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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 Cornger: Four Reincarnations by Max Ritvo

    Four Reincarnations Max Ritvo

    AFTERNOON

    When I was about to die
    my body lit up
    like when I leave my house
    without my wallet.

    What am I missing? I ask,
    patting my chest
    pocket.

    And I am missing everything living
    that won’t come with me
    into this sunny afternoon

    —my body lights up for life
    like all the wishes being granted in a fountain
    at the same instant—
    all the colors burning the fountain dry—

    and I give my breath
    to a small bird-shaped pipe.

    In the distanced, behind several voices
    haggling, I hear a sound like heads
    clicking together.  Like a game of pool
    played with people by machines.

    —from FOUR REINCARNATIONS BY MAX RITVO

  • Paul's Book Club: In the Skin of the Lion

    In the Skin of the Lion Michael Ondaatje

    If you missed Paul's Book Club this week, he still encourages you to read In the Skin of the Lion by Michael Ondaatje (1987). What he calls "a truly beautiful novel from Canada."

    "This is a story a young girl gathers in a car during the early hours of the morning. She listens and asks questions as the vehicle travels through darkness. Outside, the countryside is unbetrayed. The man who is driving could say, 'In that field is a castle,' and it would be possible for her to believe him.  
    She listens to the man as he picks up and brings together various corners of the story, attempting to carry it all in his arms. And he is tired, sometimes as elliptical as his concentration on the road, at times overexcited--'Do you see?' He turns to her in the faint light of the speedometer.
    Driving the four hours to Marmora under six stars and a moon.
    She stays awake to keep him company."

     

  • Paul's Corner: Miss Jane by Brad Watson

    Miss Jane Brad Watson

    Miss Jane Chisolm was born in rural Mississippi at the turn of the 20th century to poor farmers. She was born with a congenital birth defect which prevented her from what was considered the central “uses” of a woman in that time and place:  sex and marriage. She figured out early on not only her limitations, but also her own brilliance and wisdom. She befriends an alcoholic country doctor, who writes to Johns Hopkins to try to get help for her. Reconstructive surgery, unfortunately, was rather a new discipline at this time. Her life contains many joys, and Brad Watson’s beautiful prose delivers them to his readers, with enormous grace.  

    “You would not think someone so afflicted would or could be cheerful. Early on she acquired ways of dealing with her life, with life in general. And as she grew older it became clear  that she feared almost nothing—perhaps only horses and something she couldn’t quite name, a strange presence of danger not quite or not really a part of the world.” 

    Here is a novel with more joy and fascination than you’re likely to find in anything else you read this year. I read it twice.  The character of Miss Jane is based on Watson’s great aunt, who obviously made a deep impression on him.