Braille Book Review

July-August 2002
Books for Adults--Nonfiction

The following books were recently produced for the NLS program. To order books, contact your braille-lending library.

Note: For the infomation of the reader, a notice may appear immediately following the book description to indicate occurrences of strong language, explicit descriptions of sex, or violence. The word "some" before any of these terms indicates an occasional or infrequent occurence, as in "some strong language.".

This page includes Web-Braille links to full-text braille versions of books. Eligible patrons may sign up for Web-Braille through the library that handles their braille magazine subscriptions.


An American Album: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Harper's Magazine BR 13228
edited by Lewis H. Lapham and Ellen Rosenbush
13 volumes
An anthology of stories, poems, essays, and first person reports selected from each decade of the magazine. Chronicles American cultural history with pieces by such noted authors as Melville, Hawthorne, Theodore Roosevelt, Sandburg, Steinbeck, Richard Wright, Plath, Baldwin, Hofstadter, Tuchman, Alice Walker, Tom Wolfe, and Joyce Carol Oates. 2000.

Captain Bligh's Portable Nightmare BR 13398
by John Toohey
2 volumes
A historian draws from original sources to portray Captain Bligh and his arduous four-thousand-mile sea adventure in an open boat after the mutiny on the Bounty. Toohey extrapolates from 200-year-old published records to create dialog and reconstruct Bligh's probable decision-making processes. 1998.

John Adams BR 13426
by David McCullough
7 volumes
Award-winning author chronicles the life and times of America's second president, New Englander John Adams (1735-1826). Examines his pivotal role as revolutionary, diplomat, and politician as well as his friendship--and rivalry--with Thomas Jefferson. Primary sources detail his relationship with his wife, Abigail, four children, and notable contemporaries. Bestseller 2001.

You Can't Catch Death: A Daughter's Memoir BR 13438
by Ianthe Brautigan
2 volumes
Ianthe was twenty-four when her father, writer Richard Brautigan, committed suicide in 1984. Raised by her father, Ianthe knew a different man from the one portrayed in the obituaries. She relates her progression from loneliness and fear to acceptance as she untangles the confusion left at her father's death. Some strong language. 2000.

Crazy Horse BR 13477
by Larry McMurtry
1 volume
A history buff and prolific writer examines the life and legend of a Sioux warrior who is rarely mentioned in official records. Provides a philosophical portrait of the solitary figure who was known for his acts of charity and for his leadership at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. 1999.

The Food of Asia: Authentic Recipes from China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam BR 13479
by Kong Foong Ling
3 volumes
Offers over three hundred recipes and gives an overview of each country, discussing the land, the people, their culture, and their foods. 1998.

Volcano Cowboys: The Rocky Evolution of a Dangerous Science BR 13482
by Dick Thompson
3 volumes
Assesses advances made by the U.S. Geological Survey between the eruption of Washington's Mount Saint Helens in 1980 and the Philippines' Mount Pinatubo in 1991 in the dangerous field of volcanology and predicting disasters. Explores mistakes made during the earlier crisis and how new research was applied a decade later. Some strong language. 2000.

The Balkans: A Short History BR 13483
by Mark Mazower
2 volumes
The author of Dark Continent: Europe's Twentieth Century (RC 49031) reassesses the area of southeastern Europe known as the Balkans. Explains how centuries of peaceful coexistence between diverse religious and cultural populations exploded into nationalist violence following the breakup of the Ottoman empire. 2000.

How to Be Born Again BR 13485
by Billy Graham
2 volumes
Veteran Christian evangelist explains the phrase "born again" as a biblical message that dates back two thousand years. Outlines the steps that can lead to a personal and religious turnabout. 1977.

Living in the State of Stuck: How Assistive Technology Impacts the Lives of People with Disabilities BR 13492
by Marcia J. Scherer
3 volumes
Provides an overview of the issues surrounding people with disabilities and assistive technology. Discusses how the equipment affects the individual and how to successfully match them. Uses vignettes to describe those who use devices and those who tried and abandoned them. 2000.

Prayer for People Who Think Too Much: A Guide to Everyday, Anywhere Prayer from the World's Faith Traditions BR 13497
by Mitch Finley
2 volumes
Exploring the traditional and innovative customs of the world's major religions, an award-winning author defines prayer as a holistic daily practice designed to enrich the body, mind, and spirit. Urges people of all faiths and backgrounds to reevaluate the power of prayer and live each moment in God's presence. 1999.

Breast Cancer BR 13509
by Janet Majure
1 volume
Discusses the symptoms, causes, treatments, and prevention of breast cancer. Also presents a history of the disease and ongoing research while stressing the importance of self-examination and early detection. For senior high and older readers. 2000.

Bodies in Motion and at Rest BR 13510
by Thomas Lynch
2 volumes
Meditative essays on matters of life and death, composed by a poet/funeral director. He explains that he has time on his hands because he doesn't play golf, doesn't drink (anymore), and is "married to an Italian." In "The Way We Are" he discusses his family's addiction--alcoholism. Some strong language. 2000.

Sometimes, Enough Is Enough: Finding Spiritual Comfort in a Material World BR 13511
by Marsha Sinetar
1 volume
Drawing on the Bible and other sources, an educator and author presents a step-by-step approach to a stronger spiritual life. Includes suggestions for relating to the notion of the Divine, managing time, and limiting intrusions by focusing on prayer, meditation, and exercise. Asserts that contemplation leads to greater harmony, self-assurance, and comfort. 2000.

Not So Funny When It Happened: The Best of Travel Humor and Misadventure BR 13531
edited by Tim Cahill
2 volumes
This anthology of humorous travel accounts includes pieces by Anne Lamott, Bill Bryson, J.P. Donleavy, Dave Barry, and Tim Cahill. The incidents occurred in such faraway places as Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Mexico, China, Morocco, Australia, and India, as well as right here in the United States. 2000.

Living with Cannibals and Other Women's Adventures BR 13533
by Michele Slung
2 volumes
Profiles of sixteen female adventurers, paired to contrast past and modern counterparts. Includes Florence Baker--who sought the source of the Nile--with white-water guide Arlene Burns, nineteenth-century globe-trotter Isabella Bird Bishop with twentieth-century bicyclist Dervla Murphy, and aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart with astronaut Shannon Lucid. 2000.

The Neptune File: A Story of Astronomical Rivalry and the Pioneers of Planet Hunting BR 13536
by Tom Standage
2 volumes
Chronicles events surrounding the 1840s discovery of the eighth planet from the Sun. Describes how British mathematician John Couch Adams deduced Neptune's existence from formulas--in work ignored by Britain's royal astronomer. Then Frenchman Urbain Le Verrier reached a conclusion similar to that of Adams, sparking a race to view the planet. 2000.

The One Hundred Best Poems of All Time BR 13554
edited by Leslie Pockell
2 volumes
A broad selection of poems from around the world and from biblical times to the twentieth century. Short, lyrical verses represent the work of one hundred diverse poets from Homer and Sappho to Lewis Carroll, Pablo Neruda, Dylan Thomas, and Maya Angelou. Some strong language. 2001.

The Miracle Worker: A Play for Television BR 13555
by William Gibson
1 volume
Depicts the beginning of the lifelong relationship between deaf and blind Helen Keller and her tutor, Annie Sullivan. When Annie arrives at the Keller household, she finds a spoiled, fractious child who cannot communicate. Annie teaches Helen to finger spell and searches for a way to show her what different words mean. 1956.

Jessie De La Cruz: A Profile of a United Farm Worker BR 13558
by Gary Soto
1 volume
Describes the life and times of a California migrant worker who joined Cesar Chavez's "La Causa" movement and helped change labor laws. Jessie De La Cruz spent many decades working in the fields, and became the first woman organizer for the National Farm Workers Association. For senior high readers. 2000.

The Greatest Generation BR 13580
by Tom Brokaw
3 volumes
Expanding on his 1984 D-Day anniversary coverage, reporter Brokaw profiles World War II veterans and civilians who sacrificed for their country. He includes people like Thomas Broderick, who founded the Blinded Veterans Association, and businessman Bob Bush, who lost an eye in a heroic rescue mission. Bestseller 1998.

The Greatest Generation Speaks: Letters and Reflections BR 13581
by Tom Brokaw
2 volumes
Collection of letters and other responses Brokaw received in response to The Greatest Generation (BR 13580); offers more accounts of the "heroism, values, friendships, and pain" of the Great Depression and World War II; explores the effects of these two crises on that generation and those that followed. Bestseller 1999.

The Secret of Happiness BR 13601
by Billy Graham
2 volumes
Offers advice on how to apply the simple yet revolutionary formulas of the King James Version of the Beatitudes in everyday life in order to achieve serenity and contentment. 1955.

Jane Austen BR 13602
by Carol Shields
1 volume
In this literary biography, writer Carol Shields throws light on the works of the nineteenth-century English novelist, Jane Austen. Discusses the private woman, describing the quiet personal life of a "stern moralist" who wrote "marriage novels" but never married. 2001.

Always Faithful: A Memoir of the Marine Dogs of WWII BR 13614
by William W. Putney
2 volumes
The 1943 commander, also a veterinarian, of the Marines' Third War Dog Platoon describes the training and duties of the animals he led during World War II. Explains the recruitment and retention of his charges and their handlers and their subsequent action in the Pacific. 2001.

Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil, and Fundamentalism in Central Asia BR 13624
by Ahmed Rashid
4 volumes
Journalist with twenty years' experience covering Afghanistan discusses the origin and rise of the Taliban and its fundamentalist concepts of Islam regarding gender and drugs. Explains the importance of Afghanistan's energy resources for the region and the country's problems with smuggling, civil war, and lack of social services. 2000.

The New Jackals: Ramzi Yousef, Osama bin Laden, and the Future of Terrorism BR 13625
by Simon Reeve
4 volumes
British journalist traces the capture of Pakistan-born Muslim extremist Ramzi Yousef, who masterminded the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, among other crimes. Examines Yousef's relationship to Osama bin Laden, the creation of the al Qaeda terrorist network, and the dangers of jihad against the West. 1999.

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