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Special Events

February 24
NEA Big Read: Peoria Reads 2019 Kick-Off Event

2:00 PM - 4:00 PM at Peoria Public Library North Branch, 3001 West Grand Parkway
Based on the book Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast, Illinois songwriter and folklorist Chris Vallillo has created a musical program that reflecting those touching themes and the life changes they represent; the new roles of adult children becoming parents to their parents, the stress of aging parents leaving a family home for an institution; the hiring of strangers to provide the most personal care. As someone who recently had the privilege of walking both of his parents down the final path, as it were, Vallillo has a deep connection to this theme. Like the book itself, Vallillo approaches this delicate subject lightly featuring a combination of contemporary songs such as Micheal Smith’s masterpiece, “The Dutchman” as well as more commonly known songs designed to stir the memory and swell the heart. Free and open to the public.

February 26
Peoria Speaks: Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care and Education

6:00 PM - 7:30 PM at Peoria Public Library Lakeview Branch, 1137 West Lake
Daryl Carlson of the Alzheimer’s Association will provide background information about Alzheimer's and dementia care and education as well as his organization’s initiatives, and then the floor will be opened up for questions and discussion. Free and open to the public. Peoria Speaks is a monthly community discussion program which focuses on topics of interest to Peorians. Funding for Peoria Speaks is being provided by Illinois Humanities through their Illinois Speaks program which is aimed at strengthening the democratic process through community dialogues across the state of Illinois.

March 3
NEA Big Read: Peoria Reads 2019 presents Successful Aging with Marjorie Getz
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM at Methodist College, 7600 North Academic Drive
Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? is described as a remarkable graphic memoir depicting two lives at their end and an only child caretaker coping as best she can. Author Roz Chast found herself caught in a transition between (as she describes it) “the sphere of TV commercial old age” to “the part of old age that was scarier, harder to talk about, and not a part of this culture” as her parents aged. This presentation will focus on definitions of successful aging and the factors that have consistently been associated with this process through evidence-based research. Topics to be discussed include developing a definition of “normal” aging and examining research that identifies components of successful aging. Specific recommendations related to well-being and higher quality of life at older ages will be summarized. Marjorie Getz is a Professor of Arts and Sciences at Methodist College where she teaches courses in psychology and gerontology. As a graduate student, she was a research assistant on the MacArthur Studies of Successful Aging.

March 3
NEA Big Read: Peoria Reads 2019 Death Cafe

4:00 PM - 5:30 PM at Methodist College, 7600 North Academic Drive
A Death Cafe is a gathering and discussion about death and dying held in a social setting with refreshments and food (typically cake). Colleen Karn, Assistant Professor of English & Humanities at Methodist College, will facilitate this discussion in an effort to normalize the discourse of death. Free and open to the public.

March 10
Biography and Nonfiction Book Club discussion of Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? and A Disordered Mind

3:00 PM - 4:45 PM at Peoria Public Library North Branch, 3001 West Grand Parkway
Join us as we discuss Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? and A Disordered Mind. In her first memoir, New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast's memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents. While the particulars are Chast-ian in their idiosyncrasies--an anxious father who had relied heavily on his wife for stability as he slipped into dementia and a former assistant principal mother whose overbearing personality had sidelined Roz for decades--the themes are universal: adult children accepting a parental role; aging and unstable parents leaving a family home for an institution; dealing with uncomfortable physical intimacies; and hiring strangers to provide the most personal care. An amazing portrait of two lives at their end and an only child coping as best she can, Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant? shows the full range of Roz Chast's talent as cartoonist and storyteller. Eric R. Kandel, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his foundational research into memory storage in the brain, is one of the pioneers of modern brain science. His work continues to shape our understanding of how learning and memory work and to break down age-old barriers between the sciences and the arts. In The Disordered Mind, Kandel draws on a lifetime of path-breaking research and the work of many other leading neuroscientists to take us on an unusual tour of the brain. He confronts one of the most difficult questions we face: How does our mind, our individual sense of self, emerge from the physical matter of the brain? The brain’s 86 billion neurons communicate with one another through very precise connections. But sometimes those connections are disrupted. The brain processes that give rise to our mind can become disordered, resulting in diseases such as autism, depression, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder. While these disruptions bring great suffering, they can also reveal the mysteries of how the brain produces our most fundamental experiences and capabilities--the very nature of what it means to be human. Studies of autism illuminate the neurological foundations of our social instincts; research into depression offers important insights on emotions and the integrity of the self; and paradigm-shifting work on addiction has led to a new understanding of the relationship between pleasure and willpower. Free and open to the public.

March 11
NEA Big Read Peoria Reads presents Estate Planning
6:00 PM - 7:45 PM at Peoria Public Library North Branch, 3001 West Grand Parkway
Think estate planning is only for the rich? Think again! Understand why you might need one, what is covered in the plan, and how to offer protection to your children and family, even if you're not here. Presenter Richard Kirk is with the Association of Financial Educators. Free and open to the public.

March 20
NEA Big Read: Peoria Reads 2019 Discussion of "Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?"

6:00 PM - 7:45 PM at Peoria Public Library Lakeview Branch, 1137 West Lake
Deb Disney, Director of Counseling & Wellness at Methodist College, will lead a discussion of Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? Free and open to the public.

March 23
NEA Big Read: Peoria Reads 2019 presents Saying Hello to Life Again

2:00 PM - 3:45 PM at Peoria Public Library Lakeview Branch, 1137 West Lake
With an emphasis on communication between family members when no one knows what to say or do after a life-threatening injury, illness or disease, Monica Vest Wheeler will cover:
• Learning how to laugh again and incorporating humor into the emotional or physical healing process.
• Focusing upon new or changed abilities vs. lamenting the loss of previous ones.
• Looking for the hidden blessings in a difficult time because they are there.
• You don't have to be brave all the time, and how we're much stronger than we ever give ourselves credit.
• The art of small talk when you know there are big things to be said.
Monica Vest Wheeler is the author of Alzheimer's, Dementia & Memory Loss: Straight Talk for Families & Caregivers. Free and open to the public.

March 23
NEA Big Read: Peoria Reads 2019 Death Cafe

4:00 PM - 5:45 PM at Peoria Public Library Lakeview Branch, 1137 West Lake
A Death Cafe is a gathering and discussion about death and dying held in a social setting with refreshments and food (typically cake). Colleen Karn, Assistant Professor of English & Humanities at Methodist College, will facilitate this discussion in an effort to normalize the discourse of death. Free and open to the public.

March 27
Mature Readers Book Club discussion of Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

2:15 PM - 3:45 PM at Humana Center, 2601 West Lake
In her first memoir, New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast's memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents. While the particulars are Chast-ian in their idiosyncrasies--an anxious father who had relied heavily on his wife for stability as he slipped into dementia and a former assistant principal mother whose overbearing personality had sidelined Roz for decades--the themes are universal: adult children accepting a parental role; aging and unstable parents leaving a family home for an institution; dealing with uncomfortable physical intimacies; and hiring strangers to provide the most personal care. An amazing portrait of two lives at their end and an only child coping as best she can, Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant? shows the full range of Roz Chast's talent as cartoonist and storyteller. This discussion is free and open to the public.

March 27
Can't We Talk: An End of Life Symposium

5:30 PM - 8:30 PM at Methodist College, 7600 North Academic Drive
Methodist College, as a community partner with the Peoria Reads! and the Peoria Public Library, is hosting an end-of-life symposium to provide the public with beneficial information and advice regarding various aspects of end-of-life planning. The symposium will begin with a panel discussion comprised of ordinary people who have faced end-of-life issues on a personal or professional level and what they learned from their experiences. Then there will be “break out” sessions with professionals in the following areas: hospice care, legal planning, financial planning, and funerary planning. Though many of us are reluctant or uncomfortable discussing such issues, end-of-life planning can ease the burden of handling end-of-life events. We hope you join us in our discussion about these important issues. Free and open to the public.

March 31
NEA Big Read: Peoria Reads 2019 "How to Have the Talk of a Lifetime"

2:00 PM - 4:00 PM at Peoria Public Library North Branch, 3001 West Grand Parkway
Veronica Haskell, co-owner of Haskell-Hott Funeral Homes, with three locations in northern Peoria and Stark County, will present the topic of "How to Have the Talk of a Lifetime". She will provide education on the importance of talking about death before it happens and how it is the best, last gift you can give your loved ones. She will also discuss how their funeral home has tackled grief in a unique way by adding a professionally trained comfort dog to their staff and show what a day in the life of a comfort dog looks like. Free and open to the public.

April 2
Bibliophiles Book Club discussion of Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM at Peoria Public Library Lakeview Branch, 1137 West Lake
In her first memoir, New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast's memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents. While the particulars are Chast-ian in their idiosyncrasies--an anxious father who had relied heavily on his wife for stability as he slipped into dementia and a former assistant principal mother whose overbearing personality had sidelined Roz for decades--the themes are universal: adult children accepting a parental role; aging and unstable parents leaving a family home for an institution; dealing with uncomfortable physical intimacies; and hiring strangers to provide the most personal care. An amazing portrait of two lives at their end and an only child coping as best she can, Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant? shows the full range of Roz Chast's talent as cartoonist and storyteller. This discussion is free and open to the public.

April 13
NEA Big Read: Peoria Reads 2019 Baby Boomers Ball

6:30 PM - 8:30 PM at Peoria Public Library North Branch, 3001 West Grand Parkway
As we wrap up our community reading of Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, come to our Baby Boomers Ball featuring live music of the 60s and 70s performed by local acoustic guitar duo Random Strangers. Prom or hippie-themed attire is encouraged!