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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Marathons by Andrea

Spring is here (kind of), and with it comes the marathon season!  All over the world races are held, challenging the human body and spirit. The marathon is one of the most storied races of all time. Originally conceived for the 1896 Olympics in Athens, the marathon immediately captured the imagination and hearts of the public. 

Transported to Boston in 1897 by American spectators, the history of the marathon in the new world is almost as long as the history of the marathon itself. To learn more about the origin of this iconic race, come to the library and check out

 “The Complete Book of the Olympics” by David Wallechinsky (796.48 WAL). It is a treasure trove of lore, drama, and anecdotes from 116 years of Olympic history with full descriptions of rules and scoring for every event.

If you are ready to take on the challenge of a marathon, the library has some excellent books with useful guides and tips.

 “Galloway’s Marathon FAQ” by Jeff Galloway (796.425 GAL) has the direct answers to the most frequently asked questions about training for and running a marathon, including nutrition, motivation, female issues, preparing for race day, race issues, recovery, staying injury free and more.

Motivation sometimes comes from reading about others’ experiences.

 “The Longest Race: A Lifelong Runner, an Iconic Ultramarathon, and the Case for Human Endurance” by Ed Ayres (796.425 AYR) explores the connection between individual endurance and a sustainable society.

Finally, for the bibliophilic poetic runner, take a look at “The Runner’s Literary Companion” (808.8 RUN). It contains great stories and poems about running.

No matter if you read about it or actually compete, Just Do It!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Touring Stillwater’s History by Stacy

If you are as interested in Downtown Stillwater history as I am, then you have a wide variety of resources at your disposal to delve deep into the good old days.  One of my very favorite resources is the Downtown Stillwater walking tour put together by our amazing librarian, Andrea Kane.  Andrea produced a block by block history of Main Street and the adjacent numbered streets that populate Downtown.  She has provided the names of the businesses formerly located on each block, along with photos and anecdotes as she was able to find them.

When we were working on her research for the guide, we had the great pleasure of touring several of the upstairs spaces of many of the oldest buildings.  Getting to see the original tin ceiling covered up for decades and inspecting the layers upon layers of wallpaper dating back to the 1920s was a real treat.

We are incredibly fortunate to have such an enjoyable document based on amazing historians like Newsom, Cunningham, Chapman,Bassler (and Kane!).  It has been quite a few years since we’ve given a Downtown walking tour, so it is definitely time for someone to dust off our guide and head back Downtown! Since we are encouraging the entire community to mob Downtown with us on Friday, why not go ahead and download a copy of the guide to your tablet or print out a paper copy and spend the afternoon celebrating reading, shopping and eating and getting a glimpse of Downtown history.

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.