Braille Book Review

March-April 2001
Books for Adults--Nonfiction

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." Nonfiction

The Origin of Species BR 12412
by Charles Darwin
5 volumes (Reissue)
The nineteenth-century English scientist's theory of evolution, in which he uses the findings of anatomy, geology, embryology, and paleontology to support his explanation of natural selection and survival of the fittest. 1859.

Shallow Grave in Trinity County BR 12442
by Harry Farrell
4 volumes
In April of 1955, Berkeley junior high student Stephanie Bryan disappeared on her way home from school. California journalist Farrell describes the events that happened after her purse was found in the basement of a young Alameda couple. The husband, Burton Abbott, was soon accused of her murder. 1997.

Space and the American Imagination BR 12481
by Howard E. McCurdy
4 volumes
Discusses the development of the U.S. space program in response to public interest spurred by writers of science and science fiction. Examines impacts of popular pressures and cultural ideals in shaping policy decisions that led to the creation of the national space venture; explores the resulting discrepancies between expectations and reality. 1997.

Pillsbury Fast and Healthy Cookbook: 350 Easy Recipes for Every Day BR 12485
by Pillsbury Company
5 volumes
A collection of recipes with nutritional information, tips on cooking and storage, advice about ingredients, and suggestions for making meals varied and interesting. Preparation times are generally less than thirty minutes. 1998.

The Myth of Continents: A Critique of Metageography BR 12489
by Martin W. Lewis and Karen E. Wigen
4 volumes
An examination of how traditional geographical divisions of the world into continents, nation-states, and the supracontinental blocks of East and West reflect parochial attitudes such as Eurocentrism. Proposes that an increasingly integrated world needs a new geographical depiction. 1997.

She Came to Live Out Loud: An Inspiring Family Journey through Illness, Loss, and Grief BR 12498
by Myra MacPherson
4 volumes
The author describes her experiences with a dynamic Maryland woman during the last twenty months of her struggle to survive breast cancer. Portrays Anna Johannessen's family and friends and their efforts to care for her until her death at age forty-five in 1997. Some strong language. 1999.

Holy Hunger: A Memoir of Desire BR 12499
by Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
2 volumes
An Episcopal priest describes her addiction to food and her struggle to overcome it. Growing up with an alcoholic father and an emotionally reclusive mother, Bullitt-Jonas became a compulsive overeater. She eventually recovered with the help of Overeaters Anonymous. 1998.

Play Winning Checkers: Official American Mensa Game Book BR 12569
by Robert Pike
1 volume
Explains the basic rules and moves in the multigenerational, interactive game of checkers. Intended for beginners and experienced players who want to improve their performance. Provides guidance for conducting tournaments. Also offers variations on the standard American game. For junior and senior high and older readers. 1999.

Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies BR 12574
by Alice Medrich
1 volume
The author of Chocolate and the Art of Low-fat Desserts (BR 10421) now provides recipes for shortbread, butter cookies, chocolate cookies, cookie classics, biscotti, brownies, and bars. She also instructs on techniques for decorating cookies and making sandwich cookies, and discusses ingredients and equipment. 1999.

Beowulf BR 12591
by Seamus Heaney
3 volumes
Nobel laureate Heaney presents a bilingual edition of the tenth- century Anglo-Saxon epic, which includes the original poem in Old English along with his new modern English verse translation. The poem chronicles the feats of Scandinavian warrior Beowulf, who battles with monsters and brings wisdom to leadership. Whitbread Award. Bestseller 2000.

I May Be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination BR 12612
by Francis Spufford
4 volumes
A cultural examination of the British male obsession with polar exploration as evidenced in literary works. Provides some historical background about famous expeditions but concentrates on motivation: the allure of the vast unknown. Includes some commentary on the wives' feelings. 1997.

Seamus Heaney BR 12626
by Helen Vendler
2 volumes
A guide to understanding the works of the Irish poet who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. Explains the background and evolution of his poetry from Death of a Naturalist in 1966 through The Spirit Level in 1996. 1998.

The Bird Catcher: Poems BR 12632
by Marie Ponsot
1 volume
A collection of fifty-two poems, some of which were previously published in periodicals. Grouped under four headings, each bearing the title of a poem in that section: "For My Old Self"; "Separate, in the Swim"; "The Split Image of Attention"; and "Explorers Cry Out Unheard." Nat'l Book Critics Circle Award. 1998.

Ten Commandments: Poems BR 12639
by J.D. McClatchy
1 volume
Ten three-poem sets arranged to correspond to the biblical precepts in the decalogue. In "My Mammogram," when a middle-aged man's breast exam shows no cancer but an excess of estrogen, he experiences "the end of life as I've known it, that is to say-- testosterone sported like a power tie." 1998.

About This Life: Journeys on the Threshold of Memory BR 12641
by Barry Lopez
2 volumes
Autobiographical essays reflecting on the travels, adventures, and memories lodged in Lopez's mind that contributed to his becoming a writer. He explores faraway lands, islands, and seas; makes trips within the United States; and ponders the connections to his interior world. 1998.

Vain Empires: Poems BR 12649
by William Logan
1 volume
Thirty-one poems on disparate topics, many of which depict historical figures and events, from Pliny the Elder to Keats in India. The work "Van Gogh in the Pulpit" issues a harsh pronouncement on sin, penance, and self-abasement. 1998.

Saving Molly: A Research Veterinarian's Choices BR 12652
by James Mahoney
2 volumes
A veterinarian recounts his rescue of Molly, a diseased and debilitated runt puppy, an experience that would "crystallize thirty years of rumination about my life with animals." Discusses the sensitive issue of using animals in medical research, in which the author has had years of practice. 1998.

Green Hills of Africa BR 12659
by Ernest Hemingway
2 volumes (Reissue)
Account of an African big-game-hunting expedition in 1933 that included Hemingway and his wife, Pauline. Describes their adventures on the Serengeti Plain near Mount Kilimanjaro. 1935.

1898: The Birth of the American Century BR 12671
by David Traxel
4 volumes
A narrative on the pivotal year of 1898 in United States history, during which the country changed from a rural, isolated society into a major world player. Discusses the Spanish-American War as well as union uprisings, racial conflict, advances in technology and advertising, and the last Native American battle. 1998.

Letter to a Man in the Fire: Does God Exist and Does He Care? BR 12677
by Reynolds Price
1 volume
An essay based on the cancer-survivor author's response to a terminally ill medical student's query regarding the existence and nature of God. Drawing from religious traditions, philosophy, literature, art, and personal experience, the author offers a compelling and inspiring argument for the existence of a caring and providential Creator. 1999.

Why Read the Classics? BR 12678
by Italo Calvino
3 volumes
The title essay presents the author's fourteen-point definition of the literary term "classic." The following thirty-five pieces comment on his personal choices: "the writers, poets, and scientific authors who had meant the most to him, at different stages of his life." 1999.

Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings BR 12680
by Jonathan Raban
4 volumes
Raban chronicles his 1990s trip up the Inside Passage from Seattle, Washington, to Juneau, Alaska, in a ketch (the boat's main attraction was its built-in bookcases). He had set out to retrace George Vancouver's 1792 route and to meditate on the lure of the sea, but instead his journey became one of personal introspection. 1999.

Working on God BR 12683
by Winifred Gallagher
3 volumes
A neoagnostic journalist chronicles her research into the state of American religion at the close of the twentieth century. Her spiritual quest delved into the Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist traditions. She describes finding a millennial religion that is more practical, personal, eclectic, and democratic than traditional faiths. 1999.

America's Library: The Story of the Library of Congress, 1800- 2000 BR 12707
by James Conaway
3 volumes
A history of this cultural institution--often considered the world's greatest library--and the thirteen Librarians of Congress who guided its development. Discusses its transformation from modest legislative resource to the vast national library of the United States. Describes some of the variety found in its diverse collection of over 115 million items. 2000.

Brother Frank BR 12710
by Frank Minucci and William Hoffman
2 volumes
Inspirational memoir of a drug-addicted career criminal, who at age forty-one reformed his life following a near-death experience and religious epiphany. Recounts his early years as an abused child and delinquent teen, his lawless adulthood, his redemption, and his work as a Christian minister. Some violence. 1998.

Lost at Sea: An American Tragedy BR 12712
by Patrick Dillon
2 volumes
Recounts how in 1983, two boats from a fishing fleet out of Anacortes, Washington, simultaneously capsized off the coast of Alaska, without giving distress signals. Describes the extensive investigation into the mysterious incident and explains why crabbing had become "the nation's deadliest occupation." Some strong language. 1998.

A Few Thousand Words about Love BR 12714
edited by Mickey Pearlman
2 volumes
Seventeen stories on the themes of love and intimacy as they are variously shared with family, friends, and romantic lovers. "First Love" tells of a college coed's infatuation with a classmate. When her dream of being alone with him finally comes true, she finds the moment disconcerting. 1998.

Bots: The Origin of New Species BR 12715
by Andrew Leonard
3 volumes
Explains the nature, origins, and functions of bots, the computer software versions of mechanical robots. Bots range from simple log-on scripts to intelligent, autonomous characters that roam cyberspace performing complex services. Predicts that future bots will make computer use effortless and enjoyable. 1997.

Brown v. Board of Education: Equal Schooling for All BR 13039
by Harvey Fireside and Sarah Betsy Fuller
1 volume
Discusses the 1954 Supreme Court case that dealt with school segregation and ended the policy of maintaining separate institutions by race. Discusses the historical background, conditions in Kansas that prompted the legal challenge, and the nationwide impact of the decision. For junior and senior high readers. 1994.

Miranda v. Arizona: Rights of the Accused BR 13044
by Gail Blasser Riley
1 volume
Details the 1966 U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn the Arizona conviction of Ernesto Miranda for kidnapping and rape. The ruling was based on the fact that Miranda was not advised of his right to an attorney before being questioned about the crime. For junior and senior high readers. 1994.

Epperson v. Arkansas: The Evolution-Creationism Debate BR 13049
by Jonathan L. Thorndike
1 volume
Examines the 1968 Supreme Court case that dealt with the question of whether teaching creationism rather than evolution in Arkansas schools was acceptable. Also discusses the history and theories behind the conflict. For junior and senior high readers. 1999.

Reflecting the Flame BR 13150
edited by Marc Maurer
1 volume
Nine stories recounting how blind adults are creating a past upon which blind children can build their futures. A lawyer gains a better understanding of her blindness while learning how to open a milk carton, and a man discusses how to deal with things done mainly for visual effect. 1999.

Against the Pollution of the I: Selected Writings BR 13161
by Jacques Lusseyran
1 volume
Six biographical essays explore the nature of blindness and attitudes toward it. Lusseyran's "I" refers to an inner light, or "radiance," that he discovered after losing his eyesight at age eight. Describes incarceration and survival in Buchenwald; suggests that "disabilities, losses, griefs, and failings" are gifts that can lead to joy. 1999.

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