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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



    “Here is what I know:

    My name is Budo.
    I have been alive for five years.
    Five years is a very long  time for someone like me to be alive.
    Max gave me my name.
    Max is the only human person who can see me.
    Max’s parent call me an imaginary friend.
    I love Max’s teacher, Mrs Gosk.
    I do not like Max’s other teacher, Mrs. Patterson.
    I am not imaginary.”

    From Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks.
    Tender, funny, imaginative novel by the author of Something Missing and Unexpectedly Milo. This is a tale of life on the spectrum and you’ll cry at the end.

  • Prairie Lights announces customer rewards program

    For  Release on June 29th
    Prairie Lights announces customer rewards program

    Iowa City, Iowa—E-commerce, digital devices, and evolving reading habits are creating challenges for independent booksellers nationwide, and Prairie Lights Books is not immune to these challenges. By creating a new customer rewards program, Prairie Lights hopes to maintain its place in the heart of downtown Iowa City.
    Prairie Lights co-owner Jan Weissmiller explains that the rewards program, which officially launches on June 29th  is modeled on the one that novelist Ann Patchett put in place when she opened Parnassus Bookstore in Nashville, Tennessee in 2011.  At that time Nashville, like many cities in America, had no independent bookstore and Patchett was passionate about providing both a store and a way for the community to be actively involved.
    “We’re seeking new ways to engage with the public in order to strengthen our bottom line,” Weissmiller says. “When we looked at Ann’s rewards program, it seemed like a great way to help Prairie Lights continue to serve as the community’s literary gathering place, to generate additional revenue, and to help us stay ahead of the latest trends in how people buy and read books.”  
    Customers are invited to join the Prairie Lights Rewards Program at $50 and $100 levels* in return for Prairie Lights merchandise and members-only sales. Weissmiller says she hopes Prairie Lights fans from beyond Iowa City and the Corridor will also choose to participate.
    “Over the years Prairie Lights has become well-known among writers and readers all over the country,” she says. “And thanks to the prestigious writing programs at The University of Iowa, we have fans around the world as well. I think many Prairie Lights customers, both past and present, will want to be members of our rewards program in order to help spread the word about the store and its value to the literary community.”
    In addition to the new rewards program, other recent innovations at Prairie Lights have included expansion of The Times Club coffee shop and wine bar on the second floor, including monthly, curated visual arts exhibits; the addition of a literary gifts section near the front of the store; teaming with the University of Iowa Press to publish select volumes of poetry and prose under the Prairie Lights imprint; and partnering in the launch of New Bo Books in Cedar Rapids.
    For more information about the Prairie Lights Reward Program, please stop by the store, contact us by phone: 337-2681/ 1-800-295-BOOK (2665) or email: info at prairielights dot com

    *Based on feedback we've added a $150 family level.

  • Summer Book Club Titles


    This Summer two of our Book Club titles come to us from the wise editors at NYRB(New York Review of Books) who’ve determinedly been keeping some of our great books in print, which haven’t sold insufficiently to keep them in the backlist catalogues  of some of our largest publishers. 

    June 13(Thursday) 7 PM at the Public Library we’ll read Richard Hughes’ A High Wind in Jamaica, a magical tale of children and adults in colonial Jamaica and on the high seas.  It is funny, deeply ironic, and written with touches of lyricism which make this 1929 English novel sing.  It is generally considered one of the great novels of the 20th Century.  It goes under the heading MPF(Many People’s Favorite) and it is certainly one of mine.  Don’t miss this group and don’t forget it’s at the library.

    July 16(Tuesday) 7 PM at the Public Library.    Stoner by John Williams, was published in 1965, and, thanks to club member, Jacob Mishook, has been a real discovery for me.  John Stoner is a farm boy from Missouri.  His parents send him to the state university to bring back the latest farming technology to the family farm.  In little more than a year, his life is transformed by literature, and there is no doubt in his mind that he will devote his life to it.  He marries unsatisfactorily, stands up for his intellectual principles, finds true love, and dies like the rest of us do.  Doesn’t sound like much, but it has been a while since I’ve been able to start another book.  There is something perfect about this beautiful book that adds deeply to the literature of the American Midwest. 

    August  15(Thursday) 7PM at Prairie Lights.  Rose Macauley, was an English dowager of boundless wit and intelligence and curiosity.  She traveled the world over to places where the word dowager was culturally inexplicable.   This book is called The Towers of Trebizond(in Turkey)and features Rose, Aunt Dot—supposedly based on Dorothy Sayers—and Anglican priest, Father Chantry-Pigg.  They travel from small town to small town discussing theology and varying customs about the world.  There are few funnier books—English ones especially—that can leave you as helpless with laughter.  This is our August Book club selection.   August 15(Thursday) 7 PM at Prairie Lights.