A report on surviving the midlife crisis while tickling the ivories. The stereotypical yuppie drives a Volvo, vacations in New England, has a really fulfilling job, and listens religiously to ""All Things Considered"" on NPR. Noah Adams, we learn in this rambling journal, drives a Volvo, vacations in New England, and has a really fulfilling job cohosting ""All Things Considered."" This book documents a year in Adams's life spent pursuing a dream: to become proficient at the piano. Freaked by the thought that he's 51 years old (""I have outlived Schumann by six years,"" he frets), Adams is even more shaken up when he reads the obituary of Lewis Thomas, only to learn that they both shared a passionate desire to learn how to play the piano--only Thomas didn't live long enough to fulfill his dream. Goaded into action by the shadow of the big ""D,"" Adams scrapes up enough spare change to purchase a new Steinway (although, he assures us, it was the cheapest one on the lot), along with some fancy computer software. His position as a radio talk meister gives him the opportunity to interview a slew of keyboard wizards, from popsters like Tori Amos to the classical prodigy Leon Fleisher, who, after losing the use of his right hand due to a repetitive-stress injury, has made a new career as a one-handed recitalist. However, Adams has little background in piano pedagogy or performance, so much of what he relates is pretty basic. Meanwhile, he flits from system to system, now attempting a mail-order course in improvisation, now dipping into a week-long intensive course in Vermont. The book (and year) ends triumphantly when Adams surprises his wife with a Christmas Eve recital. Warm and fuzzy reading from a warm and fuzzy guy; just be happy that you don't have to hear him play.