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California senator Barbara Boxer’s literary debut, A Time to Run, is kind of, well, hot. Sure, Madeleine Albright has praised Boxer’s true-to-life plotline and brave look at the corruption of political ideals, but let’s get real: If it weren’t for her serious Hill cred, the stuff would read like a seedy dollar romance. Boxer’s central characters all meet in Berkeley during the Nixon era: Young Ellen is canvassing in the rain for the Children’s Alliance when, hoping for one last signature, she breaks into the house of Josh Fischer, whom she later marries. After committing her crime, “she studied him where he sat so quietly in the shadows,” Boxer writes. “She found herself thinking of an Apache warrior. An image from a long-ago poetry class slid into her mind as if tailor-made for him: bright darkness.” Smokin’. It’s no wonder Boxer has received more votes than any Senate candidate in U.S. history. Boxer discusses and signs copies of her work at 7 p.m. at Olsson’s Books & Records, 1307 19th St. NW. Free. (202) 785-1133. (Megan Maher)