Talking Books Talk

Talking Books Talk provides news and updates about the Kansas Talking Books Service (KTBS). Talking Books staff will highlight relevant announcements from KTBS and the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

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Jul 20

Life on Film: From Nonfiction Books to Viewing Screens

Posted on July 20, 2022 at 10:08 AM by Michael Lang

More and more books are being made into movies and TV series, whether for the big screen, TV screen, or streaming on mobile devices. Fiction tends to be the go-to source for material, likely due to the variety of genres and books available. Family stories, romances, mysteries, fantasies, science fiction, westerns are just some of the genres that have books and series made into TV series in the last 8 to 10 years, many more recently than that. Many of these let us escape from our everyday lives into the realm of the fantastical, whether the story is realistic or not.

However, there’s a desire to share with the world true stories of grit and determination, overcoming obstacles, the power of true love and hope, justice prevailing over crimes, and everyday life in communities different from our own. The nonfiction books listed are the basis for movies and TV shows. Keep your reading list stocked by adding the following books. Why not beat the heat this summer and watch the related movie/show? We’ve indicated whether it has audio description and which network or streaming service it is on.

Information about audio description came from the Audio Description Project of the American Council for the Blind. It has information about audio description for movies, DVDs, TV, stream services, networks, performing arts, and museums, parks, and tours. Visit The Audio Description Project to learn more

Two lane road with flat scrub land leading to mountains in the distance all under a red -ink sky

DB 56777 Under the banner of heaven: a story of violent faith by Jon Krakauer 

FX without audio description

Traces the origins of Mormonism in an effort to explain certain crimes committed by fundamentalist sect members--including the 1984 murder of Brenda Lafferty and her baby in Utah. Conveys how Brenda's remorseless brother-in-law Dan and his brother Ron believed God ordered them to kill. Violence, strong language, and some explicit descriptions of sex. Bestseller. 2003.

Man looking out from behind slight transparent screen with author and title information in it.

DB 43669 Mindhunter: inside the FBI’s elite serial crime unit by John E. Douglas 

Netflix with audio description

Douglas, who pioneered criminal profiling, gives an inside account of the FBI's elite Investigative Support Unit. He recounts some of his most famous cases and describes various tactics used to identify and prosecute serial criminals. Violence, descriptions of sex, and some strong language. Bestseller.

Locker room with helmets hanging at and shoes underneath each locker with shadow of players entering

DB 32152 Friday night lights: a town, a team, and a dream by H. G. Bissinger 

Prime Video with audio description

Odessa, Texas, is dying--stores are closing and people are moving out--and yet it is a town with a dream. For on Friday nights, the football stadium is filled with 20,000 fans cheering the Permian Panthers. Bissinger, who spent four months following the team--on the field and off--and talking with people from all segments of the community, offers a picture of American sports and American culture. Bestseller.

Three women riding bikes under hanging laundry on top and three women standing on bottom.

DB 76915 Call the midwife: a memoir of birth, joy, and hard times by Jennifer Worth 

Netflix with audio description

Autobiography of woman who trained as a nurse/midwife and served in London's impoverished East End during the 1950s. Describes her sheltered background, life in an Anglican convent, and long hours among poverty-stricken patients. Basis for the PBS series. 2002.

Pair of orange pull on sneakers with no laces on a black background.

DB 77538 Orange is the new black: my year in a women’s prison by Piper Kerman 

Netflix with audio description

Upper-middle-class author chronicles her conviction and incarceration in 2003 for drug smuggling and money laundering--crimes she committed ten years earlier after graduating from Smith College. Kerman relates her immersion into prison culture at a minimum-security facility in Connecticut. Basis for the Netflix original series. Strong language. Bestseller. 2010.

Black and white image of residential area nestled in tree-covered mountains.

DB 91915 Dopesick: dealers, doctors, and the drug company that addicted America by Beth Macy

Hulu with audio description

Portrait of the families and first responders on the front lines of the opioid crisis, from an author and journalist who has lived through it. Describes how America embraced a medical culture where overtreatment with painkillers became the norm after the introduction of OxyContin in 1996. Contains some strong language. Commercial audiobook. 2018.

Inverted color black and white photo of house lined with small evergreen bushes.

DB 90637 I’ll be gone in the dark: one woman’s obsessive search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

HBO Max with audio description

The late author's lifelong interest in true crime culminated in investigating the never-identified serial-killing rapist who plagued California in the seventies and eighties, whom she dubbed the Golden State Killer. This detailed telling of what she learned was completed posthumously by her researcher. Violence, strong language, and some explicit descriptions of sex. Bestseller.  2018.

Black and white photo of woman with telephone to ear, torn to show title.

DB 86292 The good girls revolt: how the women of Newsweek sued their bosses and changed the workplace by Lynn Povich

Prime Video with audio description

Firsthand account of the 1970 antidiscrimination suit brought by forty-six of the female employees of Newsweek magazine who believed women were not given opportunities to advance. Povich started at the magazine as a secretary and researcher and helped organize the "revolt." Basis of 2016 TV show. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2012.

Back and white photo of a woman's face on top, tile and author on red, then photo of city street.

DB 76074 Brain on fire: my month of madness by Susannah Cahalan

Netflix with audio description

New York Post reporter's account of the mysterious disease that mimicked mental illness and almost killed her in 2009, when she was twenty-four years old. Describes her eventual diagnosis--NMDA-receptor autoimmune encephalitis, a rare brain infection that causes seizures and paranoia--and her successful treatment and recovery. Some strong language. 2012.

Metal plated camper parked alongside dirt road with flat land around and hills in distant background

DB 86971 Nomadland: surviving America in the twenty-first century by Jessica Bruder

DVD with audio description

A look at the subculture of older Americans who, unable to afford either mortgages or retirement, are traveling the country in RVs, campers, and vans. Particularly examines the life of one woman as she travels between seasonal jobs and reunions with her van-dwelling friends. Contains some language. Commercial audiobook. 2017.

Gravel road going past on old wood building with tin roof trees behind it and cloudy sky above.

DB 85796 Hillbilly elegy: a memoir of a family and culture in crisis by J.D. Vance

Netflix with audio description

Memoir of growing up in the Ohio Rust Belt in a family culture rooted in Scots-Irish Appalachia. Explores political themes affecting these community cultures through the lens of personal and familial experiences. Discusses what it took to go from nearly failing high school to graduating from Yale Law School. Some strong language. Bestseller.  2016.

Plane flying over ocean reflecting sun peeking out from behind large clouds.

DB 72129 Unbroken: a World War II story of survival, resilience, and redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

HBO Max with audio description

Author of Seabiscuit (DB 51968) details the life of Louis Zamperini (b. 1917), an Olympic runner and World War II bombardier, who survived a plane crash and forty-seven days adrift at sea only to become a POW in Japan. Relates Louis's later religious awakening under Billy Graham's ministry. Violence. Bestseller. 2010.