Three books worth taking a chance on

"True Story; Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa," a memoir by fired New York Times journalist Michael Finkel has been made into a film that is in theaters. It tells of a time when Finkel was losing his identity as a journalist and simultaneously learning that one the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted for murder had stolen his identity. 

When Finkel decided to interview Christian Longo as a way to re-establish himself as a journalist, it seemed that Longo was using Finkel too. Finkel describes the interaction as a cat-and-cat game since both parties were working to redeem themselves. In the end, Longo used Finkel to help create the story and lies that he told in court about murdering his wife and children. According to an NPR interview, Finkel only learns this during the court proceedings when he listens to Longo and realizes he’s been duped. You may wonder how you can trust a failed journalist to write a “True Story," but Finkel states that he hired an independent fact checker and that every detail can be found in personal letters, taped interviews and police reports. It sounds exciting, and I’m going to give Finkel a chance.


Lena Headey, the actress who plays Cersei in the HBO adaption of "Game of Thrones" has purchased the film rights for "H is for Hawk" by Helen Macdonald. "H is for Hawk" has been named the Costa Book of the Year and it has received the Samuel Johnson Prize. It’s been a huge hit in the United Kingdom and was released in the United States last summer. It’s difficult to know what genre H is for Hawk should be assigned to. It is a story about history, class, family, writing and an animal. It could be shelved as a memoir about grief, a biography of T. H. White, and nonfiction about raising a goshawk. In the end, it’s a story focused on healing from the grief of losing a father by focusing exclusively on the taming of the most difficult type of hawk.


Judy Blume is publishing her first adult novel this June since her 1998 book, "Summer Sisters." Her new book, titled In the "Unlikely Event," tells of three generations of women in Elizabeth, N.J., and how they are impacted when a plane falls from the sky. In the course of the next 58 days, two more planes crash. Some are sure it’s the work of aliens or zombies, and others think it’s a case of sabotage. This family story reveals the impact of these strange occurrences on reputations, becoming a hero and coming of age. You’ll find life-changing secrets and surprises. The setting is in the 1950s with lots of period references, such as praying in public schools, reading "Catcher in the Rye" and watching "Your Hit Parade" on TV. This could be a young adult story and will likely appeal to a crossover of readers.


Don’t forget that Preservation Week begins Sunday, and Sarah has some great plans. Register for Genealogy Workshops at the library at 6 p.m.Tuesday, April 28, and Thursday, April 30. If you want to learn how to navigate Ancestory or have never used it before, then this class is for you. You will have access to military documents, immigration papers, census records and more. Library Edition is a paid subscription service and patrons have access to the website within the library. In addition, Sarah is offering a Scan Your Documents Day from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 29. You’re invited to bring up to 20 personal documents, such as letters and photographs. You will leave with digital copies to share with family and friends. The first five people who make an appointment will receive a free USB storage drive courtesy of the Oneonta Office Max. Otherwise, you can bring your own storage device or can email your digital files to yourself.


Library Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday.

Tina Winstead is director of Huntington Memorial Library in Oneonta. Her column appears in the community section of The Daily Star every Monday. Her columns can be found online at

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