Pittsburgh Goodreaders discussion

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Pittsburgh-Related Books

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message 1: by Rob (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:06PM) (new)

Rob McMonigal | 18 comments Mod
Has anyone read any Pittsburgh-related books lately? I got out "The Living and the Dead" by Anne Hayes, a local poet. It was quite good, you can see my review of it here: http://trebro.livejournal.com/276020....

I probably don't read enough local books, was wondering about the rest of you.

-Rob


message 2: by Rachael (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:06PM) (new)

Rachael | 7 comments I never heard of this book, but it looks interesting. I will have to check it out.


message 3: by Robbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:06PM) (new)

Robbie Bashore | 12 comments The Memory-Keepers Daughter has significant passages about Pittsburgh. I found those parts fun to read, because they were near where I live.


message 4: by Jonathan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:07PM) (new)

Jonathan | 7 comments I work at Carnegie Mellon, and I occassionally read one of our faculty-written books -- though they are not necessarily about Pittsburgh. The last two Pittsburgh-related books I read were "The Memory Keeper's Daughter" and "Ride."


message 5: by Robbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:08PM) (new)

Robbie Bashore | 12 comments Before I moved to Pittsburgh in 1996, or shortly after arriving here, I read Annie Dillard's "An American Childhood" and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, that led me to pick, without having read it first, "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" for my first bookclub pick in a group that formed in 1999. When we gathered to discuss it, nobody had finished the book yet, including me! Don't get me wrong, it's a worthwhile read and parts are very interesting. It's just very hard to wade through. I still get teased about that pick by founding readers of the group.


message 6: by Mark (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:08PM) (new)

Mark Two obvious choices, which I have reviews on: "Out of this Furnace" about immigrant steelworker life; "Valley of Decision," a great soap opera featuring a 19th century ironmaker family, Irish servants, labor activists, and a terrific flood scene on the North Side.

There is also, of course, Chabon's "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh", which I haven't read, and probably most unfamiliar, "Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist" by Alexander Berkman, the man who tried to assassinate Henry Clay Frick during the Homestead steel strike, which takes place almost entirely within the North Side jail known as Western Penitentiary.


message 7: by Jonathan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:15PM) (new)

Jonathan | 7 comments I like "Mysteries of Pittsburgh" and I'm embarrassed to say it's the only Chabon I've read. Chabon includes vivid descriptions of the city in his book, but I wouldn't go so far as to say the city becomes a character. (Though I would say there is a certain underlying hopelessness that pervades the story which I would say derives from living in a city in decline. The books was written in the 80s.)

And of course we've discussed before "Out of this Furnace" which is just marvelous.


message 8: by Robbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:29PM) (new)

Robbie Bashore | 12 comments How could I forget? "The Women of Troy Hill" by Clare Ansberry. The neighborhood was viewed through rose-colored glasses by the author (I later read of rampant racism in the neighborhood), but it was a nice light read and an interesting book. The parts on St. Anthony's Chapel led me to visit there and to find an off-the-beaten-path place to take my in-laws during one of their visits. Pittsburgh is quite unique in its number of caucasion ethnic neighborhoods.

"Pittsburgh Then and Now" and other coffee table books of photo history are also fun.


message 9: by Wendy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:29PM) (new)

Wendy Since I'm a Pittsburgh transplant (originally from Bloomington, IN), when I moved out here people gave me lots of fun books about the city. One of my favorites is a little tongue-in-cheek fun, called "Sam McCool's New Pittsburghese." It's pretty much just a dictionary of unique Pittsburgh terms so that foreigners can keep up.


message 10: by Robbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:29PM) (new)

Robbie Bashore | 12 comments Ha! I'm originally from Michigan, and I read that book when I first moved here, too. I had to buy the book myself, though. I've added it to goodreads, so now you can rate it! ;)


message 11: by Rob (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:29PM) (new)

Rob McMonigal | 18 comments Mod
I used to give that book out when I did Secret Santa with my friends from a cross-country mailing list. ;)

-Rob


message 12: by Robbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:34PM) (new)

Robbie Bashore | 12 comments I haven't read it *yet* but have now added it to my to-read shelf. It already interests me that the author grew up in an Italian family in the 50's and 60's. It would be interesting to discuss the changes in the neighborhood over time--multiple re-routings of traffic, influx of people displaced by development in other parts of Pittsburgh, introduction of the high-rises, to the current building of newer apartments and removal of the high-rises. The transition in ethnic/racial composition of the neighborhood is a textbook history of the American ghetto.


message 13: by Liddy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:35PM) (new)

Liddy Barlow | 3 comments Robbie, you probably have seen this already, but if not, there's a very interesting article on that very subject (East Liberty through the decades) in this past week's City Paper. It looks like the story's online here: http://www.pittsburghcitypaper.ws/gyr...


message 14: by Robbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:35PM) (new)

Robbie Bashore | 12 comments Thanks for the link, Liddy. I'm actually not quite young and hip enough to come across the City Paper very often any more, so I hadn't seen this particular article. I took a geography class in college called "The Ghetto" and that kind of sparked my interest in just the kind of change that has happened in East Liberty. I also used to live in Friendship--the part closest to East Liberty, and that made me more interested in that particular area. It is kind of a mixed bag that the retail development happening in the area, though it has sparked "renewal," doesn't really serve the local residents very well. My husband always liked driving through E.L. on Penn Ave, because it reminded him of New York City.


message 15: by Marissa (new)

Marissa Morrison (marissamorrison) I recently read The Last Chicken in America: A Novel in Stories by Ellen Litman, which takes place in Squirrel Hill. It's quite good and had a favorable write-up in the New York Times.


message 16: by Robbie (new)

Robbie Bashore | 12 comments I recently finished Devil in the White City, and it has a Pittsburgh reference dealing with Ferris's contribution to the Chicago World's Fair. I'm thinking maybe I should change my rating to 4 stars, since I've been trying to discuss the book with anyone who will listen.


message 17: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 7 comments I haven't read the book, but the Chicago World's Fair had a tremendous influence over a lot of people. A couple of years ago I reviewed a biography of Milton Hershey for the Post-Gazette, and the fair played a significant role in Hershey's career.


message 18: by Karen (new)

Karen | 2 comments I read Devil in the White City about 4 years ago and loved it. It was such a great story. I don't remember all the details, but we can discuss if you desire.


message 19: by David (new)

David (mugsynoir) There is a theatre and arts professor at the University of Pittsburgh, Kathleen George, who has a mystery series that takes place in Pittsburgh. I received the third one: AFTERIMAGE, for review and it was very good, a solid procedural. George highlights a lot of good dining places around the city, too. Her first two books were TAKEN and FALLEN.

Also in the mystery genre, Thomas Lipinski had a series out years ago. I have a couple on the To-Read shelf, but haven't gotten to them yet.

I also have a book called HOMESTEAD on my "Read" shelf, but I actually didn't finish it yet. Sometime in the future I'll get back to it. It is a nonfictional account about Homestead, the strikes and massacre there by the Pinkertons, etc.


message 20: by Vincent (new)

Vincent Chough | 4 comments Hi all. This thread is kinda dead... let's see if we can liven it up a bit! I'm from the sexy, exciting municipality of Monroeville!

Thank you, thank you very much. I used to practice medicine at UPMC, but now I live in Buenos Aires.
I loved The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. Remember the movie The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh? Classic.Then there's the kids book Pickles to Pittsburgh

My book also takes place in the 'Burgh. Did I mention that the Kindle edition is free for the next few days? Brave Fish: Identity, Love, Faith. OK, yes, this is a shameless plug, but I'm from the 'Burgh, it's a book that takes place in the 'Burgh so I assume it applies to this thread...and it's free.

OK, even if you don't "buy" it for $0.00 I'll share a Pittsburgh related excerpt..

I WAS twenty-three years of age when Sofia and I started dating in the year of one thousand nine hundred and ninety one. Our first date was at an outdoor café style restaurant in Squirrel Hill, a Jewish neighborhood of Pittsburgh, a city that once fed the world and wars with steel from factories that belched hell into throats and lungs. A town built by Carnegie, Mellon and Morgan, ethnic pride and sweat equity; then reborn and rebuilt on glittering bio-pyrotechnics, and you just feel good to be in its shady sides and its south sides. You feel safe and part of one big family as the city embraces you and invites you to kick off your shoes and stay for the game.

So we sat at our little table under the Appalachian summer sky granting us warmth. I sipped cold beer as we sat close to each other needing only a slice of the table. If I moved too close would she run away? My heart races now as it raced then, thinking of the physical closeness of this new love that revolves and repeats itself over and over again giving life abundantly. From where is this force born?


Sending some South American sun to my fellow Goodreaders back home...


message 21: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisaspeechpath) | 74 comments Mod
I picked up (and put back) a book at Half-Price books that was all about books taking place in pittsburgh. I can't remember the title-but it wasn't a current book--perhaps from 1980's


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