Who among us hasn’t fallen victim to that uniquely modern malaise, the early adolescent celebrity crush? (They also date us; as a mid-’90s preteen, my bedroom posters featured the golden-haired Jonathan Taylor Thomas.) There’s something about celebrities that makes them the perfect target for pinning half-formed romantic hopes and dreams. They’re objects of affection at a safe distance. These mind-powered love connections form the basis of CRUSH: Writers Reflect on Love, Longing and the Lasting Power of Their First Celebrity Crush, an anthology of 38 essays chronicling crushes pined for, met, and discarded. The project is the brainchild of memoirists Cathy Alter and Dave Singleton, D.C.-based writers who served as the collection’s editors. Contributors, including Roxane Gay, James Franco, Stephen King, and Hanna Rosin, confess their infatuations with heartthrobs both real and imaginary. Among the targets of infatuation: generically handsome actors like River Phoenix and Jared Leto, as well as unexpected celebrities like, uh, Howard Cosell. Join Alter, Singleton, and other local contributors as they discuss what these “painfully real and wholly implausible” unrequited loves reveal about the people harboring them. Cathy Alter and Dave Singleton read at 7 p.m. at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. NW. $15–$35. (202) 408-3100. sixthandi.org.