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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.