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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 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

  • Paul's Corner: Shelter by Jung Yun

    Shelter Jung Yun

    Shelter by Jung Yun
    Jung Yun was born in Korea and grew up in North Dakota and went to Vassar.  Her first novel is poignant and loving and filled with the sorrows of not having been loved as a child.  Shelter itself the house/home, the goal of every successful American.  Kyung is losing his home to the housing crisis, and is too embarrassed to ask his wealthy, distant parents for financial help.  As the distance between generations increases, Kyung’s parents’ lives are compromised by and ugly home invasion which forces the family uncomfortably closer.  I haven’t read such a powerful immigrant narrative in years.  It is a sad book with a hopeful ending, rare these days.  It will remind you of House of Sand and Fog.  I like it more.

     

  • Paul's Corner: Bottomland by Michelle Hoover

    Bottomland Michelle Hoover

    Michelle Hoover, who wowed Prairie Lights’ audience with her reading from her first novel, The Quickening, now has a second novel. It’s called Bottomland and, like her first book, deals with life in rural Iowa (Hoover is from Ames) in the early part of the 20th Century. This book is a bit more of a thriller than was The Quickening. It involves an escaped German prisoner of who may have kidnapped a farm child. As always, Hoover’s novel is well-researched, with characters who emerge from the circumstances of their lives. The reader is pulled in from the first page.  She’ll be reading at PL April 26.  If you love Willa Cather and the other great mid-western writers, you won’t want to miss this reading.