Get Your Reading Kicks on Route 66: a Let's Talk About It, Oklahoma series

Rt    Facebook Page Header


Register: Sign up and pick up your first book starting Feb. 7 by visiting the Help Desk in person.

For community members who ONLY want to attend the Michael Wallis presentation, please register here.

Books will be available to loan only to those who are attending the full series.

All programs take place on Thursdays at 6-8:30 p.m.

Route 66 spans from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California and reflects the dreams and memories of people traveling or living on it during the Great Depression. It was the road to adventure for treasure seekers, displaced farmers and Hollywood hopefuls.Route 66 conjures up memories of two lane highways, family vacations, picnic lunches at roadside tables, souvenir shops, reptile pits, cozy motor courts and an Orange Crush with a two cent deposit.
It has traveled through mountains and deserts, plains and forests. Today it is known as the world's most famous highway, even though it officially no longer exists. Route 66 began with the ordinary needs of a growing nation and the vision of one Oklahoman, Cyrus Avery.


    March 7 - "Route 66: The Mother Road" by Michael Wallis

Scholar: Michael Wallis - Discussion Questions

State for state, Michael Wallis chronicles the history of Route 66 against the backdrop of American history. As America grew, so too did Highway 66. The highway connected Americans from every walk of life. The road served as a lifeline from east to west for everyone from the roadside gas station owner to the fathers of the great highway up to the dawning of the interstate system.

Starting in Illinois, Wallis weaves his way across the West to California like so many American travelers who satisfied their pioneering spirit. Wallis cares for the highway and the people along it. He takes time along the journey to pull over and enjoy life just off the road.

From the Funk family's homemade maple syrup in Illinois, to Buster Burris' motel, café, and service station, Wallis captures the spirit and adventure of a bygone era.

The book touched off an effort to preserve the memory of Route 66 after it was published in 1990.

    March 28 – “Mother Road” by Dorothy Garlock

Scholar: Harbour Winn - Discussion Questions

It is 1932 along Route 66 near Sayre, Oklahoma, where a steady stream of dust bowl refugees and  local  towns folk stop by the garage owned by a one-legged man, Andy Connors, for fuel, a drink of water or to rest in his campground.  Along comes H. L. Yates, a big, brawny and fairly well off man, to pay an old debt to Andy.  It is perfect timing because a skunk bites Andy and Yates (what he liked to be called) takes him to be treated in Oklahoma City for a series of rabies shots.  With Andy gone, Yates takes over running the garage and watching over Andy's two motherless daughters and Leona, Andy's iron-willed sister-in-law. 

Yates is soon protecting Leona against the local citizens and her abusive brother. Caught up in chaos of gossip and treats, Yates and Leona find their love tested at every turn in this suspenseful romance.

This book is the first in a series, followed by Hope's Highway and Song of the Road.

    April 11 – “Rt. 66 Remembered” by Michael Witzel

Scholar: Karen Neurohr - Discussion Questions

Whether it was the delicious fajita in Albuquerque, the comfy bed in Flagstaff, or the first-rate service at the Texaco in Amarillo, Route 66 was, for many, a scrapbook of adventure and exploration.

Michael Witzel explores every facet of Route 66 travel. He thoroughly and insightfully guides us down the road, chronicling the development of businesses along “66."  The history of the highway is the history of America itself:  the development of what we now call gas stations, the burgeoning of fast food, and the birth of the motel. 

Personal recollections highlight the spirit of this open road.  There are the “Joy  Boys" from Flagstaff, AZ and their memorable summer in California; the "Fearless Foursome", four  adventure-seeking young women from Clear Lake, IA trekking to California in the middle of  the  Great  Depression; and Bea Bragg and her husband's Grand Canyon encounter with a young Nazi and the FBI. 

These are stories that inspire and define our quest to go somewhere else and find not only the destination, but ourselves in the journey.

    May 2 – “West on 66: a mystery” by James Cobb

Scholar: Trisha Yarbrough
- Discussion Questions

What do you get when you mix a Los Angeles County deputy sheriff, Kevin Pulaski, on vacation in Chicago and a deceased mobster's daughter, Lisette Kingman, who is currently the step-daughter of yet another mobster?  You get an adventure-filled mystery set in 1958 that travels all of the states along Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles.            

Their travels take them looking for a lost fortune of gangland money that Lisette's mobster father hid somewhere along Route 66.  They get assistance from clues Lisette's father left in "A Guide Book to Highway 66."  They run into problems around every turn and Kevin's only allies are his hot '57 Chevy and an even hotter Colt .45. 

Cobb blends the mythology of Route 66 with a plausible mystery yarn that delivers an amazing hard-boiled novel where Route 66 becomes as much a part of the story as the living characters. Climb aboard for a memorable ride on the Mother Road.



Feb. 6 Travel the ‘Mother Road’ with the Stillwater Public Library’s new book series


Books, services, and other materials for this series are provided by Let's Talk About It, Oklahoma, a project of Oklahoma Humanities. Funding for this series was provided by grants from the Inasmuch Foundation and Kirkpatrick Family Fund. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in these programs do not necessarily represent those of Oklahoma Humanities.

    OKHum Logo BW    neh logo stckd

Local partners include Friends of the Stillwater Public Library.

    FOL Black logo