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Summer reading events that won’t cancel on you

July 31, 2020 Updated Sat., Aug. 1, 2020 at 9:19 a.m.

Lose yourself in a good book lately? There are plenty to choose from, and with the pandemic eliminating plans, books are a dependable source of entertainment that won’t stop. Well, unless you put it down. Which is difficult to do with the lineup for the livestream forum for Northwest Passages. Stay home, stay safe, and put these book club dates on your calendar so you can join us via our livestream.

The Washington Post’s slogan is “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” Media columnist Margaret Sullivan expands on that idea in her book, “Ghosting the News: Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy,” which looks at how local newspapers are losing the battle to stay local and how democracy suffers when local news dies. Sullivan joins editor Rob Curley in conversation at 4 p.m. Aug. 13 on our livestream.

Speaking of politics (and why not? this is a discussion among friends), Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West over on the West Side are two of the most sought-after information scientists who shine an unwavering spotlight on disinformation masquerading as fact. In fact, they wrote the book on it, “Calling Bull—-: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World.” They’ll have a conversation with Shawn Vestal in a virtual book club at 7 p.m. Aug. 18.

Horror/sci fi might not usually hit your must-read list; however, this book is an exception for those of us who live in Bigfoot ountry. The New York Times bestselling author Max Brooks (“World War Z,” “The Zombie Survival Guide”) released “Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre, and it has not dropped from the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Top 10 list. Perhaps because we in the Pacific Northwest feel like we have a corner on the Bigfoot literature market? We’ll find out at 7 p.m. Aug. 20 when Max Brooks joins the Northwest Passages Book Club Virtual Forum. For this event, purchase of the book from Auntie’s Bookstore is your ticket into the livestream. You will receive an email with login instructions to view and participate the day before.

September authors have compelling stories to tell. Former ABC News correspondent Heather Cabot grew up as part of the “Just Say No” generation. How has that message evolved into legal medical cannabis dispensaries in 47 of 50 states and recreational pot legal in 11? Cabot dives into that in her book, “The New Chardonnay: The Unlikely Story of How Marijuana Went Mainstream, at 4 p.m. Sept 3.

If your eyebrows raise reading Portland author Vanessa Veselka’s mini bio on her website – “Veselka has been at various times a teenage runaway, a sex worker, a union organizer and a student of paleontology” – know that all of that living makes for fascinating writing. “The Great Offshore Grounds tells the story of a pair of half sisters freeing themselves from their past. The book will be released Aug. 25, and Veselka is scheduled to join us at 7 p.m. Sept. 15.

“The Cold Millions: A Novel” by Jess Walter will be released Oct. 6. Walter has a longtime tradition of launching his books with an event at Auntie’s Bookstore, and Northwest Passages is lending an assist in this pandemic by hosting him virtually the night before at 7 p.m. Oct. 5. At the request of the publisher, this is a ticketed virtual event – your ticket is the purchase of “The Cold Millions: A Novel” at Auntie’s. A link and login information will be sent to you the day before.

Have a question for one of the authors? Visit and fill out the form. And, if you can’t make the scheduled time, all of our discussions are archived online and available at any time free of charge. That’s the beauty of virtual discussions! And you also can just listen in to the conversation even if you haven’t read the book. We’ll never tell!

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