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January 26, 1995

No doubt many of you are enjoying good books received from thoughtful friends or family members as Christmas gifts. Books are among the things we have in mind when discussing gifts that keep on giving. Once they've been read, good books become lasting friends, something to enjoy long after the initial reading. Just looking at them or handling them rekindles the pleasure experienced in that first encounter, which in itself may have been spread over a prolonged segment of time. There is nothing quite like good book.

If you are looking for some interesting reading matter to curl up with on these winter evenings, spend a little time browsing through the one-dollar book offerings at our own Perry Carnegie Library. Karen Bigbee, librarian, tells me that the books consigned to that area are not just worn-out copies, not poorly written, not white elephants the library wants to get rid of. Most of them are in good to excellent condition and the quality of their content is usually high.

They wind up on the one-dollar stack largely because requests for them by patrons have dwindled to a certain critical level, so they are removed to make room for new titles. The one-dollar table is a great place to acquire some terrific bargains in good reading. New additions join the collection regularly, so you need to check out the possibilities each time you visit the library. Or, of course, it would be worth your time just to make a special trip there for that purpose. You might also come across something intriguing on the regular shelves. We really have an exceptionally fine library, you know.

Perhaps I should mention two books that you might find of special interest. The more recent of the two is "Jaybird: Celebrating the Life of Jay C. Jones." The subject of this is a young man who achieved four years of 4.0-grades at Oklahoma State University, was named outstanding industrial engineering student in North America and OSU's outstanding male graduate. At 27, he was married, the father of a young son, and appeared destined for a great career in construction and insurance. Then he learned he had leukemia, and his life was cut tragically short.

His story, as told by author Doris Dellinger of Stillwater, is an inspiration to all who read it. While Jay was a student at OSU, beginning in 1974, he was a friend and an associate of several Noble county young people, whose names are included in the book. Among them are Kendall Roth and Kathy Beers of Perry and Dru Ann McCluskey of Billings. Reference also is made to Ed Malzahn and the Perry Ditch Witch factory. The book was published by Oklahoma Bylines, Inc., of Stillwater, and was printed by the OSU Press.

The other that I want to mention is "Abandoned: A Nostalgic Look at Rural America," consisting primarily of photographs by William D. Adams, whose mother is Margie Adams Anderson of Stillwater, formerly of Perry. Adams took his first photograph of an abandoned farm house in 1967, when such sites were fairly common. Since then he has photographed more abandoned farm houses, barns, schools, churches and other rural areas than he can remember.

Besides Adams' close Perry connection, the thing that makes this book particularly interesting to all of us is the fact that many of his photographs focus on Noble county structures. His text contains references to a number of our friends and neighbors. You can figure out who most of them are, even though only first names are used for the most part. The photos are reproduced with great care on fine quality paper and a sepia tone enhances the old-timey look. This would make a fine coffee table book for a conversation starter. The book was published by TG Press, P.O. Box 9005, Waco, Texas 76714. It was printed in Japan by Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. At the time of original publication in 1989, Adams and his wife, Debbi, lived in surburban Houston.

It may take a little hunting to find either book, but be assured that they are both worth the trouble. Here’s wishing you good luck and good reading.