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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's Nifty Fifty (Fifty Books I'd always rather be reading)

    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


  • Paul's Book Club: William Maxwell's The Folded Leaf

    The Folded Leaf William Maxwell

    Join Paul at his One-Hour Book Club
    January 13 at Prairie Lights 7PM

    William Maxwell’s The Folded Leaf will be discussed.  Maxwell, one-time fiction editor of the New Yorker, was an extraordinary fiction writer himself in the 1940s, and his handful of beautiful novels are set in downstate Illinois in the first quarter of the 20th Century.

    “A true, beautiful and profoundly poignant novel.  It is so good as to be almost miraculous. . . .The Folded Leaf is a novel of such discernment, such mature judgment and such compassion, it seems to illuminate every subject on which it touches”.—New York Times

  • Paul's Corner: Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

    Kidnapped Robert Louis Stevenson

    From Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

    "I will begin the story of my adventures with a certain morning early in the month of June, the year of grace 1751, when I took the key for the last time out of the door of my father's house. The sun began to shine upon the summit of the hills as I went down the road; and by the time I had come as far as the manse, the blackbirds were whistling in the garden lilacs, and the mist that hung around the valley in the time of the dawn was beginning to arise and die away.

    "Mr. Campbell, the minister of Essendean, was waiting for me by the garden gate, good man! He asked me if I had breakfasted; and hearing that I lacked for nothing, he took my hand in both of his and clapped it kindly under his arm."