Unique selections of books from our book buyer Paul Ingram. He compiles great lists of books on varying topics.
If you have any requests for recommendations, send Paul an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
June 17, 2016 - 11:47am
July Book Club
“It was a cold day in early April, and a million radios were striking thirteen. Winston Smith pushed open the glass door of Victory Mansions, turned to the right down the passage-way and pressed the button of the lift. Nothing happened. He had just pressed a second time when a door at the end of the passage opened, letting out a smell of boiled greens and old rag mats, and the aged prole who acted as porter and caretaker thrust out a grey, seamed face and stood for a moment sucking his teeth and watching Winston malignantly.”—1984 by George Orwell
George Orwell’s last and perhaps greatest novel, was completed just before his death from tuberculosis in 1949. I remember my father describing it as “a cautionary tale” i.e. a story describing to our species just how bad things might become if we do not watch out. In this scary time of Donald Trump, 1984 (the book) should be highly relevant to us. Most of us read this book in high school. Re-reading it in adulthood is a revelation.
July 20th, 7 PM At Prairie Lights
June 15, 2016 - 12:09pm
Gate of Angels
I’m beginning to wonder if it’s responsible behavior to read books any more with the US falling to bits around us. The Book Club tonight will be reading Penelope Fitzgerald’s lovely short novel, Gate of Angels, and it is a lovely novel, but with no guns and little hatred. Do we deserve to immerse ourselves in the lovely quiet world Fitzgerald has made for our diversion? Do we deserve diversion at all from the unholy predicament we’ve brought upon ourselves. Should we think only of the ugly combination of firearms and desperate anger, which keeps us in our homes lest some nut feels a need to take revenge for some imagined slight.
In Iowa? Why not in Iowa? Our governor has no problem with Iowans having all kinds of guns and using them for their own purposes. Iowans have certainly been known to blow their tops. How frightened should we be? Surely not too frightened to read. Surely not too frightened to gather with our friends to share our feelings of care for one another. It is the time, my friends, to find ways to connect to our loving selves, to the loving selves which surround us, to let go of the petty angers which keep us from caring for each other.
I’ll be at Book Club tonight, though I may be thinking about other things. 7 PM at Prairie Lights
June 10, 2016 - 4:23pm
Sat up last night and read 1984 all the way through. I'd forgotten how artful and perfect it is, even poetic at times, while telling the ugliest of stories. I remember reading it at 14 and being so frightened that I went to my parents to ask them if maybe there was something I didn't know that maybe I ought to know. My father did his best to explain the notion of the "cautionary story.” I was still scared.
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