paul's corner

rss RSS

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: The Life of Elves by Muriel Barbery

    The Life of Elves Muriel Barbery

    Muriel Barbery is a wonderful French novelist, whose earlier book, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, was an international bestseller. Life of Elves is something different altogether. It is a perfectly straight-faced exploration of Faerie and Elven life and culture, a book like you’d think Ursula K. Leguin might be able to pull off. Faerie cultures exist in nearly every world culture, parallel people living lives parallel to our own on earth. Not just like humans but peculiarly different. Readers should understand that nothing in The Life of Elves resembles children’s literature and that much of it is dark-hued in tone. It is a magnificent work of the imagination and thrilling book not to be missed.

     

  • The Ballad of Chocolate Mabbie by Gwendolyn Brooks

    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. 

  • Paul's Corner: Remembering Peter Matthiessen, Ivan Doig, and Kent Haruf

    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