News: May 2009 Archives

Obamas will head up book fest this fall

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Michelle Obama Fort Bragg
First lady Michelle Obama read to schoolchildren
in North Carolina in March.
(Gerry Broome/AP)

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will preside over the ninth National Book Festival, a daylong celebration of the joys of reading and literacy, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 26, on the National Mall.

"The National Book Festival has become a true American institution," said James Billington, the librarian of Congress. "It is a joyous and very popular celebration of books and reading in the Washington, D.C., area."

The Library of Congress organizes and sponsors the event, which is free and open to the public.

An estimated 120,000 people have attended each of the past two festivals, a library spokeswoman said.

Former first lady Laura Bush, a retired teacher and public school librarian, started the festival in 2001, modeling it after events she held as first lady of Texas.

This year's festival will feature about 70 award-winning authors, poets and illustrators in pavilions dedicated to specific genres of writing, ranging from history and biography to mysteries, thrillers, poetry and prose, and books for families and youngsters.

Since becoming first lady in January, Mrs. Obama has made several trips outside the White House to read to young children.


The Obama touch

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The Obama book bump has struck again.

President Obama told The New York Times during a recent interview that he has been reading Joseph O'Neill's Netherland, a highly praised novel about cricket, marriage and living in a post 9/11 world.

The hardcover came out last year and the paperback publisher, Vintage/Anchor Books, citing an Obama-cized double-digit increase in sales, announced Monday it has moved up the paperback release from June 2 to this week (May 7).

The first printing will be 70,000 copies.


The other Sedaris

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Books Amy Sedaris
Amy Sedaris (AP photo)

Amy Sedaris -- comic actress and sister of literary humorist David Sedaris -- is working on a follow-up to her best seller, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence (which is hilarious and a great gift idea for your fun-loving friends).

The new book is scheduled for release in 2010 and will again feature Sedaris' unique approach to home life through the use of fun, long-forgotten crafts," according to Grand Central Publishing.