, Louisiana, and the West Indies into this account of the African American anthropologist and Harlem Renaissance writer of stories, plays, essays, and articles.
DB 41455
 
SURPRISED QUEENHOOD IN THE NEW BLACK SUN: THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF GWENDOLYN BROOKS
JACKSON, ANGELA
Biography of author of Bronzeville Boys and Girls (DB 63916). Discusses Brooks’ early years in Chicago, personal relationships, racism she experienced, and publishing career. Examines the influence of her experiences on specific pieces of her work. Commercial audiobook. 2017.
DB 88823

Autobiographies and Memoirs

AMERICAN HUNGER
WRIGHT, RICHARD
Compelling autobiographical continuation of BLACK BOY (DB 20415, BR 04398) covering Wright’s struggle to make his way in Chicago and New York. Traces his experience with poverty and racism, his development as a writer, and his conversion to and estrangement from the Communist Party. Some strong language.
DB 10660
 
BROKEN PLACES & OUTER SPACES: FINDING CREATIVITY IN THE UNEXPECTED
OKORAFOR, NNEDI
The author recounts how a simple operation took her from track star to paralyzed. Confined in a hospital bed for months, she began to imagine fantastical things and turn those experiences into writing. Also discusses her childhood and other authors who have used hardship to fuel their work. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2019.
DB 96603
 
FATHERALONG: A MEDITATION ON FATHERS AND SONS, RACE AND SOCIETY
WIDEMAN, JOHN EDGAR
A collection of six essays examining a strained father son relationship in terms of social issues about race and family. Wideman, an award-winning novelist who wrote about his brother and himself in “Brothers and Keepers” (DB 23360), here combines a memoir of his father with observations about African-American life. Some strong language.
DB 40624
 
HOW WE FIGHT FOR OUR LIVES: A MEMOIR
JONES, SAEED
A poet describes his experiences growing up as black and gay in the American South through a series of vignettes. Describes familial relationships, romantic flings, and friendships. Examines what people do for and to each other in the search for identity. Strong language and some descriptions of sex.  Commercial audiobook. 2019.
DB 98361; BR 21014)
 
I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS
ANGELOU, MAYA
The first book in an autobiographical series. The author describes the childhood and adolescence of a black girl in rural Arkansas, St. Louis, and San Francisco.  She is a strong and sensitive young woman who endures and overcomes many horrors in her life. 1969. Followed by GATHER TOGETHER IN MY NAME (DB 56481; BR 16910).
DB 24959; BR 15665)
 
NO NAME IN THE STREET
BALDWIN, JAMES
Best known for GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN (DB 33488, BR 08734 ), in this personal statement Baldwin tells of his years of self- exile and renewal abroad, of his activities in the civil rights movement, and his road back to complete involvement in the cause of black people in America.
DB 25147
 
REGION NOT HOME: REFLECTIONS FROM EXILE
MCPHERSON, JAMES ALAN
First African American winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for ELBOW ROOM (DB 16996; BR 12600), in this collection of essays the author discusses his pursuits, from the segregated South to Morris Brown College, Harvard Law School, the University of Virginia, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Reflects on his love for his daughter, the experiences of Americans, life’s sorrows and delights, and works by other authors. Some strong language.
DB 52007
 
WHAT BECOMES OF THE BROKENHEARTED: A MEMOIR
HARRIS, E. LYNN
Autobiography by gay, African American, bestselling author of Invisible Life (DB 38731). Describes his humble beginnings in Arkansas, his career development, failed romantic relationships, bouts with depression, and deep faith in God. Strong language and some violence. Bestseller. 2003.
DB 56881