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 firstname.lastname@example.org
March 11, 2014 - 3:46pm
Timothy Schaffert’s The Swan Gondola is about our Midwestern Great Grandparents, rubes from the farm, coming to Omaha’s great World’s Fair in 1898. (This was the same year Chicago hogged all the attention with its better known World’s Fair.) His characters are all manner of country mice who come to the big show only to be fleeced by city mice in fancy outfits.
It begins with a quote from The Wizard of Oz, as a hot air balloon lands on a Nebraska farm house, producing a ventriloquist, our protagonist. It takes him little time to fall in love with a Marie Antoinette impersonator, and then the plot takes off like a rocket. Schaffert, a native of Omaha, obviously had the time of his life researching this lively, witty piece of nostalgia, adventure and romance. Read it for the history, for Midwestern ancestors clodhopping through the greatest thing that ever happened in Nebraska. Best novel I’ve read this year.
January 19, 2014 - 3:57pm
2013 PRAIRE LIGHTS BESTSELLERS
1) Class A Lucas Mann
2) The Twelve Tribes of Hattie Ayana Mathis
3) Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls David Sedaris
4) The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind William Kamkwamba
5) Tenth of December George Saunders
6) Iowa Pastel Landscapes Marcia Wegman
7) The Orphan Master's Son Adam Johnson
Zealot Reza Aslan
8) And the Mountains Echoed Khaled Hosseini
9) The Goldfinch Donna Tartt
10) Dear Life Alice Munro
11) The Ocean at the End of the Lane Neil Gaiman
The Luminaries Eleanor Catton
A Questionable Shape Bennett Sims
12) RAGBRAI Greg Borzo
13) Iowa Avenue Literary Walk Guide
14) One Summer Bill Bryson
15) A Fine Romance Susan Branch
16) Jewelweed David Rhodes
17) Incarnadine Mary Szybist
18) Beautiful Ruins Jess Walter
The Burgess Boys Elizabeth Strout
19) Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend Matthew Dicks
20) Proof of Heaven Eben Alexander
21) God Believes in Love Gene Robinson
22) Dog Songs Mary Oliver
The Art Forger B.A. Shapiro
Cooked Michael Pollan
23) Zenn Scarlett Christian Schoon
Gone Girl Gillian Flynn
24) State of Wonder Ann Patchett
The Bully Pulpit Doris Kearns Goodwin
25) Flight Behavior Barbara Kingsolver
26) The Universe Within Neil Shubin
27) David & Goliath Malcolm Gladwell
28) The Midwest: God's Gift to Planet Earth Ray-Gun
29) Tinkers Paul Harding
The Year We Left Home Jean Thompson
The Iowa Review
30) Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Ransom Riggs
31) When Women Were Birds Terry Tempest Williams
32) A Constellation of Vital Phenomena Anthony Marra
33) The Illusion of Separateness Simon van Booy
The Wapsipinicon Almanac 19 Timothy Fay
Inferno Dan Brown
34) The Fault in Our Stars John Green
The Starboard Sea Amber Dermont
35) A Prayer Journal Flannery O'Connor
NOS4A2 Joe Hill
Moved By Politics Gerhard Loewenberg
36) Cuckoo's Calling Robert Galbraith
37) Enon Paul Harding
William Shakespeare's Star Wars Ian Doescher
Stoner John Williams
38) My Beloved World Sonia Sotomayor
Old Man River Paul Schneider
The Daughters of Mars Thomas Keneally
The Towers of Trebizond Rose Macaulay
Quiet Susan Cain
39) Ponsetti & Paul Paul Etre
Sisterland Curtis Sittenfeld
Note: Exclusive of bulk sales and course adoptions
November 30, 2013 - 7:14pm
Quiet Dell by Jayne Anne Phillips - "The book is about a real-life murder in the 1950's. It's like one of those tabloid murders, but this is high literature, really well written."
Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks - "[The author] has Asperger's and all of his books relate to that problem. This is told from the point of view of a kid's imaginary friend. Everyone I've sold this to has come back and said it's really special."
Guests on Earth by Lee Smith - "Anybody who's following fiction of late, knows there are about five books about Zelda Fitzgerald. This is my favorite. The book is just great."
The Leonard Bernstein Letters edited by Nigel Simeone - "This is the best book I've read all year."
Countrymen by Bo Lidgaard - "There aren't many feel good stories about the holocaust. This isnt' a feel great story, but if you have Dane in you, you'll be proud."
One Summer by Bill Bryson - "He's a very good writer of history."
What Happens Next by Douglas Bauer - "This is by one of Iowa's best authors. The essays are stunning. His writing is pure gold and makes you proud to be an Iowan."
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton - "This is sort of a mystery that borders on a long novel about the gold rush in New Zealand, and all the characters have one thing in common -- their zodiac sign."
Local Souls by Allan Gurganus - "There is not a page that's book moving and delightful, hardly a sentence."
Last Word by Jonathan Blum - "A novella told from the point of view of a man who has two families. His son from his first marriage is coming to live with him and his wife and children from his second marriage, and he's very disturbed. You feel very empathetic for both of them."
Incarnadine by Mary Szybist - "Acessible for anyone who wants to pay close attention."
Heaven from Steam by Carol Light - "The poems have a relationship about the life of a woman over time. Relatively formal and really beautiful."
A Prayer Journal by Flannery O'Connor - "It's most important to read her fiction and her letters, but if you've done that, this is a wonderful addition."
This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett - "I respect her."
A People's Art History of the United States by Nicolas Lampert - "It's about activist art that changed the world."