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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lives Change by Stacy

National Library Week is coming up next week, but at the library, I think we are pretty much celebrating the whole month.  We have an Edible Book Festival on April 12, a downtown reading flash mob April 18 and the Friends of the Library Used Book Sale April 24-27.

 The theme of this year’s celebration is “Lives Changes @ Your Library.”  We are emphasizing the many ways our library has helped the community and its citizens grow by unleashing an army of paper butterflies.  When you come in, grab a butterfly and tell us how the library has changed your life.  We’ll hang all of the submissions at the front of the library to show just how many caterpillars have changed into beautiful butterflies with the help of the library.

 Since we have butterflies on our minds all month, it is a perfect time to discuss how you can attract many more butterflies to your home and garden.  If you have a child or grandchild, I encourage you to check and read together some of the following books on the world of butterflies:

·         “Butterflies of Oklahoma, Kansas, and North Texas”by John Dole – This identification guide from the adult department will help your family identify the many different butterfly varieties populating the southern plains. 


   “Butterfly Garden” by Margaret McNamara – This fun easy reader story looks at Mrs. Connor's first-grade class as they watch as caterpillars slowly turn into butterflies in the school butterfly garden.

·         “Butterflies” by Seymour Simon - Explore the world of butterflies with fascinating facts and full-color photographs. Learn where to find butterflies and how to plant your very own butterfly garden.

·         “Butterflies in the Garden” by Carol Lerner – Find out how to lure butterflies into your garden with specific flowers they like to eat and plants where they leave their eggs. 

·         “The Butterfly Book: a Kid's Guide to Attracting, Raising, and Keeping Butterflies” by K.R.Hamilton – This fact filled book explains the life stages, body structures, and habits of butterflies. Readers can also learn how to raise, safely handle and house butterflies before returning them to the wild.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

No Foolin’, the library has the coolest event in Stillwater on April 12! By Naomi

There are a TON of exciting things happening this spring at the library.  One of the events I am really looking forward to is the International Edible Book Festival on April 12.  For this event, participants (including YOU!) can make an edible food creation based on a book or book title.  Judges will award prizes to the best creations and the public will come and give a $5 donation to get bites of the entries.  Now is a great time to start thinking of ideas so you can be ready to participate. 

I am thinking of making an edible creation of my own.  I’m trying to decide whether to make a savory dish or a sweet treat. For inspiration, I am looking through some of the HUNDREDS of cookbooks.  Many of the books are centered on cake decorating and crafting with food, while others are just great to look at for ideas.

If you are thinking about making a dessert, you might try checking out

“Baking with the Cake Boss” by Buddy Valastro to learn techniques you could incorporate into your masterpiece. 

Another book that caught my eye is “Modern Art Desserts” by Caitlin Freeman, which shows you how to make food that relates to iconic works of art.  So, for example, you might make a cake that includes parts of images from a famous painting and pair it with a biography about the artist. 

If you are thinking about carving fruit or vegetables for your entry, take a look at

 “Play with Your Food” by Joost Elffers which contains over one hundred color pictures showing carving techniques.

If you want to work on this project as a family, “Fast Food” by Saxton Freymann is an easy book that the kids will love.

Need more inspiration?  Follow The Stillwater Public Library on Pinterest to view our board called “Edible Book Festival Inspiration.”  It will give you many awesome examples. 

Find more information about the festival and register for the fun on our website at

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Patrick Leigh Fermor by Jay

If you enjoy travel writing or adventurous biographies, I recommend “Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure” by Artemis Cooper.  Fermor led a charmed life, dying in 2011 at the age of 96, after living an unorthodox life on his own terms.  He is best known as a travel writer -- indeed, his

“A Time of Gifts” is one of my favorite books of all time. In this affectionate biography, Cooper uses letters, interviews, publications and journals to describe Fermor's life in all its complexity, conflict, and joy. 

Fermor was born in 1915 in London.  Fermor's youth saw him veering between two extremes: a bright boy with an impressive memory and a talent for languages and history, who was also undisciplined and unwilling (and perhaps unable) to abide by rules. As a result, he had difficulty remaining in any one school. By the time Fermor turned 18, his future was in doubt. He was in debt from living a wild social life, had no prospects for an academic or a professional future, and his lack of discipline made tenure in the army questionable at best. 

At this point, Leigh Fermor developed his plan to walk across Europe, from Holland to Constantinople. The prospect excited him -- the chance of adventure, the promise of meeting new people and the opportunity to see places he had only read about.  He set off on December 8, 1933. The first stage of this journey was retold by Fermor in “A Time of Gifts,” while stage two is related in

 “Between the Woods and the Water.” A posthumous volume about the final stage of the journey will be published in spring 2014.

Cooper also provides insight in Fermor's life after the walk. She details his relationship with Princess Balasha Cantacuz√®ne, a Romanian painter with whom he lived until the onset of World War II.  She describes his work as a British Intelligence Officer in WWII.  Fermor achieved fame for leading a successful operation to kidnap a German general which Cooper describes, including some controversy over different versions of events, and what happened when Hollywood took an interest. 

After WWII, Leigh Fermor lived a hand-to-mouth existence. A constant in his life was Joan Rayner, whom he met just after World War II, and who was his longtime partner, then wife. Rayner emerges as a fascinating figure who seemed happy for Fermor to engage in affairs and spend considerable time away from her. Theirs was not a conventional relationship.  I would have liked more focus on Joan throughout the biography -- or, perhaps, for someone to write a biography of her. She appears as someone who valued a spiritual, emotional and intellectual connection with Fermor far more than any physical relationship. She also was widely-traveled, a skilled photographer, an intelligent person with many gifts and a quiet confidence in herself.

  In the end, Cooper presents Fermor as a three-dimensional figure, a man whose gifts and flaws shaped his life. He veered between depression and exhilaration throughout his life, but consistently viewed himself as profoundly fortunate. He lived outside of convention, on his own terms. Cooper does not gloss over his flaws, but explores them with sensitivity and balance. I emerged with a better understanding of his life, and a new foundation from which to approach his writings which I have not yet read.

Women’s History Day by Heather

March 8, we will celebrate National Women’s History Day. Each year during the month of March, women from all walks of life: mother’s, educators, business women, builders, political and community leaders and CEO’s are celebrated for the role models they are as they inspire us to achieve our full potential. This year’s theme is:  “Celebrating women of character, courage and commitment.”

One particular woman that comes to my mind that emulates these characteristics is the Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta (August 26, 1910-September 5, 1997). Our library has numerous books on the life and writings of this self-less, gentle, and simple woman who quietly changed the world. She was known for her work on behalf of those that were poor, sick or dying and was the founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity which is active in 133 countries.

A few books of note include “Mother Teresa's Secret Fire: the Encounter That Changed Her Life, and How It Can Transform Your Own”by Joseph Langford which reveals the source of Mother Teresa’s passion, spirit, and impact; and Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light", a volume of her private writings.

Celebrate National Women’s History Day and explore your library to discover more about someone that you think embodies a woman of “character, courage and commitment.” The Stillwater Public Library will also have a booth at this years’ 19th Annual Women’s Night Out, hosted by Stillwater Radio (Thursday, March 27th – 5:00pm to 8:00pm at the Payne County Expo Center, Stillwater, OK).  The library will be providing information about our children’s programs, our E-Books service, and other great things happening at the library.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Books to Film: 2014 Edition, by Rion

Yes, the book is ALWAYS better than the movie, but somehow we cannot stop ourselves from getting excited when producers borrow from the library for the big screen.  Here’s a short list of books Hollywood will bring us in the coming year.

“Divergent”by Veronica Roth opens March 21 and stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James, and Kate Winslet. In the book, citizens of a dystopian Chicago are divided into five factions— Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, Erudite.  Beatrice Prior discovers she’s a divergent because she is well suited for three factions.

“The Giver” by Lois Lowry opens Aug. 15 with Jeff Bridges in the title role surrounded by Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes, Alexander Skarsgard, and Taylor Swift. The Newbery Medal winning book follows Jonas who is chosen to inherit the position of “Receiver of Memory,” a keeper of all past memories before “Sameness,” an idea which eradicated emotional depth.

”The Maze Runner” by James Dashner opens Sept. 19 and stars Dylan O’Brien of MTV’s series “Teen Wolf.” O’Brien plays Thomas who wakes up in a lift and is only able to remember his name. He is not alone but none of the other kids can say for sure why they’ve been brought to the Glade, a stone walled maze open during the day and inaccessible at night.

“Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn opens Oct. 3 and stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. The book follows Nick and Amy Dunne and their relocation to Missouri after Nick loses his job, and Amy’s disappearance the day of their fifth anniversary.  A second Flynn novel, “Dark Places,” opens Sept. 5.

Other notable book adaptations this year include "Vampire Academy" by Richelle Mead which released on Feb. 7,

Don’t forget to come and watch the library’s screenings of books made into films when we watch “Fahrenheit 451” on March 13 at 6:30 p.m. and “Hunger Games” on March 16 at 1:30 p.m.