Books that tell how it all came to be are most useful

  • Posted: Friday, September 14, 2012 12:01 a.m.
    UPDATED: Friday, September 14, 2012 2:47 p.m.

"How-to" manuals are plentiful. But if you're a novice or an armchair explorer, then a book describing "how it all came about" may offer both information and motivation. The following books are for people who have dreamed of learning to sing, playing a musical instrument or creating a garden.
It's interesting that Renée Fleming ("The Inner Voice") set about her education as a singer by devouring the autobiographies of predecessors. She wanted practical advice: How did they learn and who taught them? How did they survive auditions and disappointments? She calls her own story the autobiography of a voice: the story of finding her voice, of working to shape it, and how it, in turn, shaped her. She still studies, and historic recordings are essential in preparing for a new role. Clearly, styles have changed among sopranos. Fleming constantly battles with herself over her performance as an actress: simple or layered, histrionic or direct?
In "Piano Lessons," NPR's Noah Adams describes his 52nd year, when he decided to learn to play. From January ("Why does a fifty-one-year-old man decide he has to have a piano?") to December ("My wife falls in love with a piano player in a tuxedo, and the night is still young,") Adams immerses himself in concert-going, piano-shopping, interviews with pianists, and in choosing his method of study. Along the way he admits the piano listening has been great but his learning curve has collapsed. Piano camp is his salvation, when Adams must play before an audience. Success is exhilarating. As a surprise Christmas present to his wife, he puts on evening dress, lights the candles and plays.
"From the Ground Up" is Amy Stewart's chronicle of realizing her dream of creating a garden. Almost everything is a first for her: first time dealing with oxalis, with scale and aphids, and tourists sunbathing on the front porch (the house is near the beach in Santa Cruz). She buys composts and then makes it, and provides us with her recipes for worm juice and compost tea. Tomatoes are her greatest challenge, but luckily the biggest chore in August is dealing with all the extra vegetables. The final chapter deals with leaving a garden you've created.
Computer classes: Genealogy Online - Working with the Census Records; Monday, 7 p.m.; South, Tuesday, 1 p.m.; East (registration required for East Branch only, call Paul at 704-216-7841); Thursday, 9:30 a.m., headquarters.
Census records are one of the most valuable tools you can use while researching your family history. We'll explore these online records available to you from Rowan Public Library. Classes are free. Sessions are approximately 90 minutes long. Class size is limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis. Dates and times at all locations are subject to change without notice.
Children's Storytime: Weekly Storytime is Monday-Nov. 29. For more information, call 704-216-8234.
Headquarters - Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m., Toddler Time (18- to 35-month-olds; Wednesdays, 11 a.m., Baby Time (6- to 23-month-olds); Thursdays, 10:30 a.m., Preschool Time (3- to 5-year-olds); 4 p.m., Noodlehead (4- to 8-year-olds).
South - Mondays, 4 p.m., Noodlehead (4- to 8-year-olds); Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m., Baby Time (6-23 months); 1:30 p.m., Preschool Time (3-5 years); Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m., Toddler Time (18-35 months).
East - Mondays, 9:30 a.m., Baby Time (6-23 months); Mondays, 11 a.m., Toddler Time (18-35 months); Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m., Preschool Time (3-5 years).
Teen and adult "Hunger Games" events: Headquarters - Monday, 6:30 p.m., "Hunger Games" book discussion; Tuesday, 6 p.m., "Language of Film: How we are Manipulated by Media," John Santa, presenter; Sept. 25, 5:30 p.m., "Hunger Games" teen program - an evening of "Hunger Games" crafts, books discussions, games and more.
South Rowan Regional - Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., "Hunger Games" book discussion; Sept. 25, 6:30 p.m., "Catching Fire" book discussion.
East branch - Sept. 24, 5:30 p.m., "Hunger Games" teen program.
Australian storyteller visits: Thursday, 7 p.m., Stanback Auditorium headquarters; Australian storyteller Paul Taylor will present a program for the whole family at RPL Headquarters. Taylor's performance is part of the RPL's 13th annual Stories by the Millstream Festival. All are welcome to this free event.
PAC Club at headquarters: Sept. 29, 11 a.m. Popular Activities and Crafts Club - Focusing on a different popular children's book series each month. Call 704-216-8234 for more information.
Book Bites Club (South only): Sept. 25, 6:30 p.m., "Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins. Book discussion groups for both adults and children are being held at South Rowan Regional Library and will meet the last Tuesday of each month. The group is open to the public and anyone is free to join at any time. There is a discussion of the book, as well as light refreshments at each meeting. For more information please call 704-216-8229.
Displays for September: Headquarters, Art Gang and DAR; South, pottery by Sandra Collins; East, art by Coleen Walton.
Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.

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