Beth Solka

A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen

A Street Cat Named Bob cover

 A Street Cat Named Bob is the true story of a young man who is a recovering heroin addict who was homeless in London. He became part of a government program that found him an apartment and started him in a rehab program. Then he met Bob, the orange street cat who became attached to him and refused to leave the apartment’s hallway for weeks. James finally let Bob into his apartment, and they developed a fast friendship that benefited both of them. 

BARD Mobile Introduction

BARD Mobile logo

The NLS (National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped) is creating a series of instructional videos to introduce and discuss using the BARD mobile app. Check this blog post occasionally to see the latest additions. 

BARD Mobile

BARD mobile screenshot

The BARD Mobile app allows our Talking Book customers to access Braille and talking books directly from NLS (BARD). BARD offers a  collection of nearly 50,000 books, magazines, and musical scores, with new selections added daily.

BARD is up and running again despite the government shutdown. There has also been a mobile app set up for iPhones or iPads. You can obtain the free app from the Apple iTunes store.  

Changes to Digital Magazines within the Talking Books for the Blind Program

Magazine cartridge image

The Talking Books program has changed its magazine format from cassettes to digital cartridges. Now, all National Library Service-produced magazines are circulated on digital cartridges. You will notice a big improvement in the enhanced sound quality and navigation capabilities.

Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of our Fellow Creatures by Virginia Morell

Animal Wise cover

Animal Wise is a look at the emotions and intelligence of several species of animals: ants, fish, birds, parrots, rats, elephants, dolphins, chimpanzees—and dogs and wolves. Morell interviews the scientists who are doing cutting edge research into the animals’ minds and emotions. If you are an animal lover like I am, you do not need a scientist to tell you that animals have emotions.  However, this book rejoices in each species, as the scientists who have devoted their lives to the study of these animals take such pride in their discoveries and have a fascination with the animals that they are researching.

Have You Seen Marie? by Sandra Cisneros, Illustrated by Ester Hernandez

Have You Seen Marie? cover

Have You Seen Marie? is a picture book, but it is aimed at adults. The author and illustrator created it as an attempt to help them deal with their grief, for each of them has lost a parent. 

The story is about Sandra Cisneros who suffered from depression after her mother’s death. Her doctor encouraged the author to take antidepressants, but she resisted taking medication. Her friend came to visit her and while there lost her cat, Marie. The act of trying to find her friend’s cat forced Cisneros out of the house and into the world again in order to help her friend. This picture book introduces all of her colorful neighbors as she tries to find Marie.

Virginia Libraries Journal Discovers Our Subregional Library

Talking Book Display

The most recent issue of the Virginia Libraries featured an article about our very own Subregional Library for the Blind.  The article has been very well-received for its educational value. The staff has also been delighted with the lovely photos of CRRL staff Mutahara Mobashar and Robert Solka, along with the Montross and Headquarters Talking Books displays.  Thank all of you so much for making this Subregional Library an invaluable part of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.

Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalvan

Until Tuesday

One of my favorite customers called me to tell me that he loved the book Until Tuesday.  I am sure that this story about a veteran spoke to him since he is also a veteran who happens to love dogs. 

Until Tuesday
is the true story of a highly-decorated Iraqi war veteran who returns home as a war hero.  However, Luis Carlos Montalvan has such incredible injuries to his body and his psyche that he cannot cope with everyday life. He hovers on the brink of suicide until he meets Tuesday, a golden retriever who also had an emotionally difficult journey to get to Luis.

The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin

The Aviator's Wife

I admit that I have not read this book, but one of my customers just called to say that he enjoyed The Aviator’s Wife, by Melanie Benjamin, so much that he couldn’t put it down. It is the story of Ann Morrow Lindbergh.  I was given Gift From the Sea, by Ann Morrow Lindbergh, as a Christmas present and was struck by the beauty of this wonderful, little book. I was immediately impressed by the tremendous intelligence and fierce independence of this famous woman. How could anyone not admire such an incredible woman who struggled to maintain her own identity with such a famous husband?

I Heard the Owl Call my Name by Margaret Craven

I heard the Owl Call my Name cover

My favorite book when I was in high school was I Heard the Owl Call my Name, by Margaret Craven, so I decided to reread it to see how I related to the book now.  Even though it is almost 50 years old, the book is still just as timely and beautifully-written as it was in the 60’s. Perhaps its message is even more important in today’s world.  It is about a young Vicar, Mark Brian, who has been diagnosed with only a few years to live.  His Bishop has been told his diagnosis, but the Vicar has not. 

When the Bishop learns of the young Vicar’s diagnosis he says, “So short a time to learn so much? It leaves me with no choice. I shall send him to my hardest parish. I shall send him to Kingcome on patrol of the Indian Villages.”