Joseph Bernt

Joseph Bernt

For what seems a pattern for the Northwest Author’s Series at the Cannon Beach Library, their author presentations and readings have not met at the library but through some online wizardry.

To accommodate an expected large turnout to hear Karl Marlantes discuss “Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War” and “Deep River,” his latest bestselling novel, the library has arranged for this final Northwest Authors presentation of the year to meet in person at the Coaster Theatre Playhouse, at 2 p.m., Saturday, May 7.

Marlantes is best known as the author in 2010 of “Matterhorn,” a loosely autobiographical novel based in his experience as a decorated Marine platoon leader in Vietnam during 1968 and 1969.

In 2011, he also published “What It Is Like to Go to War,” which describes his return to civilian life as a Vietnam War Veteran.

He received the Navy Cross for leading an assault on a hilltop bunker complex which plays a central role in “Matterhorn.” Marlantes also received a Bronze Star, two Navy commendation medals for valor, two Purple Hearts and 10 Air Medals.

Born in Astoria, Marlantes grew up in Seaside, attended Seaside High School where his father was principal. Marlantes played football, served as student body president and received a National Merit Scholarship. He graduated from Yale University and received a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University.

In “Deep River” Marlantes shifts from the jungles of Vietnam to the lives of a Finnish immigrant family laboring in the logging, fishing and cannery economy of the Pacific Northwest during the very early years of the 20th century.

Again, Marlantes writes “Deep River” about a setting with which he also is familiar, the Finnish community that emigrated to the Pacific Northwest to escape threats from Imperial Russia.

Karl Marlantes arguably has written the defining novel for the Vietnam War, certainly one of the most important war novels in American literature, a tome Marlantes says took him 30 years to refine and then find a willing publisher.

Published in March 2010, “Matterhorn” made the New York Times bestseller list in April, landed as 7th on Time magazine’s Best Books of the Year in 2010.and received the Washington State Book Award for fiction in 2011.

Admission to Marlantes’s talk is free. Proof of Covid vaccination is required, however, and masks are optional.

The Spring Unveiling Art and Music Book Sale, the library’s first fundraising event of the summer season, begins Friday, May 6, and continues during regular business hours through Saturday, May 14.

The sale includes a hand-selected collection of donated art and music volumes in excellent condition.

These beautifully designed and illustrated art books, offered at bargain prices, provide hours of pleasure and education without schlepping to museums and galleries throughout the world.

The Cannon Beach Library is open from Noon to 4 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. In addition to this special art and music sale, the library’s regular used book sales room remains open along with access to the full collection and services.

This season opener will be followed by the Memorial Day weekend Old and Rare Book Sale, Saturday, May 28, through Monday, May 30.

The traditional Fourth of July Weekend Book Sale also will return after being cancelled for two years during the pandemic. This year’s long anticipated fundraiser promises to be the largest book sale that the library has ever sponsored.

If any resident or visitor to Cannon Beach has considered volunteering at our privately funded and volunteer-staffed library, this July 4th is the time to pull a shift as a cashier, bagger or stocker at the library sale. This offers an opportunity to bond with new friends in Cannon Beach.

On Wednesday, May 18, at 7 p.m., Arthur Broten will lead members of Cannon Beach Reads in a Zoom discussion of “Animal Farm,” George Orwell’s fable or allegory of socialism when Mr. Jones’s farm animals take over his farm. We mostly all read this classic in high school during the height of the Cold War, but this will offer a second chance at a bite of the apple as our world now seems to be gearing up for another Cold War..

CB Reads is open to anyone interested in reading significant and bestselling fiction and nonfiction. Email Joe Bernt at He will add you to the group’s email list and send you a Zoom invitation.

Every once in awhile I make a point of checking out what’s new on the library website. When I did that recently, I was struck by the attention being given to restoring full access to interlibrary loan services through the nationwide ILL network by an agreement with the Seaside Library.

This is a big deal if one lives in a small coastal village far from access to major research or metropolitan libraries. When I retired from Ohio University to return to Oregon, I worried about leaving behind my access to OhioLink, a network of 117 college and university libraries, as well as the State Library of Ohio.

This allowed any student, faculty member or administrative employee at Ohio University to access any of more than 50 million items from such major libraries as those at Ohio State, Cincinnati, Ohio, Miami, Bowling Green, Toledo, Akron, Youngstown State, Cleveland State, Wright State, Kent State, Case Western Reserve, Dayton, Wittenberg, Oberlin, Xavier, Kenyon, Wooster, Antioch, Denison, Capitol, Oberlin, Ohio Northern, Ohio Wesleyan, Otterbein, Ohio Dominican and another 91 smaller college collections.

A request at your home university would result in the item requested being delivered to any member library within two to four days. I was spoiled, especially when an ILL staff would do a personalized national search for newspaper, magazine and journal articles sought and deliver them as PDFs to an email address electronically.

Yes, there’s reason for the Cannon Beach Library to be pleased by restoring national ILL services with the help of the Seaside Library. Although limited to two items a month and requiring some patience, nationwide ILL services should alleviate the biblio-isolation some patrons may experience.

For less patient patrons, I suggest haunting the library’s used book room and especially its huge Fourth of July Sale for desired books at bargain prices.

Short of that, to find a particular book not available at the library, I recommend turning to relatively inexpensive online services for a used copy.

My first choice is AbeBooks,, formerly Advanced Book Exchange and unfortunately now owned by Amazon,  AbeBooks can be dirt cheap for inexpensive popular titles and shockingly expensive for anything particularly rare or in demand. It has the best search engine to titles from bookstores across the nation and around the world. Need to watch shipping costs, though..

Better World Books has become my second go-to online source. They resell beaucoup books de-accessioned by libraries. They offer free shipping, and former library books often are physically near perfect and priced very reasonably unless rare. The downside is that most of their books come with library markings inside and on covers.

Amazon is my third choice, but occasionally I find I can purchase a new copy of a book for the same price as AbeBooks or Better World Books lists. I tend to not use Amazon if I’m looking for a copy of a classic no longer protected by copyright. If you have prime, most Amazon books ship free.

Thriftbooks is another site I check for low prices on readily available or obscure titles. Thriftbooks prices range from cheap to bizarrely expensive, but it’s an easy site to navigate.

So, I tested these sites on searches for two very different titles.

The first was a search for a copy of “Animal Farm,” which Cannon Beach Reads will discuss on May 18. A new copy of a decent edition could be had on Amazon for $7.48 plus shipping; used from AbeBooks for $4.95 with free shipping, used from Better World Books for $4.90 with free shipping and used from Thriftbooks for $4.19 and $1.25 for shipping.

Seems as if Better World Books is the smart choice, all things being equal.

I also checked my favorite online venders for a copy of a 2008 university press book, “Everything Was Better in America: Print Culture in the Great Depression,” which is not available at our library, but I will review in my next column.

Amazon offered “Everything Was Better in America” in paperback for $28 plus shipping, AbeBooks listed a new copy for $25.98 with free shipping. It was unavailable on Better World Books or Thriftbooks.

Checking AbeBooks results in savings of $2 plus $3.99 for shipping if you don’t have Amazon prime.

The benefit of buying books inexpensively is obvious: You receive them quickly, you can give them to a friend or your local library when you finish with them, and you don’t have to worry about replacement costs when your pooch finds “Animal Farm” tasty.


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