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In Welcome to Shirley: A Memoir From an Atomic Town, author Kelly McMasters introduces her readers to the Long Island area in which she grew up—a magical land of economic depression, cancer clusters, and nuclear waste courtesy of the neighboring Brookhaven atomic research laboratory. McMasters’ 336-page memoir overflows with the kind of dedication to scientific research only a former resident and witness to the town’s decline could muster. Yet it’s impossible not to detect that McMasters also views her childhood as a happy one despite all of its hardships. Perhaps all a young woman needs to enjoy life in the shadow of a tritium-leaking nuclear reactor is a caring family and a few good girlfriends. Whatever it was, it certainly wasn’t something in the water. McMasters dicusses and signs copies of her work at 7 p.m. at Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919.