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Books

McCandless author plumbs literary, cultural roles in ‘Prague Summer’

By Rege Behe
The genesis of Jeffrey Condran’s debut novel, “Prague Summer,” came from one of the worst days in American history. Condran was teaching a class for the Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth) program at La Roche College on Sept. 11, …

Pittsburgh author: ‘Supernatural’ generally can be explained

By Rege Behe
There’s a reason why Western Pennsylvania is brimming with tales of ghosts and supernatural occurrences: Almost everything in America that’s weird, wild or strange has …

Pittsburgh-born George Benson’s book looks at origins of his sound

By Bob Karlovits
The story of George Benson goes beyond one that could be told “On Broadway.” Fans of the Pittsburgh-born guitarist and singer always will tell you …

Review: ‘Time Out of Mind’ is rich study on Dylan

By David Mcfadden
The second installment of Ian Bell’s two-part biography of Bob Dylan, “Time Out of Mind,” is a compelling, focused examination of the latter half of the elusive singer-songwriter’s life and career, starting off with his acclaimed “Blood on the Tracks” …

Review: Couple finds a lost spark in ‘Brightwell’

By Oline H. Cogdill
At the heart of this light, energetic tale of a group of wealthy eccentrics on holiday at a seaside resort in England emerges a story of a marriage. Yes, there’s a juicy scandal, snobbish comments and petty disagreements among people …

Psychic, elephants drive Jodi Picoult’s latest novel

By Rege Behe
It happens to hundreds of thousands of parents every year: The youngest child leaves home for college or a job or to get married, leaving …

U.S. doctor’s book recounts rescue in Afghanistan in which Norwin graduate died

By Joe Napsha
A Colorado aid doctor, kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan in December 2012 and rescued four days later in a raid by special forces, said he grieves for the Navy SEAL from Monroeville who was killed during his rescue. Dr. …

David Sedaris tries hard, but doesn’t want to seem like it

By The Washington Post
David Sedaris, the American humorist and author, will be in Oakland on Oct. 21 at the Carnegie Music Hall. The Washington Post recently sat down with the man whose titles include “Me Talk Pretty One Day” and, most recently, “Let’s …

Book charts rise of ‘Star Wars’ media empire

By Marco Della Cava
The sextet of Star Wars movies has spawned an international army of fans, innumerable merchandising offshoots and countless books. So, do we really need another …

Bio depicts Cosby as a master of the riff

By Chris Foran
You could make a case that Bill Cosby is America’s most popular jazzman. For most of his life, Cosby has been riffing, improvising, playing off …

‘Secret Place’ shows school life gone bloody

By Joy Tipping
If you’re a thriller fan and haven’t discovered the wonders of Tana French, her latest, “The Secret Place,” will surely get you hooked, and by …

Poetry collection reflects Squirrel Hill writer’s roots

By Rege Behe
It’s not easy making the transition from prose to poetry. For Chuck Kinder of Squirrel Hill, it’s a natural progression and a return to his …

French writer Patrick Modiano wins literature Nobel

By The Associated Press
STOCKHOLM — Patrick Modiano of France, who has made a lifelong study of the Nazi occupation and its effect on his country, was awarded the …

Big Read organizers encourage conversation about ‘Fahrenheit 451’

By Brian Bowling
With 43 free events scheduled during 39 days, organizers of the Big Read hope to get everyone talking about Ray Bradbury’s censorship classic, “Fahrenheit 451.” …

Review: New biography of Tennessee Williams is brilliant

By Ann Levin
When “The Glass Menagerie” opened on Broadway in March 1945, the actress cast as Southern matriarch Amanda Wingfield got so drunk before the show that …

16th novel brings Crombie back to Oakmont

By Pamela Murphy
Deborah Crombie remembers sitting on the bus from Heathrow Airport to London with her face pressed against the window and tears running down her face. …

Bezmozgis explores loyalty, betrayal

By Ann Levin
The betrayals come thick and fast in David Bezmozgis’ aptly titled and beautifully written second novel, “The Betrayers.” The first involves Baruch Kotler, a 64-year-old Israeli politician who cheated on his wife with a much younger woman. Soon enough, we …

Review: Crime novel ‘Blind Spot’ is well plotted

By Bruce Desilva
It’s been years since Jesse Stone, police chief in the mythical town of Paradise, Mass., had his pro baseball career shattered in a collision at …

Authors link Steelers’ values to community, family life

By Rex Rutkoski
It’s called “The Steelers’ Way.” But its lessons resonate well beyond the football field, say Tunch Ilkin and Damian W. Williams. Deep into the community, …

Author Winchester’s interest in U.S. history born of ‘how people lived’

By Rege Behe
Chances are, all but the most avid historians won’t recognize the names John Fitch, Ted Judah and Cal Rodgers, or their contributions to American history …