Archive for the ‘Albany Book Reviews’ Category

This is the time of year when many of my favorite authors are coming out with new titles. Reading a book from a favorite author is like visiting with an old friend – comfortable and delicious, and usually an update to a good story. I was happy to again be in the wise presense of Mma Ramotswe in Miracle at Speedy Motors (McCall Smith). I loved the funny, sad characters in the latest lyrical novel by Alice Hoffman, The Third Angel.  San Franciso author, John Lescroat again features Dimas Hardy and takes a political bent to his legal mysteries in Betrayl.   I have great anticipation for the latest Elizabeth George, Careless in Red, featuring one of my favorites, Detective Thomas Lynley – sad, but back on a case. Detective Lynley is someone I want to catch up on.


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This column appeared in the Journal on April 4, 2008. Past columns can be read at juliewinkelstein.com

“When the moon fully blocked the sun, the darkness seemed something between dusk and night…In that cindery pall, the facade of the moon cold and white, I could believe we were watching the end of the world.” From Dominic Smith’s “The Beautiful Miscellaneous”


          A recent bout of the flu gave me a chance to use my few waking hours to read and to rewatch one of my favorite DVDs. The combination of the two – and the emotional state I find myself in when I am ill – made me think about the feeling I get when I am experiencing excellence. I tried to come up with a description of that emotion and the closest I could come was truth. (more…)

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I have a new book to recommend to all my women friends. We members of the sandwich generation–caring for both our children and our aging parents–can relate to the memoir I just finished reading, The Middle Place. Written by East Bay author Kelly Corrigan, this book will make you laugh, cry, and nod your head in recognition if you are a woman whose teen years included Guess jeans and Gunne Sax dresses.

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I watched the seasons change firsthand last week while on vacation in Arizona, throwing snowballs on Monday and hiking among desert wildflowers on Saturday. As luck would have it I brought along the perfect book, The Princess Bride, William Goldman’s novel that eventually became a movie. A fantasy featuring everything from true love to magic potions and a friendly giant–not to mention an entertaining parallel story featuring the author himself–this story is like spring fever in written format. Looking for a fun read? Check it out.

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almost-moon.jpg“When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily.” Alice Sebold follows the success of Lovely Bones, a story told from the point of view of a girl who was murdered with Almost Moon, a story told by a woman who commits a murder. 

Saturday by Ian McEwan is the next book that will be discussed by the Albany Library Evening Book Group (Wednesday, December 19, 7-8 p.m.). Like Sebold, McEwan tells the story of a day in the life of a character from the character’s unique point of view.       


A great writer transports the reader into the essence of someone else (even for just a day) – in the trance of reading.

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After a great response to the Albany Reads series of events, people are asking “What is the next Albany Reads book?”. The answer is that the committee that works on this won’t come together until next spring, and the book will be announced in the summer.

slaughterhousefive.jpgMeanwhile, avid readers be meeting once a month, at the Albany Library, for a great evening book group facilitated by Albany High School Librarian Rosalie Gonzales. The book that will be discussed on November 28 at 7 p.m. is Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Rosalie says this is “a classic autobiographical science fiction novel of World War II, telling the story of Billy Pilgrim, soldier and prisoner of war, who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden and becomes ‘unstuck in time’.” Many of us read this some time ago, so this is a great opportunity to reread with different eyes, and talk about.  There are many copies available right now at the library, as well as the DVD and the book on tape.

The December book (12/19) is Saturday by Ian McEwan. A complete list of books is available at the library.

You are welcome to drop-in for any of the discussions, There are no tests, or grades based on participation – just people talking about books. 

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This is a frequently asked question at the library. Librarians usually respond with, “Where are you going?” I just returned from a trip to New York equipped with the Albany Library copy of Moon Metro New York City. Even for a former New Yorker like myself, it was handy to have a small book of fold-out maps and short descriptions of some neighborhoods I planned to explore.  For my family the planning of a trip always start with books – a perusal of the library shelves, the ordering of interesting guides, and a culling of the information I intend to use. Check out the library’s collection of travel guides!

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