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Read this: Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Lost' fans' fury, Gilbert Arenas photo flap

Elizabeth Gilbert (Helayne Seidman for the Washington Post)

Good afternoon, everyone. Elizabeth Gilbert's new book, "Committed," is out, and gets a favorable review in today's Style section.

Ellen McCarthy sat down with the author to discuss the book -- a sequel to Gilbert's wildly popular "Eat, Pray, Love" -- and Gilbert's now-omnipresent cult of . . . well, meaning.

Gilbert cannot explain it still, the wild propagation of her book. She can guess at why it resonated so deeply with so many (mostly women) readers. It has something to do with being a permission slip, she thinks: "You are actually really permitted to give yourself a little bit of time to contemplate what you would like the meaning of your life to be."
But she cannot be sure why her book, though it had plenty of detractors, has stayed on the bestseller list for almost three years (it's currently No. 6 in the New York Times paperback rankings). She can't fully comprehend why Oprah Winfrey would devote two full installments to the book. Or why it prompted women to e-mail her saying "Eat, Pray, Love" had inspired them to marry or divorce or quit their jobs or follow her tracks through Italy, India and Indonesia, eating where she ate, sleeping where she slept, trying to find the people she found.

Elsewhere in today's news:

  • "'Lost' fans' undies were in a bunch Wednesday," Lisa de Moraes writes, "over news that the White House might push back the president's State of the Union address to Feb. 2 to be able to use a freshly signed health-care reform law as an audiovisual aid during the speech."

  • Howard Kurtz delves into Getty's relationship with the NBA, and how it led to a photo of Gilbert Arenas being temporarily removed from Getty's offerings on Wednesday.

  • Some bold fugitives, as if modern-day Zodiac killers, are using the Internet to taunt law enforcement. Monica Hesse reports.

  • How on Earth do you throw a party in Washington, where both Democrats and Republicans might show up? Sally Quinn is not afraid: "There's an old saying that you should never discuss politics or religion at dinner parties. I disagree. I think you can talk about money and sex as well. It's all about how you bring up these things, which are after all on everyone's minds."

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  • By The Reliable Source  |  January 7, 2010; 1:19 PM ET
    Categories:  Read This  
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