The Rapid selection for Tale of Three Counties

The “Tale for Three Counties” selection for 2016 may be set in Montana, but it is apt to stir some emotional discussion in Western New York. The main character in S.M. Hulse’s debut novel, Black River, is a retired correctional officer who had been tortured during a prison riot years earlier. The account of that incident is disturbing and likely to evoke memories of the Attica Prison Riot. In 2016, it will have been 45 years since the Sept. 9-13, 1971, uprising.

This is not a book about a riot, however. It is a book about a man and how he deals with what life has handed him, including that riot. Sixty-year-old Wes Carver lives with crippling pain from the torture he endured during the riot, and the resultant loss of his ability to play his beloved fiddle. He lives with an uneasy and hostile relationship with a stepson. And he lives with the death of his wife.

“The themes of revenge and forgiveness, fatherhood and faith are explored in the novel and are excellent discussion topics,” said Sue Border, director of Woodward Library in Le Roy.

A Tale for Three Counties is a one-book community reading program that has steadily grown in popularity since its debut in 2003. The program, based on an idea that originated with the Washington Center for the Book at The Seattle Public Library, involves the selection of a book that is read and discussed throughout the community, concluding with a visit by the author. “Tale” is a partnership that includes 19 public libraries in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties, Genesee Community College, the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership School Library System and The Daily News. Each year, a committee reviews available books, seeking one that will appeal to both adult and teen readers, with solid issues or topics for discussion. The selection must have literary merit, but also introduce a new or relatively unknown author to community readers. Committee members also look for books that present the theme of rural family life or local history.

Once the book is announced, discussion groups are scheduled throughout the three counties, leading up to the concluding visit from the author. S.M. Hulse is scheduled to come and talk about her book March 10-12. The Spokane, Wash., resident said this will be the first time she has visited Western New York.

Black River may be borrowed or purchased from participating libraries. Its selection for the “Tale” program makes it an affordable, fun and stimulating way to connect with fellow readers.

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Courtesy of Batavia Newspapers Corporation

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