From indie presses to progressive bookstores, there's no denying that Brooklyn = highly literary. So it only stands to reason that the annual Brooklyn Book Festival, which begins Thursday and runs through the weekend, has fast become the city's hottest writerly and readerly happening.

Here, our picks for the events to attend--and the books that everyone will be talking about.

Best talks and readings From among the many intriguing free Sunday lectures and readings (which feature Jennifer Egan, Jhumpa Lahiri and Sam Lipsyte, among others), we're perhaps most excited about "The Phantom Tollbooth at 50," a discussion of the classic children's book with the original author and illustrator (12 p.m.; St. Francis Auditorium, 180 Remsen St.).

Best party The Dumbo powerHouse Arena's (37 Main St.) opening-night gala promises the most high-minded mingling, but we're putting our money on Brooklyn Winery's bookish bash (7:30 p.m., Thursday, 213 N. 3rd St.) where author-cum-oenophile Jay McInerney will serve as MC.

Buzziest books Expect lots of hype for Tom Perrotta's dark new offering and Erin Morgenstern's Harry Potter-like The Night Circus. Our fall book pick, however, is New York Times reporter Amy Waldman's The Submission, a first novel that explores the 9/11 memorial in a new, provocative and deeply fascinating fashion.

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