A company of friends

Oct. 31, 2007
Commentary

The 2008 ”Tale for Three Counties” selection was announced last week and it looks to be another winner. The selection is Thomas Mullen’s The Last Town on Earth, the story of a small mill town that votes to quarantine itself to guard against the spread of a deadly epidemic in 1918 America – war time – and what happens when a starving, cold and apparently ill soldier begs for sanctuary.

The era was, Mr. Mullen said, ”a time of surprising political repression and tense emotions about whether we should be at war, as well as violent labor activity, both of which became key parts of the story.” His story explores citizenship and patriotism during wartime, as well as morality, fear and the struggle between the individual and society.

But don’t let all of the philosophy scare you off. Trust Genesee, Wyoming and Orleans librarians to pick another compelling read. ”Tale” selections appeal to a wide range of ages and walks of life.

People who participate in ”Tale” enjoy the opportunity to read a good book (available for purchase at libraries and area bookstores at a modest cost), discuss it with others in groups, and then meet the author in March when he or she visits libraries in all three counties. Leslie DeLooze, the librarian at Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia, started the Tale project in 2003, and has to be pleased to see that it provokes more interest every year.

That includes the authors’ interest. Howard Frank Mosher, the author of the 2004 selection, visited Batavia to help unveil the new selection. He seemed happy to be here. And the 50 people at the unveiling were happy to see him and hear about his most recent book, On Kingdom Mountain. People who read the ”Tale” selections often go back and read other books by the same author, and watch the author’s career as they would that of a friend.

Many thanks are due Mrs. DeLooze and the other librarians who all work to make this project happen, and to Daily News Lifestyle Editor Ben Beagle, who goes the extra step in telling us all about it. We look forward to reading The Last Town on Earth and meeting Mr. Mullen when he visits in March.

If you’ve thought of participating in the past but just hadn’t gotten around to it, make this year the year you join a company of friends.

Back to 2007 Articles

Courtesy of Batavia Newspapers Corporation

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