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Starting off on a new path? Read about others who did the same

By Marissa Creamer

Rowan Public Library

SALISBURY — The year is still young — the slate is still clean enough to offer boundless possibilities. Hopefully, you are successfully implementing your resolutions as you seek to change yourself for the better.

Sometimes, it’s good just to change your perspective. I know someone who has the tradition of always buying a new pair of shoes to wear on New Year’s Day. The new shoes symbolize not going down the same paths or making the same mistakes, and making sure the new year is filled with new journeys and new views. It’s a nice reminder that this really is your chance for a fresh start.

These books tell the stories of individuals who have chosen to strike out on their own and forge a new path:

Sara has lived her entire young life in Sweden with her nose in a book, but she has decided it’s time to shake things up a bit. In “The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend” by Katarina Bivald, Sara leaves her bookstore job and home country to track down her American pen pal in Broken Wheel, Iowa.

Sara and Amy have been corresponding about life and their shared love of literature. When Sara arrives in the tiny, depressed town, however, she discovers that Amy has passed away. The town embraces this visitor, and next thing Sara knows, she is living in Amy’s house, where she is entranced by Amy’s light-filled bedroom full of books.

Sara makes it her mission to turn Broken Wheel on to reading. “Books are meant to be better than reality. Bigger, funnier, more beautiful, more tragic, more romantic.” She has an uncanny knack for matching the right book with the right reader, even George, the 50-something recovering alcoholic who discovers he loves reading “chick-lit.”

The story is filled with references to a wide variety of books and authors, including Proust, Jane Austen, Harper Lee, Mark Twain, Christopher Paolini and Sophie Kinsella, with a reading list provided at the end for further exploration.

Britt-Marie has left her cheating husband behind and has set out to find her place in the world. But is the world ready for Britt-Marie? Fredrik Backman, author of “A Man Called Ove” first introduced us to Britt-Marie in “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry.” She takes center stage in “Britt-Marie Was Here,” the story of a curmudgeon you can’t help but grow to love. You might say she’s passive-aggressive, but she’s just trying to be helpful…. And of course she’s not suffering from OCD; she’s just very concerned about proper organization and decorum.

After all, there’s only one way to organize a cutlery drawer; any other way would simply be uncivilized. Britt-Marie becomes the temporary caretaker of a recreation center in the dying town of Borg, where soccer provides the one spark of life. By default, Britt-Marie becomes the “coach” of the youth soccer team, and everyone is in for some big changes. The story is by turns hilarious and heartbreaking, and you’ll find yourself cheering for Britt-Marie.

Deborah Install’s “A Robot in the Garden” takes place in a technologically advanced future that is otherwise familiar. Ben is at a low point in his life when he discovers a broken down robot in his garden.

Tang “looks like a school project, a fusion of some sort of Japanese fine art and materials from a scrapyard.” Ben finds purpose in trying to fix the ailing robot, and soon the two embark on a globe-trotting journey to find Tang’s inventor.

Tang has the mindset and irrepressible joy of a toddler and the pair develop a close bond. This is a humorous, feel-good story that still poses some deeper questions, such as: How should we treat forms of artificial intelligence? Can robots have feelings? Can they serve as a substitute for human interaction?

Embark on your own journey with these books from Rowan Public Library.

Weekly events for children run through the week of April 28.

Baby Time: Infants to 23 months. A loosely interactive program introducing simple stories and songs to infants up to 23 months old with a parent or caregiver; 30 minutes. Headquarters, Char’s Little Stars, Wednesday, 10 a.m.; East branch, Tammie’s Tiny Sprouts, Mondays, 10 a.m.; South Regional, Miss Pat’s Tiny Tots, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.

Toddler Time: 18 to 35 months. Focused on sharing books, singing songs and encouraging listening skills with a parent or caregiver. 30 min. Headquarters, Reading Rumpus, Tuesdays, 10:30 .m.; East, Tammie’s Tot Time, Mondays, 11 a.m.; South, Miss Pat’s Wee Readers, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.

Preschool Time: To encourage the exploration of books and build reading readiness skills for children 3 to 5 years old with a parent or caregiver. 30 minutes. Headquarters, East and South, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.

Noodlehead Story Time: Books and songs for all ages; primary focus is pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. 30-45 minutes. Headquarters, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; East, Tuesdays, 3:30 p.m.; South, Wednesdays, 4 p.m.

Art programs: Activities and instruction based on various themes and media vary by branch. Appropriate for pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. Headquarters, Art in the Afternoon, Thursdays, 4:30 p.m.; East, Bethany’s Brushes, Tuesdays, 4 p.m.; South, Canvas Kids, Wednesdays, 4:30 p.m.

Tail Waggin’ Tutors: Children 7 to 9 can practice their reading skills in a relaxed, dog-friendly atmosphere. Dogs registered through Therapy Dogs International are available for beginning and struggling readers to read aloud to them. Reservations are recommended but not required. Headquarters, Tuesdays, 4:30 p.m.; East, selected Mondays, 3:30 p.m.; South, selected Tuesdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at 10 a.m.

Chapter Chats Book Club: A weekly club for teens 14-17, primarily for participants with developmental or intellectual disabilities, but all are welcome. Meets at East branch meeting room, Tuesdays, 5 p.m. For more information, contact Tammie Foster at 704-216-7842.

Anime Club: Teens and college-age adults (21 and under) may watch anime and engage in Japanese-themed crafts and games. Headquarters, Feb. 7, 4:30 p.m.

Teen Advisory Board: Teens who join this board provide input on RPL’s teen programming and book selection and discuss current events and issues of interest. Members can count their hours of participation toward school community service requirements. East, Feb. 13, 6:30 p.m.; headquarters, Feb. 28, 4:30 p.m.

Teen program: Join us each month as teens play games, make crafts and do activities related to a specific theme. February is the Chocolate Festival. Enjoy all things chocolate, complete with a chocolate fountain. South, Feb. 16, 4:30 p.m.; headquarters, Feb. 21, 4:30 p.m.; East, Feb. 27, 6:30 p.m.

“Dr. Who” Days: Travel through time and space with screenings of the classic BBC program, “Dr. Who.” Families are invited. Headquarters, Feb. 14, 4:30 p.m.

Lego free play: Feb. 18, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., headquarters. The library’s Lego collection will be available for free play for children.

Explorer Club: Feb. 18, 11 a.m.-noon, headquarters. Investigate different genres through fun activities based on books from our collection. Programs are more suitable for children in second through fifth grade.

Maker Mondays: Feb. 13, 6-7 p.m., headquarters. See the RPL Cooperative Lab’s 3D printer in action. Learn about the process from start to finish, and witness how a 3D printer can make ideas reality

Readers Connect: Headquarters, Feb. 16, 3 p.m. “Love in the Afternoon: A Celebration of Romance Novels” offers an afternoon of tea and conversation among fellow admirers of the genre. This is for readers of romance to come together and discuss favorite characters, authors and genres. Games, door prizes and refreshments will be provided. Free and open to the public.

No-school Cinema: “Transformers,” East, Feb. 17, 2 p.m. It’s the Autobots vs. the Decepticons in this 2007 film. Rated PG-13, it has a runtime of 143 minutes. Light refreshments will be served. Free and open to the public. All ages welcome, however, children ages 13 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

• “Frozen,” Feb. 20, 11 a.m., South Rowan Regional. Let it go,” and experience the adventures of Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven. This 2013, PG-rated film has a runtime of 102 minutes. Light refreshments will be served. Free and open to the public. All ages welcome; however, children ages 8 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

Movie Night at East: “The Proposal,” Feb. 20, 5:30 p.m., East branch. A pretend engagement between a supervisor and her employee undergoes comedic developments during a family visit to Alaska. Starring Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock, this 2009, PG-13 rated film has a runtime of 107 minutes. Light refreshments; free and open to the public. Children ages 13 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

PJ Storytime: Feb. 20, headquarters, 6:30 p.m. Put on your pajamas, grab a blanket, your favorite stuffed animal, and join us for a special evening storytime. Recommended for children 3 to 11 years old, though all children are welcome.

Displays: Headquarters, North Hills Christian School log cabin projects; East, doll exhibit; South, Corriher-Lipe Middle School student artwork.

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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