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Monday, March 25, 2013

A Foodie’s Favorite Cookbooks by Emily

I’m not sure exactly what it is, but I just can’t stop thinking about food lately.  Maybe it’s because it feels like spring is right on the tip of my tongue.  The sun comes out, I realize that it’s already March, and suddenly I can almost taste the bounty of delicious fruits and vegetables that are about to be in season.  I’m suddenly inspired to cook fresh, delicious, and healthy food.  The library has been getting in several cookbooks that have been seducing me from the shelves for a while now.

I love, love, love Yotam Ottolenghi’s food.  Jerusalem ” is his third cookbook and it is truly a work of art.  He co-wrote the book with his restaurant partner Sami Tamimi.  They run the Ottolenghi food shops in London, which I have had the privilege of visiting.  They are tiny little store fronts jeweled with the most beautiful pastries you have ever seen and home to the most delicious vegetable dishes that this girl has ever eaten.  This book focuses on traditional Jewish and Muslim cuisines.  If you’re looking to try something new that still feels comfortable and homey this is a great book to check out.  

I’ve been a big fan of Deb Perelman’s amazing food blog for years now.  I still vividly remember the crisp September morning I first stumbled across her recipe for apple pancakes.  Yum.  She is incredibly adept at taking complex, expensive recipes and modifying them for the home cook.  Her first published a book of recipes simply titled “The Smitten Kitchen” after her blog came out last fall and I’ve been dying to get my hands on it.  It almost never stays on the shelf so you’re going to have to get on the wait list for this one.

Street food is terribly popular right now.  I love the simplicity and the creative fusion of different flavors and cultures.  The Truck Food Cookbook”  by John Edge offers up recipes inspired by famous food trucks across the states.  There are so many recipes for tacos! 

This just scratches the surface.  There are several cookbooks that will be coming to the library soon that I can’t wait to get my hands on.  The Bouchon Bakery”  by Thomas Keller combines American and French baking and “The Science of Good Cooking” by America’s Test Kitchen will teach you basic scientific concepts to improve your kitchen skills.  Keep checking the new bookshelf for cookbooks.   I promise you won’t be disappointed.  

Brave enough to write by Stacy

Starting in April, author William Bernhardt will be teaching a writing class at the library once a month.  I have been mulling it over and over.  Will I register for the “Just Fiction” classes or not?  On one hand the fee is $89 a class.  On the other hand it is the only time I will ever, EVER get a chance to learn the art of writing and be mentored by a New York Times best selling author.  And the only time someone will take me by the hand and help lead me step by step through writing a book.

You may not know this but every librarian is secretly a budding novelist.  Each of us has the perfect novel in our head and it is almost always set in a library with caricatures of the different folks we’ve met.  Mine was about an eccentric librarian.  The plot hinged on the climatic scene where the librarian drinks too much coffee causing her to rearrange the whole library by color.  My dream of writing that novel was shot, when several years later internet pictures of a bookstore organized by color started circulating.  It was shot again when I waited six years too many to write my book craft instruction manual. All of the sudden, four or five books popped up on a subject that just a few days before had zero titles. 

It comes down to being too scared and too busy to get my thoughts down on paper.  I’m not sure when writing somewhere other than in my head became so scary, because I actually began to write complete pieces at a very young age.  As a fourth grader, I wrote a 75 pager in pencil on lined notebook paper.  It was a thriller/family saga about a slumber party killer/school problems.  The highlight is a poignant, if lengthy, description of the root beer candies our student teacher gave us on her last day.  The troubling portion of the book, as I reflect back today, may have been my unfortunate inclusion of a titillating, end of chapter teaser where I imply that my sister may have been adopted.  Unfortunately, I was so ensconced in the root beer candy description that I finished the book without ever picking back up on the adoption story.

Regardless of its shortcomings, it was at least complete and I’m not sure there have been many more thrilling experiences than having said “I wrote a book!”  So, I think I’m pretty sure I’m signing up for this class (  I think.  If you’re a little scared too and need a nudge in the right direction, let’s talk!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Pandas and Owls and Elephants… Oh My! By Andrea

The French poet Anatole France said, “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” Watching animals’ behavior can not only entertain but sometimes give us a different perspective of our own behavior.

We have some fascinating books at the library that tell stories about some extraordinary animal friendships. “Unlikely Friendships: 47 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom” by Jennifer Holland presents a collection of stories about animals that have formed unlikely bonds with other animals of different species. A book for introducing these special friendships to your children is “Friends (True Stories of Extraordinary Friendships)” by Catherine Thimmesh. It offers a photo exploration of unlikely animal friendships which not only gives readers insight into animals but challenges preconceived notions about compatibility.

In addition to reading about animals’ activities, the Internet provides views of the lives of animals in their most personal moments. You can always bring the great outdoors directly to your desktop, thanks to all of the free webcams from around the world. You can watch a live feed of baby eagles hatching in their nest or pandas splashing in a pond. Here are two of my favorite live animal webcams.

The world-renowned San Diego Zoo ( offers streaming video of several animal exhibits: polar bears, pandas, elephants, and apes. Their newest panda cub, Xiao Liwu, “Little Gift,” is now old enough to be on public display. If you’re in the mood to watch an adorable baby, go check out “Mr. Wu” in California!

And right here in our own backyard is Alessondra’s Live OKC Great Horned Owl Cam ( A lucky family in Edmond have welcomed again this year a great horned owl that has made her nest in a planter box on their 2nd floor balcony! She is currently sitting on two eggs, so the fun is about to begin!

Whether you read about our animal friends, or take time to look closely at their lives, learn something about what animals offer us.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Dragons in the Library by Brenna

This winter, penguins have been popping up into our children’s winter reading program; lots of live wild animals visited the library last week; and our friends from the city Animal Shelter visited to talk about cats and dogs.  Everyone has been talking about animals in the library and discussing their favorites.   My favorite animal is a little less traditional than everyone else---the dragon!  A mythical animal yes, but animal still the same.  There is such a broad range of ways dragons can be depicted.  Your imagination can take them in any direction-- good or evil, large or small, sentient or your average animal intelligence and than you have magic abilities as well.

Two book series that I have recently discovered that contain some of my favorite dragons are “The Dragonkeeper Chronicles” by Donita K. Paul and “Adventures Wanted” by Mark Forman. The first book out of five in the Dragonkeeper series is “Dragonspell” were teenage Kale tries to find understanding in the world beyond her small village while protecting and teaching her dragon hatchlings. 

In the “Adventures Wanted” series there are three books out with a fourth book on the way.  Starting with "Slathbog's Gold,” fifteen year old Alex Taylor is bored with his life working in his stepfather's inn. He wants an adventure and via a hidden exit in a book store that open onto another land, he enters into one.  Joining a group that contains elves and dwarves to help slay an evil dragon, he will meet many new friends and make a few enemies.

Both series have dragons of many types which is why they are two of my favorites.  However, the library has many other wonderful dragon related novels and series to explore.  Ask at the Help Desk for more recommendations. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Brush up on Woody Guthrie by Stacy

The library’s One Book, One Community series started with a successful kick-off last night and we gave out over 75 books.  As in the past, participants sign-up for a book discussion and receive a free copy of the book we are reading.  This year, Stillwater is reading “Bound for Glory” by Oklahoma folk artist and musician Woody Guthrie. 

We’ll be hosting a large array of events focusing on Woody Guthrie from learning about his background and influences to learning how to write songs.  To prepare for these events, you may want to stop by the library to pick up materials that will give you more background to make this Oklahoma series all that richer.

·             House of Earth by Woody Guthrie.  Guthrie’s discovered unpublished novel was just published last week.  This novel follows Tike and Ella Hamlin as they try to eke out an existence in the Texas Panhandle.  The Hamlin’s live in a dilapidated old shack, but once he sees instructions in a government pamphlet, Tike dreams an adobe dwelling.  A home that is fireproof, windproof, and Dust Bowl-proof will change their lives.

·             Little Seed: songs for Children by Woody Guthrie.  Musician Elizabeth Mitchell performs songs written by Woody Guthrie for his young daughter.  The sweet, simple songs from a parent to a child will have your children singing along and learning early the music of an Oklahoma legend.

·             Hard hitting songs for hard-hit people.  Collector Alan Lomax and folk singers Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger compiled nearly 200 American songs depicting the Depression era and union movements.  The songs include an entry by Guthrie, guitar tablature by Seeger and accompanying photographs.

·             Woody's road:Woody Guthrie's letters home, drawings, photos, and other unburied treasures by Mary Jo Guthrie Edgmon.  In this new biography, Guthrie’s sister pulls together family material that she saved throughout the years and which is new to the public.  The volume is filled with private letters, artwork and photographs that will shed light on the influential musician Guthrie would become.

The library has many other items on Guthrie for both children and adults.  For more information on the series, visit