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12

THURSDAY

One of last year’s most surprising success stories in the publishing world was Augusten Burroughs’ Running With Scissors, a compelling memoir of the author’s disturbed upbringing, which made Brian Wilson’s torturous adolescence seem blessed by comparison. Burroughs turned childhood experiences of sexual molestation and abandonment into literary lemonade; unfortunately, he soon began spiking that lemonade with increasingly potent amounts of joy juice. His over-the-top alcoholism and subsequent stint in rehab is the subject of his follow-up book, Dry: A Memoir. One might be tempted to brand Dry a rush job designed to coordinate with the paperback release of Scissors or the recent rash of hyped addiction memoirs (Wurtzel, Frey). In all fairness, however, Dry was written before Burroughs’ breakthrough book, and Burroughs’ Sedaris-like wit makes him infinitely more endearing than his on-the-wagon counterparts. He’s just as willing to blame Bewitched’s Darren Stevens’ refrain of “Better make it a double” for his firewater fever as he is to pin it on the abuse he suffered at his alcoholic father’s hands. Burroughs reads at 7 p.m. at Olsson’s Books & Records, 2111 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. Free. (703) 525-4227. (DD)