Summer Reading Recommendations from Pittsburgh Booksellers

Need a summer reading recommendation? Look no further than the booksellers in our own city. Summer doesn’t have to just be a for “beach read,” it’s a good time to pick up a classic or delve into an esoteric find. I went to local used bookstores to get some prose recommendations from the pros.

Caliban Book Shop 

410 S Craig St

Karen Lillis recommends: Astragal by Albertine Sarrazin

“I love stories of escape, stories of meeting people who change your life in unexpected ways, and stories of a journey. Plus, Sarrazin’s stunning prose beautifully translates the narrator’s young, wild heart.”

Grant Catton recommends: Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon

“A Pittsburgh classic, set in the East End in the summer time. Chabon’s writing is so vivid in this fun, emotional coming of age novel, you can almost hear the cicadas and the humidity of a Pittsburgh summer.”

Amazing Books & Records

5430 Walnut Street, 5858 Forbes Avenue

Dan Meyer recommends: Confessions of a Mask by Yukio Mishima.

“It’s a book about being somebody in a high strung, highly ordered society who never quite feels like they belong. Every interaction, no matter how minor feels like you’re out of a sync in the world, always maintaining this mask while under the surface you’re completely different. When I first read it, it was like ‘here’s something completely different. It made me uncomfortable in a good way and opened me up to new ways of thinking.”

Eric Ackland recommends: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, Middlemarch by George Eliot, The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, or for something lighter, the Morningside Heights trilogy (Morningside Heights, Love, Work, Children, and Anything for Jane) by Cheryl Mendelson

“Three classics I recommend again and again. Those should take you all summer, and you can read them over again endlessly! Then, Morningside Heights is a sensitive, thoughtful series about the inner workings of people’s souls, middle aged married people with children and then also young, single people.”

The Cozy Corner Bookstore

5879 Ellsworth Avenue 

Mark Gray recommends: For short story collections, Of Sunshine and Bedbugs by Isaac Babel, for a novel, Septology by Jon Fosse or, for nonfiction, Everyday Zen by Charlotte Beck.

“Isaac Babel is likable, funny, sharp, punchy prose. It goes down easy. Septology by Jon Fosse is kind of the opposite of a summer read. But, if you’re missing winter, it takes place in this cold, Norwegian setting. It’s an amazing book about a painter at the end of his life who’s having mystical visions and working on his final painting, Also, the whole thing is a single sentence. Everyday Zen is very nourishing, based on a series of talks the author gave. I felt like ‘wow, she knows exactly what I’m talking about’.’”

Story by Emma Riva / Photo by Kylie Thomas

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