Alpena County Library has lined up another impressive schedule of presenters who will visit Alpena for the 2011 Authors in the Fall series, including preeminent investigative journalist Bob Woodward.
The series also includes outdoor writers Doc Fletcher and Jerry Dennis, and children's author Margaret Willey. All three are Michigan-based writers who have published multiple books.
As a young reporter for The Washington Post, Woodward teamed up with Carl Bernstein in 1972 for much of the original reporting on the Watergate scandal that led to numerous government investigations and the resignation of President Richard Nixon. The Post coverage of Watergate won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1973.
Woodward and Bernstein also collaborated on "All the President's Men," a #1 best-selling book about Watergate and their joint investigative coup. He has continued to report stories for the Post, including as the main reporter for coverage of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Ten Post stories won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, with six of them carrying the familiar Woodward byline.
Woodward has authored or coauthored 16 non-fiction books in the last 36 years. All 16 have been national bestsellers and 12 of them have been #1 national non-fiction bestsellers - more #1 national non-fiction bestsellers than any contemporary author.
"Bob Woodward is certainly an important historical figure, even without the Watergate coverage," said Library Director Eric Magness-Eubank. "His level of coverage of how the presidency works is significant in its own right. I think his understanding of the evolution of the political system is better than anyone else."
Area residents are encouraged to participate in a Community Read by reading and discussing "All the President's Men" prior to Woodward's talk in Alpena. Woodward is scheduled to speak Oct. 13 at Alpena High School.
Among Woodward's large body of work are "The Final Days" (1976), about Nixon's resignation; "Wired" (1984), about the death of John Belushi and the Hollywood drug culture; "The Agenda" (1994), about Bill Clinton's first term; "Bush at War" (2002), about the path to war with Afghanistan following Sept. 11; and "Obama's Wars" (2010), about the Obama administration's handling of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Authors in the Fall series which has been going on at the library in one form or another for about the past 20 years added a new element in 2010 that will be repeated again this year. Area residents will be encouraged to participate in a Community Read by reading and discussing "All the President's Men" prior to Woodward's talk in Alpena. Woodward is scheduled to speak Oct. 13 at Alpena High School.
Last year the library-sponsored Community Read centered around "Three Cups of Tea," written by visiting headline author and humanitarian, Greg Mortenson.
"I thought last year's effort was highly successful," Magness-Eubank said. "We had a lot of participation both in the number of organizations that took part one way or another, and in the number of people who got to read his books. The event itself went very smoothly, and I had many positive comments for months afterwards."
Magness-Eubank also said he believes Community Reads afford a community the chance for a shared experience.
"It gets adults, classrooms and groups all reading the same book, and having the same shared experience of being able to discuss and talk about these things," he said. "When you are able to center the community for a brief period of time on a particular book, it highlights the importance of books and of reading in general."
Bringing authors the caliber of Mortenson and Bernstein to the library doesn't come inexpensively. As library director, Magness-Eubank was thrilled to learn recently that the Authors in the Fall series has received a significant grant from the Michigan Humanities Council that will help make this year's series possible.
"The grant recognizes that this program is important on the local, regional and state level," said Magness-Eubank, noting that around 1,000 people attended last fall's Mortenson presentation.
Besides Woodward, Magness-Eubank also is enthused about the other three authors in the series. He called "The Living Great Lakes" written by Jerry Dennis "one of the best overviews of the Great Lakes as a whole" that is part travel, part ecology and part history. He said Fletcher has a reputation among library circles as an author who gives engaging presentations on his canoe guide trips. Among Fletcher's books is "Michigan Rivers Less Paddled" (2009).
"Both these authors are people who outdoor enthusiasts in the area will relate to," Magness-Eubank said.
Willey is the author of American Library Association-level book for teens, including "A Summer of Silk Months."
For more information about the 2011 Authors in the Fall series, called the library at 356-6188 or go to alpenalibrary.org.