Regular Contributor Denise Neary is back with a look at a book-filled week in our nation’s capital.

It is always a good week to be a book lover in Washington, DC, but hard to top last week.

Monday, the Smithsonian honored July Blume with the John P. McGovern Award for her work promoting the understanding of the American family.

She was interviewed by NPR’s Lynn Neary (not related to me, but I wish she were!)   She talked about her own books being such a target for censorship (there was even a pamphlet distributed with tips on people keep Judy Blume books out of schools and libraries), and recalled reading her grandchild Harry Potter and wondering when “they” would come after Harry.  Reflecting on her career, she noted that she wrote largely in isolation; she is happy that there are now “communities” of writers.

Tuesday, Chris Matthews spoke to a standing room only crowd at Politics and Prose, about his new book, JACK KENNEDY: ELUSIVE HERO.

Matthews arrived at the story early, and started signing books before his reading—he REALLY wants people to buy his book.   Hilarious to say that Matthews may be more opinionated in person than he is on TV—and he believes his research and interviews has unearthed a novel view of a mythical figure in American history.

Politics and Prose also hosted Robert Massie, Anne Beattie, Walter Issacson and struggling writer William Jefferson Clinton last week.

Bradley Graham (co-owner of the store, with wife Lissa Muscatine) said that whenever he hears about the decline of the independent book store, he wishes people could come visit see Politics and Prose author events like the ones held this week.

Hard, after a week like that, to live up to my often-stated and never-realized goal to stop buying so many books!

On a more positive note, my holiday shopping is done!

— Denise Neary, Regular Contributor