2015 ‘Tale’ author looking forward to first WNY visit

2015 ‘Tale’ author looking forward to first WNY visit

By Matt Krueger mkrueger@batavianews.com | Posted: Friday, November 21, 2014 

BATAVIA — Laura McBride has never set foot in Western New York, and after this week’s pounding snowstorm, the Las Vegas resident is probably rethinking her commitment to visit in March.

Nevertheless, the author will be here to engage readers for three days after her debut novel, “We Are Called To Rise,” was officially announced Thursday as the 2015 pick for the “A Tale For Three Counties” community reading project.

McBride admitted that her only New York experiences were visiting New York City and doing a residency program at Yaddo, an artist retreat in Saratoga Springs, but said she is excited about coming to the area.

“I love community reading projects, and I am so pleased that your community would choose ‘We Are Called To Rise,’” McBride said via email last week. “I don’t know very much about Western New York, but I am imagining farmland and hiking paths and a lot of green. It will be fun for me to visit somewhere cold, but I am really hoping that it won’t be too cold to get outside and see the country.”

The “Tale” committee held three simultaneous announcement events Thursday afternoon at Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia, Yates Community Library in Lyndonville, and Perry Public Library in Perry. A fourth scheduled event at Genesee Community College was canceled due to weather.

Leslie DeLooze, adult services librarian at Richmond Memorial Library and “Tale” convener during its entire 13-year existence, said choosing the novel this year was difficult and that the final decision wasn’t made until October.

“This was one of the latest years for a selection, although I don’t think that it was the latest,” she said. It gets really tense in meetings when we get to August or September and we don’t have a clear choice for a book. We actually had to choose among some excellent titles this year, which were remarkable in many ways. Although I can’t say more than that as I might reveal something about books we didn’t choose, I will say that we are pleased that there are so many good reads out there.”

McBride, whose visit is scheduled for March 26-28 and will include discussions in each of the three counties, said she thinks her novel is a good choice for a community reading project, because of the many social issues at play.

The book weaves together the troubling stories of Bashkim, an 8-year-old son of Albanian refugees; Avis, a 53-year-old woman struggling with the end of her marriage and the concerns about her soldier son, Nate; Roberta, a court-appointed advocate for children working in the dark side of Las Vegas; and Spec. Luis Rodriguez-Reyes, a soldier who wakes up in the hospital after a traumatic event in Afghanistan.

“I think that ‘We Are Called To Rise’ will allow readers to talk about a lot of different sorts of contemporary issues, but beyond that, the notion of community itself is at the heart of the novel,” McBride said. “How do we form communities? What do they mean to us?

“I suspect Las Vegas is a very different kind of place than the three counties area, and yet we may well share similar ideas about what our homes mean to us. I know many longtime Las Vegans who most cherish Las Vegas for its tightly-knit communities.”

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“A Tale For Three Counties” is a one-book community reading project offered by the 19 public libraries in the Genesee-Orleans-Wyoming region, Genesee Community College, and The Daily News.

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Courtesy of Batavia Newspapers Corporation

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