Groups join in ‘Tale’ talk

By Andrea Kimbriel
Daily News Intern
Feb. 27, 2007

Storyslingers meets once a month in an upstairs room of Present Tense Books in Batavia for coffee, snacks and dialogue about the featured book of the month. This month, Storyslingers is only one of several community book groups joining the conversation about An Unfinished Life.
The Storyslingers’ discussion of An Unfinished Life, this year’s book choice for the Tale for Three Counties community reading project sponsored by libraries in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming, is scheduled for Wednesday.
Erica Caldwell, owner of the bookstore and leader of Storyslingers, said the group members are excited about meeting the author, Mark Spragg, a few weeks after discussing the book, and may come up with some questions for him in their meeting.
She said the group reads fiction, memoir, travel fiction and fantasy among other genres. Recently featured books include Blue Shoe by Anne Lamott, and Too Close to the Falls by Catherine Gildiner.
“Discussion with others reading the same book enriches the reading experience. In our group, even if they don’t like the book, they come and tell me why. That’s a good thing,” said Caldwell.
The group is open to anyone who has read the book of the month.
Storyslingers started in April 2006, too late to be part of last year’s Tale for Three Counties, but Caldwell said she plans to participate in next year’s program.
“I think it is a good idea. It’s nice to be involved with the community and meet the author,” she said.
The St. Brigid Roman Catholic Church book club in Bergen will discuss An Unfinished Life tonight. Linda Camelio leads the monthly book club.
“It’s informal. We don’t have a standard way of choosing books. People come and make suggestions about what they like,” said Camelio.
Recent reads include Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss and My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult.
The group started three years ago, and has been involved in the Tale project since that time.
Camelio said two or three of the five regular members are going to see the author when he comes to the Richmond Memorial Library.
“All the authors have been really great. I had to miss one and I was so annoyed,” said Camelio.
She is not quite sure how the church group will respond to the strong language in the book, but said she enjoyed the story line.
“The little girl is the redeeming factor. Her grandfather sees goodness again in her. Spragg couldn’t have written a better foil for him,” said Camelio.
Mary Zangerle, the director of Lee-Whedon Memorial Library in Medina, is leading a discussion of An Unfinished Life at the library. She is also a member of another book discussion group, led by Pat Hermann that meets at the Oak Orchard School in Medina.
That discussion group has read the Tale for Three Counties book and met the author for several years, said Zangerle. This year they plan to discuss An Unfinished Life on March 16, after meeting the author at the Lee-Whedon Memorial Library on March 5.
In past years they discussed the book before meeting the author, but this month’s meeting was scheduled on the day of the author’s visit. Zangerle said she thinks discussing the book after meeting the author will give the discussion a unique flavor because the group will have already heard the author’s comments.
The discussion group at the Oak Orchard School has met once a month for several years and has recently discussed The Elegant Gathering of White Snows by Kris Radish and Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards.
As director of Lee-Whedon Memorial Library, Zangerle was involved with the selection of this year’s Tale book. She said she had reservations about the book at first, but has come to appreciate the selection.
“I was surprised it was chosen at first because of the difficult, graphic language. In retrospect, that defines the bad character, and helps the reader understand him. The underlying story was great,” she said.

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Courtesy of Batavia Newspapers Corporation

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