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Wilderness, by Lance Weller

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015 Posted in Articles, Washington Reads | Comments Off on Wilderness, by Lance Weller

wildernesspaperbackcoverWilderness: A Novel. By Lance Weller. (New York: Bloomsbury, 2012. 293pp.)

Recommendation by PNW & Special Collections

April 9, 1865 was the day that General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia at the McLean House in the village of Appomattox Court House. This is often cited as the official date of the end of the Civil War between the Confederate and Union States, but when Brigadier General Stand Watie of the Trans-Mississippi Department surrendered his Confederate Indian battalion, a mix of Creek, Seminole, Cherokee, and Osage Indians, on June 23 1865, at Doaksville in Indian Territory to Lieutenant Colonel Asa C. Matthews, the ground war was finished. A straggling and uninformed Shenandoah continued to wage an unwanted naval mission until surrendering in London, England on November 6.

As the commemoration of 150 years since the War of Secession winds down, it is important to note that many Union and Confederate veterans headed northwest at the end of their duties, returning to their homes and families or to new lives beyond that terrible time. Lance Weller‘s Wilderness is a fictional account of what one of those lives might look like. The story follows Abel Truman, a soldier badly wounded in the titular battle of 35 years prior, as he and his elderly dog travels inland from his beach homestead near the Quinault into and over the Olympic Mountains. In his travels he encounters natives, scattered settlers, and wanderers — people of both the generous and the violent sort. While there are moments of the pastoral, there are also moments where the reader is flung into the maelstrom.  The story flashes back and forth between Truman’s heroic trek of 1899 and through the Field of the Wilderness of 1864, bearing witness to Abel’s reckoning throughout the ordeal.

Weller’s descriptions are vivid, verging on purple prose at times, but beautifully evocative of the sensual charms of the Pacific Northwest coast. The story is hard-bitten, but specked with lovely and tender passages.

ISBN-13: 978-1608199372

Available in the Pacific Northwest Collection at NW 813.6 WELLER 2012

Digital transition begins at WTBBL

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 Posted in Articles, Washington Talking Book and Braille Library | 1 Comment »

Danielle, Mary, and her new player

Danielle, Mary, and her new player

The Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL) started the transition from 4-track cassettes and cassette players to digital talking books and digital talking book machines last week. This long awaited transition is one of the biggest things to happen in library services for the blind, visually impaired, physically disabled, and learning disabled communities in over 35 years. The new technology includes a higher quality, smaller and more portable player and, best of all, an entire book (or multiple books) can all fit on one cartridge containing a usb drive – no more shuffling multiple cassettes, switching sides, finding the next tape, etc.

Arne, digital talking book machine, Danielle

Arne, digital talking book machine, Danielle


By federal law, veterans have priority for service and will be the first to receive the new digital talking book machines and digital books. On Friday, August 28th, I personally delivered our first two players to our first two veterans. The first stop was to the home of Arne Kielhaven, an 82-year old WWII veteran. Arne is an avid reader and was very pleased with the new player and looks forward to getting more books. Next, was a visit to 96-year old Mary Tift, a Navy WAVE during WWII. Mary was delighted with her new player and was most impressed with the sleep key since she often listens to her books as she is going to bed. It was wonderful to spend time with Arne and Mary and show them how the technology works and hear about how much our service means to them. WTBBL currently has approximately 11,000 active patrons, so getting everyone transitioned to digital will take a couple years and we’ll be running dual formats (cassettes and digital) for quite some time.