Let's give a hand to billionaire investor David Rubenstein, a Baltimore native, for supporting reading. The co-founder and manging director of Washington-based Carlyle Group private equity fund recently announced a $5 million gift to the Library of Congress to support the annual National Book Festival.
Rubenstein, whose parents never attended college, recalled his days as a kid at the Enoch Pratt Free Library. He checked out the maximum number of books permitted each week, taking home 12 at a time. "The love of reading really helped me get where I am today."
Rubenstein, 60, said he still is an avid reader: "I am never more happy than when I am alone with my books … it's one of the joys of my life." But he's alarmed by the number of Americans who can't read -- or don't read enough. "A country of our wealth should be No. 1 in literacy."
The Washington festival always attracts an all-star roster of authors. Last year, big names on the schedule included James Patterson, George Pelecanos and Marilynne Robinson. This year's festival will be held Saturday, Sept. 25. That will be a big weekend for book lovers, because the Baltimore Book Festival is scheduled for Sept. 24-26. So mark you calendars.