Members of Cannon Beach Reads explore a variety of book genres

CARLA O'REILLY

Cannon Beach Reads, our library’s book club, has chosen the nonfiction and fiction books to be read for the first six months of 2015. The group, now beginning its ninth year, hopes these selections will attract additional readers.

The group — which meets from 7 to 8:30 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month — will kick off the new year Jan. 21 with a discussion of Peter Stark’s Astoria: Jon Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire.

Feb. 18, One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, will be discussed. Marquez, a controversial Columbian novelist, received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1982.

Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History will focus the group’s March 18 discussion on the disastrous impact humans have had on planet Earth.

April 15, the group will discuss Sinclair Lewis’ Babbitt, a classic novel satirizing American business in the early 20th century. In 1930, Lewis was the first American author to receive the Nobel Prize in literature.

The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo, by Tom Reiss, will be the focus of the May 20 gathering.

June 17, discussion of The Dinner, by Dutch author Herman Koch, will focus on how, during an upscale five-course meal, two middle class brothers and their wives justify a heinous crime their sons have committed.

The library stocks a single copy of each title for checkout. Additional copies are available for sale at the Cannon Beach Book Company, 130 N. Hemlock St.

At each Cannon Beach Reads session, one participant presents a context for the book and its author and then moderates an informal discussion of the work.

Founding member, leader and participant Marjorie Macqueen was part of an earlier reading group that met monthly at members’ homes for dinner and discussion. Over time, MacQueen says, this early group decided to no longer meet in one another’s homes over dinner. “It was just too exhausting!” she said.

Another reason for starting the reading group was to have a winter activity for avid readers at the library. The original idea was to meet only during the winter doldrums; however, as spring and summer approached, the members decided to continue all year long. To this day, the group’s mission is to provide a place where people who love to read can come and share their ideas and comments about interesting books.

MacQueen finds the group beneficial because “it leads me to read books I would not otherwise have read; it opens my mind to other interpretations of books and authors; and it has added an interesting group of fellow readers to my life.”

“I enjoy the blend of new titles I’m unlikely to read on my own and classic books I want to revisit and discuss with a group of friendly, intelligent readers,” says Joe Bernt, who joined a year ago. “It’s remarkable how much richer a book becomes as a result of group conversation.”

New members are welcome to join us by the fire as we kick off the 2015 Cannon Beach Reads at 7 p.m. Jan. 21 in the library.

The Northwest Author Series will host author Matt Love at 2 p.m. Jan. 10 in the library. Love will talk about his book, Rose City Heist: A True Crime Portland Tale of Sex, Gravy, Jewelry, and Almost Rock and Roll. The author and his friend became chief suspects in the biggest jewelry theft in Portland history. No one was ever arrested in the case, and the stolen jewelry never was found. Years later, with the statute of limitation expired, Love is free to confess what really happened.

From 7 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 14, The World of Haystack Rock lecture series will offer “A Rising Tide: Coping With a Changing Coast.” Charlie Plybon, Oregon field manager of Surfrider Foundation, will be the speaker. The World of Haystack Rock is a series of free community lectures at the library. The series is cosponsored by The Friends of Haystack Rock and the Cannon Beach Library.

An enthusiastic thank you to everybody for supporting our recent fundraisers — the Fall Festival, the Stormy Weather event and the sale of Steidel prints. A special thank you to Bill Steidel for his generosity in providing the prints, the sales of which have greatly benefited the library. Also, we appreciate the community’s response to our annual appeal letter.

Reminder: There will be no membership meeting the first week in January. Please join us in February for our library birthday brunch.

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