Friday, January 16, 2009

Is Obama the New Oprah?

The NPR radio show "Morning Edition" played a piece Wednesday morning January 14, 2009 by Lynn Neary called Obama: A New Force in Publishing. They say the publishing world is excited because according to playwright Eric Begosian at this year's National Book Awards, "....our new president is, in the broadest sense of the word, a reader."

The article pointed out that reading has not been absent in the White House -- First Lady and former librarian Laura Bush is a voracious reader and President Bush finished 40 books last year. But Harold Augenbraum, the executive director of the National Book Foundation, sees something different in Obama because he's the author of two best-sellers: "You actually have both a writer and a reader in the White House who is articulate and eloquent in his own right."

Jeff Seroy, a publicist at Farrar, Straus and Giroux, hopes that Obama will have the kind of influence on book sales that his supporter Oprah Winfrey has had.

Here are the titles they list from Obama's reading list:
The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope, by Jonathan Alter
FDR, by Jean Edward Smith
Lincoln: the Biography of a Writer, by Fred Kaplan
Selected Poems, by Derek Walcott
Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution, By Thomas L. Friedman
Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson

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