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MONDAY

Assassination Vacation is not the novelization of the nonexistent sequel to Robert Duvall’s Assassination Tango, but is instead Sarah Vowell’s latest enigmatic look at us confusing Americans. A road trip planned around places of icon assassinations and bloodletting and the tourist traps that they’ve become—this was an idea only Vowell could have executed with any sort of warmth and humor. The author of The Partly Cloudy Patriot, Take the Cannoli, and Radio On; contributing editor of NPR’s This American Life; and, as the book jacket attests, a “McSweeney’s person,” Vowell explodes the tourist trap, er, trappings of the assassinations of Lincoln, McKinley, and our shortest-lived president, Garfield. With a historical breadth you might expect from some cartoon professor with a bow tie and comb-over, the enthusiastic and insightful Vowell deftly picks apart the blind glorification of some very odd physical locations, such as Dry Tortugas Island, where Lincoln-assassination conspirators were imprisoned. Plus, we get to meet her family along the way—it’s a vacation, after all. Vowell reads at 7 p.m. Monday, April 18, at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Andrew Earles)