Braille Book Review

November-December 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.


Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century: A Book by and for Women BR 13108
by Boston Women's Health Book Collective
read by
17 volumes
This updated version of The New Our Bodies, Ourselves (BR 6075) discusses aspects of women's health, including holistic medicine, emotional well-being, relationships, sexual behavior, and childbearing. Also includes information concerning disabilities and aging. Explicit descriptions of sex. 1998.

Folk Shawls: Twenty-five Knitting Patterns and Tales from around the World BR 13489
by Cheryl Oberle
1 volume
Describes patterns for square, rectangular, and triangular wraps- -many using only one color of yarn. Briefly reviews techniques, then discusses the heritage of each piece and gives directions for making it. The projects include the Irish diamond (square), Japanese kimono (rectangular), and lacy prairie (triangular) shawls. 2000.

Cosmic Dispatches: The New York Times Reports on Astronomy and Cosmology BR 13575
edited by John Noble Wilford
4 volumes
Collection of space science articles by six writers, previously published in the New York Times. They explain the significance of technological breakthroughs and discoveries in astronomical research that expand human understanding of the universe. 2001.

Milosz's ABCs BR 13594
by Czeslaw Milosz
3 volumes
In brief alphabetically arranged entries, the Polish Nobel laureate, reflects on places, fictional and historical figures, and abstract concepts. He offers his opinions on such diverse topics as Simone de Beauvoir, Robert Frost, Edward Hopper, America, Martinique and Guadeloupe, hatred, the Polish language, and stupidity. 2001.

Greenspan: The Man behind Money BR 13605
by Justin Martin
3 volumes
The author uses interviews with Alan Greenspan's family and associates to trace the Federal Reserve Board chairman's youth in Manhattan, years at New York University, careers in music and consulting, and rise to fame as presidential advisor and bank chief. Explores influences of economist Arthur Burns and novelist Ayn Rand. 2000.

Jefferson vs. Hamilton: Confrontations That Shaped a Nation BR 13611
by Noble E. Cunningham
2 volumes
Uses primary documents to illustrate the different political and social philosophies of Thomas Jefferson, the first U.S. secretary of state, and Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the treasury under President George Washington. Includes letters, speeches, and state papers, from their youth to Hamilton's death in 1804. 2000.

Oz Clarke's Introducing Wine BR 13620
by Oz Clarke
2 volumes
Asserting that wine should be chosen for its flavor, Clarke offers a guide to the range of wine tastes available throughout the world. He presents fifteen broad styles, tells how each is unique, and gives tips on buying and storing wine. Includes section on worldwide wine producing. 2000.

Dark Remedy: The Impact of Thalidomide and Its Revival as a Vital Medicine BR 13621
by Trent Stephens and Rock Brynner
2 volumes
Scientist Stephens and historian Brynner trace the drug thalidomide's history, from its role in the 1960s birth-defect epidemic to its comeback as a treatment for leprosy, AIDS, and some cancers. Discusses the responsibility of the pharmaceutical industry, consequences to victims, intervention by regulating agencies, and ongoing revalidating research. 2001.

Ariel's Gift: Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, and the Story of Birthday Letters BR 13643
by Erica Wagner
2 volumes
An exploration of the relationship between two poets and the revelations in their writing. Examines the marriage and separation of British Ted Hughes and American Sylvia Plath, Plath's suicide, Hughes's decades-long silence, and his personal poetic summing-up in Birthday Letters (BR 11462) of 1998. 2000.

Native North America BR 13646
by Larry J. Zimmerman and Brian Leigh Molyneaux
2 volumes
Overview of American tribal history and culture. Discusses prehistoric migrations to North America and subsequent displacement of tribal peoples by European settlers. Describes Native Americans' spiritual life, religious beliefs, and rituals. Examines their issues with modern society. 1996.

Kilroy Was Here: The Best American Humor from World War II BR 13649
edited by Charles Osgood
1 volume
Radio and television anchorman edits and introduces a collection of essays, jokes, and poems from the Second World War. Includes "A Dictionary of American Military Slang 1941-1944"; spoofs featuring Artie Greengroin, Pfc.; and selections from Yank magazine and the Reader's Digest's regular "Humor in Uniform" feature. Some strong language. 2001.

Rumi: A Spiritual Biography BR 13650
by Leslie Wines
2 volumes
Concise introduction to the life and times of the Sufi mystic poet Rumi (1207-1273). Discusses Rumi's itinerant childhood, the transforming experience of his friendship with the eccentric dervish Shams al-Din of Tabriz, and the creation of his poetry. 2000.

Birth of the Cool: Beat, Bebop, and the American Avant-Garde BR 13660
by Lewis MacAdams
3 volumes
Cultural history of the American arts scene in the 1940s and 1950s. Examines the derivation of "cool" and evaluates which artists had it, from jazz musicians such as Charlie Parker and Miles Davis, to writers including William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, and Allen Ginsberg. Some strong language. 2001.

A Year in Our Gardens: Letters by Nancy Goodwin and Allen Lacy BR 13664
by Nancy Goodwin and Allen Lacy
2 volumes
Goodwin (North Carolina) and Lacy (New Jersey) live in the same climate zone, but deal with very different growing conditions. After corresponding for several years, they began a year-long exchange of letters in December 1997, wherein they offer insights into the world around them, discussing everything from Mozart to mulch. 2001.

Quarrel and Quandary: Essays BR 13668
by Cynthia Ozick
2 volumes
A wide-ranging collection of pieces, previously published in a variety of periodicals. Includes reflections on the commercialization of Anne Frank, a comparison of the Unabomber to Dostoyevsky's disturbing murderer Raskolnikov, reconsiderations of Henry James and Franz Kafka, and personal recollections. Nat'l Book Critics Circle Award. 2000.

Long Distance: A Year of Living Strenuously BR 13671
by Bill McKibben
2 volumes
Anecdotes from the year that the author, a thirty-seven-year-old self-described "wimp," spent training like an Olympian in order to compete in a cross-country ski event. He tells how he overcame his internal and external obstacles, including his father's decline because of a brain tumor. 2000.

The Life of Verdi BR 13684
by John Rosselli
2 volumes
Brief critical portrait of Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901), the composer of twenty-six operas. Presents Verdi in the context of the political and social climate of nineteenth-century Italy. Discusses his personal life and relationships with women, and analyzes some of his most important operas. 2000.

Simone Weil BR 13690
by Francine du Plessix Gray
2 volumes
A portrait of the complex character of the French philosopher and feminist who died of anorexia at age thirty-four. Gray describes Weil's isolated, intellectual childhood in Paris; the dichotomy between her mental and physical needs; and the evolution of her spiritual quest. 2001.

Pete Seeger's Storytelling Book BR 13695
by Pete Seeger and Paul DuBois Jacobs
2 volumes
Veteran folksinger Seeger and poet Jacobs offer advice on becoming a storyteller by embellishing old stories, historical tales, and songs, as well as anecdotes from one's own personal history. Includes examples from Seeger's vast repertoire. 2000.

Walking on the Land BR 13698
by Farley Mowat
2 volumes
A portrayal of the desperate plight of the Inuit of northern Canada and the disintegration of their way of life. Reworks and updates material previously published in 1952 and 1960, covering Mowat's travels through the Barren Lands. Some strong language. 2001.

Living a Life That Matters: Resolving the Conflict between Conscience and Success BR 13708
by Harold S. Kushner
1 volume
Author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People (BR 5310) recommends that people stop judging success by fame, power, and wealth, but measure their achievement by the positive difference they make in the world. Advises finding a meaningful life through family, friendship, and acts of generosity. Bestseller 2001.

The Signers of the Declaration of Independence BR 13719
by Robert G. Ferris and Richard E. Morris
2 volumes
Brief biographies of each of the fifty-six patriots who signed the American Declaration of Independence and were subsequently branded as traitors to the English crown. Includes text, summary, and historical background of the 1776 document. 1973.

On the Wing: A Young American Abroad BR 13752
by Nora Sayre
2 volumes
A New York writer and former film critic recounts her coming-of- age experiences in London in the 1950s. Through her parents, Sayre was privileged to move in literary circles with Arthur Koestler, A.J. Liebling, Cyril Connolly, Elizabeth Jane Howard, John Davenport, and actor Tyrone Power. Some strong language. 2001.

Marlon Brando BR 13754
by Patricia Bosworth
2 volumes
Portrait of the celebrity actor including revelations about his dysfunctional family, his acting lessons with Stella Adler, and highlights of his career. Describes Brando's destructive personal behavior. Provides insight into his political views and his major roles on stage and screen. Some descriptions of sex and some strong language. 2001.

Christmas in Plains: Memories BR 13767
by Jimmy Carter
1 volume
Carter, who served as the thirty-ninth president of the United States, reminisces about family Christmases over the years, beginning with his childhood on a Georgia farm, through his years in the U.S. Navy, the Georgia governor's mansion, the White House, and then back to Plains. Bestseller 2001.

An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life BR 13784
by Dalai Lama
1 volume
Companion to The Art of Happiness (BR 13301) provides the Dalai Lama's teachings to introduce the core of Buddhism. Weaves together his spiritual guidelines for everyday living with two ancient Buddhist texts. Contains text of the Dalai Lama's 1999 New York address. Bestseller 2001.

The Riddle of the Compass: The Invention That Changed the World BR 13785
by Amir D. Aczel
1 volume
Traces the development of the magnetic compass and its impact on society. Contends that the compass should be seen as the most important technological innovation since the wheel because of its lasting effect on navigation, commerce, and world economy. 2001.

Andy Warhol BR 13791
by Wayne Koestenbaum
2 volumes
Examines the enigmatic man behind the public figure of the pop artist who became a cultural icon of the 1960s. Discusses Warhol's homosexuality in art and life, and his nearly fatal shooting. Provides psychoanalytically oriented insights into his personality and his work. 2001.

A Trial by Jury BR 13793
by D. Graham Burnett
2 volumes
An academic historian recounts his personal experiences as jury foreman in the murder trial of a male prostitute. Details of the crime provide necessary background to the sequestered jury's heated discussions during the intense sixty-six hours leading to a verdict. Reveals difficulties inherent in the American legal system. Some descriptions of sex. 2001.

Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir BR 13796
by Lauren Slater
2 volumes
In this deliberately unreliable reminiscence, the author of Prozac Diary (BR 12105) elegantly describes the manifestations of her epileptic seizures. But she also confesses her tendency to exaggerate and ponders whether the book she is writing is fiction or nonfiction. Some descriptions of sex and some strong language. 2000.

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