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 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

     

  • Paul's Corner: 1984 by George Orwell

    1984 George Orwell

    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.

     

  • Paul's Corner: LaRose by Louise Erdrich

    LaRose Louise Erdrich

    Two Ojibwe families, so close they might be a single family, live close to each other. Each family has a 5-year-old son. Best friends. There is a terrible accident, there must be a terrible accident or the story cannot move forward. Landreaux Iron is out hunting one North Dakota morning. He pulls the trigger and kills five-year-old, Dusty Ravich. The two Ojibwe families must do what they can to change things back to the way they were.

    I’ve seen this plot work its way through any number of incarnations over the years almost always to a tragic end.  Erdrich’s new book gives this nearly unimaginably sad story a tone of hope by virtue of the Ojibwe respect for one another and a native ethic very different from the European eye for an eye notion.  

    Each character must learn to wrap themselves in the sadness of the moment, to step forward, to learn a different life. Two mothers, two fathers and five-year-old LaRose who understands so little.  Such a beautiful book.  Such lessons. Louise Erdrich has become one of our finest novelists.
     --- PAUL