The Great Reading Challenge Begins January 15th!

Clipart Image of books on a shelfThe Great Reading Challenge (GRC) is a six month long reading challenge open to adults 18 years of age or older who are a patron of the Iowa Library for the Blind and Print Disabled. 

To complete the challenge, you need to read 12 books between January 15, 2022 and July 15, 2022. 

The challenge of the GRC is to read books that fit into one of the many categories on the Mission page in ReadSquared.

This reading challenge will begin on January 15, 2022 but you can get signed up now! 

Go to to create an account or log in and find out more information. 

Please contact Leslie at 515.452.1329 with any questions!

Top Ten Most Popular Fiction Books on BARD in December 2021

A set of books with headphonesHere are the most popular fiction books downloaded from BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) last month:

The Whistler: a novel by John Grisham  DB86026

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman  DB100981

Birthright by Nora Roberts  DB55869

The Water Keeper by Charles Martin  DB100040

The Night Bird by Brian Freeman  DBC16046

All the Light We Cannot See: a novel by Anthony Doerr  DB79182

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty  DB92901

The Affair: a Reacher novel by Lee Child  DB73922

Comfort & Joy: a novel by Kristin Hannah  DBC16784

Black Hills by Nora Roberts  DB69690

What were your top books of 2021?

Stack of three booksAs 2021 comes to a close, we thought it would be fun to look back on the top books from the year.  But how do you decide what the top books are?  We did a bit of research, pulling together a list of titles that were found on multiple “Top Books of 2021” lists and that are found on BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download).  This list is not comprehensive by any means, but definitely interesting.
Wishing everyone a happy New Year!

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry  DB103191

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah DB102287

The Last Thing he Told Me by Laura Dave  DB103326

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir  DB103718

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney  DB104825

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro  DB102764

The Antisocial Network by Ben Mezrich  DB105076

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles  DB105197

Our Country Friends by Gary Shteyngart  DB105496

Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen  DB105192

Second Place by Rachel Cusk  DB103349

Empire of Pain: the secret history of the Sackler Dynasty DB102965

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead  DB104914

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead  DB103266

A Little Devil in America: notes in praise of black performance  DB103276

Matrix by Laruen Groff  DB104843

A Poem for December

snowflake imageLibrary staff member, Jodi, shares a poem with us each month honoring our volunteers, the library, and reading. Here is her poem for December.  Thank you for sharing your talents with us!

Tis’ the Season

It’s finally December,
The last month of the year.
It’s the Holiday season,
And time to spread cheer.

We’ll be trimming the tree,
And making some treats.
Cookies and candy,
And everything sweet.

Shopping for presents,
To place under the tree.
I wonder which one,
Will be given to me?

The gifts will be wrapped,
With ribbons and bows.
The pile under the tree,
Grows and it grows.

Soon the ground will be covered
In a blanket of white.
Shining like diamonds
All through the night.

Making snowmen and snowballs,
And having oodles of fin.
How are we
To get any reading done?

At the end of the day,
when sleep is on your mind.
It’s the perfect time to read,
To relax and to unwind.

By Jodi Aldini-Zepeda

Happy Holidays!!

Book Reviews from Deena

Heart shape filled with books on shelvesCheck out these book reviews from Deena.  Deena was a member of the Library’s Patron Service Team who recently retired.  She has generously continued to share book reviews with us.  Thank you, Deena!

Let us know if you would like any titles added to your booklist or head over to BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) to download the titles now.  Need more information about BARD?  See our BARD Page.

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger   DB96864
It is 1932, and three boys leave Lincoln Indian School in Minnesota when circumstances become unbearable.  Before leaving the area, they rescue their friend, Emmy, who was recently orphaned from the evil heads of the school, the Brickmans.  The foursome head down the river in a canoe.  Each boy is searching for something. Albert, the oldest is ever the protector, trying to keep everyone safe and together.  Mose, who cannot speak and is the only Native American of the bunch, is searching for who he is and where he came from.  Odie who is almost 13, is looking for a home. As they journey down the river they face danger, as they are pursued by the Brickmans.  They meet a cast of unique characters some helpful and some not so helpful.  Follow their adventures as they move towards the Mississippi River and finally find what they are looking for.

Five Days at Memorial: life and death in a storm-ravaged hospital by Sheri Fink  DB77656
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Louisiana. Memorial Hospital prepared for the worst, but the area remained dry until water from other flooded areas was released.  As the water rose, systems failed and generators lost power.  Memorial was left in the dark, and the building became unbearably hot.  The staff worked tirelessly to keep critically ill patients cool and comfortable.  As days passed, conditions worsened.  The staff was able to evacuate many patients.  Despite calls to the hospital owners, the national guard and the coast guard, patients remained waiting evacuation and several who were evacuated were left on a corner or just off the interstate with no food, water and no way of getting anywhere. The elevators in the building were not working and patients needed to be carried to a spot to be flown out.  After Katrina, an investigation was started and a doctor and two nurses were accused of giving a number of patient’s fatal doses of medication.  This chronicles all that took place after the storm and the ensuing charges against the three women.  Many are to blame for this disaster, the city of New Orleans, the owners of the hospital and the CEO’s of the hospital. The lack of disaster preparedness is appalling.

I am the Central Park Jogger: a story of hope and possibility by Trisha Meili  DB56125 , LT6959
In 1989, Trisha Meili went for a run in Central Park at night.  She was assaulted and beaten.  She was in a coma for nearly two weeks. Trisha explains due to a traumatic brain injury she had to relearn everything. Through therapy she had to relearn to walk, to do simple math, and other things, so she could return to her job as an investment banker. She kept her identity a secret for 14 years, because of extensive publicity and she was reluctant to tell anyone she was the Central Park jogger.  She came to believe in spiritual healing and how prayer can make a difference in the recovery process.  If you like survival stories this book is for you.

Book Reviews From Deena

Heart shape filled with books on shelvesCheck out these book reviews from Deena.  Deena was a member of the Library’s Patron Service Team who recently retired.  She has generously continued to share book reviews with us.  Thank you, Deena!

Let us know if you would like any titles added to your booklist or head over to BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) to download the titles now.  Need more information about BARD?  See our BARD Page.

Always by Sarah Jio  DB86940

Kailey is having dinner with her fiancé, Ryan in a fancy restaurant.  As they leave they encounter a homeless man, Cade McCallister.  Kailey suddenly recognizes him as a man she once loved and lost.  Kailey’s world is turned upside down.  She is torn between helping Cade and her loyalty to Ryan, a man she now loves.  Who will she choose?

House at Riverton by Kate Morton  DB66900

Grace, from the age of fourteen, worked as a maid in England called Riverton.  Today, Grace at the age of 98, is contacted by a producer who is making a film about Riverton and a poet who committed suicide on the grounds of Riverton in 1924 during a party. Grace was witness to what happened, so many years ago and has kept silent about what really went on that night.  Grace who feels her life ebbing away believes it is time that the truth be told.  If you enjoy the series Downton Abbey this book might be for you.

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld DB99840

Rodham is an alternative history.  What if Hillary Rodham Clinton never married Bill Clinton? Could she possibly have won the 2017 election? This is an interesting fantasy of the relationship of Hillary and Bill when they meet at Yale Law School.  They fall madly in love, but Hillary soon realizes Bill is a womanizer and leaves him.  Both move on with their lives, but their lives cross again several times in the book. This is a look at how things could have been through the author’s imagination. Don’t expect reality, her whole idea of who was president between 1988-2017 is completely different than the real world. This departure from reality is a fun read.