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Books weigh a lot. They take up shelf space. They require dusting. And they cause great anxiety—as five or 50 languish, unread or half-read, we return from the bookstore or yard sale with a few more orange-spined Penguin Classics. In Ruined by Reading: A Life in Books, Lynne Sharon Schwartz reflects on the compulsion to experience language on the printed page. Schwartz, an excellent observer and fearless confessor, discusses childhood favorites (Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid” and Poe’s “Annabel Lee”), reconciles her reading habit with book-renouncing Buddhist practice, and wittily explains why she doesn’t feign knowledge of books she hasn’t read (“It would be tantamount to a devout Catholic’s claiming falsely to be in a state of grace”). She reads at 7 p.m. at Chapters, 1512 K St. NW. FREE. (202) 347-5495. (Nathalie op de Beeck)