Ask a bookseller: Prairie Lights in Iowa City

Recommendations from Prairie Lights
Recommendations from Prairie Lights
Courtesy of publishers

Every week, The Thread checks in with booksellers around the country about their favorite books of the moment. This week, we spoke with Jan Weissmiller and Tim Budd of Prairie Lights in Iowa City. The bookstore is in the same town as Iowa's famed writing workshop, and is widely praised for their well-curated selection.

Weissmiller has found herself recommending a book of poetry recently — even to people who aren't big poetry readers. It's James Galvin's "Everything We Always Knew Was True."

"His poems are characterized by a plain-spokenness, but I want to say that they're deceptively plain-spoken because really it's not that easy to say something meaningful plainly," said Weismiller, who is one of the owners of Prairie Lights.

Budd, a bookseller at the shop for more than two decades, recommended Dan Vyleta's novel "Smoke." The book is set in a world where wicked thoughts actually manifest as black smoke in the air.

"It's haunted me all summer," Budd said. "It's a very elegant novel, set in historical England, very Dickensian and character-driven and just an exciting, thrilling, epic, chewy read. What we all look for in a good novel."

For the Prairie Lights booksellers full recommendations, use the audio player above.

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