SummerReads-ModernClassics-FeatureImage SummerReads-ModernClassics-FeatureImage

 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.


Pennsylvania natives and residents have produced many classics. Several authors are keeping that tradition alive with modern classics that bring the state even more respect. Check out some of these examples.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

Pitt alumnus Michael Chabon won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for this novel about two Jewish cousins who develop a popular comic book hero.

The book grapples with themes of family, escapism, homosexuality, and identity.

A Brief History of Seven Killings

Marlon James, who got his mMaster’s in cCreative wWriting at Wilkes University, won the Man-Booker Prize for this complex work. 

The novel takes place over several decades and features events like an assaissination attempt on musician Bob Marley, and New York’s drug wars. 

Her Body and Other Parties

Allentown native Carmen Maria Machado’s short story collection was nominated for a National Book Award and won the Shirley Jackson Award.

The eight stories are a blend of the terrifying and surreal, yet realistic and comic.

The Price of a Child

Lorene Cary’s novel tells the story of a woman who escapes slavery on the Underground Railroad in 1850s Philadelphia. To gain that freedom, she leaves her child in slavery. 

The Philadelphia native’s book has been acclaimed since its release in 1985.

Song of Achilles

Madeline Miller’s retelling of Homer’s “Iliad” burst onto the literary scene in 2011 and captured a handful of awards.

It brings to life the war hero Achilles, giving readers a poetic view of his adventures during the Trojan War and his love of his friend Patroclus.

Such a Fun Age

Kiley Reid’s debut novel was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It’s the gripping story of a young bBlack woman who is accused of kidnapping a white child.

The Philadelphia resident’s 2019 book dealt with everything from the economics of millennial life to interracial relationships.


Check out our list of

Summer Reading: Light Reads

Summer Reading: Classics

Summer Reading: Biographies

Summer Reading: Thrillers