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September is get-back-to-work month, which means a lot of publishers are going to start guilting you about reading serious literature. Hunkering down at home with the voice of a generation is one option. But you can also cheat a little by getting out of the house and letting others read to you. This month marks the return of three sizable book festivals. A quick guide follows.
What: Ten days of Jewish authors, authors of Jewish-themed books, and one film tribute to Amos Oz.
Where: Washington D.C. Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th St. NW.
When: Right now to Sept. 24.
The Big-Deal Event Is: Bernard-Henri Lévy, who discusses Left in Dark Times on Saturday, Sept. 20.
But You Really Should Check Out: Adam Langer, tonight, and Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, who speaks on Sept. 24.
Surprisingly, Thumpin’ It is Not a Sequel to Portnoy’s Complaint but Instead Is: the title of a book by Jacques Berlinerblau about “the use and abuse of the Bible in today’s presidential politics.” He speaks Friday, Sept. 19.
What: Laura Bush-sponsored tribute to American literature and C-SPAN 2 tote bags. Plus: cookbooks, and, in a move that raises the hackles of at least one blog commenter here, folks dressed like characters in children’s books.
Where: The National Mall
When: Saturday, Sept. 27
The Big-Deal Event Is: Take your pick: Cokie Roberts, Richard Price, Neil Gaiman, Salman Rushdie, Alexander McCall Smith…
But You Really Should Check Out: Poet Stanley Plumly, U. of Maryland prof and author the well-received Posthumous Keats: A Personal Biography.
Number of Novels Attendee and Former NFL Running Back Tiki Barber Has Written: Five. Get on the stick, Marilynne Robinson!
What: Annual book festival designed to make Fairfax County interesting for a few days.
Where: Mostly around the George Mason University campus.
When: Sept. 21-26.
The Big-Deal Event Is: Chinua Achebe, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Things Fall Apart, at GMU’s Center for the Arts Monday, Sept. 22. Not to mention Sue Miller, Michael Cunningham, Ethan Canin, Charles Baxter….
But You Really Should Check Out: Porter Shreve, whose new novel, When the White House Was Ours, is set at a D.C. alternative school in 1976. It’s a story he knows from experience.
If You Were Hoping That Maybe, Somehow, Someday, Somebody Would Write a Book About Abraham Lincoln: Your ship’s come in. The schedule for Tuesday, Sept. 23 features no fewer than five Honest Abe scholars, including Daniel Mark Epstein, Andrew Ferguson, Michael Beschloss, Joshua Wolf Shenk, and James L. Swanson.