Joseph Bernt

Joseph Bernt

Last Wednesday, the Cannon Beach Reads group discussed Hope Jahren’s “Lab Girl,” an uplifting yet realistic memoir.

There, Jahren illustrates how tough is the life of a researcher in the soft sciences, one dependent on scrounging laboratory space, equipment, materials, and the few grant dollars remaining after most corporate and government dollars have been budgeted for engineering, cyber and especially military research.

On Wednesday, Nov. 21, members of Cannon Beach Reads will discuss Douglas Adams’ “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” at the Cannon Beach Library, 131 N. Hemlock St., from 7-8:30 p.m. Adams writes satiric science fiction drained of any uplift that readers found in “Lab Girl.”

“Hitchhiker’s Guide” presents a world we first saw in Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels,” Huxley’s “Brave New World” and any number of Vonnegut’s futuristic critiques of modern American self-destructive foolishness … our world of managers, engineers, marketeers and working stiffs.

The juxtaposition of discussions of “Lab Girl” and “Hitchhiker’s Guide” within a month of each other may offer the best example of how varied are the books that members of Cannon Beach Reads encounter each year.

It also explains why members of the group return year after year: Cannon Beach Reads encourages members to read significant books they otherwise never would. Cannon Beach Reads pushes us out of our routines, out of our reading comfort zones.

If reading and discussing a variety of important contemporary and classic, fictional and nonfictional books seems attractive, now is the best time of the year to join Cannon Beach Reads. During October and November, the group will be selecting books for its 2020 reading list.

Also at the library, Dr. Scott Pearson will present a lecture on “Conservation Status, Population Trends, and Natural History of the Tufted Puffin” as the first presentation in the 2019-2020 World of Haystack Rock Lecture Series, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, at the Cannon Beach Library,

Scott, a senior research scientist at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, assesses wildlife population status and trends, diet, habitat use and quality, evaluating conservation efforts and identifying mechanisms responsible for population declines.

Currently, his research focuses on several seabird and shorebird species, including the tufted puffin, marble murrelet, rhinoceros auklet and snowy plover.

The Friends of Haystack Rock, which meets at the library the second Wednesday of every month from November through May, sponsors the World of Haystack Rock Lecture Series. Cooperating with the Haystack Rock Awareness Program, the Friends of Haystack Rock promotes the preservation and protection of intertidal life and birds that inhabit the Marine Garden and Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge at Haystack Rock.

The Northwest Authors Series will host Craig Lesley, an award-winning Oregon novelist, who will discuss his popular western fiction on Saturday, Nov. 9, at 2 p.m. at the library.

Lesley has received three Pacific Northwest Booksellers Awards, for “Winterkill” (1984). “Talking Leaves: Contemporary Native American Short Stories” (1991) and “The Sky Fisherman” (1995). “Winterkill” also received the Western Writers of American Golden Spur Award.

Lesley published a memoir, “Burning Fence: A Western Memoir of Fatherhood,” in 2005.

Born in The Dalles in 1945, Lesley was raised by a single mother in Pendleton, Baker City and Madras. Lesley’s fiction incorporates his working experience as a fieldworker, a sporting goods store clerk, a Deschutes River guide, an Alaska longshoreman, and a lead and zinc miner in Idaho.

Lesley has taught English and creative writing for more than 50 years, including 25 years at Clackamas Community College. He also has taught at Great Lakes Maritime Academy, and at Oregon and Washington. colleges and universities in

He was the Hallie Ford Professor of English and Writer in Residence at Willamette University and Visiting Fiction Writer and Writer in Residence at Lewis and Clark College. He currently is a Senior Writer in Residence at Portland State University.

Finally, let’s note some new books that have just arrived at the library. Among the new nonfiction books are Samantha Power’s “The Education of an idealist,” Jon Gertner’s “The Ice at the End of the World: An Epic Journey into Greenland’s Buried Past and Our Perilous Future,” Christopher Leonard’s “Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America,” Malcolm Gladwell’s “What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know” and David Wallace-Wells’ “The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming.”

Also new at the library are novels by Margaret Atwood, Emma Donoghue, Christy Lefteri, Ann Patchett, Andrew Gross, Lara Prescott and William Kent Krueger.

Library patrons will find new mystery novels by Soren Sveistrup, David Lagercrantz, Michael Koryta, Craig Johnson, Ann Cleeves, Allison Montclair, Colin Cotterill and Nevada Barr.

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