Briefing Books: 'Last Ape Standing,' Steelers everything, 'Zen Bytes' and more
Honestly, there are more regional authors than we ever imagined. Books by local writers come in by the bin every day. Trying to catch them before they fall between the cracks is full-time work. Please, send only books published in the past year to: Tony Norman, Book Editor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. No Xeroxed or mimeographed tomes, please. Include an Internet address so readers can get more info.
• "The Last Ape Standing: The Seven-Million-Year Story of How and Why We Survived" by Chip Walter (Walker & Co). In recent years, Pittsburgh-based science writer Chip Walter has made himself indispensable to audiences craving the latest information about our evolutionary past. No one writes about early man, evolutionary dead ends or our pre-human rivals better than Chip Walter. If all science books were this witty and well-written, everyone would be a nerd. walkerbooks.com
• "The Steelers Encyclopedia" by Chuck Finder (Temple University Press). Is there anyone more qualified than former PG sports writer Chuck Finder to chronicle the Steelers in all of their labyrinthine history? Maybe, but for now, Mr. Finder's book is the most definitive and authoritative resource for all things Stillers. temple.edu/tempress
• "The Lincoln Professor" and "Zen Bytes" by Dennis E. Donham (Twin Creeks Press). Franklin Park resident and former University of Pittsburgh assistant vice chancellor Dennis Donham has been busy in retirement. When not reducing the world to brutally efficient 14 syllable koans in "Zen Bytes," he's spinning tales of betrayal, duplicity, murder and binge-drinking on a modern university campus. Into this academic and emotional tumult steps Aesop Willingham, a black Lincoln scholar with attitude. This is about civil wars on campus. twincreekspress.com
• "Kids for Cash: Two Judges, Thousands of Children, and a $2.8 Million Kickback Scheme" by William Ecenbarger (The New Press). Pulitzer Prize-winning Philadelphia Inquirer reporter William Ecenbarger turns his attention to the disgraceful "kids for cash" scandal in Luzerne County that mesmerized us a few years ago. Read this book before they make it into a movie. thenewpress.com
• "Shadow Hands" by Mary Ann Mogus (Wings ePress). Alternate history yarns are hard to pull off, but Greensburg resident Mary Ann Mogus is up to the task with "Shadow Hands," a tale that takes place during the American Civil War. This novel is the first in a series that will feature the Khysid Army, cosmic carpetbaggers who exploit alternate histories. Original and well-written science fiction. wings-press.com
• "The Quick Are the Dead" by Richard S. Wahlberg (Outskirts Press). When Mikhail Rodzianko, the president of Russia's Duma, fled the Petrograd in 1917 disguised as an old woman, it became a fascinating footnote in Russian history. Richard Wahlberg looks at that history and imagines a far more fanciful morality tale wrapped in a murder mystery. Fortunately, the former advertising director knows how to make Bolshevism come alive. outskirtspress.com
• "Rust Belt" by Joe Kaldon (Main Street Rag). Joe Kaldon is a poet from Aliquippa. What more needs to be said about him? His poems are funny, honorable and hard-working. He's not famous yet, but one day he will be. He makes being in the working class feel like a romantic calling. mainstreetrag.com
• "One Summer" by Debra Kampert (Angel Print). If there is anything more painful than losing a child, it is losing that child to suicide. Local poet/writer Debra Kampert has processed the unthinkable in the only way she knows how: she's chronicled her feelings about the loss of her daughter, Amy, in poems. One cannot "enjoy" these poems in the traditional sense, but there's no denying the power or the sorrow they evoke. angelprint.com
Local writer seeks notable Pittsburghers
Joann Cantrell is compiling profiles for Arcadia Publishing's new "Legendary Locals" series. The book will spotlight famous and lesser known Pittsburghers who have made a difference in this community. Narrowing the list to 150 worthy Pittsburghers won't be easy, so Ms. Cantrell is seeking a whole lot of community input. She welcomes all submissions and photos that tell a story about someone you believe belongs in the book. Ms. Cantrell can be reached at: email@example.com.
First Published March 3, 2013 12:00 am