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Library notes: Find out how and why convesation is so important

By Rebecca Hyde
Rowan Public Library
How can talk change our lives? That is the subtitle of Theodore Zeldin’s book, “Conversation,” which began as a series of broadcasts on the BBC.
Zeldin, born in Palestine, is an Oxford University historian, a philosopher, management consultant and radio personality. He has conducted his “human audits” in the workplace, within families and among different cultures.
In this little book, he summarizes the history of conversation, of conversational revolutions that have given us the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and modern times. Along the way, rhetoric became a weapon of war, scientific clarity became jargon, and women tried to introduce emotions as a topic of conversation.
Why is conversation so powerful? It is not just about conveying information or sharing emotions. It is creative: “Conversation is the meeting place of minds with different memories and habits.” Facts are not only exchanged; new implications are drawn, and new trains of thought are taken.
Why is conversation so important? It can create equality. In a family, it enables people of different temperaments and different ages to live together. In the workplace, it can overcome problems of specialization, education and of jobs that have become too narrow.
Along with provocative drawings to stimulate discussion, Zeldin provides practical suggestions in the form of 36 conversational topics on work, love, technology and family. We can become more agile, more charming, if we wish, and perhaps more clear-sighted.
For more practice in conversation, browse the following book titles.
“The Art of Civilized Conversation,” by Margaret Shepherd, is a guide to “expressing yourself with style and grace.” In an electronic society, talking face-to face is the most basic form of social interaction, but it leaves many people feeling tongue-tied. For Shepherd, it is a highly practical skill, which can be polished. Think of it as the “Swiss Army knife of social skills,” which you can take anywhere you go.In “How to Talk to Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere,” Larry King shares his secrets to good communication. Besides covering the basics in “Talk 101,” King entertains with examples of the best and worst conversationalists from his own experience: Frank Sinatra and Bill Clinton are among the good.
Leil Lowndes’ “How to Talk to Anybody about Anything” is a directory of opening conversational gambits or icebreakers. For example, in talking with professional athletes, you might ask about mental training or pre-performance routine. With movement or cult followers, ask what the group believes in, or why they joined. Ask stamp collectors what area of philately interests them the most.
“Miss Manners’ Basic Training: The Right Thing to Say,” by Judith Martin, is a review of etiquette in conversation, including advice and useful phrases plus humor. Let’s not cast aside conventional forms in favor of creativity and improvisation. In everyday life, originality won’t do. Etiquette can provide people with the right thing to say because it expresses feelings in time-tested ways, appreciated and understood.Computer classes: Classes are free. Sessions are 90 minutes long. Class size is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. Dates and times are subject to change without notice.
Headquarters ó Monday, 7 p.m., Computer Tips and Tricks; Thursday, 2:30 p.m., Creating Flyers with Microsoft Publisher.
South ó Monday, 7 p.m., Postcards from the Web.
Children’s: Be Creative @ Rowan Public Library. This summer the library invites you to let your imaginations run wild. Join the children’s staff for a fun-filled summer of programs and reading. Registration for all artists, singers, dancers and tumblers from 1-year-olds to rising fifth-graders begins Monday at all library locations. For more information, call 704-216-8243.
Teen program: Teens come to Rowan Public Library to create YouTube videos for the summer reading program. Call 704-216-8234.
Tuesday Night at the Movies: All movies are at 6:30 p.m. All movies are rated G, PG or PG 13; some movies are inappropriate for younger audiences. Children should be accompanied by an adult. Free popcorn and lemonade.
May movies were chosen by the East Branch Teen Advisory Board.
Tuesday, “The Prestige”; May 26, “Cloverfield.”
Displays: Headquarters ó artwork by Delores Medlin; South ó Charles Goodnight by Pam Nance; East ó stained glass by James Brady.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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