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Skinny Books with Fat Content (on summer hiatus, back in September!)

Facilitated by Carrie Wujeck

Skinny Books is a thoughtful but lively book club that reads and discusses fiction of around 200 pages or less. Carrie carefully chooses books that are brief but truly mighty in that each author provides fascinating moral dilemmas, plot twists, memorable characters and ideas that beg for conversation. Even if you are already in a book club, consider squeezing a skinny in, and if you're new to book groups, you've found the perfect one; the Skinny Books group has a faithful following but would love to welcome more. 

Contact Carrie at carrie@prairiepathbooks.com to join or ask some questions.

Skinny Books members will receive 20% off the club's selections, either in store or mailed to your door.

Meetings take place the first Wednesday of the month from 6:30-7:30 PM, September - May.

Skinny Books

Uncommon Reader - September Skinny Books

Uncommon Reader - September Skinny Books

$15.00
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From one of England's most celebrated writers, a funny and superbly observed novella about the Queen of England and the subversive power of reading

When her corgis stray into a mobile library parked near Buckingham Palace, the Queen feels duty-bound to borrow a book. Discovering the joy of reading widely (from J. R. Ackerley, Jean Genet, and Ivy Compton-Burnett to the classics) and intelligently, she finds that her view of the world changes dramatically. Abetted in her newfound obsession by Norman, a young man from the royal kitchens, the Queen comes to question the prescribed order of the world and loses patience with the routines of her role as monarch. Her new passion for reading initially alarms the palace staff and soon leads to surprising and very funny consequences for the country at large.

With the poignant and mischievous wit of The History Boys, England's best loved author revels in the power of literature to change even the most uncommon reader's life.

Book club meeting September 2nd.

Temporary - November Skinny Books

Temporary - November Skinny Books

$16.95
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In Temporary, a young woman's workplace is the size of the world. She fills increasingly bizarre placements in search of steadiness, connection, and something, at last, to call her own. Whether it's shining an endless closet of shoes, swabbing the deck of a pirate ship, assisting an assassin, or filling in for the Chairman of the Board, for the mythical Temporary, "there is nothing more personal than doing your job."

This riveting quest, at once hilarious and profound, will resonate with anyone who has ever done their best at work, even when the work is only temporary.

Book club meeting November 4th.

New Boy: William Shakespeare's Othello Retold: A Novel - February Skinny Books

New Boy: William Shakespeare's Othello Retold: A Novel - February Skinny Books

$16.00
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Tracy Chevalier brings Shakespeare's Othello--a harrowing drama of jealousy and revenge--to a 1970s era elementary school playground.

Arriving at his fifth school in as many years, diplomat's son Osei Kokote knows he needs an ally if he is to survive his first day--so he's lucky to hit it off with Dee, the most popular girl in school. But one student can't stand to witness this budding relationship: Ian decides to destroy the friendship between the black boy and the golden girl. By the end of the day, the school and its key players--teachers and pupils alike--will never be the same again.

The tragedy of Othello is transposed to a 1970s suburban Washington schoolyard, where kids fall in and out of love with each other before lunchtime, and practice a casual racism picked up from their parents and teachers. Peeking over the shoulders of four 11 year olds--Osei, Dee, Ian, and his reluctant girlfriend Mimi--Tracy Chevalier's powerful drama of friends torn apart by jealousy, bullying, and betrayal will leave you reeling.

Book club meeting February 3rd.

True Grit - March Skinny Books

True Grit - March Skinny Books

$15.95
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Charles Portis's true American classic novel and #1 New York Times bestseller, "an epic and a legend" (The Washington Post)

Charles Portis has long been acclaimed as one of America's most enduring and incomparable literary voices, and his novels have left an indelible mark on the American canon. True Grit, his most famous novel, was first published in 1968, and has garnered critical acclaim as well as enthusiastic praise from countless passionate fans for more than fifty years. It was the basis for two award-winning films, including the wildly praised remake by the Coen brothers, selected by the National Endowment for the Arts for the Big Read Library, and was a #1 New York Times bestseller.

True Grit tells the story of Mattie Ross, who is just fourteen when the coward Tom Chaney shoots her father down in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and robs him of his life, his horse, and $150 cash. Filled with an unwavering urge to avenge her father's blood, Mattie finds and, after some tenacious finagling, enlists one-eyed Rooster Cogburn, the meanest available U.S. Marshal, as her partner in pursuit, and they head off into Indian Territory after the killer.

True Grit is essential reading, an undeniable American classic as eccentric, cool, funny, and unflinching as Mattie Ross herself. This edition includes an afterword by bestselling author Donna Tartt and a reading group guide.

Book club meeting March 3rd.

End We Start from - April Skinny Books

End We Start from - April Skinny Books

$14.00
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The #1 Indie Next Selection for November 2017, a Summer/Fall 2017 Indies Introduce Selection, a Fall 2017 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, an Amazon Best of the Month in Literature & Fiction

"The End We Start From is strange and powerful, and very apt for these uncertain times. I was moved, terrified, uplifted--sometimes all three at once. It takes skill to manage that, and Hunter has a poet's understanding of how to make each word count."--Tracy Chevalier, author of Girl With a Pearl Earring

Preempted by publishers around the world within days of the 2016 London Book Fair, The End We Start From heralds the arrival of Megan Hunter, a dazzling and unique literary talent. Hunter's debut is a searing original, a modern-day parable of rebirth and renewal, of maternal bonds, and the instinct to survive and thrive in the absence of all that's familiar.

As London is submerged below floodwaters, a woman gives birth to her first child, Z. Days later, she and her baby are forced to leave their home in search of safety. They head north through a newly dangerous country seeking refuge from place to place. The story traces fear and wonder as the baby grows, thriving and content against all the odds.

The End We Start From is an indelible and elemental first book--a lyrical vision of the strangeness and beauty of new motherhood, and a tale of endurance in the face of ungovernable change.


"In elegiac lines, Hunter tells a love story through the eyes of a new mother, who witnesses the death of an old life and the start of a new one...a perfect portrait of rebirth the final testament that time, and life, do go on, despite our best efforts."--Cotton Codinha, Elle Magazine

Book club meeting April 7th.

Summer Book - June Skinny Books

Summer Book - June Skinny Books

$14.95
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In The Summer Book Tove Jansson distills the essence of the summer--its sunlight and storms--into twenty-two crystalline vignettes. This brief novel tells the story of Sophia, a six-year-old girl awakening to existence, and Sophia's grandmother, nearing the end of hers, as they spend the summer on a tiny unspoiled island in the Gulf of Finland. The grandmother is unsentimental and wise, if a little cranky; Sophia is impetuous and volatile, but she tends to her grandmother with the care of a new parent. Together they amble over coastline and forest in easy companionship, build boats from bark, create a miniature Venice, write a fanciful study of local bugs. They discuss things that matter to young and old alike: life, death, the nature of God and of love. "On an island," thinks the grandmother, "everything is complete." In The Summer Book, Jansson creates her own complete world, full of the varied joys and sorrows of life.

Tove Jansson, whose Moomintroll comic strip and books brought her international acclaim, lived for much of her life on an island like the one described in The Summer Book, and the work can be enjoyed as her closely observed journal of the sounds, sights, and feel of a summer spent in intimate contact with the natural world.

The Summer Book is translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal.

Book club meeting June 2nd.

Sandy: This is my book of the summer and half way in I knew it would be on my top 20-ever list -- that's me trying to make clear to you how much I love this story of a grandmother and granddaughter spending the summer together on a remote Finnish island in a time gone by. It speaks to us now as they are isolated from most people, but the richness of their inner worlds and growing trove of togetherness makes isolation seem ideal.  It's gotten so so many raves, I just had to let you read them before you READ THIS BOOK! I'm going to read Janssen's others (all translated from the Finnish) and I'll let ya know about those too: 

“This slim, magical, life-affirming novel tells the story of a young girl and her grandmother, who spend their summer together on a small, isolated island in the Gulf of Finland. Absent of sentimentality, full of love and humor and wisdom, this is a tale about how much fun two people can have in the middle of nowhere, when they are practicing social isolation in earnest.” —Elizabeth Gilbert, The New York Times

"It's deceptively simple, refreshingly unembellished, distilled, grounded in sensory experience, and absolutely direct. It's comforting for precisely the same reasons it's unsettling, like standing on the shore looking across a dark sea at a horizon you swear you could almost touch." —Rain Taxi

"Poetic understatement, dry humor and a deep love for nature are obvious throughout her oeuvre. . .  . The book is as lovely, as evocative as a film by Hayao Miyazaki." —Time Out New York

“Jansson's clear prose—capable of sentiment without being sentimental—contains multitudes. The Summer Book is bright but dense; it is slim enough to read in a day but holds a whole world between its covers.” —Powell’s Books 

“Tove Jansson was a genius. This is a marvelous, beautiful, wise novel, which is also very funny.” —Philip Pullman

“A wise, joyous book . . . it unfolds the knowledge and the beauty of the two lives it embraces–old wisdom and young discover, intertwining like vines.” —Rex Reed

The Summer Book manages to make you feel good as well as wise, without having to make too much effort . . . [it] says so much that we want to hear in such an accessible form, without ever really saying anything at all.” —The Independent

"Few books since Robinson Crusoe have evoked the joys of island living so powerfully as this Finnish novella." —The Observer, "Paperback of the Week"

"The Summer Book is a marvellously uplifting read, full of gentle humour and wisdom." —Daily Telegraph (London)

"A marvellous book . . . The prose is sublime: plain, but not oppressively so." —The Independent

"A . . . beautiful novel which blends humour and poetry with detailed observation of tiny things." —Daily Mail

"It's hard to describe the astonishing achievement of Jansson's artistry . . . a perfection of the small, quiet read." —The Guardian, "Book of the Week"

"A wonderful novel to devour in the sunshine . . . full of charm and character." —The Independent, "50 Best Books for Summer"

"Every so often, a book is published that captures something in us . . . The Summer Book is one of those." —Daily Telegraph

“Responses, conversations, and observations yield quietly reflective and funny ruminations on life and death.” —The Age

“Thomas Teal, a luminous translator of Jansson’s twin talent for surface and depth, simplicity and reverberation in language, and someone who knows exactly how to convey her gift for sensing the meaning embedded in the most mundane act or turn of phrase.” —Ali Smith

“This is a wonderful, life-affirming, spirited book. Reading it was a tonic.” —Chris Stewart

“Eccentric, funny, wise, full of joys and small adventures. This is a book for life.” —Esther Freud

"The Summer Book is beautiful and warm, with the kind of wisdom we can adapt to our everyday lives." —Liv Ullmann

"Take a book in which there is no plot but bucketloads of positive feelings presented simply, and it will become a cult. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Jonathan Livingston Seagull were both bestsellers; no one could say what either was really about, but everyone could quote a meaningful truism from them. The Summer Book is in this mould: it manages to make you feel good as well as wise." —TheIndependent

"The Summer Book is pure loveliness. The movements of tides and winds and boats and insects loom larger for our narrator than the currents of history, and the profound quiet of the setting—I’m reminded of Akhil Sharma’s description of a prose like 'white light'—allows us to hear Jansson’s unsparing and ironic tenderness, a tone that remains purely her own, even in translation."
—Garth Risk Hallberg, The Millions