Thursday, October 21, 2010
The announcement of the next book for the “A Tale for Three Counties” community reading project has become as much a seasonal tradition as the changing of the leaves.
And just like the colorful foliage brightens an autumn day before the onset of what is often a grey and cold winter, so too can each new Tale selection.
This year’s selection: is “Mudbound,” the debut novel of Hillary Jordan. Her story about two families — one black, one white — struggling on a desolate Mississippi farm not long after the end of World War II has drawn comparison to such famous Southern writers as Eudora Welty and William Faulkner. Among Jordan’s contemporaries, “Mudbound” is often cited on lists of read-a-likes for Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling novel “The Help.”
Jordan is the ninth author to be featured in the program. Her novel was inspired by family stories that were funny, horrify and “often both,” she tells us. Racism, prejudice and social injustice are among the themes explored in “Mudbound,” winner of the Bellwether Prize for Fiction, which promotes literature of social change.
The annual Tale program doesn’t really get going until early next year, but readers began picking up copies of the featured title moments after it’s announcement Monday evening at four libraries in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties.
Book discussions for “Tale” typically begin in late January and early February and continue until just before the author’s visits, scheduled March 10 to 12.
There will be many opportunities for readers to gather and discuss the book through book clubs organized by the library or other groups and informal gatherings.
This year’s “Tale” also comes with a virtual twist: The Tale for Three Counties blog at thedailynewsonline.com.
In this blog, we’ll provide updates on the Tale schedule, pose questions of readers to encourage discussion of the book and the themes it explores.
Tale began in 2003, a project led by Leslie DeLooze, reference and community services librarian at Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia. She was assisted by representatives from other public libraries in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties, and Genesee Valley BOCES. Later, Genesee Community College joined the project.
The organizers of “Tale” look for books that will appeal to a wide range of ages and all walks of life. Participants often comment that the discussions are one of the best parts of the project; the chance to hear other readers’ impressions of the characters and events adds an interactive element to the usually solitary pursuit of reading.
And it all pays off next March with the arrival of Jordan, who will discuss and sign copies of the book during visits to four locations in the three counties.
If you’ve participated in Tale in the past, welcome back.
And if you’ve just discovering the project or are looking to try something new, come on in, we’re a friendly bunch.
Courtesy of Batavia Newspapers Corporation