by Gina Sestak
Now that the Earth has traveled once more to the warm side of the Sun (hush, I know that stuff about the hemispheres and axis tilt -- I'm just trying to be poetic) and tiny plants have pushed their soft green heads out of the ground, it's time to -- READ. What? Not garden? Not stroll through blossom-scented meadows seeking newly returned birds? NO. That's not what we here at the stiffs are all about.
Today marks the 13th Annual Festival of Mystery.
That's right. In a Greek Orthodox Church hall in beautiful Oakmont, Pennsylvania, the Mystery Lovers Bookshop will present more than four dozen of our favorite authors, live and in person, signing (and selling) their books. [You understand now why this is a time to read, I trust?] A complete list of authors can be found at the Festival website. Suffice it to say that some of our own local favorites (and working stiffs bloggers) will be among them, as well as writers from all over the country and beyond.
For anyone who hasn't attended the Festival before, getting there is easy. Just follow the Allegheny River away from Downtown Pittsburgh until you get to Oakmont. You'll know you've arrived when you see oak leaves on the street signs. More reliable driving directions can be obtained through mapquest or yahoo: the Church Hall address is 12 Washington Avenue, Oakmont, PA.
The atmosphere is relaxed. Authors sit behind stacks of their work, signing books and chatting with passing fans. It's a chance to see what these folks look like in the flesh, not just in that studio portrait on the book jacket. There is also a program in which the authors get to speak briefly from a stage. The hard part is not buying every book from everyone, although I'm sure Mystery Lovers wouldn't mind at all if you did.
So pick yourselves up, gather up plenty of cash and charge cards, and, if you don't already own one, borrow a vehicle sturdy enough to carry a humungous load of books. I hope to see each and every one of you at the Festival.