"Billie Holiday" by John Szwed.

'Billie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth' properly honors her artistry

John Szwed’s first-rate biography puts the primary focus on the artist and her work, and not her addiction.

1 day ago

 "The English Spy" by Daniel Silva.

'The English Spy': Daniel Silva's 15th in the Gabriel Allon series still thrills

The action is sufficiently suspenseful to keep even a non-thriller reader’s interest, which makes up for the occasional uber-dramatic flair.

1 day ago

'Purity': Jonathan Franzen's dark, rich yet playful novel about political extremists

A new work by the author of “The Corrections” and “Freedom” comes freighted with expectations as a “literary event.” It is, flaws and all.

1 day ago

 Louise Penny.

Lecture preview: Canadian author Louise Penny will share her thoughts on 'The Nature of the Beast'

After 9-year-old Laurent Lepage disappears, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache confronts terrorism in the latest in the mystery series.

6 days ago

 K.T. Medina, author of "White Crocodile"

'White Crocodile': A tense murder mystery in murky Cambodia

A first novel by former journalist K.T. Medina will appeal to anyone who admires “The Girl on the Train” by fellow Briton Paula Hawkins.

1 week ago

 "The State We're In" by Ann Beattie.

'The State We’re In': Ann Beattie’s collection of 15 ‘Maine Stories’ explores realism magically

“The State We’re In” is brimming with grim wit from start to finish in that way only a Beattie narrative can.

1 week ago

 "Keepers" by Richard Schickel.

'Keepers': Film critic Richard Schickel names favorites 'of a moviegoing lifetime'

Mr. Schickel reviewed movies for Time magazine from 1965 to 2009. He’s seen 22,250, and is most enchanted with ones before 1950.

1 week ago

 Idina Menzel will sing at the Benedum Center at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

2Do this week, Aug. 23-29: Cultural events around Pittsburgh

Soul Line Dancing, Idina Menzel, Len Barcousky and comedian Sommore all on the schedule for the coming week.

1 week ago

Book reviews: Picture books can help anxious little ones headed to the classroom

A crop of new titles provides the perfect opportunity to calm nerves and prepare young scholars for the transition to school.

1 week ago

 Author Lori Jakiela.

'Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe': Lori Jakiela elevates the adoption memoir

The prolific Pittsburgh writer chronicles the search for her birth mother, while peering closely (and unsparingly) at motherhood itself.

2 weeks ago

'Our Man in Charleston': A British diplomat spies for the Union in Civil War South

In America's Civil War, a wily British diplomat in the South, Robert Bunch, spied to battle slavery, and Christopher Dickey tells the tale.

2 weeks ago

 "Flood of Fire" by Amitar Ghosh.

'Flood of Fire': A stunning conclusion to Amitav Ghosh's trilogy

Mr. Ghosh deploys the magical techniques of romance to tell human stories amid seismic history, the Opium War of the 1840s.

2 weeks ago

 "Twin of Blackness" by Clifford Thompson

'Twin of Blackness': A black intellectual writes a drama-free but very readable coming-of-age story

Clifford Thompson explores his family’s influential role without the dysfunctional tales many expect from a memoir.

3 weeks ago

 "The Star Side of Bird Hill" by Naomi Jackson

'The Star Side of Bird Hill': Between Brooklyn and Barbados

Naomi Jackson’s debut novel is, at its core, a story about mothers and daughters, as two girls try to navigate two worlds.

3 weeks ago

 "Gonzo Girl" by Cheryl Della Pietra

'Gonzo Girl': Hunter S. Thompson’s former assistant tells (almost) all in novel

Fear and loving: It’s hard to resist trying to figure out what’s real and what’s fiction in Cheryl Della Pietra’s “Gonzo Girl.”

3 weeks ago

2Do this week, Aug. 9-15: Cultural events around Pittsburgh

Citiparks offers free Summer Soul Line Dancing lessons today and Saturday; author Mary Jo Sonntag appear at Carnegie Library on Tuesday.

3 weeks ago

 Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura on the original "Star Trek," will be at Steel City Con in Monroeville this weekend.

Steel City Con features women who reach for the stars

Pittsburgh’s pop culture fest, in its 25th year, features “Batman” and “Karate Kid” reunions and female pioneers from sci-fi and fantasy.

3 weeks ago

My Generation book review: 'Moonpenny Island' tells of a girl's coming of age

Tricia Springstubb’s new novel follows 11-year-old Flor and the problems and triumphs she encounters on her island home.

3 weeks ago

 "Aurora" by Kim Stanley Robinson.

'Aurora': Bad times on a generational spaceship

Kim Stanley Robinson's novel is science fiction for people who don't believe that science has all the answers.

4 weeks ago

 "Sick Idiot" by Ashley Boynes-Shuck.

'Sick Idiot': Local author Ashley Boynes-Shuck's struggle with dozens of invisible ailments

“Sick Idiot” — a term Ms. Boynes-Shuck uses to describe her particularly difficult days — is an easy read with a motivating message.

4 weeks ago

 "The 51-Day War" by Max Blumenthal.

'The 51 Day War': Max Blumenthal's harsh account of Israel's brutal 2014 war deserves attention

Though lacking balance throughout, the journalist shows what happened to Israeli and Palestinian societies during Operation Protective Edge.

4 weeks ago