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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: National Poetry Month

    Blacks Gwendolyn Brooks

    In honor of National Poetry Month, Paul will be sharing some of his favorite poems over the next few days.

    Here's the first poem: "Boy Breaking Glass" by Gwendolyn Brooks from Blacks (1994). 

    Boy Breaking Glass
    BY GWENDOLYN BROOKS

    To Marc Crawford 
    from whom the commission

    Whose broken window is a cry of art   
    (success, that winks aware
    as elegance, as a treasonable faith)
    is raw: is sonic: is old-eyed première.
    Our beautiful flaw and terrible ornament.   
    Our barbarous and metal little man.

    “I shall create! If not a note, a hole.   
    If not an overture, a desecration.”

    Full of pepper and light
    and Salt and night and cargoes.

    “Don’t go down the plank
    if you see there’s no extension.   
    Each to his grief, each to
    his loneliness and fidgety revenge.
    Nobody knew where I was and now I am no longer there.”

    The only sanity is a cup of tea.   
    The music is in minors.

    Each one other
    is having different weather.

    “It was you, it was you who threw away my name!   
    And this is everything I have for me.”

    Who has not Congress, lobster, love, luau,   
    the Regency Room, the Statue of Liberty,   
    runs. A sloppy amalgamation.
    A mistake.
    A cliff.
    A hymn, a snare, and an exceeding sun.

  • Paul's Corner: Maud and Martha by Gwendolyn Brooks

    Maud and Martha Gwendolyn Brooks

    In 1953 Gwendolyn Brooks wrote her only novel, a minimalist collection of vignettes, character sketches, and brief narratives. Third World Press has kept it in print. It can be read and loved in a day. Chicago in the 1940s, African-American lives, racism, light-skinned vs dark-skinned African Americans. A beautiful, nearly perfect novel. Laughs and tears.  

  • Paul's One-Hour Book Club: The Driftless Area by Tom Drury

    The Driftless Area Tom Drury

    The One-hour Book Club title for April 20 will be The Driftless Area, Tom Drury’s odd, spooky, tale of Pierre Hunter, finished with college and back in his hometown tending bar, essentially picking up life as he’d always known it. He soon runs into a complicated kind of trouble, involving a woman (of course) and a very large amount of money. Drury, born and raised in Iowa, is an extraordinary novelist who worked for years as a journalist around the country before settling in New York to work on his fiction. Most of his work takes place in Iowa and much of it is very funny. Read the book and come to the Iowa City Public Library on April 20th at 7 PM.

    ”The bittersweet ending is a perfect mix of light and dark. Drury is a master of showing extraordinary things happening to ordinary people—and it’s always a fun ride.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

    Drury’s other novels include The End of Vandalism, The Black Brook, and Hunts in Dreams;  all funny and worth the time it will take you to read them.

    "A kind of nervous seizure came upon him as he waited for his father's funeral to begin at the Church of the Four Corners. His hands shook and his breath grew short. He got up and sidled down the row of half siblings from Council Bluffs. He left the main part of the church and went up two stories to the bell tower and stood looking out over the half wall at the light on the snow covered hills. He smoked a cigarette and put it out and then cried pretty hard for a long while. He had a blue handkerchief like the old farmers carried and with it he wiped his face and blew his nose. The light bothered his eyes because it was so bright and thin and evidently unaware of what it was shining on." — The Driftless Area by Tom Drury