Alumnus, journalist share stories

Two authors will read from their latest books — a novel about two friends growing up in Oregon and a non-fiction book about butterflies — during readings in the Nicholson Library this month.

Linfield alumnus Laurel Adams, class of ’59, will read from “Two Boys” at 4 p.m. March 12 in the Austen Reading Room.

The book chronicles the lives of two friends in a late 1930s-era, small-town, American setting.

The story tells of the boys’ coming-of-age in the Willamette Valley in Drayville, Ore. The friends work their way through adolescence playing sports, hunting and daydreaming about girls before enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Corps.

Adams said the setting is modeled after McMinnville, Ore., where he grew up, went to college and had a career in education and administration.

He said the characters in the story are similar to people he met while growing up in McMinnville.

“One of the main characters is a Jewish boy whose family owns a furniture store,” Adams said. “I was inspired by a Jewish family who used to own a similar store in McMinnville.”

He said that while many of the characters and the setting were inspired by his life experiences, the story wasn’t an autobiographical account.

“In the back of my mind, the characters were probably people I knew, but I think if my dreams had come true, I would have done something like the boys in the book did,” Adams said.

He added that he spent a lot of time researching background information on World War II training regimens and combat techniques to include historical accuracy.

He said he consulted volunteers at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum who were knowledgeable about the World War II era.

“I’ve always been a dreamer and fantasized,” Adams said. “This story wasn’t something that I’d dreamt up my entire life, but I’d always wanted to write a novel. I just composed it as I wrote.”

The second author, Peter Laufer, will present his non-fiction book “The Dangerous World of Butterflies: The Startling Subculture of Criminals, Collectors, and Conservationists” at 7:30 p.m. March 17 in the Austin Reading Room.

The book explores butterflies and the network of traders, breeders and collectors who deal with them

Laufer began investigating the subject after being invited to a butterfly preserve in Nicaragua. The book traces the organized crime and ecological damage behind the butterfly field in Nicaragua.

Laufer is the James Wallace Chair in Journalism at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication

He has also been an NBC News correspondent, produced a number of documentaries and books and created the nationally-syndicated radio program “National Geographic World Talk.”

Nicholson Library Public Relations Intern junior Lindsay Gehres said she encourages students and community members to attend the events.

“An author reading is like a literary job shadow,” Gehres said. “It allows students to ask about an author’s process and any other questions about the field and genre.”

For more information on the readings, contact Library Director Susan Barnes Whyte at

Joanna Peterson
Culture editor

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