by Eric Meisberger,
LBPH Reader Advisor

Another great summer read is the aptly named Summer by Edith Wharton. I’ve been a fan of Wharton for years and years, and her skill and ability is brilliant. Most folks know Wharton as an author of novels of manners. She wrote such American classics as Age of Innocence, and House of Mirth. This book differs in some notable ways, but it still holds true to Wharton’s style, and allows us to explore one of the author’s favorite themes, which is characters navigating the areas in between social constructs.

Engage in some classics in your summer reading! Get into Summer by Edith Wharton.

Summer by Wharton

DB 18851

This novelette about poor country people in New England, first published in 1917, deals with a young girl’s rebellion against the petty conventions of the cheerless town in which she lives.

Maine: More than Just Lobster

by Devon Evans,
LBPH Librarian

Okay, I get it. When people hear “lobster” they automatically think of Maine. Whether I’m in Charlotte, North Carolina or Paris, France, when someone realizes I’m from Maine they say, “Oh, they have really good lobster.” And I’m not going to contest that fact. Maine lobster is amazing. I miss it. Whenever I go up home, my goal is to eat my weight in lobster. But there’s much more to Maine than its delicious crustaceans.

Col Joshua ChamberlainColonel Joshua Chamberlain was born in Maine in 1828, and as an adult he led the 20th Maine during the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg. It is believed that his order to initiate a bayonet charge saved a flank of Union soldiers and captured 101 Confederate soldiers, thereby saving the day at Little Round Top.

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
DB 45457 / BRC 00796
This fictionalized version of the battle of Gettysburg portrays many actual participants, such as Generals Lee, Longstreet, and Meade, as well as fictionalized characters, such as Col. Joshua Chamberlain, whose vivid rhetoric inspires his men. Sequel to Jeff Shaara’s Gods and Generals (DB 43292). Some strong language.

One of my favorite poets, Edna St. Vincent Millay, was born in Maine in 1892 and received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Many of her poems have to do with feminism, nature, and sexuality.

Edna St. Vincent Millay: Selected Poems: The Centenary Edition Edited by Colin Falck
DB 43680 / BR 10997Poet Edna St Vincent Millay
This gathering of poems begins with “Renascence,” a poem Millay entered in a contest in 1912 and that brought her immediate recognition. The simplicity and accessibility that sometimes prompted critics to pass over her poems is the very skill that also created her appeal and made her work popular for nearly forty years. Her lyricism is discussed in an extensive introduction.

Community Event: Pittsburgh Blind & Visual Resource Fair

Hosted by the Pittsburgh Friendship Group

Come and discover everything Pittsburgh has to offer for people with low vision! Representatives from several Pittsburgh organizations will be available to discuss local services and activities. Organizations attending include the Blind Outdoor Leisure Development group (BOLD), the Blinded Veterans Association, Carnegie Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, the Golden Triangle Council of the Blind, the Office of Blindness and Visual Services, and many more!

When: Thursday, August 13th from 1:00 – 3:00 PM.

Where: Berkeley Hills Lutheran Church, 517 Sangree Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15237

For more information call the Pittsburgh Friendship group at 724.444.0064.

Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the ADA!

by Devon Evans,
LBPH LibrarianADA 25 Pittsburgh Logo

July 26th marks the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Former president George Bush signed the Act into Law and thereby transformed the lives of those within the disability community as well as the friends and family members of persons with a disability. The ADA is a federal civil rights law that protects the rights and all aspects of life for the disabled community – including in public and at work.

Even before the ADA was signed into Law, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) made efforts to increase inclusion for those with disabilities. CLP began circulating braille books in 1911. When the Pratt-Smoot Act passed in 1931, CLP was one of the original thirteen libraries that participated nationwide by circulating braille and talking books for those unable to use standard print materials. Today, Carnegie Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped has grown to serve all of Pennsylvania with audiobooks, playback equipment, audio described DVDs, and large print materials.

If you’d like to see how the City of Pittsburgh as a whole made efforts to increase access and inclusion, a timeline has been provided by the FISA Foundation.

However, despite the implementation of the ADA and all the efforts that came before it, there are still many inequalities that need to be addressed. For example, only about 34% of Pennsylvanians with disabilities are employed, as opposed to a national employment rate of 76% for those without disabilities. The disabled community accounts for 19% of the U.S. population – that’s larger than any nationally recognized minority group.

If you’d like more information about the ADA and the struggles that led up to it, here are some things for your reading list.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
DB 31035 / BR 08232
Text of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, a mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities.

What We Have Done: An Oral History of the Disability Rights Movement by Fred Pelka
DB 74570
Twentieth-century disability activists describe their political struggles for basic human rights, which led to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. They discuss landmark campaigns, including the demand for a deaf president at Gallaudet University and ADAPT’s struggle for accessible public transit. 2012.

E. L. Doctorow

by Briana Albright,Author E.L. Doctorow
LBPH Reader Advisor

Yesterday we lost an American great. E. L. Doctorow (1931-2015) was an author, essayist, and leading figure in contemporary letters. The author of a dozen novels, three collections of short fiction, a stage drama, and numerous essays and commentary on literature and politics, Doctorow was best known for his genre-bending blend of fiction and fact.

Back in 2013, I attended a reading by Doctorow of his then forthcoming novel, Andrew’s Brain. I hadn’t read much Doctorow at the time, but the experience of hearing what was sure to be another great novel read by its author produced in me a strong desire to run home and read everything he’d ever written.

Doctorow was prolific. His novels fictionalize events and figures of 20th-century America, blending history and myth in a way that subtly subverts the dichotomy of fact and fiction. Since hearing Doctorow read from his last novel, Andrew’s Brain, I’ve read three more of his novels and found that I enjoyed each more than the last. Luckily, almost all of his novels have been recorded by the NLS and are available from us here at LBPH or for download from BARD. Discover Doctorow in some of the titles below:

Andrew's Brain cover

Andrew’s Brain
DB 78414
Andrew, a cognitive scientist, recites the details of his life to Doc, a psychologist. Andrew reflects on his life and failings as a husband and father and questions if he has failed as a human being. Some descriptions of sex. 2014.

Homer & Langley
DB 69642 / CL 13827
Homer Collyer, the blind brother, and his older brother Langley, a WWI mustard-gas victim, become recluses in their Fifth Avenue brownstone, hoarding newspapers and collecting odd things – a model T Ford, typewriters, and surplus Army supplies–until they become imprisoned by their vast accumulations. BRagtime coverestseller. 2009.

DB 44378 / CL 1123
A story set in 1906 New York that incorporates luminaries of the period, including Theodore Roosevelt, Sigmund Freud, and Emma Goldman. A ragtime musician from Harlem falls victim to racist vandalism and seeks redress through violence. Strong language, violence, and some descriptions of sex. 1974.

The March
DB 60676 / CL 12715
This Civil War saga portrays the complex nature of General William Tecumseh Sherman as he leads Union troops through Georgia and the Carolinas. Describes the carnage and destruction that occur as well as the tender feelings that arise as the soldiers proceed. 2005.

Best of BARD: June 2015

by Tony Mareino,
LBPH Reader Advisor

Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you: there’s a reason we call him the King. Patterson sits on top, but not without a strong threat by Baldacci to run a repeat for number one. Rounding out the top five is Sandford, the ever present Stu Woods, and a nice showing by Diana Palmer.

14th Deadly Sin
by James Patterson
DB 81367 / 15758
As the Women’s Murder Club members gather to celebrate San Francisco Medical Examiner Claire Washburn’s birthday, Detective Lindsay Boxer is summoned to a gruesome crime scene. While Lindsay investigates, shocking video of another crime surfaces–video so horrific that it shakes the city to its core. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2015.

Absolute Power by BaldacciAbsolute Power
by David Baldacci
DB 41882 / CL 5910
At sixty-six, with several jail terms behind him, Luther Whitney has decided this will be his last robbery. Everything goes according to plan–until Christine Sullivan comes home unexpectedly. Luther quickly hides in the walk-in safe and discovers it contains a one-way window. Soon Luther finds himself witnessing a brutal murder involving the president of the United States. Strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex. 1996.

Gathering Prey
by John Sandford
DB 81372
Called Travelers, they move from city to city, panhandling but committing no crimes. When Lucas Davenport’s adopted daughter, Letty, learns that a woman Traveler she’d befriended thinks somebody is killing her friends, Lucas accompanies Letty on an odyssey through a subculture unlike any he has ever seen. Unrated. Commercial audiobook.    2015.

Hot Pursuit
by Stuart Woods
DB 81450Hot Pursuit by Woods
While being trailed by his new lady love’s unstable, criminal ex-boyfriend, Stone Barrington must also deal with trouble brewing on the international stage. Several enemy operatives are at large, and only a coordinated intelligence effort will stand a chance of stopping their deadly plot. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2015.

Wyoming Strong
by Diana Palmer
DB 80744
Fate intervenes to bring archenemies Wofford “Wolf” Patterson and Sara Brandon together on neighboring Wyoming ranches. But as love takes root between them, they cast their differences aside and see each other in a whole new light. Explicit descriptions of sex. 2014.

“One Summer” This Summer!

by Eric Meisberger,
LBPH Reader Advisor

Summer is underway! One of our favorite things here at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped is a good selection of summer reads. Starting off this summer with a good book is definitely the way to go. I suggest One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson. If you are already a fan of Bryson, you know what a great writer he is. If not, this is the perfect chance to get introduced to an excellent writer. One Summer America 1927 by Bryson

One Summer: America, 1927 is a book of history, but it focuses only on the summer of 1927. This pivotal point in 20th Century American history is full of interesting ideas and fascinating facts. Bryson looks into what consumed the public’s attention, the pop culture of the time, the news of the day, sports, and the political landscape of those few months. The author uses newspapers of the day to reconstruct what stories were in the public consciousness. What’s exceptional about this book is that even if you aren’t a huge fan of history, the way Bryson puts this together really draws the reader in. Don’t like one aspect of what was consuming the public imagination in the summer of 1927? No worries! There are many more that are interesting, engaging and worthy of your attention right around the corner. Start off summer 2015 with a book about a summer of fascinating turning points from years ago!