Editorial: A new chapter

Posted: Sunday, January 9, 2011 12:15 am

The holiday decorations have all been put away, the parties are over and winter is settling in. Thank goodness it’s time for the annual “A Tale for Three Counties” community reading project in Genesee, Wyoming and Orleans counties. There is no better way to pass a cold winter’s day than curled up with a good book.
And good books are the norm for this three-county program. The works are carefully selected by librarians from throughout the three participating counties, who look for fiction that is entertaining, enlightening and satisfying. They look for books that appeal to all ages – works that stir discussions across generations. And they look for books that speak to issues familiar with people who live in rural areas.

The track record so far is excellent. From Leif Enger’s lyrical “Peace Like a River” (the Tale debut book in 2003) through Julia Spencer-Fleming’s mystery “In the Bleak Midwinter” and on through Garth Stein’s whimsical yet serious “The Art of Racing in the Rain” in 2010, the Tale selections have resonated with local readers.
This year’s selection is “Mudbound” by Hillary Jordan. It is a debut novel about two families, one black and one white, struggling on a desolate Mississippi farm soon after World War II has ended. The book’s exploration of prejudice earned it the Bellwether Prize, which is awarded to literature that promotes social change. It is a story that may be set in the past but which raises very contemporary questions.
The structure of the Tale for Three Counties project draws readers into a family of sorts. Book discussions are scheduled from Feb. 7 through March 9 at public libraries throughout the three counties – check for a schedule at your local library or at the website, taleforthreecounties.org. Then, readers have the opportunity to meet the author and hear her presentation at 1 p.m. March 10 at Genesee Community College; 7 p.m. March 10 at Richmond Memorial Library, Batavia; 7 p.m. March 11 at Lee Whedon Library in Medina; or 2 p.m. March 12 at Perry Elementary School. These presentations are always well attended, and the question-and-answer sessions at the end are always lively.
Today The Daily News gets you started with an excerpt from “Mudbound.” The special section also includes a full schedule, information about the book review contest and updates on old friends – authors of past Tale selections. If you’ve participated in past Tale programs, you know you’re in for a treat. If you haven’t participated in the past, give it a try this year. You’ll find yourself among friends.

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Courtesy of Batavia Newspapers Corporation

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