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Alain de Botton, big-brained author of How Proust Can Change Your Life, has assembled a travel guide of sorts for folks who think entirely too much. The Art of Travel takes you on a globe-trotting tour with some of world literature’s heavyweights, wherein you and your guides William Wordsworth, John Ruskin, and Gustave Flaubert (among others) can philosophize glumly about travel while avoiding the hassle and ultimate letdown of an actual vacation. “What we find exotic abroad may be what we hunger for in vain at home,” writes de Botton. But once you are over the initial thrill of electrical outlets with too many holes and oddly placed toilet-flush levers, you inevitably start arguing with your traveling partner and get stomach cramps from all the rich food. In the postcard-worthy words of Charles Baudelaire, “We saw stars/And waves; we saw sands, too/And despite many crises and unforeseen disasters/We were often bored, just as we are here.” Answer the age-old question “Why bother to go anywhere when I’ll just have to come back?” when de Botton appears at Borders in Baileys Crossroads on Tuesday, Aug. 6, and today at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Shauna Miller)