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‘Lyndonville Reads’ debuts 1 book, 1 community reading initiative

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 March 2017 at 4:41 pm

First book is a memoir of Rochester family detained in Nazi Germany during World War II

Photo by Tom Rivers: Emily Cebula, director of Yates Community Library, is pictured with The Queen of the Bremen, a memoir written by Marlies Adams DiFante. She will visit the library at 7 p.m. on April 27 to discuss the book.

LYNDONVILLE – For 14 years the public libraries in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties worked together in a community reading project where a book was picked for everyone to read and discuss each year, with a visit by the author.

The “Tale for Three Counties” reading initiative was discontinued after the last author visit a year ago. Sarah M. Hulse of Spokane, Wa., made several stops in the three counties to discuss her book, “Black River,” last March.

The “Tale” project was popular with readers, but it also proved challenging to organize each year. When the committee announced “Tale” was ending, the Yates Community Library director wasn’t ready to totally abandon the community reading effort.

Emily Cebula thought a smaller scale project could work in the Lyndonville area.

“It was difficult sustaining something that massive,” Cebula said about the three-county reading initiative. “A few us here wanted to continue something on a smaller, local scale.”

Marlies Adams DiFante

The debut “Lyndonville Reads” features a book by a Rochester author, “The Queen of the Bremen.” The book by Marlies Adams DiFante 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.

Yates Community Library will host a book discussion at 6:30 p.m. on April 10, and DiFante will visit the library at 7 p.m. on April 27 to talk about the book. Cebula heard DiFante give a presentation on the book last September for the Medina Historical Society.

“She is a wonderful speaker,” Cebula said. “She is such a gracious lady.”

Yates Community Library has had the book for about five years, and it has been popular, checked out 32 times, Cebula said. She also knew of book clubs in the community that picked the book and enjoyed it.

The library purchased 20 books for the community reading effort, and most are currently checked out. Some Lyndonville students in grades 11 and 12 are also reading the book in their English classes. Students who write the best essays about the book will be able to have lunch with DiFante and her husband.

Cebula said the book is nonfiction, which is different from the Tale selections. The author is also local with a self-published book. Cebula said the story is powerful, detailing hunger, separation, fear, and torment during DiFante’s young years.

Cebula hopes “Lyndonville Reads” is the beginning of a new annual event for the community.

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