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For Small World: A Microcosmic Journey, Brad Herzog works a Jay Leno–like premise—travel to little U.S. towns named after famous cities and explore. So he hoofed it to Rome, Ore., Mecca, Calif., Moscow, Maine, and…well, you get the idea. Now, visiting a place with a worldly name is one thing, but finding something interesting to write about once you get there is the real slog. So Herzog evokes the charms of the greasy spoon and the local pub, makes puns of town names, and provides plenty of Middle American atmosphere: “Donna appeared younger than her fifty years, her magical youth elixir consisting of hard work.” He mourns taillights fading through a diner window, he argues politics with the yokels, and he gives hippies their due. In other words, Herzog does what we all do when we travel: eats out, asks the freaky kid where the cool hangout is, and takes pictures of trees. Lay down the welcome mat when Herzog reads at 1 p.m. at Olsson’s Books & Records, 1307 19th St. NW. Free. (202) 785-1133. (Jason Cherkis)