Self-Quarantining? Here Are 5 Great Books by Local Authors to Help Pass the Time

Our book editor provides five options – old and new – that are worth your while.

Pilgrim“Pilgrim at Tinker Creek”
by Annie Dillard

Annie Dillard won the Pulitzer Prize in 1975 for non-fiction for this masterpiece of quiet contemplation. In luminous prose, the nameless narrator ruminates on her time alone in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, taking in everything from the natural landscape to personal faith. Dillard’s consoling words make for a perfect antidote to our current anxiety.




CenturyThe Century Cycle
by August Wilson

Is the quiet getting to you? Yearning for some interesting conversation? Check out playwright August Wilson’s epic 10-play cycle spanning the whole of the 20th century. Wilson was a poet of the human voice who captured the music of Pittsburgh talk, and his Hill District residents will keep loneliness at bay. A gorgeous, slip-cased edition of all 10 plays is available from Theatre Communications Group.




FurnaceOut of This Furnace
by Thomas Bell

Has it gotten so bad that you even miss squabbling with your family? Crack open this novel covering three generations of a Slovakian family of steelworkers living in Braddock. Thomas Bell knew his way around a mill and this classic from 1941 is just as attuned to stoking a furnace and walking the picket line as it is to fractious Sunday dinners at home.




HomewoodThe Homewood Books
by John Edgar Wideman 

All this time alone can really make you appreciate just how truly complex our communities and social relationships are. John Edgar Wideman’s novels are exquisite in their depth, layering music, mythology and the act of storytelling itself into a richly evocative whole. This collection of three interconnected books – “Hiding Place,” “Sent for You Yesterday” and “Damballah” – is the perfect introduction to Wideman’s world.




EastpghEast Pittsburgh Downlow
by Dave Newman

Itching to get out and about? Shake hands (metaphorically) with Trafford-native Dave Newman and this big, boisterous tour of all things Pittsburgh in his latest book. This story of a peripatetic college professor and part-time writer of Westerns contains some of Newman’s finest prose to date. You’ll feel like you’ve been to every bar, pizza joint and hidden gem in town.




Pittsburgh Magazine’s Book Editor Kristofer Collins is an author whose latest book “The River Is Another Kind of Prayer: New and Selected Poems” (Kung Fu Treachery Press) is out now.


Categories: The 412