Before the holiday tightens its death grip on the region's cultural life, two literary series offer readings this week to keep our spirits light throughout Sparkle Season.
International Poetry Forum
Poets Sheryl St. Germain and Andrea Hollander Budy finish the first half of the forum season tomorrow at 8 p.m. in the Carnegie Library Lecture Hall, Oakland.
For St. Germain, a New Orleans native, it's been a very good year. The graduate writing program she directs at Chatham University was recognized recently by the Atlantic Monthly and Poets & Writers magazines for being both "unique" and "distinctive."
Her latest poetry collection, "Let It Be a Dark Roux," was recently published by Autumn Press of Pittsburgh.
St. Germain's previous book, "Swamp Woman," is a collection of essays about her life in New Orleans.
Budy, an Arkansas resident, is also an Autumn House author. "Woman in the Painting" is the title of her collection, her third. She's writer in residence at Lyon College.
Tickets are $12. To order: 412-621-9893.
Gist Street Reading Series
This series, based at 306 Gist St., Uptown, is taking a six-month break after its final reading of the year Friday at 8 p.m.
The readers are Dave Griffith and Benjamin Percy.
Griffith directs the writing program at the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts in the summer; the rest of the year, he teaches at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of "A Good War Is Hard To Find: The Art of Violence in America," published last year.
Percy, on the faculty at Marquette University, is a short story writer with two collections under his belt, "The Language of Elk" and "Refresh, Refresh."
Doors open at 7:15 p.m. Price is $5 at the door. For more, www.giststreet.org.
As a twist on the myriad lists of books, the National Book Critics Circle is compiling titles that its members recommend. Here's the inaugural offering:
1. "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" by Junot Diaz.
2. "Tree of Smoke" by Denis Johnson.
3. "The Yiddish Policeman's Union" by Michael Chabon.
4. "Exit Ghost" by Philip Roth.
5. "Out Stealing Horses" by Per Petterson.
1. "Brother, I'm Dying" by Edwidge Danticat.
2. "The World Without Us" by Alan Weisman.
3. "The Shock Doctrine" by Naomi Klein.
4. "Schulz and Peanuts" by David Michaelis.
5. "Legacy of Ashes" by Tim Weiner.
Post-Gazette book editor Bob Hoover can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1634. First Published December 4, 2007 5:00 AM