paul's corner

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About Paul

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 paul@prairielights.com

  • Paul's Corner: A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry

    Long Long Way Sebastian Barry

    And all the boys of Europe born in those times, thereabouts those times, Russian, French, Belgian, Serbian, Irish, English, Scottish, Welsh, Italian, Prussian, German, Austrian, Turkish, --and Canadian, Australian, American, Zulu, Gurkha, Cossack, and all the rest—their fate was written in a ferocious chapter of the book of life, certainly.  Those millions of mothers and their millions of gallons of mother’s milk, millions of instances of small-talk and baby-talk, beatings and kisses, ganseys and shoes, piled up in history in great ruined heaps, with a loud and broken music, human stories told for nothing, for ashes, for death’s amusement, flung on the mighty scrap heap of souls, all those million boys in all their humours to be milled by the mill-stones of a coming war.
    --A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry

     

  • Paul's Book Club: 1984

    1984 George Orwell

    July Book Club
    1984

    “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

  • Paul's Book Club

    Gate of Angels Penelope Fitzgerald

    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