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
March 18, 2016 - 3:13pm
The Ballad of Chocolate Mabbie
by Gwendolyn Brooks
It was Mabbie without the grammar school gates.
And Mabbie was all of seven.
And Mabbie was cut from a chocolate bar.
And Mabbie thought life was heaven.
The grammar school gates were the pearly gates,
For Willie Boone went to school
When she sat by him in history class
Was only her eyes were cool.
It was Mabbie without the grammar school gates
Waiting for Willie Boone.
Half hour after the closing bell!
He would surely be coming soon.
Oh, warm is the waiting for joys, my dears!
And it cannot be too long.
Oh, pity the little poor chocolate lips
That carry the bubble of song!
Out came the saucily bold Willie Boone.
It was woe for our Mabbie now.
He wore like a jewel a lemon-hued lynx
With sand-waves loving her brow.
It was Mabbie alone by the grammar school gates.
Yet chocolate companions had she:
Mabbie on Mabbie with hush in the heart.
Mabbie on Mabbie to be.
December 31, 2015 - 6:18pm
American fiction lost three of its finest practitioners in 2015 and the end of 2014; Peter Matthiessen, Ivan Doig and Kent Haruf all passed away within that time. Each published an exquisite novel upon leaving our planet, as a gift to readers. Mattheissen finished In Paradise, his only book to confront the Holocaust, which came out on the day he died. The great Ivan Doig wrote what I believe to be his finest novel, The Last Bus to Wisdom, a lovely tale of a kid, an old man, and a journey that might remind you of Huckleberry Finn or simply of Ivan Doig at his very best. Pulitzer Prize Winner, Kent Haruf, concluded his series of novels set in Eastern Colorado with Our Souls at Night, a beautiful, poignant tale of an older widowed pair who take up with each other at the end of their lives.
On Last Bus to Wisdom:
“The chimerical tale is moving, vivid and funny… Doig's adolescent narrator recalls his literary cousins, Scout Finch, Augie March, Huck Finn, Claudia MacTeer, as his open-hearted curiosity provides readers a sense of unmediated engagement with an expanding world…Last Bus to Wisdom takes us back 65 years to an era when the West was a little more rugged and the ethos of wide, open spaces allowed for mythical endings.” -Chicago Tribune
On In Paradise:
“Matthiessen can write with ecstatic beauty… In his new novel, In Paradise, he takes what may be his deepest look yet into the abyss…Profound and fiercely fresh.” --Tampa Bay Times
On Our Souls at Night:
“Blunt, textured, and dryly humorous. . . this quietly elegiac novel caps a fine, late-blooming and tenacious writing career. . . . Haruf’s gift is to make hay of the unexpected, and it feels like a mercy. . . . This is a novel for just after sunset on a summer’s eve, when the sky is still light and there is much to see, if you are looking.” —Wingate Packard, The Seattle Times
December 21, 2015 - 9:52am
These are some of my favorite books. I’ve read them all, at least twice, many in connection with my amazing book group who put up with my choices from my list of favorites once a month over the last few years. These are books, few of which are mentioned in most GREAT BOOKS lists, that have sustained me over decades of glorious reading. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith I read when I was 14. Observatory Mansions by Ed Carey I read in my 50s. Almost all of these books remain in print today and have lost little of their sustaining power. I consider most of these books to be better in quality than most of the novels New York publishers are putting on the market these days. Prairie Lights usually has most of them or can get them within a week.
Bless you all, and may literature sustain us all.
Paul’s Nifty Fifty
(fifty books I’d always rather be reading)
Gunter Grass, The Tin Drum
Robertson Davies, The Deptford Trilogy
Russell Hoban, Riddley Walker
G. B. Edwards, Book of Ebeneezer LePage
William Maxwell, Time Will Darken it
William Maxwell, So Long, See You Tomorrow
Willa Cather, My Antonia
Julie Hecht, Do the Windows Open
Harriet Doerr, Stones for Ibarra
Rilla Askew, The Mercy Seat
Sebastian Barry, Long Long Way
William Trevor, The Story of Lucy Gault
Charles Portis, Masters of Atlantis
Charles Portis, True Grit
Eudora Welty, Collected Stories
Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Walker Percy, The Moviegoer
Vilhelm Moberg, The Emigrants
Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Jim Crace, A Gift of Stones
Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping
Marilynne Robinson, Home
Joseph Skibell, Blessing on the Moon
Ed Carey, Observatory Mansions
Jane Hamilton, When Madeline Was Young
Herman Melville, Moby Dick
Charles Dickens, Pickwick Papers
James Agee, A Death in the Family
George V. Higgins, The Friends of Eddie Coyle
Kent Haruf, The Tie That Binds
William Faulkner, The Unvanquished
William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
Annie Dillard, The Living
Barbara Gowdy, White Bone
Wayne Johnston, The Colony of Unrequited Dreams
Nelson Algren, The Man With the Golden Arm
George Orwell, 1984
Redmond O'Hanlon, Into the Heart of Borneo
Colson Whitehead, The Intuitionist
Rose Tremain, Music and Silence
Michelle de Kretser, The Hamilton Case
John Steffler, The Afterlife of George Cartwright
Anne Michaels, Fugitive Pieces
Jane Gardam, Old Filth Richard
B. Wright, Clara Callan
Karen Joy Fowler, Sarah Canary
Aryeh Lev Stollman, The Far Euphrates
Colm Toibin, The Blackwater Lightship
W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage