Lyndonville picks ‘The Beloved Wild’ for community read

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 August 2019 at 8:10 am

Melissa Ostrom’s book focused on pioneers who settled in WNY

Photos by Tom Rivers: Emily Cebula, director of the Yates Community Library, holds a copy of The Beloved Wild, which is featured in a community reading project.

LYNDONVILLE – A book by an Orleans County author will be featured in a community reading effort in Lyndonville.

Melissa Ostrom of Holley wrote The Beloved Wild, which was published by Macmillan in March 2018. It honors the courage and resourcefulness of pioneer settlers in Orleans County and Western New York.

“They will feel like they themselves are traveling into this territory, going from New England to Batavia and then into our territory,” said Emily Cebula, director of the Yates Community Library.

Melissa Ostrom’s book will be featured for the first time in a community reading effort.

Ostrom, in the fictional account, brings life to pioneer characters. The pioneers were typically just teen-agers when they set out from New England to brave a hard journey by wagon, through dense forests, to get to Orleans County and Western New York.

There wasn’t a map. The pioneers followed markings on trees as they made their way west. The pioneer settlers tamed the land, and built homes and farms in the frontier. The obstacles were many – sickness, uninvited strangers, alcoholism, abuse.

Ostrom, a former Kendall high school English teacher, writes about those challenges and the indomitable spirit of pioneer settlers.

The book has earned some lofty recognition, including a 2019 Amelia Bloomer selection by the American Library Association. The Amelia Bloomer Project creates an annual booklist of the best feminist books for young readers. The Beloved Wild also is a Junior Library Guild selection.

Cebula said the book is a chance to vividly imagine life in Orleans County two centuries ago, and to be inspired by those pioneer settlers.

Ostrom will be speaking at the community library in Lyndonville  at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 9, and again at 7 p.m. on Sept. 12. The latter event is part of the 4thannual Orleans County Heritage Festival.

Ostrom will also be meeting with Lyndonville students that week. Robert Smith, a Lyndonville native working on redeveloping part of the downtown, paid for copies of The Beloved Wild to be given to students.

Ostrom said she is “super excited” the Lyndonville community will be reading the book. This is the first time The Beloved Wild is featured in a community read, although Ostrom said many book clubs have picked the novel.

This is the second community reading effort in Lyndonville where the author of the book will meet residents and answer questions.

The debut “Lyndonville Reads” featured The Queen of the Bremen by Marlies Adams DiFante of Rochester. The book is her memoir of travelling from Naples at age 5 to Nazi Germany during World War II. Her family left to see her mother’s ailing father. They expected to be gone three months. It turned into seven years of struggling to stay alive.

Ostrom this spring also had her second book published by Macmillan. Unleaving highlights the courage and resilience of a 19-year-old sexual assault victim. That book will be featured in the upcoming school year by high school classes in Holley and Brockport.

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