Talks on books, science slated at Schenectady library


SCHENECTADY — The Friends of the Schenectady Library invite the community to take part in their Spring series of “Books Sandwiched In” and a few science talks in March.

Some of the programs will be virtual. The Zoom link can be found by going to the library website,, and checking the Events calendar, or the Friends website

If a program is not listed as all virtual, it will be held in person in the McChesney room of the Karen B. Johnson library, as well as streamed live on Zoom. All programs run from noon until 1 p.m. on Mondays and are free and open to the public.

The Spring series kicked off March 7 with a virtual review of “The Marriage of Opposites” by Alice Hoffman. Rosalind Horowitz was the presenter.

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2022 Spring Session of Books Sandwiched-In

March 14 — What’s New In Dental Technology?
Presented by Frank Strauss DDS
In the last 10-15 years, dentistry has entered the digital era big time. Technological innovation, especially digital innovation, has happened in general dentistry and all the specialty areas of the profession. During this program we will examine some of the innovations. Nobody really likes going to the dentist, not even dentists; technology has helped make dentistry become a better experience.

March 21 — Cryptocurrency
Presented by Rich Alben
Is cryptocurrency the greatest advance in finance since the invention of money, sure to enable many new financial products and services, and a great investment for people to add to their portfolios? Or, is it just a complicated technology that does few things (like protecting the anonymity of criminals) that can’t be handled better by other advancing digital technologies and whose bubble is about to burst? This talk will examine these questions while describing some major cryptocurrencies, what they do, and how they work.

March 28 — “Onward,” a memoir, presented by the author Paul O’Brien.
The movement onward is always marked by uncertainty and mystery. The best way forward may be a reliance on our past and a more acute measure of our present. In “Onward,” Paul O’Brien considers some of his recent adventures since retiring from the profession of teaching. He also profiles eight former students and their journey onward since graduating from high school. The book does not lose sight of the fact that for the last two years we have all been moving onward in a COVID world.

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April 4 — “Metrofix: The Combative Comeback of a Company Town”
What are the forces that changed the direction of Schenectady, a city in near peril, a city on the edge of collapse? This is the question that William Patrick answers in his book “Metrofix.”
Exploring the history of Schenectady in the 20th century and beyond, especially as a General Electric Company town, Patrick shows what happened when the city began to fail and then found its way when the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority was created in 1998 and brought in a thoughtful and imaginative leadership team.
Book by William Patrick; presented by Patrick

April 11 — “Troy: A Collar City History”
In “Troy: A Collar City History,” local author and historian Don Rittner chronicles the story of the birth of Troy and its growth into a modern industrial city. The evolving city comes alive through photos that date back into the 19th century and through its great cast of characters that helped shape the city, such as Emma Willard, “Uncle Sam” Wilson, and Amos Eaton, the founder of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Rittner also casts a critical eye on municipal planning and the need to think carefully about how a city is changed. A native of Troy, Rittner brings a great care and concern to his portrait of Troy.
Book by Don Rittner; presented by Rittner

April 18 — “The Age of Worry”
What if your daughter began showing harmful behavioral patterns that resembled another older member of your family? That is the issue that Daniel Wunsch is struggling with as he observes Cordelia, his teenage daughter, beginning to drink excessively. His mother also battled alcoholism and suddenly vanished from the family when Daniel was 17. While filled with worry about his daughter, Daniel has begun to receive tips about where his mother might be. The tension builds as Daniel tries to hold onto his daughter while feverishly searching for his long-lost mother. Mother, son, daughter — three generations searching to find each other in this thoughtful and psychologically compelling novel.
Book by Steven Sandler; presented by Sandler

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April 25 — “Mason and Dixon”
This rollicking, boisterous, joyful novel takes us along with the English astronomers and surveyors in their incomparable adventures in pre-Revolutionary America. Pyncheon’s 1997 novel transcends storytelling in a way that very few books have done. He does this by writing that is consistently compelling, hilarious, insightful and delightful from beginning to end. The heroes’ conversations with Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Samuel Johnson & Boswell, as well as Sons of Liberty in numerous East Coast taverns, are triumphs of imagination and delight.
Book by Thomas Pynchon; presented by Bob Wakeman

May 2 — “In Security”
Narrator Gary Waldman works as a Transportation Security Officer in a small airport in upstate New York. Having recently experienced the death of his wife and struggling to be a good father to his 6-year-old son, Gary finds a kind of stability in the routines and regulations of his work with the TSA. The plot grows dramatic and complicated after Gary uses CPR to save an elderly man who collapsed in the airport. The novel then enters a world of terrorist plots and dramatic twists. As the novel heads toward its conclusions, Gary realizes more than ever the limitations of security and control.
Book by Edward Schwarzschild; presented by Schwarzschild

May 9 — “These Precious Days”
In her collection of essays “These Precious Days,” Ann Patchett says, “Again and again, I was asking what mattered most in this precarious and precious life.” The book is Patchett’s invitation to share in moments and experiences that have shaped and illuminated her life. With humor and often with a marvelous intensity, she helps us to see more clearly what really matters in this short and precious journey.
Book by Ann Patchett; presented by Patricia Rand

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