It's quite the red letter week for us bookish types, with the prestigious, sometimes baffling, and oft-maligned National Book Awards dinner and awards ceremony tomorrow night where trophies will be bestowed, granted, totally robbed, whatever, at the Marriott Marquis. To that end, critic A.O. Scott has an interesting article about the contradictions and complications inherent to the awards, Medal Fatigue (registration required). 2005_11_artskeillor.gifGarrison Keillor is the Master of Ceremonies which, frankly, is why Gothamist wishes we had tickets. If you do have a seat at the Ivory Tower's table, enjoy and report back to us lowly slobs. The odds on the fiction winner have already been calculated by New York Mag, with Gaitskill and Doctorow as the favourites to win. It's just like Belmont, really.

Tonight, speaking of black tie backstabbing and awards, is the finalist reading, with Phillip Gourevitch (editor of the Paris Review) presiding at the New School, in the Tishman Auditorium, 66 West 12th Street. The shindig starts at 7 PM and features readings by nominees E.L. Doctorow and William T. Vollman, to name a few. Tickets are $10, and if it's not sold out, through the New School Box Office at 212.229.5488 (calling the box office line did nothing for us, they don't open until 1 PM!). Or you could stay at home and watch it online at the New School Online, and root for Doctorow v. Gaitskill with beer and popcorn.

If the literati highbrow of the Awards is lacking in the essential quippy irony for you, consider Dave Eggers instead. On Wednesday, November 16th, Symphony Space is hosting An Evening With McSweeney's, pieces read from the hip journal by indy-darlings David Strathairn, Hope Davis, and David Rakoff. The event starts at 8 PM and tickets are $25, available on Symphony Space's website. Hey, hip elitism doesn't come cheap!

Saturday night might be alright for fighting, but Sunday night's alright for poets! Makor, the theatre space at 67th between Columbus and Central Park West associated with the 92nd Street Y, is hosting Dead Poets Live!, a reading event that brings back to life the words of poets from Shakespeare to Plath, on Sunday, November 20th. Read by talented stage and voice actors, the reading starts at 7 PM and costs $15.

Benjamin Hedin, editor of the new anthology about Bob Dylan, Studio A, is a busy guy this week. He's reading from the book at Sebastian Junger's bar, the Half King on Monday, November 21st (23rd and 10th ave, 7 PM) and the next day, Tuesday, November 22nd, at KGB Bar (E. 4th street and 2nd Ave, 7 PM). Both events are free, bless those writerly bars' hearts. We love free readings here at Gothamist, so we love the Half King and KGB and plan to feature their somewhat lesser known reading nights as often as they sound interesting.

If all those events don't keep your literary thirst quenched and maybe even a little drunk, well, tune in next week for more about where to read and be seen.