May 24, 2016: RUST BELT BOY reading

You can take the boy out of Pittsburgh, but you can’t take Pittsburgh out of the boy. Paul Hertneky returns home to read from his new book RUST BELT BOY on Tuesday, May 24 at 7 PM at City Books.


After Arlan read Paul’s chapter on lunches at his parochial school in Ambridge, she turned to her husband Patrick and said, “We are having pierogis for dinner tomorrow night.” But, this book isn’t about food; it is a love letter to Pittsburgh and, more specifically, the first and second generation immigrants who brought the best of the old world with them to build a brighter future for their children and grandchildren.

Rust belt readers will recognize every sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch Paul describes in these pages whether they were born in Buffalo, Cleveland, St. Louis, or Madison. This is armchair and time travel at its best. Put this reading on your calendar. You won’t regret it.

But, don’t come hungry.

Publisher’s Weekly: “honest, insightful, and empathetic…”

Library Journal: “…thoughtful essays on the traditions of ethnicity, religion, and family…”

Pittsburgh City Paper: “… The chapter on pierogies is… as vivid an example of food porn as you’ll find.”

The Keene Sentinel:  “A graceful accounting of a young life rich in its preservation of memory and its recall of loss.”

Bookconscious: “… a universal coming of age tale reflecting on the fifties, sixties and seventies in America…  a lovely read, interesting as a cultural and geographical story, as a memoir, and as a history of the aspirations of immigrants…”


Paul Hertneky picFor over twenty-five years, Paul Hertneky has written stories, essays, and scripts for the  Boston Globe, Athens News, Pittsburgh Post-GazetteNew Hampshire Union Leader, NBC News, The Comedy Channel, Gourmet, Eating Well, Traveler’s Tales, The Exquisite Corpse, National Public Radio, Public Radio International, Adbusters and many more. His work centers on culture, food, industry, the environment, and travel, winning him a Solas Award, and two James Beard Award nominations. A graduate of the Bennington Writing Seminars, he serves on the faculty of Chatham University.

“Just as Thomas Bell’s Out of This Furnace is the classic story of the growth of industrial Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania, Paul Hertneky’s RUST BELT BOY is the story of what happened  as the mills shut down. A complelling personal account, it emphasizes the strong affection that many of us have for this place and its heritage.” — Ed Ochester, author of Sugar Run and editor of the Pitt Poetry Series

Read more about Paul here.