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Newly opened Riverstone Books fills a void in the North Hills

| Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, 6:21 p.m.
Riverstone Books
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Riverstone Books

As the former head of corporate development for Alcoa, Barbara Jeremiah knows the importance of location. Thus, when looking for a site to open an independent bookstore in the North Hills, McCandless Crossing in the North Hills caught her eye – specifically one prime storefront next to a Panera restaurant.

“It was absolutely the best place,” says Jeremiah, whose Riverstone Books opened on Oct. 12. “It's no secret in (book) retailing that you have to have coffee or wine.”

Riverstone Books fills a void in the North Hills left by the closing of Borders Books at the Shoppes at Northway in 2011. The other closest full-scale bookstores are Barnes & Noble stores in Cranberry and at Waterworks Mall in Fox Chapel.

Jeremiah is no stranger in rescuing communities in need of independent bookshops. A few years she purchased Undercover Books & Gifts, the only independent bookstore on St. Croix, when it was in danger of closing.

“We didn't want to have a winter home without a bookstore,” Jeremiah says.

Now she's providing literary enthusiasts in the North Hills with a refuge. The 2,700-square-foot store features fiction, non-fiction, mystery and children's sections (with an inviting and cozy book nook that at least one adult has used, according to store manager Kristin Pidgeon). There's also a section dedicated to local authors, and the floor book displays are on casters to make it easier to host reading and live events.

The design of the children's section was important to Jeremiah, who wanted to make it a place for grandparents to read to children. The store will begin hosting story time events for kids on Oct. 28; the first two books to be read are “Pete the Cat: Five Little Pumpkins” by James Dean, and Linda White's “Too Many Pumpkins.”

So far, reaction from the community has been positive. Pidgeon admits she's been surprised by the number of customers who have already found the store. And Jeremiah says she's heard from McCandless officials who are thrilled about the opening of Riverstone.

“The township (of McCandless) is very proud to have a new bookstore,” Jeremiah says.

Store hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; noon to 5 p.m. Sundays

Details: 412-366-1001 or riverstonebookstore.com

Local releases

• Joyce Tremel's new mystery, “A Room with a Brew,” is the third installment in her “Brewing Trouble” series featuring brew pub owner Maxine “Max” O'Hara and her extended Irish family. Tremel will appear Nov. 1 at Hofbrauhuas Pittsburgh at the South Side Works to tap the keg for the November beer, Dunkelweizen. Details: joycetremel.com.

• Kerry Neville's new short-story collection, “Remember to Forget Me,” is the latest offering by local publisher Braddock Avenue Books . Formerly of Meadville and now living in Georgia, Neville's first collection, “Necessary Lies,” received the G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize for fiction and was named a ForeWord magazine Short Story Book of the Year.

Literary events

Nov. 2: Hope Toler Dougherty, author of “Rescued Hearts,” book launch, 6:30 p.m., Riverstone Books, McCandless Crossing. 412-366-1001, riverstonebookstore.com.

Nov. 4: Michael Stanley, author of “Dying to Live,” Coffee & Crime Series, 10:30 a.m., Mystery Lovers Bookshop, Oakmont. 412-828-4877, mysterylovers.com

Nov. 4: Gary Fincke, author of “The Out-Sorts,” 7 p.m., City Books, Pittsburgh's North Side. 412-321-7323, citybookspgh.com.

Nov. 8: Black Futures: poets R. Erica Doyle, Francine J. Harris, Douglas Kearney, Ronaldo Wilson honoring sculptor Thaddeus Mosely, sponsored by Center for African American Poetry and Poetics, 7:30 p.m., Frick Fine Arts Building, Oakland. caapp.pitt.edu

Nov. 8: Jimmy Cvetic Tribute Reading, a benefit for Western Pennsylvania Athletic League, featuring Jan Beatty, S. A. Griffin, Lori Jakiela, John Korn, Adam Matcho, Leslie Anne Mcilroy, Dave Newman, Ed Ochester, Judith Vollmer and Joan E. Bauer, 8 p.m., Hemingway's Café, Oakland. Suggested donation $5. Hemingways-café.com

Nov. 9: Poetry & Pints, poetry readings. 6 p.m., East End Brewing Company, Pittsburgh's Strip District. 412-537-2337, eastendbrewing.com

Nov. 10: An Evening with Yaa Gyasi, author of “Homecoming,” sponsored by Peters Township Library Association, 7 p.m., South Hills Bible Chapel, McMurray. $15-$10. 724-941-9430, ptlibrary.org

Nov. 11: Mona Chalabi, data editor at Guardian US, 4 p.m., Carnegie Library Lecture Hall, Oakland. 412-622.3114, carnegielibaryorg.

Nov. 13: Isabel Allende, author of “House of the Spirits” and the new novel “In the Midst of Winter,” Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures Ten Evenings, 7:30 p.m, Carnegie Music Hall, Oakland. Sold out. 412-622-8866, pittsburghlectures.org.

Nov. 14: Walter Stahr, author of “Stanton: Lincoln's War Secretary,” 6:30 p.m., Riverstone Books, McCandless Crossing. 412-366-1001, riverstonebookstore.com.

Nov 14: Coffee House Reading Series, featuring Elizabeth Breese, Karen Dwyer, 7 p.m., Genesius Theater, Duquesne University, http://bit.ly/2yLVRXG

Nov. 14: John Edgar Wideman, author of “Brothers and Keepers,” In Conversation with Dan Kubis, 7 p.m., Carnegie Library Lecture Hall, Oakland. Free with advance registration. http://bit.ly/2yK6t99

Nov. 16: Lynda Schuster, author of “Dirty Wars and Polished Silver,” A Conversation with the Author series, 7 p.m., Rodef Shalom Congregation, Shadyside. 412-621-6566, rodefshalom.org.

Nov. 18: Samantha Smith, author of “Cate's Magic Garden,” storytime and book signing, 11 a.m., Penguin Bookshop, Sewickley 412-741-3838, penguinbookshop.com.

Nov. 18: Bernd Brunner, author of “Birdmania: A Remarkable Passion for Birds,” 2 p.m., Carnegie Library Lecture Hall, Oakland. Presented by Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures and Carnegie Museum of Natural History. $5. 412-622-8866, pittsburghlectures.org.

Nov. 20: Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Empire Falls,” Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures Ten Evenings, 7:30 p.m., Carnegie Music Hall, Oakland. $35-$15. 412-622-8866, pittsburghlectures.org.

Book recommendations

“Future Home of the Living God” by Louise Erdrich, (Harper, $28.99): A pregnant Ojibwe native goes back to her mother's reservation during an environmental cataclysm as society disintegrates. By the author of “LaRose” and “Round House.”

“Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker” by Gregory Maguire (William Morrow, $26.99): The author of the popular books based on “The Wizard of Oz” and “Alice in Wonderland” reimagines the “The Nutcracker” in his new book. Maguire weds the carving of the Nutcracker with the back stories of the ballet's fabled characters, Klara and Drosselmeier.

“The Revolution of Marina M” by Janet Fitch, (Little Brown, $30): In her first novel in 11 years, Fitch writes about a young Russian woman of privilege, a poet who becomes enmeshed in the Russian Revolution of 1917. By the author of “White Oleander” and “Paint it Black.”

“Heather, the Totality” by Matthew Weiner, (Little Brown, $25): A debut novel by the creator of “Mad Men, Weiner's short (144 pages) tale about a wealthy couple whose perfect life starts to crumble when the owners of the penthouse above them invade their lives.

“Ali: A Life” by Jonathan Eig, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30): Eig conducted over 500 interviews, pored through thousands of pages of FBI documents, and listened to hours of lost audiotapes to create what is being billed as the most complete biography of the famed late boxer.

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