Our members frequently donate books, magazines, and other materials to the library. It’s often fun to go through these donations, as there are sometimes unusual treasures to be found. Recently, we received a box containing, among other things, four special collector’s editions of Oklahoma Today magazine from 1979. I’ve written a few articles for Oklahoma Today, so I was curious to see what the magazine was like before I was even born.
Hidden among your standard Oklahoma fare such as articles about Will Rogers, the Spiro Mounds, and western art, I came across something curious: an article by Bill Scott (with sketches by the author) about an out-of-control rabbit population in his Norman neighborhood. Just imagining the editorial meeting behind that one made me giggle:
“Well, we’ve got a few pages to fill between the article on the symphony and the one on the Spiro mound-builder culture. What should we put there?”
Awkward silence follows.
“How about that rabbit story Bill’s always going on about?”
In their defense, the article is very well-written and amusing, even educational. I learned a great deal about rabbits, their breeding habits, and their diets. It’s just not the first thing you think of when you think, “Oklahoma,” you know?
In any case, I’m dedicating this blog post to the weird, wild things to be found in our great state. And to bunnies. Because why not?
Killers of the Flower Moon: the Osage murders and the birth of the FBI by David Grann
In the 1920s, the members of the Osage tribe in northeastern Oklahoma were the richest people per capita in the world, thanks to a savvy land deal that gave them not only the surface rights but the mineral rights to their land, as well. And the white folks just could not have that. Grann details the plot to subjugate, marry, and kill the Osage for their fortunes and the lawmen who eventually brought some of the culprits to justice. Read it before the movie comes out! The project is currently being developed by Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Classic Restaurants of Oklahoma City by Dave Cathey
This book made me really hungry and also slightly mad about some of my favorite restaurants that are now closed (I will forever mourn you, Charcoal Oven). It contains great stories about the places and personalities that make up Oklahoma City’s culinary history, as well as tons of fun photographs.
Alternative Oklahoma: contrarian views of the Sooner State by Davis D. Joyce
Dedicated to the memory and spirit of Woody Guthrie, this anthology of essays runs the gamut from Indian rights to Red Dirt musicians, black Oklahomans to Vietnam vets, “Petticoat” historians to GLBT equality. As pointed out in the book’s foreword, “It is correctly said that history is written by the winners. And too often, history is also written from the standpoint of the elites. But if we’re really going to understand who we are as Oklahomans and how far we’ve come, we need to learn, and teach, history as it was lived by the losers, too—and those who had to fight hard to keep from losing.”
Oklahoma, Foot-loose and Fancy-free by Angie Debo
In fifteen chapters, historian Debo covers everything from politics and oil to arts and literature. According to a review by the Oklahoma Policy Institute, “she manages to recount and contextualize violent episodes and dangerously regressive tendencies, without sacrificing a genuine appreciation for Oklahomans’ gregarious individualism, creativity, and resilience.”
One Night with a Cowboy by Cat Johnson
Switching to fiction, this one is a scorcher! An East Coast professor moves to Stillwater to teach English at Oklahoma State University. She hooks up with a smokin’ hot bull rider at her first rodeo, only to run into him again at her first OSU staff meeting! Sparks fly between these two, and it gets steamy. But the characters and plot are also surprisingly complex.
Oklahoma City by Clifford “Spud” Johnson
Part of Carl Weber’s Kingpins series, this urban fiction book has the Skydance Bridge on the cover, so you know the publishers at least googled Oklahoma City! In fact, the author lists as one of his influences, “life in Oklahoma City,” so this book is legit. The reviews on Goodreads are glowing, with many saying it’s one of the best in the Kingpins series. The story centers on two drug kingpins who both fall for the same woman.
The Littlest Bunny in Oklahoma: an Easter adventure by Lily Jacobs
At the intersection of bunnies and Oklahoma, I found just one title in our collection. This one. It’s a sweet little picture book, and it would be a perfect addition to any Easter celebration in the Sooner state.
The Rabbit Raising Problem Solver: your questions answered about housing, feeding, behavior, health care, breeding, and kindling by Karen Patry
I can’t help but think that if Mr. Scott’s neighbors had access to this book, they never would have had the rabbit problem in the first place. Then again, we would have been deprived of his wonderful article. Even so, I’d like to see everyone err on the side of responsible pet ownership. So if you’re considering owning lagomorphs, do your neighbors a favor, and check out this book.