7 P.M. Henry Louis Gates Jr., the director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University, discusses and signs the illustrated “Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History, 1513-2008,” at Politics and Prose Bookstore, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-364-1919.
7:30 P.M. The Folger Shakespeare Library presents the annual Emily Dickinson Birthday Tribute, with poet Aracelis Girmay, author, most recently, of the collection “Kingdom Animalia,” reading from both her own work and that of Dickinson, at the Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol St. SE. A reception (featuring a black cake made from Dickinson’s own recipe) and book sale and signing follow. Tickets are $15; for details and to RSVP, call 202-544-7077 or visit www.folger.edu/poetry. Co-sponsored by the Poetry Society of America.
6 P.M. Historian Stanley Wenintraub reads from and discusses his new book, “Pearl Harbor Christmas: A World at War, December 1941,” at the National Portrait Gallery bookstore, 202-633-5450. A book signing follows.
7 P.M. James Beard Award-winning food writer and cook Melissa Clark discusses and signs her new book, “Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can’t Wait to Make,” at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, 600 “Eye” St. NW. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door or two free with purchase of the book. For details, call 202-408-3100 or visit www.sixthandi.org.
7 P.M. CIA veteran and stand-up comic Ed Mickolus reads from and discusses his new book, “The Secret Book of CIA Humor,” at One More Page Books, 2200 N. Westmoreland St., Arlington, Va., 703-300-9746.
7 P.M. Daniel Kahneman, a professor of psychology emeritus at Princeton University, discusses and signs his new, best-selling book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” at Politics and Prose Bookstore, 202-364-1919.
7 P.M. John Lewis Gaddis, a professor of history at Yale University, reads from and discusses “George F. Kennan: An American Life,” his biography of the renowned American diplomat, in a conversation with National Public Radio’s Jim Siegel at the Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital, 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Visit www.hillcenterdc.org to RSVP. Gaddis will also speak on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at American University’s School of International Service, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW, and again at 7 p.m. that evening at Politics and Prose Bookstore, 202-364-1919.
For more literary events, go to washingtonpost.com/gog/ and search “book event.”