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THURSDAY

So you feel guilty that you’ve never read Mason & Dixon. You agonize about not having finished Underworld. And that copy of Infinite Jest you bought on remainder four years ago hasn’t even been opened. Yes, sometimes keeping up with the lions of modern literature is not unlike lifting bricks. For those who like their fiction leaner, there are writers such as native Washingtonian Mary Robison. Robison is best known for her New Yorker short stories, but she’s also written three novels. Her latest, Why Did I Ever, consists of the brief but snappy diary entries of Money Breton, a Hollywood script doctor whose life is unraveling. Through Breton’s often cutting inner dialogue, we learn that three husbands have come and gone, the taxman is a-knockin’, her two grown children are in trouble, and her cat is missing. The entries read like off-the-cuff comments, but they accumulate in such a way as to flesh out the characters with humor and irony. Robison reads at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Annys Shin)