Senior Helpline: 211 * City of Jacksonville: 630-CITY

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Unread Talking Books

Are there Talking Books at your home that you keep telling yourself you're going to get around to reading but can't seem to find the time? Are you holding on to later books in a series while you're on a waiting list to receive the early titles? Do you just need to clear up some space and have fewer demands on your time during this busy holiday season? If that's the case then send those books on back but before you do give us a call and we can create a record of the books that you want to receive again at a later date. If you've been waiting for titles to complete a series give us a call and we might be able to send you a downloaded copies. Due to the limited availability of some titles on digital Talking Book cartridge we ask our customers to return unread books and request them again at a later date so that there are enough titles in circulation to satisfy everyone's reading habits. Please call us at 630-1999 and let's work together on this.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Talking Book review

Light a Single Candle by Beverly Butler

At 14, Cathy Wheeler suddenly became blind as the result of an unsuccessful eye operation. Once enjoying a normal and fairly uneventful life, Cathy now finds herself having to learn how to live in a different world. She once enjoyed drawing, which she can no longer do; she once enjoyed bike riding, and now that's a challenge. She once had a close friendship with her neighbor Pete, who no longer talks to her.

Desperately unnerved with the prospect of going back to regular high school, Cathy agrees to give the state school for the blind a try. That, however, comes with its own obstacles -- it's a hundred miles away, so Cathy must board there; many of the girls have been blind most of their lives, and well accustomed to many things that Cathy is not. Worst of all, the teachers and director don't seem too optimistic about a blind girl's future among average people.

It's Cathy's semester at the school that gives her the strength to come home and give her old life a new try -- only as a person with a few new challenges to overcome.

Though it's overwhelming and difficult at first, Cathy is soon amazed to learn about all she can accomplish if only she puts her mind to it. Best of all, the teachers at the blind school were wrong -- not every sighted person will either pity or mock her. To her delight, Cathy soon begins to enjoy new friendships and opportunities, some even beyond ones she would have sought out previously.

Although some of Cathy's experiences are dated -- the public high school, for example, has no accomodations for students with any sort of special needs -- most of her other struggles are still valid today. Who wouldn't experience heartache and despair while being forced to adjust to a sudden, completely life-altering disability?

A great read, sensitive, yet real, great for young adults of all ages...


Monday, December 2, 2013

Talking Book review

Do You Dream In Color: Insights from a Girl Without Sight by Laurie Rubin
Laurie Rubin's memoir of how she overcame her blindness to carve out a career as an operatic singer is a testament to an unquenchable spirit.
Born to intelligent, affluent and loving parents in California, Laurie was fortunate to have had all the advantages that such an upbringing would suggest. Except for one thing - Laurie was born blind, unable to see anything except white light. But Laurie, as every page of her entrancing memoir testifies, was also born with an unstoppable optimism - a can-do attitude that refuses to give up on any aspect of life's riches. Backed up by her family, she learned to ski, she has a bat mitzvah and discovers a wonderful singing voice coupled with a rare musical talent.
Every page of this book is infused by Laurie's unstoppable drive to live life to its fullest. The words "I can't" are simply not in her vocabulary. Instead, she asks, "how can I?" -- and then she goes ahead and does whatever it is.
As always, I would strongly advise readers to read this book because it’s a great read that will inspire people from all backgrounds to achieve their dreams without any hesitations.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Talking Book review

In the Woods by Tana French
ILAB’S Book Club “Book of the Month”

Twenty years prior to the novel's events, twelve year-old Adam and his two best friends failed to come home after playing in the familiar woods bordering their Irish housing estate. A search is organized and the Gardaí find Adam shivering, clawing the bark of a nearby tree, with blood on his shoes and slash marks on his back. He is unable to tell them what happened or where his friends are. They are never found and his amnesia holds to the present day. He now goes by his middle name, Rob, to avoid media attention and is a detective with An Garda Síochana's Murder Squad.

The plot of the novel circles around the murder of a twelve-year-old girl, Katy Devlin, whose case Rob and his partner Cassie Maddox are assigned to investigate. The body is found in the same woods where Rob's friends disappeared, at an archaeological dig site, and the coincidence is enough to make Rob nervous, though he insists to his partner that he is fine.

Cassie and Rob have been partners for a few years and get along famously, teasing one another and completing one another's thoughts. Cassie is one of the few people who knows the truth about Rob's past. There are many rumors that they are romantically involved, though both of them scoff at the idea, despite the fact that they live almost like a married couple, spending a lot of time at Cassie's cooking dinner for one another, drinking wine, and having Rob crash on Cassie's couch across the room.
I found this book to be very engaging and an awesome read for those of us who love suspense. It is a definite must read that will keep a reader engrossed until the very end.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Talking Book review

Breaking Barriers: Working and Loving While Blind by Peter Altschul

Most of us who are blind or severely visually impaired probably feel we have had some unique life experiences, and that we should write them into a book. The difference between most of us and Peter, though, is that he actually wrote the book. Additionally, Peter is not just another blind guy who has had some life experiences from which others may learn, and which may have entertainment value. Sight or blindness notwithstanding, Peter is a highly experienced and intuitive management consultant, an experienced social worker, and a musician and composer who has great talent and considerable credits for his artistic accomplishments.

He has the credentials to write cogently and at length on any of these subjects in addition to, or instead of, his blindness and his dog guides. The extraordinary nature of his now-published memoir is that he has woven all of these themes together in an artful, entertaining, and educational manner.

Many memoirs take the "I was a child, then I was a teenager, then I was a young adult, and now I am however old" format. This often gets boring, and gives the reader a "why should I care?" attitude. Peter avoids this through creating what I would call an "events tapestry." He tells various stories from his life, in various sections of the book, and within them, he flashes back to other stories from other times that are relevant to the main themes of the section. The result is that one is not left with the impression of "Now Peter has told about his life" as much as "These are informative and thought-provoking comments on the structure of effective organizations, the successful training of dog guide teams, how to get along with bosses and deal with blindness in the workplace, and about falling in love."

The book covers such issues as blindness and family dynamics, how blind adults may relate to children, job interviewing tips, and theories of public education for those who are blind. It does so in a manner that is so subtle and well-crafted that the reader may first think, "That was a good read about Peter, his remarkable family, his dog guides, and the way he met his equally talented, creative and brilliant wife." A bit more reflection makes the reader realize that he has been enlightened concerning effective management, orientation and mobility for the blind, how dog guides are trained, and a myriad of other issues about how people who are blind often cope with everyday life.

The guide dog school from which Peter has received several excellent dogs is Guiding Eyes for the Blind. Guiding Eyes seems to have a penchant for graduating guide dog users who are also extraordinary writers. Stephen Kuusisto, a graduate and former employee of Guiding Eyes, wrote "Planet of the Blind" in 1995. In that best-selling memoir, Kuusisto articulated his experiences as he moved from being visually impaired as a child to being totally blind. Peter Altschul has followed up with an equally well-penned volume, discussing his life experiences as a person who was born totally blind. While he has done that competently, he has gone miles further. The book is an informative and essential read for anyone working in management consulting, community organizing, orientation and mobility, rehabilitation, social work, customer service, or job placement. It is also a pretty uplifting read for many of us blind or severely visually impaired folks, who will likely finish the book thinking, "I could never write my story that well, and will probably never get around to doing so at all, but I am surely glad that Peter did. Getting the information out in the way Peter has accomplished it is good for us all."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Series Compilations

As part of our "Digital On Demand" downloading service we are now offering single digital cartridge copies of popular series. For instance, if you want to listen to the first 5 books of the Harry Potter series we can send them out to you on one digital cartridge.These series compilations circulate just like the standard NLS produced digital Talking Books. The biggest exception is that neither the grey plastic shipping box or the light-green cartridge will be labeled as we will be reusing it after it is returned. Customers are only allowed to have one copied cartridge checked out to them at a time so be aware that not all the books of a series will fit on one cartridge. In the case of long series we will send whatever titles are remaining in a series after the customer returns the cartridge containing the previous titles.

A few popular series that can be requested are: Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling; The Mountain Man by William Johnstone; the Eve Dallas series by J.D. Robb; A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin; the Dexter series by Jeffrey Lindsay; the Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly; the Kinsey Millhone series by Sue Grafton; The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien; and many others.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Talking Book Review

Bury the Lead by David Rosenfelt.

Northern New Jersey has a new local hero on its cultural crime turf. He's Andy Carpenter, the Paterson defense attorney who can sling a quip as fast as he can outmaneuver a snarling prosecutor.

His streak of murder case acquittals made him a regular on cable talk shows. His recent $22 million inheritance bought him a dog rescue operation named the Tara Foundation after his own beloved golden retriever. Yet after turning down cases left and right, Andy Carpenter thinks he's facing a midlife crisis.

When a friend, a newspaper owner, calls in a favor and asks him to protect his star reporter, Andy is less than thrilled. His new client is Daniel Cummings, a journalist who is being used as a mouthpiece by a brutal serial killer. Things only get worse when Daniel is discovered near the body of the murderer's latest victim. And after Andy himself starts collecting anonymous death threats, he hears the news every defense lawyer dreads...and moves to within a dangerous keystroke of becoming tomorrow's obituary.

This book is for those who are grappled by suspense; it’s among the best page turners that I have read in a very long time. You can find this book at our Talking Books library…I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Talking Book Review

White Coat, White Cane: The Extraordinary Odyssey of a Blind Physician By David Hartman

The woman's arthritic fingers feel gnarled and crooked, her knees lumpy rocks. But I can detect no swelling, so I press here, there, trying to rouse an inflamed spot. "What are you doing"she challenges.
"You're blind!" "I'm examining you. Haven't you ever been examined by a blind doctor before?" She refuses to be humored. "That's silly. What can a blind doctor do?" "I'm not sure, but we're going to find out..."
When David Hartman, blind since the age of eight, announced his intention to become a doctor, the reactions ranged from sympathy to ridicule. How could he diagnose his patients? Examine them, except by touch? Look through a microscope? Even understand what was being described? The battle lines were drawn: David and his family on one side, the schools and society on the other. But with an incredible strength of purpose, David Hartman went on to become the first blind person in over 100 years to enter medical school. What is it like to adjust to a world of darkness? David Hartman lets us know bluntly, with real emotion, insight, and humor. He had to relearn the simplest things. He had to overcome mental obstacles that were at times more formidable than the physical ones. Yet he was determined to reach beyond his difficulties to fulfill an impossible dream. His teachers were helpful, hostile, embarrassed, unsure-and in medical school he had to work twice as hard. The work had to be read to him or translated into Braille. Often he had to rely on a sighted person to confirm his diagnosis, and he needed a nurse to read the patients' charts to him. But he utilized all his other senses to achieve his greatest desire: helping to heal. His journey is a moving and inspirational story for us all...we can achieve any and all dreams if and when we set our minds to.