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If you want to know more about relationships, read this

By Paul Birkhead

Rowan Public Library

In this month dedicated to love and relationships, there are several items you should check out at Rowan Public Library. Whether you are in love with someone, still looking, or just want to connect better with others, there are many books available that I hope catch your eye.

Life is a constant series of interactions with fellow humans. Even with our close friends, most of us are content with pleasant, shallow relationships. Does the banal phrase “How are you?” roll off your tongue without much thought?

For those who want something deeper, tools that can help you build and strengthen bonds with others, find them in Danny Silk’s book, “Keep Your Love On!” Silk emphasizes the key to solid relationships is control. Not control over others, but yourself.

The book is split into three sections: connection, communication and boundaries. Mastering each will make you a powerful person; the effect on your relationships will be life-changing.

A book that Silk gives a lot of credit to helping relationships is “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. First published in 1995, the book has sold millions and been on the New York Times bestseller list for almost two decades. The book has launched several spin-off titles for singles, children and even the workplace.

According to Chapman, everyone has a primary and a secondary love language. Love languages are ways to express and experience love. The five are: Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service, Quality Time and Physical Touch. Figuring out which language to speak to your spouse, child or coworker will transform your relationship with them.

Speaking of working on relationships, a new title just came in and I thought it was very interesting. “Southern Girl Meets Vegetarian Boy” is a cookbook by Damaris Phillips. Damaris had a big problem. She was a Southern chef who happened to fall in love with a vegetarian.

In her traditional recipes, meat was everything from a flavoring, to a side dish, to the main entree. For him, going meatless was an ethical choice. This cookbook is a bridge between their two culinary worlds.

Chickpea & Dumpling Stew anyone? How about Scalloped Potatoes & Ham-ish or Gouda & Pistachio Vegetarian Sausage? While the recipes are probably not something I would attempt, I respect how Damaris altered something very important to her — her style of cooking — to accommodate her partner.

Do you want proof that love can flourish in the harshest of circumstances? Look no further than the book by Rod Nordland called, “The Lovers: Afghanistan’s Romeo and Juliet: The True Story of How They Defied Their Families and Escaped an Honor Killing.” This is the story of Zakia and Ali who grew up together but were from different religious sects. Defying religious and social customs, they fell in love and began their harrowing journey not only to stay together but to stay alive.

Stop by Rowan Public Library this month and pick up some items that celebrate the gift of relationships.

Let Freedom Ring: Music and poetry of Black History. Feb. 15, 6 p.m., headquarters. Join us for this powerful and accessible family production from Bright Star Theatre that takes the audience on a journey through African American history and culture. Follow the journey from Africa through slavery to the civil rights movement and hear the voices of Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Maya Angelou and more.

Gain a better understanding of these historical events by hearing the speeches, songs and poetry of these powerful Americans.

This hour-long, family-friendly program is open to the public and best suited for ages 8 to adult. For more details, call 704-216-8245.

“Oh, look at that …” scavenger hunt: Through Feb. 28, East branch. Olaf’s body has come apart yet again. Can you put all nine pieces back together again before he melts? Find the pieces and be entered into a raffle contest for a literary-themed prize. For more information, contact Tammie Foster at 704-216-7842.

Blind Date with a Book: Through Feb. 28, South. Life is full of surprises. All ages are welcome to experience the mystery of checking out an unknown book and discovering what’s in the wrapping. This program is for all ages. For more details, call 704-216-7842. Also at East through Feb. 14.

Lego Saturday: South, Feb. 17, 10 a.m.-noon. Legos are available for creative free play. This program is for children.

STEAM into Adventure: Feb. 17, 11 a.m. Enjoy hands-on science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) activities and crafts. Program time is one hour.

PJ Storytime: Feb. 19, 6:30 p.m., headquarters. Put on your pajamas, grab a blanket, your favorite stuffed animal, and join us for a special evening storytime. Recommended for children 3-11 years old, but all children are welcomed.

Baby Time: Birth-23 months. Highly interactive 30-minute program for children and their adult caregivers. Headquarters, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.; East, Mondays, 10 a.m.; South, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.

Toddler Time: 18 to 35 months. Highly interactive 30-minute program for children and their adult caregivers. Headquarters, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Mondays, 11 a.m.; South, Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m.

Preschoolers: 3-5 years. Highly interactive 30-minute program for children and their adult caregivers. Headquarters, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; South, Mondays, 10 a.m.

Noodlehead Storytime: Pre-K to fifth grade. Interactive storytime. Headquarters, Thursday, 4 p.m.; East, Tuesdays 3:30 p.m.; South Wednesdays, 3:30 p.m.

Art programs: Pre-K to fifth grade. Learn art terms, techniques and work on art projects; 30-45 minutes. Art in the Afternoon, headquarters, Thursdays, 4:30 p.m.; Bethany’s Brushes, East, Tuesdays, 4 p.m.; Canvas Kids, South, Wednesdays, 4 p.m.

Tail Waggin’ Tutors: 7 to 9 years old. Children can practice reading skills in a relaxed, dog-friendly atmosphere. Canine listeners provided by Therapy Dogs International. Headquarters, selected Tuesdays, 4 p.m. Call 704-216-8234 for details. East, selected Mondays, 3:30 p.m., Call 704-216-7842 for details.

Chapter Chats: Weekly book club for teens 14-17, primarily for participants with developmental or intellectual disabilities, though all are welcome. Mondays, 5 p.m. at East Branch, Rockwell. Contact Tammie Foster at 704-216-7842. Next meeting, Monday, Feb. 12.

Escape at the Library: RPL now has its own escape room. See if you can solve the clues and codes to get out of the room before the timer hits zero! February’s escape room is Escape the DEATH STAR, a “Star Wars” escape room. Headquarters: Feb. 20, 4:30 p.m.; East, Feb. 19, 6:30 p.m.; South, Feb. 21, 6 p.m.

Chocolate Festival: Celebrate Valentine’s Day and all things chocolate with games, trivia and a chocolate fountain. Headquarters, Feb. 13, 4:30 p.m.; East, Feb. 12, 6:30 p.m.; South, Feb. 14, 6 p.m.

Teen Board: Want to be part of a Teen Advisory Board and make decisions about upcoming teen library programs? Or just want to play some board games? Now you can do both. Headquarters, Feb. 27, 4:30 p.m.

Movie Matinee: East, Feb. 13, 5:30 p.m. Enjoy a love story for Valentine’s Day by watching Sandra Bullock’s film “The Lake House.”  Popcorn and lemonade provided. This film is rated PG and has a 99 minute runtime. This free event is open to the public, and all ages are welcome. For more details, call 704-216-7842.

Displays: Headquarters, North Hills Christian School log cabin projects. East, G.I. Joe memorabilia by Cathy Wood; South, student art from Corriher-Lipe Middle School art classes.

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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