Secretive Students

School is back in session, so what better way to celebrate than by reading books about elite schools and universities full of students who are definitely harboring secrets and are maybe involved in dangerous escapades? Knowledge certainly is power in these novels:


THE SECRET HISTORY by Donna Tartt (DB 35868)
When Richard Papen is accepted at a small Vermont college, he gladly leaves his boring California identity behind. After he makes up an appropriate past, Richard is allowed to join an elite group of students who take all their classes from one professor. Richard learns that the clique is hiding some odd secrets—and one deadly one. The members trust Richard, but they are not so sure of one of their own. Strong language and violence.

ACE OF SPADES by Faridah Abike-Iyimide (DB 103918)
Shortly after the announcement that Devon and Chiamaka will be part of an elite school’s Senior Prefects, someone who goes by the name Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that threaten to turn their lives upside down. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.

WE WISH YOU LUCK by Caroline Zancan (DB 98209)
The students in Fielding’s MFA program are fascinated by Leslie, Hannah, and Jimmy. The trio do not take well to new visiting professor Simone—a bestselling author and former model—and plot revenge against her for reasons unknown to the other students. Unrated.

BRADSTREET GATE by Robin Kirman (DB 82108)
When a Harvard student is murdered, Professor Rufus Storrow is the prime suspect. Three of his students—Georgia, Charlie, and Alice—are in disbelief. Their own relationships are a tangled mess, and as they sort through their lives, they bear witness to each other’s and Storrow’s highs and lows. Unrated.

CATHERINE HOUSE by Elisabeth Thomas (DB 99407)
Catherine House, a college secluded in the woods of rural Pennsylvania, offers students an elite education, free of charge. The only catch is students must remain completely cut off from the outside world for three years. New student Ines Murillo arrives at Catherine House hoping to escape her past. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.

SPECIAL TOPICS IN CALAMITY PHYSICS by Marisha Pessl (DB 63286)
Blue Van Meer, erudite daughter of an itinerant professor, settles into Stockton, North Carolina, for her senior year in an elite high school. But she is unprepared for the deaths of a student and a favorite teacher. Some strong language.

BLACK CHALK by Christopher Yates (DB 89950)
As played by six best friends in their first year at Oxford University, what was meant to be a game of consequences, silly forfeits, and childish dares evolved into a vicious struggle with tragic results. Fourteen years later, the remaining players must play the final round. Strong language.

LONG BLACK VEIL by Jennifer Finney Boylan (DB 91470)
In 1980, six college students sneak into the dilapidated ruins of Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary. When the friends get lost and separated, the terrifying night ends in tragedy. Decades later, the dogged detective investigating the cold case charges one of them—a celebrity chef—with murder. Strong language and some violence.

THE LYING GAME by Ruth Ware (BR 22055 and DB 88914)
Isa became fast friends with Kate, Thea, and Fatima while they all attended boarding school. Seventeen years later, Kate summons the others back to Salten, where they learn that the lying game, they used to play had very real consequences. Strong language and some descriptions of sex.

THE CLUB by Takis Würger (DB 99521)
After the death of his parents, Hans is sent to boarding school until his Aunt Alex summons him to the university she works at in Cambridge. She needs him to infiltrate a secretive institution known as the Pitt Club. Unrated.

THE MAIDENS by Alex Michaelides (DB 103810)
Mariana Andros is a brilliant—but troubled—group therapist who becomes fixated on the members of a secret society of female students at Cambridge University known as The Maidens. When a friend of her niece is found murdered, she is convinced that charismatic professor Edward Fosca is responsible. Unrated.

BUNNY by Mona Awad (DB 95562)
Samantha Heather Mackey is an outsider in her master’s program because she’s a scholarship student who prefers the company of her dark imagination to the company of people—especially the clique of women who call each other “Bunny.” But then she is drawn into their world. Unrated.

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.


 

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

September 2022 Book Club Title Announced!

Please join us on Thursday, September 22 at 7 p.m. (CDT) for our Book Club discussion of THE PERSONAL LIBRARIAN, by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray (DB 103929).

We host our Book Club meetings via toll free conference call. All you need to participate is a telephone!

To register, please call the Talking Book Program at 1-800-252-9605; or email us at tbp.ral@tsl.texas.gov.

THE PERSONAL LIBRARIAN is available by mail as a digital cartridge and in large print. It is also available to download on BARD.

Please indicate if you would like us to mail you a digital cartridge or large print copy of the book, or if you will download it from BARD.

We ask that everyone remember the following:

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

THE PERSONAL LIBRARIAN by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher MurrayIn 1906, Belle da Costa Greene was hired by J. P. Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture in New York City society, but she is African American passing as white. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2021.

We look forward to having you join us on September 22!

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

CELEBRATE WITH PRIDE

Pride month is celebrated each year during the month of June. The first Pride march was held in New York City on June 28, 1970, on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. Since then, this single day has grown into a nationwide, month-long series of events celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community. Read more about Pride Month on the Library of Congress website: https://www.loc.gov/lgbt-pride-month/about/ and mark this month yourself by checking out one of these Pride books by and about LGBTQIA+ individuals:

FICTION

LESS by Andrew Sean Greer (DB 88794, LB 10273, BR 22198)
A failed novelist turning fifty is invited to his ex-boyfriend’s wedding. Instead of attending, he decides to accept every other invitation he has received, even if it means traveling the world for random, odd literary events. Strong language and some descriptions of sex. Pulitzer Prize for fiction, 2018. 2017.

LIAR’S DICTIONARY by Eley Williams (DB 103312, LB 13379)
Peter Winceworth, Victorian lexicographer, is toiling away on Swansby’s multivolume Encyclopaedic Dictionary, but boredom leads him to insert fictitious entries. In the present day, Mallory, a young intern employed by the publisher, is tasked with uncovering these fake words before the work is digitized. Unrated. 2021.

HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA by TJ Klune (DB 98951)
As a case worker at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, Linus Baker spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages. He is unexpectedly given a highly classified assignment: travel to a remote island orphanage where six dangerous children reside. Some strong language. 2020.

MEMORIAL by Bryan Washington (DB 101143)
Japanese American chef, Mike, and African American daycare teacher, Benson, begin reevaluating their stale relationship after Mike departs for Japan to visit his dying father and Benson is suddenly stuck with Mike’s mom, who becomes an unconventional roommate. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. 2020.

GIRL, WOMAN, OTHER by Bernadine Evaristo (DB 98756)
Twelve characters lead vastly different lives in modern Britain. From a nonbinary social media influencer to a 93-year-old woman living on a farm in Northern England, they all intersect in shared aspects of their identities, from age to race to sexuality to class. Unrated. Booker Prize. 2019.

GUNCLE by Steven Rowley (DB 103560)
It’s been years since Patrick O’Hara left behind the life of a sitcom star for retirement in Palm Springs. Now a family tragedy has left him in charge of his niece and nephew. While he has always loved being Gay Uncle Patrick, this new responsibility is overwhelming. Unrated. 2021.

NONFICTION

QUEER HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES by Michael Bronski (DB 00573)
Using numerous primary documents and literature, as well as social histories, takes the reader through the centuries, from the American Revolution’s radical challenging of sex and gender roles, to the violent and liberating 19th century, to the transformative social justice movements of the 20th century. A QUEER HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES is not so much about queer history as it is about all American history–and why it should matter to both LGBTQIA+ people and heterosexuals alike. Some strong language and explicit descriptions of sex.

HERE FOR IT: OR, HOW TO SAVE YOUR SOUL IN AMERICA: ESSAYS by Eric R. Thomas (DB 98878)
A collection of essays in which the author reflects on his experiences reconciling his Christianity with his sexuality, the exhaustion of code-switching, gaining accidental internet fame, and covering the 2016 election and its aftermath. He reexamines the meaning of “normal” and discusses how to care about an increasingly bleak future. Strong language. 2020.

SISSY: A COMING-OF-GENDER STORY by Jacob Tobia (DB 94505)
Tobia discusses their difficulties with a binary gender system while growing up as someone who did not fit the stereotypical mold for masculinity. Tobia seeks to discount the notion that all individuals can be easily sorted into the categories of “men” and “women”. Strong language and descriptions of sex. 2019.

UNTAMED by Glennon Doyle (DB 98981, LB 13258)
The author of CARRY ON, WARRIOR (DB 87208) and LOVE WARRIOR (DB 85522) suggests that trusting one’s inner voice and ignoring the world’s expectations can lead to joy and peace. She speaks of her own experiences learning to listen to herself at key moments and reclaim her true, untamed self. Strong language. Bestseller. 2020.

TOMORROW WILL BE DIFFERENT: LOVE, LOSS, AND THE FIGHT FOR TRANS EQUALITY by Sarah McBride (DB 90649)
Activist author discusses her journey as a teenager struggling with gender identity, her marriage to fellow trans individual Andy, her commitment to advocacy, and more. Examines issues such as bathroom access and healthcare, political milestones, and the historical context of the transgender movement. Bestseller. 2018.

Happy Pride Month, and happy reading!

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!