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The program will begin Jan. 6, 2020, and as always 800 free books will be distributed to library card holders

The popular Lake Oswego Reads program won't begin for another four months, but residents can get a head start after the Lake Oswego Public Library announced Monday that "Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore" by Elizabeth Rush has been selected as the book for 2020. COURTESY PHOTO -

"Rising," which was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction, covers climate change through the eyes of those who live along the United States' rapidly changing coastlines.

"In 'Rising,' environmental reporter Elizabeth Rush tells the stories of the life-altering changes happening right now," Cyndie Glazer, the library's coordinator of programs and volunteer services, wrote in a press release. "She guides readers through the places where this change has been most dramatic, from the Gulf Coast to Miami, and from New York City to the Bay Area and the central cascades of Oregon. For many of the plants, animals and humans who live in these places, the options are stark: retreat or perish in place."

Lake Oswego Reads, which is heading into its 14th year, has garnered national recognition for what's described as an "immersive program that encourages all members of the community read the same book, celebrate its culture, recognize its message and generally create an atmosphere of learning amongst all age groups."

The program will begin Jan. 6, 2020, and as always 800 free books will be distributed to Lake Oswego Public Library card holders. An array of special events featuring speakers, displays and art will take place in February, and Rush will speak in Lake Oswego March 4.

The Lake Oswego Reads Steering Committee solicited suggestions from the public as it worked to decide on a book for 2020, and "Rising" was put forward by Lake Oswego High School teacher Breck Foster.

"To me, the book was beautifully written and so timely," said Foster, who teaches social studies and Spanish, in the press release. "There seems to be a critical awareness of the crisis we are facing and yet so many people don't know how to talk about it or what to do. As someone who lived for four years in New York on the Long Island sound and walked with my kids in the marshlands there, and having lived most of my life in California near the coast, and now in the nature of Oregon's coast and Willamette River valley, I am struck by how these magical yet fragile places are in danger and this book both sounded an alarm but also gave me hope of what communities can do to face these challenges."

Library Director Melissa Kelly agreed.

"The Lake Oswego Reads Steering Committee selected this book for many reasons," Kelly said in the release. "It is incredibly well-written, climate change is an issue of great interest and discourse, and this book has the power to bring the community together to learn more about a complex topic and the actions we can take to be prepared for the future."

Rush's work has appeared in publications like Harper's, Granta, Creative Nonfiction, Orion, Guernica and Le Monde Diplomatique, among others. She currently teaches courses on writing and reading literary nonfiction at Brown University.

The Library is asking the community to help with speaker suggestions on nature, geology, urban planning, global warming and hummingbirds. Contact Cyndie Glazer at 503-675-2538 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with suggestions.

For Lake Oswego Reads updates, visit

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