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A Mary Roberts Classic Centennial

Once America’s best-selling author, Pittsburgh native Mary Roberts Rinehart started her career with a crime classic that celebrates its centennial in 2008.

Bittersweet Heiress

One of the most interesting historical sites in the Laurel Highlands is the Fort Necessity National Battlefield. And a new destination for hiking and exploring in the region is a property currently owned by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and about to be added to Forbes State Forest, adjacent to the national battlefield property. Forbes State …

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When We Get There

Now that Pittsburgh has washed the soot from its buildings and reinvented itself for the 21st century, it is often easy to forget that our fair city was once a coal town, sitting atopone of the oldest and richest mineral deposits in the world. The prehistoric energy compressed within the fabledPittsburgh seam fueled America’s industrial …

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The Oldest Trick in the Book

With an estimated 2,000 new and reissued titles entering the book market each week, no one can read everything. Now, thanks to Pierre Bayard, a French critic and psychoanalyst, no one actually has to read anything. The author of How to Talk About Books One Hasn’t Read? (Comment Parler des Livres Que l’On N’a Pas …

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Almost Human

Who says you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear?! In his new book, “Almost Human: Making Robots Think,” Lee Gutkind, the guru of creative nonfiction, does just that; using his literary skills to transform prosaic material about machines into an exuberant celebration of human creativity. Not that the topic isn’t interesting. …

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The Lay of the Land

Have you ever stopped to ponder to what extent anatomy — or more correctly, topography — is destiny in the historical development and popular perception of Pittsburgh? Martin Aurand has. In an ambitious, new publication from the University of Pittsburgh Press titled “The Spectator and the Topographical City,” he endeavors to explain how three of …

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Full-Court Press

Ten bucks says you didn’t know that Pittsburgh is a hotbed of small press activity. Calling the Pittsburgh literary landscape “the most underrated art scene in town,” Paper Street Press poetry editor, Arlan Hess, described this year’s book fair of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs in Austin, Texas: “There were 450 tables of …

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Can You Dig It? Yes.

It’s tough to make a non-fiction work on paleoanthropology entertaining. The search for early forms of fossil man is commonly perceived as a dry one, figuratively and literally; comprising years upon years of tiresome labor by pedantic academics in wretched climates and occasionally yielding a fractured femur with which the average dog couldn’t be bothered. …

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Ukiah: In Pittsburgh!

Of the thousands of materials that fill the Pennsylvania Room of the Carnegie Library in Oakland, all are of local interest, being by or about Pennsylvanians. Hundreds of these are works of fiction; nearly a third of which take place in Pittsburgh. A surprisingly high percentage of the same are mysteries.

Shadows on a Wall

The increasingly popular genre of creative nonfiction has taken a new turn with the publication of “Shadows on a Wall: Juan O’Gorman and the Mural at Patzcuaro” by Hilary Masters (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005, $24.95). This book-length essay combines fact and fiction with artistic metaphor, autobiography and imaginative technique to describe an episode from …

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