People who love to read shared about a favorite book at a Friends of the Library program at Will Rogers Library on Monday, Feb. 27. A book marker was given out with the speakers’ names on it.

Several speakers took turns to discuss a book that made a difference in their lives for a Books You Love event.

Kellan Kerr, a young student, was first. He thanked the standing-room-only crowd of mostly adults for letting him talk about his love of reading. He said his favorite book is “Terrible Two,” about a prankster.

“I love to read. Reading lets me think beyond my experiences and my imagination for my ‘pranking’ career,” Kellen said.

The next speaker, City Manager John Feary, chose a book about leadership – “Remarkable,” by Dr. Randy Ross and David Salyers.

“This one was given to me by Police Chief Stan Brown. I like public service leadership books. It about communicating, but not just how I communicate, but how others communicate with me. It’s about adding value to everything you do,” Feary said.

When values are in alignment, people get results.

“I read this on a ride to Phoenix, and finished it on the way home. I have a stack of leadership books. Did you know there are 42,000 titles in the library?” Feary said.

Another fan of leadership books, Kellye Shuck, a principal, said she’s missed reading to her son, who is now a junior at Oklahoma State University.

“When I think of reading, I think of all the times reading to him, which he doesn’t want me to do anymore,” said Shuck.

“Soup” by John Gordon was her selection.

“It’s easy to read. It’s about a soup company and two employees who were on a trip and saw a long line to go into Grandma’s Soup House. So they waited in line to see why grandma’s soup was so popular. Grandma’s Soup House was the best soup they’d ever had, so they wondered what her secret was,” said Shuck.

Eventually they were able to speak with the cook.

“The secret is the one who stirs the pot, influences the soup. Optimism must come out when you stir the pot, and you must stir with love,” the grandma said.

She even gave a wooden spoon to the visitors for their own soup.

“Our teachers stir the pot to make a difference. When I reread the book, I was inspired to pour more into my staff. The love and energy we invest in our life determines whether life is sweet or sour in the fabric of our life. Thank you for giving me a reason to read it again and be inspired,” said Shuck.

Claremore Principal Dr. Ken Hindenburg said he fell in love with reading in sixth grade, with “The Count of Monte Cristo.” Before that, he only read what was required. He even read “Gone With the Wind” in third grade because it got him all the points necessary.

“I recommend you read the full, unabridged version of “The Count of Monte Cristo.” Reading was hard for me until sixth-grade a teacher changed my life,” said Hindenburg.

He recommended “Enders Game” by Orson Scott Card.

“It’s about a 6-year-old with an innate desire for friendship. Aliens are looking for 6-year-old boy to help them. He thinks he’s playing a game and discovers he did need friendships and that individual and group needs matter. He has to make a decision in the end about how to help,” said Hindenburg.

The boy eventually realized that to defeat the aliens, he fully understood them: “Then he couldn’t help but love them.”

“It changed the way I view wars,” said Hindenburg.

Sometimes he reads for personal growth, sometimes to get away, and other times for understanding.

“I learn to understand my students better. ‘Ender’s Game’ also taught me that whether enemy or a friend, the best gift is empathy,” he said.

Another lesson learned by reading the book is that “we are capable of more in life.”

The book Paula Smith chose, because it had the greatest impact on her, has been translated into hundreds of languages and includes poetry, history, drama, science, inspiration and suspense.

“Everything you’re looking for in a book, along with peace and encouragement, is in the Bible. Some say it’s the owners manual for everything we need to know about ourselves and others,” said Smith.

She’s read it so many times because it’s a living book. It doesn’t change, but it’s always new.

“The Bible literally changed my life. It’s the book I love that has impacted my life the most and the bestselling book.” Smith said.

She was read to as a child and as soon as she could read, she did, and she hasn’t stopped.

“I like all kinds of books from historical fiction to mysteries and comedic and dry English wit. I like Edward Rutherford and James Michener, and C.S. Lewis’ ‘Mere Christianity,’ is absolute favorite of all of his books,” said Smith.


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