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MONDAY

The subhead of Nathaniel Stone’s new book, On the Water, reads like a line from a forgotten Simon and Garfunkel song. Yes, the quaintness quotient augured by the titular notion of “Discovering America in a Rowboat” is frighteningly high, yet as Stone puts in at harbor after harbor, meeting good ol’ American folk, darned if it don’t just keep getting quainter. Stone’s matter-of-fact writing and lack of self-importance make his strokes of hooray-for-Americana go down easy, keeping the pages turning as the boat keeps churning. And even though Stone’s road less traveled is pretty well-traveled (see Heat-Moon, William Least), he does without the protracted self-analysis and descriptions of light licking water that mark the worst of the genre. Like the best in travel writing, Stone’s prose is still evocative, effective, and transporting. Shake the shirt-tanned man’s chafed hand at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Josh Levin)