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Overseas Outlook, July-December 2017

July–December 2017
Volume 40, Number 2

NLS on the move 2017

The Perkins Library, a division of the Perkins School for the Blind in Massachusetts, launched a pilot program for its patrons using a low-cost refreshable braille device (eReader) to distribute braille ebooks. NLS is collaborating with Perkins in this pilot program. The pilot data will be used to evaluate how best to distribute braille files to patrons with eReaders, how easy the devices are to use, and what tech support would be needed from network libraries.

“A pilot like the one being conducted by Perkins will provide useful data to NLS and the Library of Congress, but most importantly, it will unquestioningly change the lives of braille readers of all ages and allow them to have an ebook reader that will meet their 21st century reading needs,” said NLS Director Karen Keninger.

“Braille needs to migrate,” Keninger said at the April 2016 NLS national conference in San Francisco. “It needs to follow print into the electronic era where it can be more flexible, more ubiquitous, more accessible, and more manageable.”

The fundamental process of distributing digital braille files works, and eReaders can serve them up easily. Perkins and NLS believe that it is the right moment for this pilot. Braille eReaders have been around for decades, but their cost has put them out of reach of many readers. Now eReaders are becoming more affordable and easier to operate. The pilot is timed to help NLS, and partner organizations like the Perkins Library, prepare for eReaders’ wider use among their patrons.

NLS will keep you posted as the pilot unfolds. It’s not just NLS, it’s braille itself that’s on the move.


NLS encourages overseas patrons to download books to avoid waiting to receive them by mail. If you are interested in downloading, please contact the overseas librarian at [email protected].

Kiplinger’s Retirement Report now available

Kiplinger’s Retirement Report is newly available for download from the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) website and also through the Magazine on Cartridge program under the magazine code KRR4. A subscription can be ordered from the NLS Overseas Librarian ([email protected]).

Published monthly, Kiplinger’s Retirement Report covers practical strategies to grow retirement savings, make money last during retirement, maximize Social Security and Medicare benefits, and other retirement-related topics.

The audio version of Kiplinger’s Retirement Report is produced by volunteers at the Florida Bureau of Braille and Talking Books Library in Daytona Beach. Florida’s volunteer program demonstrates a high level of expertise with the production of this title.

Returning books

The Multistate Center West in Salt Lake City, Utah, is sending boxes of digital books to patrons receiving a quantity of titles. These books may be returned individually as has been the custom, or they may be returned in the larger box. Please do what is most convenient. If you have questions, contact the Overseas Librarian ([email protected]).

10 Most Wanted Books in the last fiscal year of 2017

Here are the 10 Most Checked Out (or 10 Most Wanted) Books by NLS overseas patrons during fiscal year 2017. Patrons may download these books from BARD, or receive them on cartridge by emailing or writing the overseas librarian.

The Late Show (DB88433) by Michael Connelly
Crime Scene: A Novel (DB88624) by Jonathan and Jesse Killerman
A Cry in the Night (DBC12194) by Colleen Coble
MASH: A Novel about Three Army Doctors (DB88568) by Richard Hooker
Paradise Valley (DB88691) by C. J. Box
How to Be a Tudor: A Dawn-to Dusk Guide to Tudor Life (DB88614) by Ruth Goodman
Y is for Yesterday (DB88696) by Sue Grafton
The English Assassin (DB53779) by Daniel Silva
Altered Starscape: Andromedan Dark, Book 1 (DB88045) by Ian Douglas
Half Truths: God Helps Those Who Help Themselves and Other Things the Bible Doesn’t Say (DB87908) by Adam Hamilton

Minibibliography: World War 1 Personal Narratives

Each issue of Overseas Outlook includes one or more minibibliographies on subjects that may be of interest to NLS overseas patrons. This issue features titles about World War 1; the centennial of the United States’ entry in the war has renewed interest in the first great global conflict in modern times. When it began in 1914, it was considered “the war to end all wars.” But World War I turned out to be radically different from earlier conflicts, with technological advances that included the first large-scale use of poison gas, barbed wire, tanks, machine guns, flamethrowers, and air warfare. By its end in 1918—with 17 million soldiers and civilians dead and 20 million wounded—the war had permanently changed society. As the poet Philip Larkin said, “Never such innocence again.”

The NLS collection has numerous titles dealing with many aspects of World War I. This minibibliography concentrates on accounts by people who were there and recorded their experiences on the battlefield and at home in memoirs, fiction, and poetry. The NLS Overseas Librarian can help you find more titles about World War I.

If you wish to receive these titles, please complete the order form at the end of this newsletter and return it to the overseas librarian. Braille and audio titles also can be downloaded from the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) website. Registered users may also download audio titles on iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire devices using the BARD Mobile app. Braille titles may be downloaded on an iOS device linked by Bluetooth to a refreshable braille display.

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
Classic World War I novel depicting the horrors and futility of armed conflict. Nineteen-year-old German private Paul Baumert relates the daily routine of ordinary soldiers in the trenches and tells how warfare affected him and his three classmates. Portrays young men who may have escaped bullets but were destroyed by their combat experience. 1929.

Ashen Den; or, the British Agent by W. Somerset Maugham
A collection of short stories about Ashen den, a writer, who becomes a spy for the Intelligence Department and moves to Geneva to recruit other agents and gather information. Based on Maugham’s own experiences during World War I. 1927.

The Beauty and the Sorrow by Peter England
Details the course of World War I from the perspectives of twenty individuals, including a twelve-year-old German girl, an American woman married to a Polish aristocrat, and an English nurse in the Russian army. Translated from Swedish. Violence. 2011.

The Camel Drivers: The 17th Aero Squadron in World War I by Otis Lowell Reed
Chronicles the experiences of one of two American squadrons loaned to the British to fly Sop with Camels during the summer of 1918. Records the dangers and thrills of early aerial warfare, based on official and personal sources, interviews, letters, and diaries. 1996.

The Enormous Room by E. E. Cummings
Satirical account of the poet’s experiences in a French prison camp during World War I. Volunteering as an ambulance driver in France, he was arrested for his association with another American who was his best friend. 1934.

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
Romance between American lieutenant Frederic Henry in the ambulance service in Italy during World War I and the English nurse Catherine Barkley, who tends him when he is wounded. When Catherine becomes pregnant, she refuses to marry Frederic. 1929.

Fighting the Flying Circus by Eddie Rickenbacker
Eddie Rickenbacker’s memoir of the World War I air battles against the German Air Service. Describes the exploits and death of fellow pilot Quentin Roosevelt, the son of President Theodore Roosevelt. Foreword highlights Rickenbacker’s background as a developer of race-car technology and his formation of the Hat-in-the-Ring Squadron. 1919.

Good-Bye to All That by Robert Graves
At the age of thirty-four, the English poet published this autobiography, with much attention to his service with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in World War I. 1929.

The Good Soldier Schweich by Jaroslav Hacek
Satire on human folly opens in Prague on the eve of World War I. The hero, an ex-soldier discharged from military service for chronic feeblemindedness, earns a living by selling mongrel dogs with forged pedigrees. With only his wits and peasant shrewdness to rely on, the good soldier manages to foil the Austro-Hungarian war machine and to escape from one misadventure after another by a hairbreadth. 1923.

The Great War and Modern Memory by Paul Fussell
Fussell, a professor of English literature and winner of the 1976 National Book Award for Arts and Letters, explores how historical events and society’s record of those events interact. He looks at the British experience during World War I through the eyes of the writers Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves, and Edmund Blunden; through the poetry of David Jones, Isaac Rosenberg, and Wilfred Owen; and through amateur memoirs of the men in the trenches. 1975.

The Last of the Doughboys by Richard Rubin
Interviews with American veterans—all older than one hundred years at the time—from World War I. Records their battlefield experiences, including the horror of trench warfare and gas attacks, and lighter moments away from the front lines. Adds biographical and historical context. Violence and some strong language. 2013.

The Middle Parts of Fortune by Frederic Manning
Novel about World War I first published anonymously in England because of its frank language. Focusing on the brutality and futility of war, it evokes the desperation, weariness, and emotional exhaustion of the men in the trenches. Strong language. 1929.

My Experiences in the First World War by John J. Pershing
Then General of the Armies chronicles United States involvement in the Great War from Woodrow Wilson’s 1917 appointment of Pershing to command the American Expeditionary Forces in France through the Armistice in 1918. Won the 1932 Pulitzer Prize for history under the title My Experiences in the World War. 1931.

Poetry of the First World War: An Anthology by Tim Kendall
An anthology of verse dealing with the Great War, which raged across the globe from 1914 to 1918. Includes poems by Thomas Hardy, W.B. Yeats, Rudyard Kipling, and Robert Graves; by soldier-poets Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, and Rupert Brooke; and popular music-hall and trench songs. 2013.

The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West
Chris Baldry, shell-shocked and home from the war on sick leave, remembers Jenny, his cousin, and Margaret, an early girlfriend, but not Kitty, his wife. He also appears to regain the vigor of his youth. But when the three women gamble an attempt to restore his memory, the result is a bittersweet surprise. This is Rebecca West’s first novel, published when she was twenty-four. 1918.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph by T.E. Lawrence
Controversial classic of war and adventure describes the revolt in Arabia against the Turks from the viewpoint of the Englishman Lawrence, who took part in it. Includes portraits, philosophies, emotions, and dreams. Sir Winston Churchill ranked this as “one of the greatest books ever written in the English language.” 1926.

Literary Accounts

Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner
Donald Mahon, a gravely wounded World War I aviator, is met on a train by war widow Margaret Powers and doughboy Joe Gilligan. The two strangers accompany Donald to Georgia, where his homecoming disturbs the lives of his family, friends, and fiancée—who thought him dead. Faulkner’s first novel. 1926.

A Son at the Front by Edith Wharton
Story about American painter John Compton, whose only child, George, is called to duty in World War I. As Compton and his ex-wife bicker about protecting their son, George transfers to the front lines and is killed in battle. His parents are devastated, but artist Compton experiences an epiphany in his view of war. 1923.

Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
Rediscovered forty-five years after it was published, this is a record of the author’s experiences during the World War I years. Brittain tells not only of her own prematurely shattered youth, but that of an entire generation of young men and women who devoted themselves to the war effort. PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre presented the BBC series based on this memoir. 1933.

Three Soldiers by John Dos Passos
Eloquent tirade against the misery and degradation of life in the American army during World War I. Dominant symbol is the military machine which rules over the individual and leaves him without hope. Some strong language. 1921.

Order Form for Books

Mail to:
Y. Rathan Raj
National Library Service for the
Blind and Physically Handicapped
1291 Taylor Street NW
Washington, DC 20542
Fax: (202) 707-0712 Email: [email protected]

Your Name____________________________________________


____DB54896 All Quiet on the Western Front
____DB55379 Ashen Den; or, the British Agent
____DB76649 Beauty and the Sorrow
____DB54179 The Camel Drivers: The 17th Aero Squadron in World War I
____DB14179 The Enormous Room
____DB49506 A Farewell to Arms
____DB72115 Fighting the Flying Circus
____DB26218 Good-Bye to All That
____DB16415 The Good Soldier Schweich
____DB31145 The Great War and Modern Memory
____DB77446 The Last of the Doughboys
____DB16701 The Middle Parts of Fortune
____DB49069 My Experience in the First World War
____DB78841 Poetry of the First Word War: An Anthology
____DB32538 The Return of the Soldier
____DB16339 Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph
____DB65146 Soldier’s Pay
____DB43601 A Son at the Front
____DB18598 Testament of Youth
____DB16423 Three Soldiers


____BR11984 All Quiet on the Western Front
____BR12510 A Farewell to Arms
____BR08280 The Great War and Modern Memory
____BR20567 Poetry of the First World War: An Anthology