Scrapbook: ‘Tale for Three Counties’ at 10

Posted: Saturday, January 7, 2012

As the “A Tale for Three Counties” community reading project celebrates it 10th book this year (“The Call” by Yannick Murphy), several past authors, Tale organizers and readers shared some of their favorite memories:

Making friends

“What I remember most fondly from my visits to Batavia are the many good friends I made in your forward-looking community.”

— Howard Frank Mosher, 2004 author.

A passion for books

“What stands out the most for me is the love and enthusiasm the people of the Batavia area have for books and authors. I felt totally buoyed up by it then and I still do to this day. It’s an amazing program and what makes it so great are the people — the organizers, and the readers who come to listen. For a writer, it is so wonderful to feel that warmth and curiosity and passion for books.”

— Jennifer Donnelly, 2006 author

Lots of snow. Great people, too.

“I remember lots of snow, and the drives between towns, passing barns and frozen lakes. And I remember the very friendly people — both the folks who came out to my readings and the dozen or so organizers and librarians that I met and had meals with. Lots of great people, and all very excited about books!

“Any opportunity to meet with readers is wonderful and relatively rare. So simply being able to talk to people and see and hear what they thought of my book, and books in general, was very illuminating, especially since it was my first novel.”

— Thomas Mullen, 2008 author.

Fun and enthusiasm

“I remember the fun crowds (especially the packed house at the Richmond Library), the dinners and lunches with librarians, and I remember being iced in in Rochester and having to drive to Cleveland in a blizzard to catch a flight home …

“Any time a writer gets to meet and discuss his book with energetic and enthusiastic readers is an encouragement to write more. I hope my next book will inspire conversation as much as my last did.”

— Garth Stein, 2010 author.

Beautiful old library

“The highlight of Tale was the talk I gave to a packed house at that beautiful old library in Batavia. I met some wonderful people who love books and those of us who write them during my stay there, especially Leslie DeLooze, with whom I’ve stayed in touch.”

— Hillary Jordan, 2011 author.

Friendly authors

“Getting lost coming out of the Buffalo airport with Leif and Robin Enger, driving through pea soup fog in Wyoming County during Howard Frank Mosher’s visit, discovering how funny a speaker Julia Spencer-Fleming is. The common theme, though, has been how friendly and accommodating each of our authors have been. Starting out with Leif Enger and his wife Robin who were genuinely interested in what my junior-high daughter liked to read (and what she thought of ‘Peace Like a River’) during a dinner we had with them, we have been very fortunate in this respect. The Tale Council has always chosen a particular book rather than done a background check on the authors, so the possibility has always been there that we could be hosting a demanding, unfriendly, selfish grump!”

— Leslie DeLooze, reference and community services librarian at Richmond Memorial Library, Batavia, and the lead organizer for “A Tale for Three Counties.”

2 favorite moments

“I loved it when we got Julia Spencer Fleming to come back for a second visit to Batavia and she got (Ben Beagle) up with her to read the part of the fictional Ben Beagle. I enjoyed Garth Stein talking about writing a book from the point of view of a dog — and then the challenges of getting such a book published.”

— Susan Rudnicky, director of Swan Library, Albion, and a member of the Tale for Three Counties Council, which organizes the reading projects..

Creating readers

“After reading ‘A Northern Light,’ a student said that she was hooked on reading, read the author’s other book and several of the read a-likes. One student commented that participating in the program has turned her into a reader. It is significant that this program is impacting individuals by opening doors to lifetime reading habits.”

— Susan M. Chiddy, reading instructor at Genesee Community College, Batavia, and a member of the Tale Council.

Discovering new books

“I read books that I probably would never have picked up if I were not on the committee. Also, I love hearing what others think about the novels as we discuss potential titles at each monthly committee meeting. … The beauty of a good book discussion is finding out how others interpret what we’ve read.”

— Sue Border, director of Woodward Memorial Library, Le Roy, and a member of the Tale Council.

A prized possession

“One of my passions is reading, meeting authors, and getting their books signed. Over the years, I have put together a vast personal collection. But my most prized one, is the book I got signed the first time I entered and actually won (the Tale) book review contest and had lunch with Julia Spencer Fleming in 2006. Since that luncheon, I have gone on to read every book that she has written.

“A few years after her book was the Tale selection, you invited her back for an evening dinner and reception at Richmond Library which I attended. This time I brought all the books I read of hers, to be signed, since she was here last. The thing that impressed me the most was she actually remembered me!”

— Joyce Thompson-Hovey, a reader from Pavilion.

A lasting impression

“Mark Spragg was the author that left the biggest impression on me. I found his book ‘An Unfinished Life’ emotional and even violent at times — a challenging read.

“The author himself was witty, engaging, intelligent and fascinating — a person I’d really want to get acquainted with. His description of how he had to physically and mentally prepare himself to write from the perspective of a bigoted physical abuser was remarkable. He’d spend the morning walking around the house, working up anger, swearing and hitting things. Finally by mid-afternoon he could write, and then he’d be physically sick afterwards as this personality was so far from his own. He really lived what he was writing.”

— Megan Hauser, a reader from Perry.

The discusion continues

“I have truly enjoy reading all 10 of the Tale For Three Counties book selections. I attended a book discussion for the first Tale book at Wyoming Free Library. We all agreed that we would like to hold quarterly discussions and have been doing so ever since. Our next discussion will be on ‘The Call,’ this year’s selection.

“Julia Spencer-Fleming is my favorite author. I recently finished reading one of her books and found Ben Beagle still on the job!”

— Bonnie Bowman, a reader from Wyoming.

Back to Articles 2012

Courtesy of Batavia Newspapers Corporation

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