Sharing family histories makes Tale discussion meaningful

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013 
By Ben Beagle

Participants in this week’s “A Tale for Three Counties” book discussion at Warsaw Public Library drew on their own family stories to connect with the characters of “May the Road Rise Up to Meet You.”

Peter Troy’s epic debut novel is this year’s selection in the community reading project.

In Warsaw, readers “engaged in a lively, thought-provoking book discussion,” said director Lisa Gricius.

She said readers indicated the “the strong characterizations of the four main characters and those they held dear – that shaped them along their journey, along with the historical perspective of the novel was engrossing.”

“Themes of personal journeys, hope and freedom resonated with participants and provoked much discussion,” Gricius said.

The group included historians and those that could draw about their own family’s stories from the time period of the book. “May the Road Rise Up to Meet You” begins with a young Irishman’s journey to America and away from his native country’s famine, known as The Hunger, and continues through the American Civil War.

“One participant’s grandfather fought in the Civil War as he was 70 when her parent was born. Another had Irish immigrant relatives living in New York City during this time and shared with us the immigrant experience that was passed down to him,” Gricius said. “The sharing of history and its relation to both the fictionalized characters and to those in our participants families is what I found to be most meaningful to our program.”

The discussion included a raffle for a copy of the book. Jim Gillen of Warsaw won and participants joked with him that it was the luck of the Irish that helped him.

The library provide Civil War Applesauce Cookies and Irish breakfast tea. It also has a display at the library related to the book.

The readers plan to reunite for discussions when the next two installments of Troy’s planned trilogy are released.

“This book is well received from those who participated (in the discussion) and others whom I have spoken to that could not make it” to Tuesday night’s discussion, Gricius said.


Book discussions are scheduled through March 5 at public libraries in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties and Genesee Community College, Batavia. Here’s a selection of upcoming discussions (find a full schedule at the Tale for Three Counties website):

  • Feb. 21: 6 p.m. at Woodward Memorial Library, 7 Wolcott St., Le Roy; and Hoag Library, 134 South Main St., Albion.
  • Feb. 23: 1 p.m. at Wyoming Free Library, 114 South Academy St., Wyoming.
  • Feb. 26: 7 p.m. at Perry Public Library, 70 North Main St., Perry.
  • Feb. 27: 3:30 p.m. at Genesee Community College, 1 College Rd., Batavia. The discussion will be in Room S103.
  • Feb. 27: 6 p.m. at Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross St., Batavia.
  • Feb. 28: 7 p.m. in the Alfred C. O’Connell Library at Genesee Community College, 1 College Rd., Batavia.


Which of the main characters would you want to meet? Why? Which characters do you admire? Which do you disapprove of?

Share your thoughts on this or other aspects of the book in the comment section below. You can also discuss the book at Tale’s Facebook page.

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Courtesy of Batavia Newspapers Corporation

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