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Featured Books Pick: Adam Langer at the Washington D.C. Jewish Community Center, 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 15

Adam Langer set his first two novels, Crossing California and The Washington Story, in Chicago, a city that for him contained multitudes: His broad, Bellovian prose was rich with chatter on race, politics, filmmaking, Jewishness, romance, rock music, television, and more. His latest novel, Ellington Boulevard, is set in New York, but strangely enough the story is much smaller; to Langer’s mind, Manhattan is a curious little burg that’s almost exclusively defined by real-estate prices and showtunes. In fact, the novel is structured much like a musical, with an overture, a coda, and a plot stuffed with meet-cutes and co-inky-dinks (not to mention an appendix of song lyrics). Some characters come direct from central casting: The icy and oft-soused magazine editor, the hard-charging building owner with a heart full of self-loathing, the know-it-all-brat who hates everything. The leads have much more nuance, though, and it’s hard not to be charmed by Ike Morphy, a longtime musician and beneficiary of cheap rent, and Rebecca Sugarman, a young magazine staffer who intends to move into Morphy’s place with her slacker grad-student husband. Langer’s punning sense of humor can get wearying—sure, Funk That Hurts would be a great name for an album, and yes, OK, fine, there’s no better title for a combination men’s lifestyle/equestrian magazine than Groom. But all that cultural clutter is there for a reason: Langer knows he’s writing about a place where space is tight, and his most dignified characters are the ones who, emotionally and physically, can learn to live with less. This reading is part of the Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival, which runs Sept. 14-24; see washingtondcjcc.org/litfest for a complete schedule. Langer discusses and signs copies of his work at 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 15, at the Washington D.C. Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th St. NW. $9. (800) 494-8497. —Mark Athitakis

Fall Arts Books Calendar

9/12
Ernest Borgnine discusses and signs copies of Ernie. U.S. Navy Memorial.
American Wife. Politics and Prose.

9/13
CakeLove. Barnes and Noble, Tysons Corner.
Street Vengeance. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.

9/14
The Summer of 1787. Historical Society of Washington.

9/15
Bob Schieffer’s America. Politics and Prose.
The Crown and the Pen: The Memoirs of a Lawyer Turned Rebel. Busboys and Poets.
Linn Ullmann discusses and signs copies of A Blessed Child. Olsson’s Books & Records, Dupont Circle.

9/16
The Alchemy Of Air: A Jewish Genius, a Doomed Tycoon, and the Scientific Discovery That Fed the World but Fueled the Rise of Hitler. Olsson’s Books & Records, Dupont Circle.
Give Me Liberty. Borders Books, K Street.
The Accidental American: Immigration and Citizenship in the Age of Globalization. Busboys and Poets.
Goldengrove. Politics and Prose.
The Magician. Politics and Prose.
State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America. Library of Congress.

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9/17
People’s History of Sports in the United States: From Bull-baiting to Barry Bonds: 250 Years of Politics, Protest, the People, and Play. Busboys and Poets.
“Discussion: Before the US Elections,” Goethe-Institut Washington.
David Carr discusses and signs copies of The Night of the Gun: A Reporter Investigates the Darkest Story of his Life, His Own. Olsson’s Books & Records, Dupont Circle.
What You Should Know About Politics…But Don’t. Borders Books, K Street.
Grand New Party. Politics and Prose.

9/18
Ben Bernanke’s Fed: The Federal Reserve After Greenspan. Reiter’s Books.
Philip and Alice Shabecoff discuss and sign copies of Poisoned Profits. Politics and Prose.

9/19
Sin Boldly: A Field Guide For Grace. Barnes and Noble, M Street.
Kira Salak discusses and signs copies of The White Mary. The National Geographic Society.
The Subprime Solution. Politics and Prose.

9/20
Waiting for an Ordinary Day. Politics and Prose.
Art in the White House: A Nation’s Pride. Smithsonian American Art Museum.
The Ruin of the Roman Empire. Politics and Prose.

9/21
Duel. Politics and Prose.
Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba. Politics and Prose.

9/22
The Hemingses of Monticello. Politics and Prose.

9/23
Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China. Olsson’s Books & Records, Dupont Circle.
The Rhino with Glue-On Shoes and Other Surprising True Stories of Zoo Vets and Their Patients. Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library.
Hot, Flat, and Crowded. Politics and Prose.
Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers. The National Geographic Society.
Ghost Train to the Eastern Star. Politics and Prose.

9/24
(Not That You Asked): Rants, Exploits, and Obsessions. Olsson’s Books & Records, Dupont Circle.
Icarus at the Edge of Time. Politics and Prose.
The True Story of Olimpia Maidalchini: The Secret Female Pope. Embassy of Italy.
Nicole Shivers and Tahra Nichols discuss and signs copies of Maddening Behaviors: Some I Hear, A Lot I See. Busboys and Poets.
Brisingr. Politics and Prose.

9/25
Palestine Inside Out. Politics and Prose.
Songs for the Butcher’s Daughter. Olsson’s Books & Records, Dupont Circle.
Too Many Toys. Politics and Prose.
Pecking Order. Borders Books, K Street.

9/26
A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity: A Memoir. Barnes and Noble, Tysons Corner.
When the White House was Ours. Busboys and Poets.

9/27
The Holocaust by Bullets. Politics and Prose.
National Book Festival Authors in attendance include Tony Horwitz, Bob Schieffer, Daniel Schorr, Paul Theroux, Gordon S. Wood, Salman Rushdie, Louis Bayard, Francine Prose, Marisa de los Santos, Eavan Boland, Elsa Cross, Michael Lind, Michael Harper, Molly Peacock, J. Allyn Ros.
When the White House Was Ours. Politics and Prose.

9/28
The Scotia Windows. Politics and Prose.
Tracing Irish Madness. Politics and Prose.

9/29
Nizam Ali and Tracey Gold discuss and sign copies of Ben’s Chili Bowl: 50 Years of a Washington DC Landmark. Busboys and Poets.
How Many Ways Can You Catch a Fly? Politics and Prose.

9/30
A Promise to Keep. Busboys and Poets.
The Forever War. Politics and Prose.

10/1
Discussion: “Christoph von Marschall,” Part of the German Journalists series. Goethe-Institut Washington.
Exit Music. Borders, Baileys Crossroads.

10/2
Marita Golden delivers a lecture entitled “Why We Read Why We Write.” University of the District of Columbia.
John Parascandola discusses and signs copies of Sex, Sin, and Science: A
History of Syphilis in America. Kensington Row Bookshop.

10/5
Stuffed and Starved. Busboys and Poets.

10/6
We Are Still Americans. Borders Books, K Street.

10/7
Discussion: “Bringing Eastern Market Back,” Goethe-Institut Washington.
In Search of Bill Clinton. Barnes and Noble, M Street.
Barbara Peters and Robert Rosenwald Bookstore owners discuss the popularity of the mystery genre. Library of Congress.

10/8
Sharon Kay Penman discusses and signs copies of Devil’s Brood. Borders, Baileys Crossroads.

10/9
The Tyranny of Oil. Busboys and Poets.

10/10
My War: Killing Time in Iraq, Patches of Fire, and Jarhead. Folger Shakespeare Library.
Development Redefined: How the Market Met its Match. Busboys and Poets.

10/11
Gary Phillips and Ken Bruen read from their latest works. Busboys and Poets.

10/13
Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession. Borders, Baileys Crossroads.

10/14
Alan Jacobson discusses and signs copies of The 7th Victim. Borders, Baileys Crossroads.

10/16
Bill Wasik, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Ken Silverstein host a discussion entitled, “Submersion Journalism:
Reporting in the Radical First Person from Harper’s Magazine.” Busboys and Poets.

10/20
Blind Speed. Busboys and Poets.
Discussion: “I, Johann Sebastian Bach” Goethe-Institut Washington.

10/22
Book discussion: “Earthquake in Chile” Goethe-Institut Washington.

10/26
Memo to the President. Barnes and Noble, M Street.

10/27
Vince Flynn discusses and signs copies of Extreme Measures. Borders, Baileys Crossroads.
Face to Face: How to Reclaim the Personal Touch in a Digital World. Barnes and Noble, M Street.

10/29
Minders of Make Believe: Idealists, Entrepreneurs and the Shaping of American Children’s Literature. Library of Congress.
Lecture: “World Governance” Goethe-Institut Washington.

10/30
The Dead Travel Fast: Stalking Vampires from Nosferatu to Count Chocula. Barnes and Noble, M Street.

11/3
Holy Roller Growing Up in the Church of Knock Down, Drag Out; or, How I Quit Loving a Blue-Eyed Jesus. Busboys and Poets.

11/6
Dwayne Betts reads from his poetry and delivers a lecture entitle, “A Question of Freedom.” University of the District of Columbia.

11/7
Sharp Teeth, The Zombie Survival Guide, and American Zombie. Folger Shakespeare Library.

11/8
Boots on the Ground by Dusk: The Remarkable Life and Death of Pat Tillman. Busboys and Poets.

11/9
Patti Digh discusses and signs copies of Life Is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful and Live Intentionally. Barnes and Noble, M Street.

11/12
Discussion: “After the US Elections” With Karsten Voigt. Goethe-Institut Washington.

11/13
Max Kennedy discusses and signs copies of Danger’s Hour. Borders Books, K Street.

11/14
Secret Maps of the Ancient World. Library of Congress.

11/16
Poet Lore’s 120th birthday. The Writer’s Center Bethesda.

11/17
City Kids, City Schools: More Reports from the Front Row. Busboys and Poets.

11/21
The Reserve and Bridge of Sighs. Folger Shakespeare Library.

11/24
Success: Stories, and Provenance. Busboys and Poets.

12/5
Peter Ho Davies and Cynthia Ozick Both authors read from their newest works. Folger Shakespeare Library.

12/11
Jews and Shoes. Library of Congress.