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Check out ‘Yours Forever: People and Their Letters’

By Rebecca Hyde
Rowan Public Library
Thomas Mallonís ěYours Ever: People and Their Lettersî is not an anthology but a love letter to the art and craft of letter writing.
It is a very personal and judgmental survey. Mallon describes it as ěa kind of long cover letter to the cornucopia of titlesî in the bibliography, from which the reader can choose the selected or collected letters of so-and-so.
The book is loosely organized around the circumstances of life motivating the letters: absence, friendship, advice, complaint, love, spirit, confession, war and prison.
Sorting the collections was like herding cats. And letter writing itself is changing. What is a blog? ěHalf diary, half letter-to-the-world,î says Mallon. If a reader is inspired to dip in or consume one of the titles mentioned, Mallon will have no regrets for the years spent on the project.
The correspondence is sometimes an introduction to a family and their times: ěThe most important letter Jessica Mitford ever wrote was a forgery, addressed to herself (ëDarling Deccaí) at the age of nineteen on February 3, 1937.î This forged invitation to a European tour from an imaginary girlfriend and her well-positioned family was intended to be Jessicaís ticket to war-torn Spain and elopement with her second cousin. The couple transmitted news of the Spanish war for a press bureau. Mitford continued to write letters during her life as a muckraker and Communist Party member. A second marriage was long and happy. Before her death in 1996, friends had already died off, and Mitford realized that ěshe missed the arrival of their letters more than the people themselves.î
Examining Wilfred Owenís World War I correspondence, Mallon remarks that Owen was never a natural soldier, rather a boy drawn to botany, evangelical religion and Keats. An older poet, Siegfried Sassoon, offered some ěmilitary-soundingî literary advice: ěSweat your guts out writing poetry,î and donít publish too early. Owen was killed a week before the Armistice. The power of the letters, Mallon concludes, makes one almost forget that Owenís poetry made his reputation.
Will Mallonís book motivate us to write letters? Perhaps, if we start with a ěthank-youî? See ěJust a Note to Say…î by Florence Isaacs.
Computer classes: Classes are free. Sessions are approximately 90 minutes. Class size is limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis. Dates and times at all locations are subject to change without notice.
Headquarters ó Monday, 7 p.m., Microsoft Word 2003 (basic computer skills required).
Teens invited to meet authorCheralyn Lambeth: East Branch, May 24, 5:30 p.m. Lambeth will speak about the paranormal investigations that were used to create her ghost books and much more. She is a paranormal researcher and nonfiction author who has also worked on multiple feature films. Join us for this free teen event.
Roads Scholar program ěHard Times at the Millî: South, Tuesday, 7 p.m. Thanks to funding from N.C. Humanities Council and their Roads Scholar program, Dr. Roxanne Newton of Mitchell Community College is bringing her program ěHard Times at the Millî to the South Rowan Regional Library. The program is free and open to the public.
American Girl Club: Headquarters, Saturday, May 28, 11 a.m. A book discussion group about the life and times of the American Girl characters.
Book Bites Club: South only; May 31, 6:30 p.m, ěDeath Comes for the Archbishop,î by Wanda Cather. Book discussion groups for both adults and children on 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.
Library closings: May 30, all RPL locations closed for Memorial Day holiday.
Displays: Headquarters ó Doll Society by Jim Bourdain, Lee Street Theatre by Robert Jones; South ó student art by South Rowan High School art class; East ó Art by Colleen 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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