Braille Book Review

September-October 2012

Books for Adults

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."


Soldier from the War Returning: The Greatest Generation's Troubled Homecoming from World War II         BR 18636
by Thomas Childers
3 volumes
Documents the hardships experienced by U.S. veterans who returned home from World War II. Discusses problems such as unemployment, homelessness, alienation, and physical and psychological wounds. Highlights the lives of a former prisoner of war, an infantryman without legs, and the author's father, who suffered from undiagnosed post-traumatic stress. 2009.

The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún         BR 18640
by J.R.R. Tolkien
3 volumes
A retelling in English narrative verse of the epic Norse tales about Sigurd the Völsung and the fate of Gudrún's family, the Niflungs. First publication, with an introduction and commentary by Christopher Tolkien, his father's literary executor. 2009.

Blood Matters: From Inherited Illness to Designer Babies; How the World and I Found Ourselves in the Future of the Gene         BR 18652
by Masha Gessen
3 volumes
Author Gessen describes her experience learning about a genetic mutation that puts her at risk for breast and ovarian cancer. She discusses undergoing tests and researching her options, which include prophylactic surgery. Gessen also interweaves information concerning the history, current state, and ethics of genetic testing. 2008.

Independent Vision: Dorothy Harrison Eustis and the Story of the Seeing Eye         BR 18748
by Miriam Ascarelli
2 volumes
Biography of Dorothy Harrison Eustis (1886-1946), founder of the Seeing Eye, the first guide-dog school in America. Chronicles her childhood in upper-class Philadelphia, two marriages, and vacations in Switzerland where she was introduced to dogs assisting blinded German veterans. Describes the 1929 establishment of Eustis's school in New Jersey. 2010.

The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, the Horse That Inspired a Nation         BR 18749
by Elizabeth Letts
3 volumes
Relates Dutch immigrant Harry de Leyer's 1956 purchase of a gray horse from a slaughterhouse truck for eighty dollars. Recounts de Leyer's Long Island boarding-school students riding the horse named Snowman, the discovery of Snowman's jumping feats, and his victory at the 1958 National Horse Show. Bestseller. 2011.

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President         BR 18753
by Candice Millard
4 volumes
Chronicles the life of James A. Garfield (1831-1881), the twentieth American president. Highlights Garfield's rise from poverty to the Oval Office. Details the attack by deranged office-seeker Charles Guiteau and the medical care that killed Garfield despite the efforts of Alexander Graham Bell. Bestseller. 2011.

Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend         BR 18754
by Susan Orlean
3 volumes
Relates the 1918 discovery of an abandoned German shepherd puppy on a French World War I battlefield by American soldier Lee Duncan. Describes Rin Tin Tin and his descendants' acting roles from early silent movies to the 1950s television show. Bestseller. 2011.

Every Day a Friday: How to Be Happier Seven Days a Week         BR 18756
by Joel Osteen
3 volumes
Pastor Osteen discusses research showing that people are happiest on Fridays and suggests allowing joy to infuse every day by maintaining a positive outlook. Uses scripture and personal anecdotes to illustrate his principles for happiness. Bestseller. 2011.

Your Medical Mind: How to Decide What Is Right for You         BR 18757
by Jerome Groopman and Pamela Hartzband
3 volumes
Harvard Medical School staff and practicing physicians Groopman and Hartzband use research, case studies, and experts to explain the ways personal beliefs and conflicting information can aid or impede a patient's choice of treatment. 2011.

Tension City: Inside the Presidential Debates, from Kennedy-Nixon to Obama-McCain         BR 18760
by Jim Lehrer
2 volumes
PBS news anchor Lehrer, who has moderated eleven presidential and vice presidential debates, recalls the behind-the-scenes tension of these televised events. Includes insights from his follow-up interviews with candidates. Discusses major moments, killer questions, and backstage drama. 2011.

Weaving without a Loom         BR 18767
by Sarita R. Rainey
1 volume
Art educator provides instructions for weaving without a loom by putting threads under tension with simple equipment such as picture frames, pencils, cardboard pieces, reeds, and other items that can become part of the finished work. Describes techniques that foster creative experimentation with materials and form. 2007.

All My Patients Have Tales: Favorite Stories from a Vet's Practice         BR 18977
by Jeff Wells
3 volumes
Wells recounts his Iowa vet-school experience and the early years of his veterinary practice in South Dakota and Colorado. Describes chasing an excrement-spewing feral cat through the clinic, treating a Tibetan yak named Jack, and realizing that an ex-marine had fainted while Wells sutured a horse's nose. Uncontracted braille. 2009.

Jesus of Nazareth: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection; Holy Week, Part 2         BR 19243
by Pope Benedict XVI
3 volumes
Pope Benedict continues his biography of the flesh-and-blood Jesus, as revealed in the Gospels. Explains the challenges Jesus faced and interprets the meaning of his life, teaching, death, and resurrection. Sequel to Jesus of Nazareth: From Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration (BR 17214). Translated from German. Bestseller. 2011.

The Piano         BR 19316
by Jeremy Siepmann
3 volumes
Traces the development of the modern grand piano from its harpsichord origins in the eighteenth century. Discusses the types of music performed on the instrument, from sonatas and concertos to ragtime and jazz. Profiles great keyboard composers such as Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, and Gershwin. 1998.

The First World War: An Illustrated History         BR 19329
by A.J.P. Taylor
2 volumes
Oxford historian's year-by-year chronicle of World War I, which began with the assassination of Hapsburg archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie on June 28, 1914, in Bosnia. Describes battles and behind-the-scenes politics, the use of poison gas and U-boats, and America's entry into the conflict. 1963.

Devotion: A Memoir         BR 19336
by Dani Shapiro
2 volumes
In this follow-up to the autobiographical Slow Motion (BR 12069), writer Shapiro, now middle-aged and living in rural Connecticut with a husband and young son, discusses her search for spirituality. Describes her forays into yoga, meditation, and a gentler Judaism than the orthodoxy of her childhood. 2010.

How Did You Get This Number: Essays         BR 19341
by Sloane Crosley
2 volumes
In this companion to I Was Told There'd Be Cake (BR 17792), Crosley provides nine more autobiographical comedic essays. In "Off the Back of a Truck" she describes entering an arrangement with a stockman at a posh furniture store to furnish her studio apartment illegally. Some strong language. 2010.

Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited         BR 19427
by Vladimir Nabokov
3 volumes
Autobiographical sketches chronicle the author's upper-class childhood in Russia, the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution that forced his family into exile in Europe, and his 1940 move to the United States. First published in 1951 under the title Conclusive Evidence and revised in 1966. 1947.

Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well         BR 19454
by Billy Graham
2 volumes
Ninety-three-year-old evangelist, whose wife Ruth died in 2007, uses his personal experience of aging to illustrate ways to achieve spiritual growth while facing life's transitions. Discusses retirement, health, and grief and suggests viewing one's later years from God's perspective. Bestseller. 2011.

Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope         BR 19455
by Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly
3 volumes
Arizona congresswoman Giffords and astronaut Kelly, her husband, describe their lives before and after the near-fatal shooting of Giffords in January 2011. They discuss their anguish over the other victims, Kelly's support during Giffords's recovery, and Giffords's determination to return to work. Some violence and some strong language. Bestseller. 2011.

Life's Little Emergencies: A Handbook for Active Independent Seniors and Caregivers         BR 19481
by Rod Brouhard
2 volumes
Paramedic's step-by-step guide to preventing and treating common injuries and illnesses. Includes instructions for administering CPR and first aid and advice for dealing with emergencies such as fires, snakebites, and natural disasters. 2012.

A Planet of Viruses         BR 19483
by Carl Zimmer
1 volume
Science writer briefly chronicles the history of viruses. Highlights sources of disease such as the rhinovirus, influenza, human papillomavirus, and others. Discusses future viral mutations and efforts to predict the next plague. 2011.

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