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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. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Book Clubs, by Stacy

 We’ve passed out nearly all of our copies of “Fahrenheit 451” and book discussions have started.  If you are reading the “One Book, One Community” book, then I urge you to get to know people in your discussion group and talk about extending this one meeting to a monthly book club.  Being involved in a book club has a ton of benefits.

I am involved with two book clubs and they are very different.  One club is widely varied with both men and women who are both younger and significantly older than I am.  We have been book clubbing for nearly eight years and have made it through 92 books.  We still have 9 of our twelve original members.  We’ve been through illnesses, job changes and declining eyesight over the years, but one thing has not changed, and that is the amazing pearls of wisdom I leave with each month.   If not for this club, I just would not have the deeper layers of understanding that I get by discussing books with this particular group of people.

My other club is much newer, but just as important to me.  We’ve been together for a couple of years and the all-female members are fairly similar to me in terms of background and age.  What amazes me though is that despite our relative similarities, everyone thinks so differently.  I always come away with several different viewpoints on the book as well as a good understanding of how events in the book compare with our contemporary lives.

If you are a reader, I encourage you to get a club together.  If you are not a reader, then I encourage you to do the same because joining a book club is one of the easiest and most fun ways to become a habitual reader.  There are many ways the library can help support your club.

The library has 185 book club kits that check out to clubs for two months at a time.  Each kit contains ten copies of the same book and the books range from classics like “The Sound and the Fury” and perennial book club fodder like “Snow Falling on Cedars” to recent book club hits like “A Fault in our Stars” and “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed.  In addition, for almost every kit, our website has links to discussion questions and a recipe that fits the book.  You can find the list at

The library also has room for your meetings.  If you prefer not to meet in each others' homes, then call to reserve Room 138.  It is free and perfectly sized for a discussion, with comfortable chairs and a large table.

If you have questions about forming a book club or want to register to borrow our kits, email us at or call 405.372.3633 x 8106.  Happy book clubbing!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Book Burning in America by Stacy

Next week, on Feb. 18 at 7 p.m., Dr. Joey Senat will present "Popular Intolerance and Political Cowardice: Stepping Stones to a ‘Fahrenheit 451’ Future” where he’ll discuss censorship that occurs today, the meaning of the First Amendment and the public's ignorance of First Amendment rights.  Last week, I discussed censorship in the form of some of the most significant acts of book burning throughout history. 

This week, I’m looking at incidents in our own country.  In the last 15 years, Harry Potter has been the fuel for multiple pyres, along with books by Shirley MacLaine and psychic Edgar Cayce. A Cleveland radio station even held a joke-burning of “50 Shades of Grey.”  These incidents have been the result of individuals, but our country has certainly seen its share of state sponsored book burning as well.

The first known book burning in the “U.S.” was William Pynchon's 1650 book, “A Meritorious Price of Our Redemption.” The book, which was published in England and made its way to the new world, horrified the Massachusetts General Court.  Containing heresy and errors in its criticism of Puritan doctrines, the book was ordered burned by the public executioner.

In 1873, Anthony Comstock, U.S. Postal Inspector, created the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, whose organizational seal included a scene of a public book burning.  The society influenced Congress to pass Comstock Act which outlawed the ownership and delivery of “obscene” material though the U.S. mail including items like birth control materials written by Margaret Sanger and “The Canterbury Tales.”  Fifteen tons of material may have been burned under the law, but Comstock claimed to have been responsible for the destruction of 160 tons of material and the arrest of more than 3000 people.  

James Joyce created turmoil across the globe with every new book he wrote.  In 1918, the magazine, “Little Review” published portions of James Joyce’s “Ulysses.”  The U.S. Post Office burned copies in its possession and the magazine’s publisher was eventually arrested for obscenity.

“An American Tragedy” by Theodore Dreiser is listed on Modern Library’s 100 best Novels of the 20th Century and Time’s list of best novels since 1923, but the book got no love from the library in Dreiser’s hometown of Warsaw, Indiana.  The library trustees burned all of Dreiser’s work in 1935 due to their obscene and leftist content.

 At the height of McCarthyism, the Senator had subversive and leftist books burned in overseas U.S. libraries.  Following the incidents, President Eisenhower asked, “How will we defeat communism unless we know what it is, what it teaches, and why does it have such an appeal for men, why are so many people swearing allegiance to it?....And we have got to fight it with something better, not try to conceal the thinking of our own people. They are part of America. And even if they think ideas that are contrary to ours, their right to say them, their right to record them, and their right to have them at places where they're accessible to others is unquestioned, or it's not America.”

 The last significant book burning happened in 1973 in North Dakota when the Drake Public School board had copies of “Slaughter House Five” burned in the school’s furnace after a student complained about the language it contained.   

Other material order burned included "Deliverance," by James Dickey and "Short Story Masterpieces," with stories by Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck.  Many students refused to return their copies of the books and in a now famous letter, author Kurt Vonnegut wrote the school board president (who ironically had the last name McCarthy) the following:

“I read in the newspaper that your community is mystified by the outcry from all over the country about what you have done. Well, you have discovered that Drake is a part of American civilization, and your fellow Americans can’t stand it that you have behaved in such an uncivilized way. Perhaps you will learn from this that books are sacred to free men for very good reasons, and that wars have been fought against nations which hate books and burn them. If you are an American, you must allow all ideas to circulate freely in your community, not merely your own.”