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If Washington gets little credit for having a literary life, neighbors like Bethesda get even shorter shrift: They’re just as heavy on policy dorks as we are, but absent even a hint of urban cool. Perhaps that’s selling the tony suburb short. The 13th annual Bethesda Literary Festival features an array of authors known for flights of the imagination: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’s Judith Viorst, Melonhead’s Katy Kelly, and the Goosebumps series’ R.L. Stine. Unfortunately, the grown-up books are a bit wonkier: Highlights include Marvin and Deborah Kalb discussing their Haunting Legacy: Vietnam and the American Presidency from Ford to Obama, Thomas Friedman discussing his That Used to be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World That it Invented and How We Can Come Back, and Walter Isaacson holding forth on his Steve Jobs biography.

The Bethesda Literary Festival takes place from April 20 to April 22 at various venues in Bethesda. All events are free. See a complete schedule at bethesda.org.