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C-Span’s Founder Now An Author

Josh Getlin Los Angeles Times

Once again, Brian Lamb has bucked the tide.

It wasn’t enough for him to celebrate the publication of his first book with a national tour or a private party for friends. That would have been too predictable, too mainstream.

Instead, the founder of C-SPAN and the author of “Booknotes” (Times Books) drove to the printing plant in Virginia where his title was rushing off the presses, and he watched in awe - like a little kid at his first baseball game.

“A friend of mine told someone she was going out there with me,” Lamb says, chuckling in his office near Capitol Hill. “And he said: ‘Wow, that’s interesting. Why don’t you just pull over to the side of the road and watch the grass grow?”’

Or watch C-SPAN. Lamb has heard all the jokes and wryly shrugs them off. But he’s serious about the importance of books and was proud to witness the assembly-line baptism of his own.

Lamb’s new book offers highlights from eight years of “Booknotes,” the weekly, hourlong TV interviews he has conducted with some of America’s most outstanding authors of nonfiction.

While the book focuses on the mechanics of writing, the 119 authors interviewed offer glimpses of the worlds they have chronicled, and of their inner lives as writers.

All of the 421 interviews featured on “Booknotes” can be accessed on the Internet at

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