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Skinny Books with Fat Content  2022-2023

 “As a book group junkie, discussing Skinny Books is my favorite gathering each month.  The selected books are 'off the grid' from mainstream recommendations.  Carrie is masterful in her book selections and a skillful facilitator of the group. Skinny book, brief meeting, engaging discussion, what could be better?” -Tori M. 

Skinny Books is a lively, thoughtful book club that reads and discusses fiction around 200 pages or less.  These books are small but mighty in their presentation of great moral dilemmas, plot twists, memorable characters and ideas that beg for conversation; they will WOW you with the depth of their meaning and the precision of their language. 

Even if you are already in a book club, you could squeeze this one in.  Meetings take place the first Wednesday of the month from 6:30-7:30 PM at Prairie Path Books (255 Town Square Mall). 

Contact Carrie at carrie@prairiepathbooks.com with questions or to join for one book or all. 15% off the selections, just let us know you'll be attending.  Here's the schedule:

September 7, 2022: Zorrie by Laird Hunt

A poignant novel about a woman searching for her place in the world and finding it in  the daily rhythms of life in rural Indiana.” Zorrie has a hard life, but she never shies  away from the challenges she faces and just keeps plugging away, seeking and finding the  scant opportunities available to women in the early 20th century. This is a beautiful  Midwestern story about hard work, resilience, and circumstance that will swell your heart  with admiration and wonder – for Zorrie and the living landscape.

The Mad Woman’s Ball by Victoria Mas October 5, 2022 

Chilling historical fiction that looks at issues of control. Set in the Salpetriere Asylum in  Paris, 1885, the story centers on Eugenie a patient of Dr. Charcot who holds all of Paris  in thrall with his displays of hypnotism on women who have been deemed mad and cast  out from society. For Parisian society, the highlight of the year is the Lenten ball—the  Madwomen’s Ball—when the great and good come to gawk at the patients of the  Salpetriere dressed up in their finery for one night only. For the women themselves, it is  a rare moment of hope. 

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel November 2, 2022

“An urgent and lyrical novel about a Colombian family fractured by deportation.” America is the land of hope and opportunity for young lovers Elena and Mauro and their  baby girl, and when they arrive, they start the difficult process of seeking work and  citizenship and a place to live that will let them be a family. They are supporting  relatives back in unstable Bogotá as well, and the pressure is a lot to live with. When  Mauro is deported and sent back, the American Dream bubble bursts and survival  becomes more important than success. Despite the harrowing premise, this story is a  testament to family love and self-determination. 

The Weekend by Charlotte Wood January 4, 2023

Set in Australia, at Christmastime (so, summer!) this story is about four older women and  their lifelong friendship of the best kind: loving, practical, frank, and steadfast. But this  year’s annual meet-up has a challenge – one of them, Sylvie, who was really the ‘glue’ among them, has passed away, and their task is to clean out her seaside vacation home.  The book “explores growing old and growing up, and what happens when we're forced to  uncover the lies we tell ourselves. Sharply observed and excruciatingly funny, this is a  jewel of a book: a celebration of tenderness and friendship.” 

Two Old Women: An Alaskan Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival by  Velma Wallis February 1, 2023 

“Based on an Athabascan Indian legend passed along for many generations from mothers  to daughters of the upper Yukon River Valley in Alaska, this is the suspenseful, shocking,  ultimately inspirational tale of two old women abandoned by their tribe during a brutal  winter famine. In simple but vivid detail, Velma Wallis depicts a landscape and way of life  that are at once merciless and starkly beautiful. In her old women, she has created two  heroines of steely determination whose story of betrayal, friendship, community and  forgive-ness ‘speaks straight to the heart with clarity, sweetness and wisdom’” (Ursula K.  Le Guin).

Love and Saffron by Kim Fay March 1, 2023 

A charming novel of friendship that grows along with appetite! An exchange of letters  is the book’s format: Joan Bergstrom writes to Imogen Fortier after reading her  featured food article in Northwest Home and Life Magazine. It is 1962, and Joan at age  27 is in a much different life place than Imogen at age 59. Joan is in Los Angeles;  Imogen is in Seattle. Joan is single; Imogen is married. But the differences between  them melt away like butter with each shared confidence and recipe. “A reminder that  food and friendship are the antidote to most any heartache, and that human  connection will always be worth creating.” 

The Awakening by Kate Chopin April 5, 2023 

In this often overlooked classic from 1899, Edna Pontellier is grappling with her role as  wife and mother in oppressive Victorian society, where few choices were open to women  of a certain class. Married to a well-off businessman, she has a life that seems  comfortable and enviable, except that it is completely unfulfilling. All of her vague  unhappiness comes to a head on a family vacation spent on Grand Isle off the coast of  New Orleans. As well as an effective period piece, the local color of southern bayou life.  Chopin was well ahead of her time in exploring themes of womanhood, but over 100  years later, there is relevancy. 

Brood by Jackie Polzin May 3, 2023 

Chickens have a starring role here, as well as a deeper meaning. A Minnesota woman,  feeling empty after a loss, unpreparedly takes on raising 4 chickens. She is very reflective  about this, as well as physically and mentally challenged by the task of raising anything - and chickens are surprisingly needy. And through the course of this short novel, she puts  her life and relationships in perspective. “Wryly funny, honest and observational - this  book is a meditation on life and longing.” 

Intimacies by Katie Kitamura June 7, 2023 

 

A woman of many languages and identities, the unnamed narrator in this book is  looking for a place to finally call home when she settles on The Hague and takes a job  translating in international court. Along with some personal drama in her new location,  she is pulled into political issues when she is asked to translate for a deposed leader accused of war crimes. A fascinating look at what it means to speak for someone else  and the shifting meaning of language and how essential common understanding is to  relationships. Above all it is essential to have a sense of self as an anchor.

 

Skinny Books

Awakening - Skinny Books April 5, 2023, 6:30PM

Awakening - Skinny Books April 5, 2023, 6:30PM

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First published in 1899, this beautiful, brief novel so disturbed critics and the public that it was banished for decades afterward. Now widely read and admired, "The Awakening" has been hailed as an early vision of woman's emancipation. This sensuous book tells of a woman's abandonment of her family, her seduction, and her awakening to desires and passions that threated to consumer her. Originally entitled "A Solitary Soul, " this portrait of twenty-eight-year-old Edna Pontellier is a landmark in American fiction, rooted firmly in the romantic tradition of Herman Melville and Emily Dickinson. Here, a woman in search of self-discovery turns away from convention and society, and toward the primal, from convention and society, and toward the primal, irresistibly attracted to nature and the senses "The Awakening," Kate Chopin's last novel, has been praised by Edmund Wilson as "beautifully written." And Willa Cather described its style as "exquisite, " "sensitive, " and "iridescent." This edition of "The Awakening" also includes a selection of short stories by Kate Chopin.

"This seems to me a higher order of feminism than repeating the story of woman as victim... Kate Chopin gives her female protagonist the central role, normally reserved for Man, in a meditation on identity and culture, consciousness and art." -- From the introduction by Marilynne Robinson.

Brood: Skinny Books May 3, 2023, 6:30PM

Brood: Skinny Books May 3, 2023, 6:30PM

$16.00
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An exquisite new literary voice--wryly funny, nakedly honest, beautifully observational, in the vein of Jenny Offill and Elizabeth Strout--depicts one woman's attempt to keep her four chickens alive while reflecting on a recent loss.

"Full of nuance and humor and strangeness...[Polzin] writes beautifully about everything." --The New York Times


Over the course of a single year, our nameless narrator heroically tries to keep her small brood of four chickens alive despite the seemingly endless challenges that caring for other creatures entails. From the forty-below nights of a brutal Minnesota winter to a sweltering summer which brings a surprise tornado, she battles predators, bad luck, and the uncertainty of a future that may not look anything like the one she always imagined.

Intimate and startlingly original, this slender novel is filled with wisdom, sorrow, and joy. As the year unfolds, we come to know the small band of loved ones who comprise the narrator's circumscribed life at this moment. Her mother, a flinty former home ec teacher who may have to take over the chickens; her best friend, a real estate agent with a burgeoning family of her own; and her husband, whose own coping mechanisms for dealing with the miscarriage that haunts his wife are more than a little unfathomable to her.

A stunning and brilliantly insightful meditation on life and longing that will stand beside such modern classics as H Is for Hawk and Gilead, Brood rewards its readers with the richness of reflection and unrelenting hope.

Infinite Country: Skinny Books November 2, 2022, 6:30PM

Infinite Country: Skinny Books November 2, 2022, 6:30PM

$17.00
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A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK and INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

WINNER OF THE 2021 NEW AMERICAN VOICES AWARD, LONGLISTED FOR THE 2022 ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL, AND A NATIONAL ENDOWMENT OF THE ARTS "BIG READS" SELECTION

"A profound, beautiful novel." --People * "Poignant." --BuzzFeed * "A breathtaking story of the unimaginable prices paid for a better life." --Esquire

This "heartbreaking portrait of a family dealing with the realities of migration and separation" (Time) is "a sweeping love story and tragic drama [and] an authentic vision of what the American Dream looks like in a nationalistic country" (Elle).

I often wonder if we are living the wrong life in the wrong country.

Talia is being held at a correctional facility for adolescent girls in the forested mountains of Colombia after committing an impulsive act of violence that may or may not have been warranted. She urgently needs to get out and get back home to Bogotá, where her father and a plane ticket to the United States are waiting for her. If she misses her flight, she might also miss her chance to finally be reunited with her family.

How this family came to occupy two different countries, two different worlds, comes into focus like twists of a kaleidoscope. We see Talia's parents, Mauro and Elena, fall in love in a market stall as teenagers against a backdrop of civil war and social unrest. We see them leave Bogotá with their firstborn, Karina, in pursuit of safety and opportunity in the United States on a temporary visa, and we see the births of two more children, Nando and Talia, on American soil. We witness the decisions and indecisions that lead to Mauro's deportation and the family's splintering--the costs they've all been living with ever since.

Award-winning, internationally acclaimed author Patricia Engel, herself a dual citizen and the daughter of Colombian immigrants, gives voice to all five family members as they navigate the particulars of their respective circumstances. Rich with Bogotá urban life, steeped in Andean myth, and tense with the daily reality of the undocumented in America, Infinite Country "is as much an all-American story as it is a global one" (Booklist, starred review).

Intimacies: Skinny Books June 7, 2023, 6:30PM

Intimacies: Skinny Books June 7, 2023, 6:30PM

$16.00
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A NEW YORK TIMES TOP 10 BOOK OF 2021

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2021 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD IN FICTION

ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S FAVORITE 2021 READS

AN INSTANT NATIONAL BESTSELLER

A BEST BOOK OF 2021 FROM Washington Post, Vogue, Time, Oprah Daily, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Atlantic, Kirkus and Entertainment Weekly

"Intimacies is a haunting, precise, and morally astute novel that reads like a psychological thriller.... Katie Kitamura is a wonder." --Dana Spiotta, author of Wayward and Eat the Document

"One of the best novels I've read in 2021." - Dwight Garner, The New York Times

A novel from the author of A Separation, an electrifying story about a woman caught between many truths.

An interpreter has come to The Hague to escape New York and work at the International Court. A woman of many languages and identities, she is looking for a place to finally call home.

She's drawn into simmering personal dramas: her lover, Adriaan, is separated from his wife but still entangled in his marriage. Her friend Jana witnesses a seemingly random act of violence, a crime the interpreter becomes increasingly obsessed with as she befriends the victim's sister. And she's pulled into an explosive political controversy when she's asked to interpret for a former president accused of war crimes.

A woman of quiet passion, she confronts power, love, and violence, both in her personal intimacies and in her work at the Court. She is soon pushed to the precipice, where betrayal and heartbreak threaten to overwhelm her, forcing her to decide what she wants from her life.

Love & Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food, and Love - Skinny Books March 1, 2023, 6:30PM

Love & Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food, and Love - Skinny Books March 1, 2023, 6:30PM

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The Instant National Bestseller and #1 Indie Next Pick

In the vein of the classic 84, Charing Cross Road, this witty and tender novel follows two women in 1960s America as they discover that food really does connect us all, and that friendship and laughter are the best medicine.

When twenty-seven-year-old Joan Bergstrom sends a fan letter--as well as a gift of saffron--to fifty-nine-year-old Imogen Fortier, a life-changing friendship begins. Joan lives in Los Angeles and is just starting out as a writer for the newspaper food pages. Imogen lives on Camano Island outside Seattle, writing a monthly column for a Pacific Northwest magazine, and while she can hunt elk and dig for clams, she's never tasted fresh garlic--exotic fare in the Northwest of the sixties. As the two women commune through their letters, they build a closeness that sustains them through the Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassination of President Kennedy, and the unexpected in their own lives.

Food and a good life--they can't be separated. It is a discovery the women share, not only with each other, but with the men in their lives. Because of her correspondence with Joan, Imogen's decades-long marriage blossoms into something new and exciting, and in turn, Joan learns that true love does not always come in the form we expect it to. Into this beautiful, intimate world comes the ultimate test of Joan and Imogen's friendship--a test that summons their unconditional trust in each other.

A brief respite from our chaotic world, Love & Saffron is a gem of a novel, a reminder that food and friendship are the antidote to most any heartache, and that human connection will always be worth creating.

Mad Woman's Ball: Skinny Books October 5, 2022 6:30PM

Mad Woman's Ball: Skinny Books October 5, 2022 6:30PM

$25.00
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Soon to be a major film from Amazon Studios, the prizewinning French bestseller

"In this darkly delightful Gothic treasure, Mas explores grief, trauma, and sisterhood behind the walls of Paris's infamous Salpêtrière hospital."

--Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train


The Salpetriere Asylum: Paris, 1885. Dr. Charcot holds all of Paris in thrall with his displays of hypnotism on women who have been deemed mad and cast out from society. But the truth is much more complicated--these women are often simply inconvenient, unwanted wives, those who have lost something precious, wayward daughters, or girls born from adulterous relationships. For Parisian society, the highlight of the year is the Lenten ball--the Madwomen's Ball--when the great and good come to gawk at the patients of the Salpetriere dressed up in their finery for one night only. For the women themselves, it is a rare moment of hope.

Genevieve is a senior nurse. After the childhood death of her sister Blandine, she shunned religion and placed her faith in both the celebrated psychiatrist Dr. Charcot and science. But everything begins to change when she meets Eugenie, the 19-year-old daughter of a bourgeois family that has locked her away in the asylum. Because Eugenie has a secret: she sees spirits. Inspired by the scandalous, banned work that all of Paris is talking about, The Book of Spirits, Eugenie is determined to escape from the asylum--and the bonds of her gender--and seek out those who will believe in her. And for that she will need Genevieve's help . . .

Two Old Women: An Alaska Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival - Skinny Books, February 1, 2023, 6:30PM

Two Old Women: An Alaska Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival - Skinny Books, February 1, 2023, 6:30PM

$15.00
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No one should miss this beautiful legend. --Tony Hillerman

Velma Wallis's award-winning, bestselling novel about two elderly Native American women who must fend for themselves during a harsh Alaskan winter

Based on an Athabascan Indian legend passed along for many generations from mothers to daughters of the upper Yukon River Valley in Alaska, this is the suspenseful, shocking, ultimately inspirational tale of two old women abandoned by their tribe during a brutal winter famine.

Though these women have been known to complain more than contribute, they now must either survive on their own or die trying. In simple but vivid detail, Wallis depicts a landscape and way of life that are at once merciless and starkly beautiful. In her old women, she has created two heroines of steely determination whose story of betrayal, friendship, community, and forgiveness speaks straight to the heart with clarity, sweetness, and wisdom (Ursula K. Le Guin).

Weekend: Skinny Books January 4, 2023, 6:30PM

Weekend: Skinny Books January 4, 2023, 6:30PM

$16.00
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#1 International Bestseller
Shortlisted for the 2020 Australian Prime Minister's Literary Award * Shortlisted for the Stella Prize 2020 * Longlisted for the 2020 Miles Franklin Award

"The Big Chill with a dash of Big Little Lies . . . Knife-sharp and deeply alive." --The Guardian (London)

"An insightful, poignant, and fiercely honest novel about female friendship and female aging." --Sigrid Nunez, National Book Award-winning author of The Friend

"Friendship, ambition, love, sexual politics and death: it's all here in one sharp, funny, heartbreaking, and gorgeously written package. I loved it." --Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train


Three women in their seventies reunite for one last, life-changing weekend in the beach house of their late friend.

Four older women have a lifelong friendship of the best kind: loving, practical, frank, and steadfast. But when Sylvie dies, the ground shifts dangerously for the remaining three.

They are Jude, a once-famous restaurateur; Wendy, an acclaimed public intellectual; and Adele, a renowned actress now mostly out of work. Struggling to recall exactly why they've remained close all these years, the grieving women gather at Sylvie's old beach house--not for festivities this time, but to clean it out before it is sold. Can they survive together without her?

Without Sylvie to maintain the group's delicate equilibrium, frustrations build and painful memories press in. Fraying tempers, an elderly dog, unwelcome guests, and too much wine collide in a storm that brings long-buried hurts to the surface--and threatens to sweep away their friendship for good.

The Weekend explores growing old and growing up, and what happens when we're forced to uncover the lies we tell ourselves. Sharply observed and excruciatingly funny, this is a jewel of a book: a celebration of tenderness and friendship from an award-winning writer.

Second favorite book of the year!  Set in Australia, it details an annual ‘Girls’ Getaway’ with a twist:  one of the women in this long-lasting quartet of friends has died since they last met, and they are gathering to clean out her beach house.  Sound depressing?  Don’t be fooled (look at the cover!)  The author chose to emphasize the humor at the foundation of the story’s premise  - and  expresses it in how each woman grieves differently, what each is concerned with beyond the task at hand, how each is confronting her own mortality, and how they all (Jude, Wendy, and Adele) get along without the glue of Sylvie to keep them together. POIGNANT! I don’t mean to shout at you, but this word sums it up best.  It reminded me of Rules for Visiting by Jessica F. Kane - sweet and charming with a dash of reality that will make you examine your own relationships.  The perfect book to discuss with that special circle of friends! - Carrie