Camelia Sadat held up a picture of herself dressed in a military uniform and a mustache yesterday at the Washington Post Book and Author Luncheon, and told the crowd of 1,500 that her father, slain Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, had been quite struck by her resemblance to him. He told her, "I never knew you were ugly. You look, you look like me."
Sadat was one of three authors talking about their new books, along with Ellen Goodman and Alan King, at the Sheraton-Washington.
Washington Post Executive Editor Benjamin C. Bradlee, who hosted the lunch, described Sadat's book, "My Father and I," as "not the standard biography of a famous father by a loving daughter." Sadat said the book came out of an unfinished letter to her father in which she expresses the anger and love she could never express to him directly.
Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Ellen Goodman said, "I've never missed a deadline in 20 years. I guess that makes me neurotic." Discussing her new book, "Keeping in Touch," a collection of her columns from 1981 to the present, Goodman said she tried to reflect on the broad issues of our time.
"We wake up in the morning worrying about our weight and the bomb. It's how we live," she said. She referred to the Maidenform bra model who goes to medical school as one step forward, two steps backward, for women. And on the subject of herpes said, "If herpes didn't exist, Phyllis Schlafly would have invented it."
Alan King, author of "Is Salami and Eggs Better Than Sex?: Memoirs of a Happy Eater," launched into a series of anecdotes and one-liners about restaurants, eating, his mother, his wife and being Jewish.
"People are sick of being told what not to eat. My book is dedicated to those who don't give a damn," he said. Countering Bradlee's earlier suggestion that he had used bad grammar in the title of his book, King said, "Salami and eggs is an object. It's not salami with eggs."
Among other things, the book contains advice on where not to eat -- family restaurants and restaurants with themes. "Restaurants are the theater of the '80s," said King. "People call me up and say, 'There are two Albanian lesbians cooking sushi in a toilet on Eighth Street -- can you get me in?' "