Grief, mystery, history, anger, fun and faith are all around us this month.

Gist Street Reading Series: Jan. 8

Poet Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno’s first book, Slamming Open the Door, lets you into her feelings, affected by the murder of her daughter. Her deeply personal focus has stirred many readers. The New York Times’ David Kirby said, “Readers will have to step outside of a familiar, comforting tradition of poetic grief while reading this book.” Bonanno is now an advocate for victims’ rights and a member of the Montgomery County Parents of Murdered Children.

Also reading at this month’s Gist Street Reading Series is Boston’s Scottish-born Margot Livesey. Her sixth novel, The House on Fortune Street, drew rave reviews and turned up on many critics’ 2009 lists of best novels, and won the 2009 L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award. “Her prose beautifully evokes the thwarted passion and thrilling intrigue found in the works of Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë and [John] Keats,” according to the Chicago Tribune. Livesey’s work has appeared in The New Yorker and Atlantic Monthly as well as in numerous literary magazines. (James Simon’s Sculpture Studio, third floor, 305 Gist St., uptown. Fri., Jan. 8. Doors open at 7:15 p.m.; readings are at 8 p.m. $5. Info: giststreet.org)

Mystery Lovers Bookshop: Coffee & Crime Breakfast: Jan. 23

Alan Gordon evokes the much-older past—the early 13th century—in eight Fools’ Guild Mysteries novels. The latest, The Parisian Prodigal, is just seeing the light of day this month. And Feste, the fool from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, a.k.a. Theophilus, is the star of the series and once more probes murder with wit and wisdom.

Gordon has written tales and ruminations for many publications: Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, The Medieval Academy Newsletter, Wolfsbane and Mistletoe, Queens Noir, Crime a la Carte and Once Upon A Crime II. FYI: Gordon has also written the lyrics and libretti for off-Broadway musicals. Here he’ll talk and sign books. (Mystery Lovers Bookshop, 514 Allegheny River Blvd., Oakmont. Sat., Jan. 23, 10 a.m. $5. Reservations required. Reservations: mysterylovers.com; info: 412/828-4877)

Andy Warhol Museum’s “Off The Wall” Series: Jan. 23

The work of director/choreographer Jeremy Wade takes center stage at this “Off the Wall” event. His visual art juxtaposes animation, still images, movement and sound, and explores global pop culture in There Is No End to More. It premiered in New York City last month. His project, he claims, digs into consumption, delusion, aberration and other social ills. (New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. Sat., Jan. 23, 8 p.m. $10-$20. Tickets: 412/237-8300, warhol.org)

Black, White & Read All Over: Jan. 24

Jeff Kinney sure has made a name for himself and for the character Greg Heffley, who keeps turning in new pages in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, a bunch of New York Times best-sellers. A movie version is even due this year. October 2009 saw the publication of the fourth Diary book, Dog Days, in which, as always, Greg messes up.

Since May 2004, the Web version of the first book in the series has been viewed by 20 million readers. Kinney draws the illustrating cartoons; has a kid-friendly Web site, poptropica.com, and comes up with online games at funbrain.com, a Web site for people of all ages.
This event is for people of all ages, too, with a question-and-answer exchange after the reading and a meet-the-author gathering and book signing. (Carnegie Library Lecture Hall, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Sun., Jan. 24, 10:30 a.m. $8-$10. Info: 412/622-8866, pittsburghlectures.org)

M.F.A. Program Creative-Writing Series At Chatham University:  Jan. 27

Poet Philip Terman’s 2007 book, Rabbis of the Air, “manages to combine the melancholy and the sensuous…and augment his old-world faith with gentle paganism,” said Leslie Ullman in Poetry magazine.

Terman, an English professor at Clarion University, fosters artists and audiences to celebrate their ideas at the Bridge House Coffee House and Performance Space in Franklin, Venango County. He’s published Greatest Hits, Book of the Unbroken Days and The House of Sage, and his words have sung out in The Georgia Review, Poetry magazine, The Kenyon Review, The New England Review, The Gettysburg Review and Tikkun. (Mellon Living Room, Chatham University, Woodland Road, Shadyside. Wed., Jan. 27, 8 p.m. Free. Info: 412/365-1190, chatham.edu)

Categories: Arts & Entertainment