Reading for Pleasure

Feb. 7, 2007

For the next several weeks, you can expect to hear a lot of people talking about An Unfinished Life. The novel by Mark Spragg is this year’s selection for the “A Tale for Three Counties” community reading project.
The project, started five years ago by libraries in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties, encourages people in the three counties to pick up and read the same book. Beginning Thursday, you can join a community of readers when Byron-Bergen Public Library hosts the first book discussion for this year’s “Tale.”
A total of 19 book discussions are scheduled at 14 libraries and Genesee Community College. The discussions are scheduled at night, in the morning and afternoon. Several libraries are also planning to show and discuss the 2005 film adaptation of An Unfinished Life, which stars Robert Redford, Jennifer Lopez, Morgan Freeman and Becca Gardner.
Other local book groups are also reading “Tale,” so you may encounter a conversation in the check out line, or after church on Sunday, that talks about some element from the book.
While the novel is set in the West, it explores many universal themes Western New Yorkers can relate to. The story deals with human bonds, the difficulty people have with change, the longing for family, the grip of the past and ultimately, the need for forgiveness and reconciliation. Mr. Spragg gives readers moments of humor, too – the laughter through the pain – that offer hope that the characters will overcome their difficulties.
The characters are not without flaws, even the apparent good guys, and each has an obstacle to overcome – a “bear,” whether literal or figurative.
At least 1,000 people have participated in the “Tale” project each year. Many come back year after year to discover a new author. They have attended book discussions and other special programs, and have come to author visits – scheduled March 8-10 this year.
Reading is an important part of our lives. We do it every day – whether it’s this newspaper, a utility bill or a book for pleasure. By promoting reading, a project such as “Tale” helps to promote literacy and learning while taking part in a fun event.

The book discussions are informal gatherings, and don’t take much time – most last about an hour. It’s a short commitment to something that may enrich your own knowledge and introduce you to new people and interests. Contact your local library for more information.

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Courtesy of Batavia Newspapers Corporation

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