April is Library Month at Braille Institute

Each year our Library staff selects what they believe to be the best and most critically acclaimed new books available on our BARD digital system. For Library Month this year, we thought it would be the perfect time to revisit some of their recent choices for the best books released in the past few years — all of which you can download and read from the comfort of your own home right now on your device with the BARD app.


Beach Read Book Cover

Beach Read by Emily Henry – January Andrews is a romance writer who no longer believes in love. Augustus Everett is a celebrated literary writer stuck in a rut. When the two writers wind up in neighboring beach houses, they decide to try an experiment and swap genres. DB99724

Beijing Payback Book Cover

Beijing Payback by Daniel Nieh – A Southern California noir thriller, updated for 2019! Victor Li is devastated by his father’s murder, and shocked by a confessional letter he finds among his father’s things. In it, his father admits that he was never just a restaurateur–he was part of a vast international crime syndicate formed during China’s leanest communist years. DB 96605

The Boy From the Woods Book Cover

The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben – 30 years ago, Wilde was found as a boy living feral in the woods. Now, no one seems to take teen Naomi’s disappearance seriously. But attorney Hester—whose grandson told her that Naomi was relentlessly bullied at school—asks Wilde to use his unique skills to find Naomi. DB98760

Criss Cross Book Cover

Criss Cross by James Patterson – Alex Cross is back! After witnessing the execution of a killer, he convicted, Cross is stunned to discover a copycat crime just hours later. DB97531

The Gifted School Book Cover

The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger – Called “wise and addictive” by The New York Times, this novel is about a previously happy group of friends and parents who are nearly destroyed by their own competitiveness when an exclusive school for gifted children opens in their Colorado town. DB 96162

The Girl with the Louding Voice

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré – 14-year-old Adunni dreams of an education, but after her mother’s death, her father sells her to be the third wife of a local man. She runs away to the city but can only find work as a wealthy family’s servant. She learns to fight for herself. DB98455

Mexican Gothic

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – Mexico City, 1950. After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, socialite Noemì Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. Both the home and its owners seem to have a dark past. DB99404

The Nickel Boys Book Cover

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead – In 1962, Elwood Curtis lives with his grandmother, works when not in school, and admires Dr. Martin Luther King. But one innocent mistake sends him to reform school–the Nickel Academy. There he meets Turner, whose skepticism challenges Elwood. Their friendship has repercussions in the nightmarish school. DB95925

The Night Watchman Book Cover

The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich – 1953. Chippewa Council member Thomas Wazhashk tries to balance the demands of his job as a night watchman at the new jewel bearing plant outside the Turtle Mountain reservation and monitoring the consequences of the bill purporting emancipation of American tribes wending its way through Congress. DB98896

Death by Dumpling Book Cover

Noodle Shop Books 1-3 by Vivien Chien – The first three books in the Lana Lee Noodle Shop Series. A fun, cozy mystery read featuring a person of color protagonist. Includes Death by Dumpling, Dim Sum of All Fears and Murder Lo Mein. DB95088

The Silent Patient Book Cover

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – Some people called this book 2019’s Gone Girl or Girl on the Train. Alicia Berenson–a famous painter married to a fashion photographer–lives in a grand house in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening after her husband returns home late from a fashion shoot, Alicia shoots him five times and then never speaks another word. DB93996

Trust Exercise Book Cover

Trust Exercise by Susan Choi – Winner of the 2019 National Book Award for Fiction. In the 1980s, David and Sarah are students at a competitive performing arts high school. Their passionate relationship is noticed by the school’s charismatic acting teacher, Mr. Kingsley. Years later, Sarah publishes a novel about that time in her life, calling into question what really happened. DB94561

Walk the Wire Book Cover

Walk the Wire by David Baldacci – FBI’s Amos Decker and Alex Jamison are called to London, North Dakota, a thriving fracking town. Irene Cramer’s body was expertly autopsied and then dumped in the open. They are shocked to discover that the woman—who was a prostitute—was also a teacher for a local religious sect. DB99196

The Water Dancer Book Cover

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates – The debut novel from acclaimed author Ta-Nehisi Coates is a surrealist story set in the pre-Civil War South, which was a number-one New York Times fiction best-seller and was selected for Oprah’s Book Club. DB96729


Amity and Prosperity Book Cover

Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America by Eliza Griswold – Winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize. Small-town mother Stacey Haney sues the company to whom she had leased her land for fracking after her children and farm animals became sick. Politicians and big business come under scrutiny as Griswold shares the impact of fracking in an Appalachian town. DB91708

The Answer Is...Alex Trebek Book Cover

The Answer Is…Reflections on My Life by Alex Trebek – Longtime host of the T.V. game show Jeopardy! Shares stories of his life and career. Alongside anecdotes about the show and its contestants, he discusses marriage, parenthood, spirituality, education, philanthropy, and his own battle with cancer. DB99678

D-Day Girls Book Cover

D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II by Sarah Rose – The incredible true story of three courageous women who served as spies in the elite British Special Operations and helped pave the way for Allied victory during World War II. This dramatic and untold story allows readers to get to know the amazing women as individuals as their story unfolds against the backdrop of war. DB94883

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee Book Cover

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep – The story of Alabama rural preacher Willie Maxwell, who was accused of murdering five of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, worked obsessively on the story for years. DB95234

The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers Book Cover

The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King – The first full-length biography of the beloved children’s T.V. host, Fred Rogers. Includes interviews, oral histories, and archival documents and traces his personal, professional, and artistic life through decades of work. DB92214

Heartbeat of Wounded Knee Book Cover

Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by David Treuer – A history of Native Americans, beginning with the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee and continuing up through the early twenty-first century. An Ojibwe Indian himself, the author discusses the lives and culture of modern Native Americans. DB93988

Uncanny Valley: A Memoir

Uncanny Valley: A Memoir by Anna Wiener – Memoir of working as a woman in her mid-20s in the United States’ capital of the technology industry. Discusses leaving a job in book publishing, working for a big-data startup, specific work experiences, company culture and the decline of startup culture. DB98158

What You Have Heard is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance

What You Have Heard is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance by Carolyn Forché – Finalist for the 2019 National Book Award. An autobiographical account of a poet’s encounter with a Salvadoran friend and how she became ensnared in that country’s violent upheaval. DB94625

BONUS SELECTIONS:  New Non-Fiction Books About Living Well with Blindness and Low Vision!

Disability Visibility Book Cover

Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century (read by Alejandra Ospina & Alice Wong) – A collection of first-person writings on the joys and challenges of life in the 21st Century with a disability. Includes pieces from activists, authors, lawyers, politicians, artists, and others to glimpse the complexity of the disabled experience in America. DB99604

Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law by Haben Girma – The autobiography of the first deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School. She describes her childhood, world travels, development of a text-to-braille communication system, and her time at Harvard Law. She explains how she uses her talents to advocate for those with disabilities. DB96188

This is What Blind Looks Like Book Cover

My Heart is Not Blind: On Blindness and Perception by Michael Nye – Profiles of 45 people who are blind or have low vision, including Larry Johnson, a longtime DJ in Mexico, and Michael Hingson, a 9/11 survivor who wrote about his lifesaving guide dog. Natalie Watkins, who has retinitis pigmentosa, is profiled twice, six years apart. DB94924 and BR22686

The Unwinding of the Miracle Book Cover

Unwinding of the Miracle by Julie Yip-Williams – Born blind in Vietnam, Williams fled political upheaval with her family and gained partial sight from an American surgeon. She later became a Harvard-educated lawyer, married, and started a family before turning to writing her memoir after receiving a terrible diagnosis at age 37. DB94143

April is Library Month at Braille Institute and we will be sharing our Library staff’s recommendations for the best books available in our BARD system throughout the month. Visit Library services for more information and learn how you can get thousands of free audio books if you are not already a patron.

Contact our Reader Advisors at (323) 660-3880 if you have questions about any of the titles featured in this post, or if you are looking for other book recommendations.  Or, call: 1(800) 808-2555, Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PDT).