The Keystone’s Summer Reading: The Classics

(Keystone Graphic/Morgaine Ford-Workman)

By Patrick Abdalla

July 16, 2021

Pennsylvania has produced many of the great authors you know and love. Here are a few great classics.

Editor’s note: The end of a Dean Koontz novel can shock and thrill you. Laura Wiesberger’s stories can draw you in. The grand scope of a James Michener tome can leave you in awe.

Our state has a rich literary history, from Louisa May Alcott to August Wilson, and it has also produced some of the biggest best-selling authors of fiction and nonfiction works, from Mark Bowden to Jennifer Weiner.

With that in mind, The Keystone has come up with a Summer Reading List of books by Pennsylvania authors or set in the Keystone State. Until the end of August, we will bring a different genre of books to you. The first ran last week. 

If you’re looking for a classic with a Pennsylvania connection, you’re in luck. The state is overflowing with them. Let’s take a look at five of them.


August Wilson wrote several gripping plays centered on his native Pittsburgh. He was particularly lauded for “The Piano Lesson” and “Fences.” 

“Fences,” which was made into a movie starring Denzel Washington, is about a former Negro League baseball player struggling with his place in his family and his world.

The Good Earth

Pearl S. Buck spent half her life in Bucks County, where she wrote and worked on humanitarian projects. Her classic “The Good Earth” won the Pulitzer Prize and helped her win a Nobel Prize.

The book tells the story about family life in a Chinese village in the early 1900s.

Little Women

Louisa May Alcott, who was born in Germantown, created the beloved March sisters, who first appeared in this classic in 1868. 

The book about four girls growing up in New England has spawned several movie and television adaptations.

Rabbit, Run

Reading native John Updike became one of the 1960s’ most heralded writers. “Run” is the first in a series about Henry Angstrom. 

In this novel, Harry, a former basketball star, keeps running away from commitments. Every time he takes flight, his life gets worse.

Tales of the South Pacific

The novel that inspired the musical is one of James Michener’s best. The Doylestown native wrote several familial epics, often based on geographical locations such as “Texas” and “Hawaii.”  

“South Pacific” includes several loosely interconnected stories that deal with Americans stationed in the region around World War II, and the colonists and indigenous peoples.

Summer Reading: Light Reads

Summer Reading: Biographies


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