Briefing Books: Northview Heights is setting for novel; Creative Nonfiction collects true crime tales


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If you're a local author and you've had a book of fiction, nonfiction or poetry published since 2012, send a hard copy to: Tony Norman, Book Editor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Please, no self-help books, religious prophecies, textbooks, handwritten manuscripts or PDFs. (Also: If you write and publish a book a month, please refrain.)


• "Family Over Everything" by Paige Green (Strebor Books). It isn't every high school senior who gets a book deal with Zane Strebor's hot urban imprint, but Northview Heights' Paige Green is living her dream. Her debut novel, "Family Over Everything," is about twin brothers from Northview Heights traveling on different life trajectories. Deion is an aspiring writer and goody two-shoes, but his twin, Day'onne, is a gangsta wannabe who brings disaster on their family. Deion has to figure out how to support his twin without getting caught up in his felonious drama. > available everywhere including ebook. www.streborbooks.com

• "True Crime: Real-Life Stories of Abduction, Addiction, Obsession, Murder, Grave-Robbing and More" edited by Lee Gutkind (In Fact Books/Creative Nonfiction). Leave it to Lee Gutkind, the founder and editor of Creative Nonfiction magazine, to pull together 13 must-read tales by 13 master practitioners of narrative nonfiction. "True Crime" is an anthology of mayhem and menace that won't make you embarrassed about reading true crime stories. In fact, you'll be moved enough by the sheer quality of the writing to wonder how anyone's imagination could stack up against reality. "True Crime" includes an interview with Erik Larson, the author of the best-selling "The Devil in the White City," about writing about crimes from the past in a way that a pulse is still detectable decades later. > www. creativenonfiction.org/books

In other news ...

• In my haste to praise Lori Jakiela's excellent memoir "The Bridge to Take When Things Get Serious" in the May 19 column, I neglected to mention that she directs the writing program at the University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg, a school that is very proud of that association.

• Within striking distance of Pittsburgh, the Chautauqua Institution is a vacation paradise for those with active minds. Last year, the 139-year-old community on the shores of Chautauqua Lake launched The Chautauqua Prize, described as "a national prize that celebrates a book of fiction or literary/narrative nonfiction that provides a richly rewarding reading experience and honors the author for a significant contribution to the literary arts." This year's winner: Timothy Egan, author of "Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher," a factual account of photographer Edward Curtis' quest to document the lives of 80 American Indian tribes. (And proving that a Pittsburgh connection can be found most anywhere: We happen to know that Mr. Egan's wife, Joni Balter, grew up in Squirrel Hill; she's a longtime editor at the Seattle Times.)

Mr. Egan, a former New York Times reporter who still contributes to the Times' online opinion page, is no stranger to awards: His 2006 book about the Dust Bowl, "The Worst Hard Time," won the National Book Award, and he was part of a New York Times team that won a 2001 Pulitzer Prize for a series on race. He will appear at Chautauqua on July 10 for a public reading.

Local heroes sighting: Wednesday is your chance to hang out with Steelers chairman, former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland and lifelong North Sider Dan Rooney and local historian par excellence Carol Peterson, the one-woman force behind Pittsburgh House Histories. The co-authors of recently published "Allegheny City: A History of Pittsburgh's North Side" (University of Pittsburgh Press) will be signing copies at the Barnes & Noble in Waterworks Mall on Freeport Road near Aspinwall at 6 p.m.

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Tony Norman: tnorman@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1631 or on Twitter @TonyNormanPG.


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