By DIANE SPEER/News Lifestyles Editor
Local book clubs and other community organizations have been busy this summer reading the same book.
In anticipation of next month's visit to Alpena by preeminent investigative journalist Bob Woodward, the groups have tackled "All the President's Men" as part of a Community Read sponsored by Alpena County Library.
Written in collaboration with fellow journalist Carl Bernstein, the book details their string of newspaper stories that ultimately brought down the presidency of Richard M. Nixon.
"I think the Community Read is taking root in Alpena," said Karen Magness-Eubank, chair of the library's Community Read program. "That's really the whole idea to create a reading community and reinforce the importance of reading."
Not only are people reading "All the President's Men," but ticket sales to Woodward's appearance are going strong. The tickets, at $20 for orchestra seating and $10 for balcony seating, are available both at the library and from the library's web site, alpenalibrary.org.
Besides encouraging the public to read the book ahead of time and then attend the Oct. 13 program, Library Director Eric Magness-Eubank has announced a schedule of related activities. The schedule includes a film series, book talk, panel discussion and presentations by noted local speakers.
In addition to the library, the Association of Lifelong Learners and Alpena Community College have embraced Woodward's visit and helped to plan the line-up of activities.
"We think it's great that we've had other groups come on board," said Library Director Eric Magness-Eubank. "The quality and quantity of programs is very good and starts about a month out. Even if you can't catch all of them, there are a number of the programs that look quite thought-provoking."
Woodward has authored or co-authored 16 non-fiction books in the last 36 years. All 16 of his works 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.
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.
Interestingly, Woodward's breaking of the Watergate scandal made headline news again last month when the parking garage in Arlington, Va., where he conducted his clandestine interviews with the late FBI second in command, Mark "Deep Throat" Felt, was documented with a historic marker.
The new sign outside the otherwise unremarkable parking garage identifies the location many Americans have likely heard about, but very few could pinpoint. It was previously only marked by a newspaper clipping taped to a nearby column.
The library's Authors in the Fall series kicks off Sept. 29 with outdoor writer Doc Fletcher, who took his first canoe trip in 1978 on the Pere Marquette River, and ever since then gets back into a canoe whenever possible. His writings include "Weekend Canoeing in Michigan: The Rivers, The Towns, The Taverns" (2008) and "Michigan Rivers Less Paddled" (2009).
Appearing Oct. 6 is children's author Margaret Wiley, who published her first young adult novel, "The Bigger Book of Lydia," to critical acclaim in 1983. Since then she has become a recognized author of books about teenage issues and programs. Other works include "The 3 Bears and Goldilocks" (2008) and "A Summer of Silk Moths" (2009).
Outdoor writer Jerry Dennis will speak Oct. 20. He has earned his living since 1986 writing for publications such as the New York Times, Smithsonian, Audubon, Sports Afield and American Way. Among his many books are "The Living Great Lakes" (2004), "A Place on the Water" (1996) and last year's "From a Wood Canoe."