Monday, May 13, 2013

How-to Festival: Age Gracefully; Live a Life by the Books

Saturday was a great day to visit the main public library here. It held its second annual How-To Festival which was billed as: 50 Things. Five hours. One day. 100% free. 

Ninety presenters taught in various rooms and alcoves throughout the historic two-story library. There was even a tent set up on the front lawn for the gardening classes. Attendees could learn how to: juggle, square dance, plant tomatoes, tie a bow tie, play chess, set a table, design a silk scarf, get started in sailing, ace crossword puzzles, drape a sari and so much more. Each presentation lasted anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. Unfortunately many classes overlapped so one had to really study the schedule of events and plan out a course of action.

I managed to go to two afternoon classes. In How to Age Gracefully,  the presenter, Phyllis, a lively 72-year-old woman, told us the main ingredient to graceful aging is Attitude seasoned with Generosity and Gratitude. She recommended three books (and you know we love a book list): The Gift of Years by Joan Chittister; The Memory of Old Jack by Wendell Berry; and, Aging as a Spiritual Practice: A Contemplative Guide to Growing Older and Wiser by Lewis Richmond.

The second class I attended was How to Live a Life by the Books (no surprise there). The presenter, Keith Runyon, is a former book editor for the Courier-Journal. Mr. Runyon told of many hours spent as a child reading in the very library in which we were sitting, about his work as a journalist and member of the editorial board of the newspaper, and the delight that he had at being its book editor for almost 25 years.

Keith Runyon
Former book editor

He read from a few of his favorite books - Act One by Moss Hart, One Man's Meat by E.B. White, and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. He also provided a list of 57 of his best-loved books that contains a nice blend of fiction and non-fiction. Of the ones listed, I have read or at least heard of most of them, but as always there are new titles to explore. 

Especially intriguing were the books of history that he lists such as When the Cheering Stopped by Gene Smith, The Power Broker by Robert A. Caro, and two books by Barbara Tuchman about the time leading up to World War I, The Proud Tower, and the beginnings of that war, The Guns of August.

As you can see, my To Be Read List has grown.

Maybe next year there will be a presentation on How To Make Time to Read All the Books on Your TBR List.


A gentle reminder to leave a comment on tomorrow's post (May 14) to be entered in my Whoopee! 500 Posts Book Giveaway. The excitement never ends.


  1. How delightful this sounds, Belle. Something I would love to attend. I've been reading Mrs.Queen takes the Train, and enjoying it very much. Now, a few more to add to my TBR list, thanks to you.

    1. This was such a fun event. It was very well attended but not so crowded that one wanted to run screaming from the building.

      My regards to Mrs. Queen!

  2. Sounds wonderful! Wish I had been there.

    1. One of the nice things that I noticed were the book carts near the presentation spaces that held books from the library's collection that tied in with each 'how-to'. A very well-planned event, Kat. I wish you could have been there, too!