Joseph Bernt

Joseph Bernt

I make a point of checking on new library acquisitions regularly, especially new non-fiction titles Marjorie MacQueen adds to the Cannon Beach Library collection. I just received her list of new titles added in July 2019.

Among non-fiction additions that caught my eye is “American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump,” by Tim Alberta, chief political correspondent for Politico magazine and a former Wall Street Journal reporter.

Early reviews of “American Carnage” emphasize that Alberta attributes the Donald’s rise to a decade of Republican infighting and governing incompetence. The Party of Lincoln clearly disappeared well before Trump plotted his takeover.

Also, among attractive non-fiction books now at the library, is “The Ministry of Truth: A Biography of George Orwell’s 1984” by Dorian Lynskey, music writer for The Guardian. Lynskey bills his book as a biography of “1984” that traces the cultural impact of Orwell’s dystopian novel during the past 70 years, the first 40 of which wrapped the novel in Cold War misinterpretations.

Given current interest in “fake news” and the ease with which “facts” appear and as quickly disappear from Internet sites and Fox News, it seems time for another reading of “1984,” a novel I taught a dozen times to undergraduates at the University of Nebraska.

Remember Winston Smith’s bureaucratic task of disappearing politically inconvenient photographs and news stories into the “memory hole.” Remember his disgust for London’s grey polluted environment. Remember Winston betraying Julia, his lover, to authorities. Yup. It’s time to re-read “1984” accompanied by Lynskey’s “The Ministry of Truth” as a guide.

A final non-fiction addition to the library, “Stronghold: One Man’s Quest to Save the World’s Wild Salmon” by Tucker Malarkey, was praised by David James Duncan who wrote “The River Why,” a bestselling novel about his devotion to fishing Pacific Northwest rivers. Duncan describes “Stronghold” as a “crazy-good, intensely lived book that reads like an international thriller—only it’s our beloved salmon playing the part of diamonds or oil or gold.”

Agreeing with Duncan, Hope Jahren, bestselling author of “Lab Girl,” says “Stronghold” is “a book for everyone who has wished for a place where life is defended and upheld—for a place on earth that will make us whole.”

My next column will discuss fiction and mystery books added to the library collection in July. Here’s a tease, however, to encourage a quick library visit to check out “Deep River,” Karl Marlantes’s new novel about the experiences of three Finn siblings—brothers Ilmari and Matti Koski and their sister Aino—who emigrate to the U.S. to escape Russian oppression in the early 20th century.

They settle in a Finnish logging village in southern Washington near the Columbia River. While the Koski brothers climb and fell old growth trees, Aino concentrates on unionizing the logging industry.

Annual Fall Festival

The Library’s annual Fall Festival—noted for a plethora of home-baked goods, homemade craft items suitable for holiday presents and drawings for bundles of certificates from Cannon Beach merchants for hotel stays, restaurant meals, gifts and merchandise—is only seven weeks away.

In preparation, Linda Sugano and Rance Babb, library board members and co-chairs of this year’s festival, have announced that the library’s annual Fall Festival is scheduled for Saturday, September 28, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Well, that was easy. Now Sugano must make sure that library members volunteer to bake, knit, crochet, sew, paint, carve and otherwise create items to sell at the festival. For its bake sale, Fall Festival volunteers bake fruit pies, cakes, cookies, brownies and bar cookies, rolls and pastries, desserts and breads for sale. In the past, knit hats, baby sweaters and booties, gloves and mittens and scarves have attracted buyers as have holiday ornaments.

And Babb must visit Cannon Beach lodging owners, merchants and restaurant owners or managers to provide gift certificates for Fall Festival drawings. This usually isn’t a hard task.

Merchants realize that gift certificates bring customers into stores and often result in sales above and beyond the face value of the donated certificate. In past years, merchants have expressed regret that they didn’t get an opportunity to contribute to the Fall Festival drawings. Surely Babb can avoid such an oversight this year.

To volunteer to bake, paint, knit, crochet, sew or carve items for the festival, please email Jen Dixon, library office manager, or Linda Sugano at or telephone 503-436-1391. Leave your name, contact number and what you intend to contribute.

All proceeds support the Cannon Beach Library.

Cannon Beach Reads

The July 26 column included information about the August 21 Cannon Beach Reads session. At this August meeting participants will discuss “A Portrait of the Artist as a young Man” by James Joyce. Arthur Broten will lead this discussion.

On Wednesday, September 18, the Cannon Beach Reads participants will discuss “Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics.” Joseph Bernt will lead this discussion.

Cannon Beach Reads meets from 7 to 8:30 p.m. every third Wednesday of the month. Anyone interested in participating is invited to do so and to sample the conversation and coffee and baked items by Sandi Lundy.


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