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Obama wins Nibbie and reads fiction

US President Barack Obama won the Tesco Biography of the Year at the 2009 Galaxy British Book Awards in London (known has nibbies for the pen-shaped award given to winners – visit http://www.britishbookawards.co.uk/index.asp?. His Dreams from My Father beat off competition from big sellers Paul O'Grady, Dawn French and Julie Walters. More recently he is in the news for what he is reading. CNN reported President Obama wanted a change from reading his briefing papers and turned to the novel Netherland by Irish writer Joseph O'Neill (See http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/04/29/what-is-president-obama-reading) The book is about cricket in post 9/11 New York where Hans, a banker originally from the Netherlands, finds himself marooned among the strange occupants of the Chelsea Hotel after his English wife and son return to London. Hans stumbles upon the vibrant New York subculture of cricket, where he revisits his lost childhood and, thanks to a friendship with a charismatic and charming Trinidadian named Chuck Ramkissoon, begins to reconnect with his life and his adopted country. Ramkissoon, a Gatsby-like figure introduces Hans to an “other” New York populated by immigrants and strivers of every race and nationality. Sales of the book have shot up 40 per cent since Obama's mention and its paperback release was brought forward. Now there could be another big O (adding to Oprah) in the world of book promotion. Wonder what Kevin Rudd is reading? Budget papers?

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