Joseph Bernt

Joseph Bernt

Members of Cannon Beach Reads will meet via Zoom to discuss “My Antonia,” Willa Cather’s novel of pioneer life set in Nebraska prior to World War I. Phyllis Bernt, who grew up in Nebraska after World War II, will lead the reading group’s discussion of this classic novel on Wednesday, November 18, at 7 p.m.

Information about joining this Zoom discussion will be sent to members of Cannon Beach Reads. Anyone else interested in joining this discussion of “My Antonia” and not a regular member of CB Reads should contact Joseph Bernt via email at He will send the Zoom access information.

After discussing “My Antonia,” members of CB Reads also will suggest books to include on next year’s reading list.

A month later, on December 16, at 7 p.m., Cannon Beach Reads, again via Zoom, will discuss “The Library Book” by Susan Orleans, formerly a Portland writer and reporter.

The library’s Northwest Author Speakers Series will host Washington author Karl Marlantes—a graduate of Seaside High School and Yale University—for a Facebook Live discussion of “Deep River,” his recent novel about Finnish immigrants and labor organizing in Pacific Northwest logging communities, Saturday, November 28, at 2 p.m.

Marlantes has published two other bestsellers, “Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War” and “What It Is Like to Go to War,” both of which reflect his experience in Vietnam as a First Lieutenant and Marine Corps Platoon Leader.

After finishing his work at Yale, Marlantes attended University College, Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar. He left Oxford early, however, for active duty in Vietnam.

He received the Navy Cross for action in Vietnam while leading a platoon assault on a hilltop bunker complex. Marlantes also received a Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals for valor, two Purple Hearts and ten Air Medals before returning to Oxford University to finish his master’s degree.

Marlantes also has received recognition for his literary output. For “Matterhorn,” the Center for Fiction awarded him the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize in 2010.

In 2011, “Matterhorn” received the American Bookseller’s Association Indies Choice Award for Adult Debut, the William E. Colby Award from the Pritzker Military Library and the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation’s James Webb Award for Distinguished Fiction.

For “Deep River,” Marlantes won the Washington State Book Award for Fiction in 2020.

The Northwest Author Speakers Series committee has just announced its call for submissions to the third annual Writers Read Celebration. Authors are encouraged to submit as many as three writing entries. Each entry (essay, fiction, poem, etc.) is limited to no more than 600 words. Submissions may be sent via email to or by USPS to P.O. Box 486, Cannon Beach, OR 97110.

Include a cover letter with writer’s name, email address and telephone number; but do not include name or contact information on any entries. A panel of judges will anonymously select 10-to-12 writings to be read by the authors. Deadline for submissions is January 11, 2021. Writers will be contacted the following week.

On Saturday, February 20, at 7 p.m., writers and audience can celebrate local writing as authors read selected works live via Zoom. Writers selected to read will need access to Zoom for this virtual celebration.

This October, the Cannon Beach library added seven works of fiction, nine mysteries and five nonfictional titles to its “green-dot” collection.

New fiction includes: “The Wife Who Knew Too Much” by Michele Campbell, “The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop” by Fannie Flagg, “Dear Child” by Romy Hausmann, “Invisible Girl” by Lisa Jewell, “Leave the World Behind” by Alam Rumaan, “The Return” by Nicholas Sparks and “Confessions on the 7:45” by Lisa Unger.

New mysteries include: “Snow” by John Banville, “The Sicilian Method” by Andrea Camilleri, “The Sentinel: A Jack Reacher Novel” by Lee Child, “The Searcher” by Tana French, “A Desperate Place” by Jennifer Greer, “A Time for Mercy” by John Grisham, “The Thursday Murder Club” by Richard Osman, “A Song for the Dark Times” by Ian Rankin and “Winter Counts” by David Weiden.

New nonfiction includes: “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Corona-19 Pandemic” by Andrew Cuomo, “The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy” by Stephanie Kelton, “Eleanor” by David Michaelis, “Rough House: A Memoir” by Tina Ontiveros and “Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World” by Fareed Zakaria.

Since new green-dot books have made it to the column this week and since I just finished reading “The Year 1000: When Explorers Connected the World—and Globalization Began,” a green-dot title that Valerie Hansen published earlier this year, it seems appropriate to give this Yale University historian’s latest dive into early world exploration and trade routes a plug.

What Hansen claims to have noticed while working with international scholars concentrating on world development around the year 1000 is that several empires expanded through exploration, trade patterns, religious alliances and conquest at about the same time, fully 500 years before Columbus sailed the ocean blue to “discover” new lands already populated.

What Hansen found and describes in “The Year 1000” is a world history turned upside down from what most of us didn’t hear or minimally heard about in social studies and history classes in grade school or even world history courses in high school and Western Civilization courses in college.

Most of us have heard stories, whispers, suggestions about Viking visits to Nova Scotia, Eastern Canada, perhaps even their inland raids, but mostly we have accepted Columbus Day skits from elementary school as valid history. Perhaps Columbus didn’t “discover” Caribbean America first, but he showed up in the vicinity in 1492 and thereafter. Close enough? Not really.

“The Year 1000” describes integrated global trading spheres dominated by sophisticated civilizations. The trading and colonization system dominated by Vikings from Northern Europe extended from Scandinavia to Greenland, Northwest Canada and Eastern Europe. These explorers and raiders bumped up against similar trading systems in Mesoamerica, Central Asia and Africa and the Middle East.

The Mesoamerican block extended from Northern South America, through Central America and to most of what became Mexico and the United States.

Africa and the Middle East united trade, especially in gold, spices, aromatic wood and slaves in the Mediterranean, the Arabian Peninsula, Turkey, Iraq and Persia before bumping against Mongols in Central Asia, and traders from China, Japan, India, Madagascar, Southeast Asia and islands in the Indian and Pacific oceans.

In the year 1000, an amulet, gold bracelet or steel sword could circumnavigate the planet passed from one trading empire to the next as efficiently as Ferdinand Magellan could 522 years later.

Much as is in the 21st-century, China was the 800- pound gorilla of global the year 1000. Just prior to 1300, Marco Polo visited Mongol-controlled China and wrote of Quanzhou, a major port city.:

“The total amount of traffic in gems and other merchandise entering and leaving this port is a marvel to behold. I assure you that for one spice ship that goes to Alexandria or elsewhere to pick up pepper for export to Christendom, Zaiton is visited by a thousand. For you must know that it is one of the two ports in the world with the biggest flow of merchandise.” The former Song capital of the other port to which Marco Polo refers.


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