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Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps

Overview


Ted Kooser describes with exquisite detail and humor the place he calls home in the rolling hills of southeastern Nebraska—an area known as the Bohemian Alps. Nothing is too big or too small for his attention. Memories of his grandmother’s cooking are juxtaposed with reflections about the old-fashioned outhouse on his property. When casting his eye on social progress, Kooser reminds us that the closing of local schools, thoughtless county weed control, and irresponsible housing...
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Overview


Ted Kooser describes with exquisite detail and humor the place he calls home in the rolling hills of southeastern Nebraska—an area known as the Bohemian Alps. Nothing is too big or too small for his attention. Memories of his grandmother’s cooking are juxtaposed with reflections about the old-fashioned outhouse on his property. When casting his eye on social progress, Kooser reminds us that the closing of local schools, thoughtless county weed control, and irresponsible housing development destroy more than just the view.

In the end, what makes life meaningful for Kooser are the ways in which his neighbors care for one another and how an afternoon walking with an old dog, or baking a pie, or decorating the house for Christmas can summon memories of his Iowa childhood. This writer is a seer in the truest sense of the word, discovering the extraordinary within the ordinary, the deep beneath the shallow, the abiding wisdom in the pithy Bohemian proverbs that are woven into his essays.

Third-place winner, 2002 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, Nonfiction.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Poet Ted Kooser is the kind of neighbor you'll wish you had: no-nonsense, sentimental (without being maudlin), generous-hearted, good-humored, and so frugal (he inherited that trait from his dear, departed mother) that there won't be any "keeping up with the Joneses" to worry about!

His thoroughly delightful collection of reminiscences, collected in his first work of prose, is a faithful tribute to a place he loves and lives in: the "Bohemian Alps" of southeastern Nebraska. His observations betray a keen insight -- into people, places, and things -- and a simple way of approaching life that is, frankly, bewitching.

Reminiscent of Annie Dillard's Pulitzer Prize–winning Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Kooser takes readers in, really in, until they visually inhabit the territory that is his own. For Ted Kooser is the best kind of lover, one who is faithful to the beloved but eager to share the joy he's experienced with his friends. A cross between the best of Charles Kuralt, Dillard, and Garrison Keillor, Ted Kooser's memorable and poetic Local Wonders is a treasure not to be missed. (Fall 2002 Selection)

L Magazine

“Ted Kooser is a travel agent of words. He transports readers to a landscape of old grain trucks and weedsprayers and outhouses. Of country schools and grain elevators and fried pig’s ear crumbled over oatmeal. Of handmade quilts that cost exactly 12.43. His destination? The Bohemeian Alps, a cluster of affectionately nicknamed silty clay knolls in southeastern Nebraska. His tourists? Anyone.”—L Magazine: Lincoln’s Premier Lifestyle Magazine
Fourth Genre

“Reading . . . Local Wonders is a bit like running into Lao Tsu and Confucius in line at the hardware store. A Taoist love of country life permeates the book. . . . It is not nature alone, Kooser’s beautiful book reminds us, but the play of the imagination on nature--the mind that can speculate on the connection between stars and moths—that produces glory and brings insight into life’s inescapable truths.”—Fourth Genre
Heartlands

“This small gem of a book matches perfectly the vision of our Heartlands--conveying the beauty and courage of living close and deep.”—Larry Smith, Heartlands: A Magazine of Midwest Life and Art

— Larry Smith

New West Front Page

“Kooser writes with lovely prose, full of wry humor and affection for the land and its people.”—New West Front Page
Sioux City Journal

“A graceful memoir that saunters from his boyhood in Ames, Iowa to more recent years living as a writer…. Local readers everywhere will equally rejoice in the discovery of this wonderful and simple book.”—Sioux City Journal

— Sean Meehan

Judith Kitchen

"Kooser claims he doesn't like to travel, but for someone who stays put, he does an awful lot of sightseeing. Hindsight, foresight, near sight, far sight, insight, out of sight, you name it—Local Wonders takes us both ''out far'' and ''in deep.''"

—Judith Kitchen, author of Only the Dance: Essays on Time and Memory

Merrill Gilfillan

"Local Wonders takes its luminous place in the time-honored tradition of seasonal contemplation within a cherished place. It is a companionate book—bright of eye and wit, warm with the details and reflections of the world."

—Merrill Gilfillan, author of Grasshopper Falls

Jim Harrison

"Ted Kooser's Local Wonders is the quietest magnificent book I've ever read."

—Jim Harrison, author of Legends of the Fall

Nebraska Life

"Call them stories then. Call them letters from a friend. Call them what you wish, but read them."—Nebraska Life
Lahontan Valley News / Fallon Eagle Standard

“What Kooser does in this remarkable book is describe in exquisite—and understated, humorous—detail the place where he lives: the rural area of southeastern Nebraska. Kooser is one of our finest poets and has, over the years, published a series of poems about the rural life in Nebraska that are superb evocations of place. Here, he does the same thing in prose, again and again, discovering the extraordinary in the ordinary, the pithy underlying truth of conventional folk wisdom.”—Lahontan Valley News / Fallon Eagle Standard
Lincoln Journal Star

"With Thoreaulike reflection and insight, the author artfully engaged this reader in a lyrical embroidery of this neighboring frontier. Weaving images in soothing language, Kooser meticulously captures the nuances of life as it evolves in a country setting in which he is both observer and participant."—Dan Semrad, Lincoln Journal Star

— Dan Semrad

Verlyn Klinkenborg

"Reading Ted Kooser's Local Wonders, I feel like I've wandered into another world, a place where the past endures—broken down a little, it's true—and where the present contains enough room to pay attention to the people and the countryside around you. This is simple, patient prose, the annotations of living in a wide-open place."

Booklist

"Through his eyes we learn to see, then appreciate, the beauty and grace in everyday miracles, the comfort and sanctity in local wonders."—Booklist
Colorado Review

"In this elegaic volume of four chapters, National Poet Laureate Kooser shares with the reader a lifetime of observations about home, familiy, and land distlled into a series of sometimes sparkling, other times electrifying, and always engaging scenes that read like a poet's diary."—Mark Easter, Colorado Review

— Mark Easter

Dallas Morning News

"Local Wonders should be read and reread. It is a treasure, like the ripe wild plums Mr. Kooser, a retired insurance executive, picks along rural Nebraska roadsides."—Dan Barber, Dallas Morning News

— Dan Barber

Harvard Review

“Kooser forges connections with the past through witty, commonsense proverbs inherited from Czech and German immigrants to southeastern Nebraska. The proverbs lend a poetic folk wisdom to the examination of his rural environs.”—Jeffrey Galbraith, Harvard Review

— Jeffrey Galbraith

Janet Maslin

"A quietly eloquent diary of a year in a small town in Nebraska. . . . This is a heartfelt plainspoken book about slowing down and appreciating the world around you. . . . Maybe it's exactly the feeling your friends, even you, are looking for."

New York Times book critic Janet Maslin on CBS News Sunday Morning

The Bloomsbury Review

"When you read Ted Kooser's Local Wonders, you question where he's been all these years. He'd probably tell you he's been right here, amidst all of us, working the simplicity of words, the clarity of insights. What he wouldn't tell you is that he has the quiet ability to sneak beneath your skin and ripple it ever so slightly. . . . Set back in the hills of southeastern Nebraska–the Bohemian Alps–Kooser's book doesn't venture far geographically but travels great distances along the lengths of wisdom. . . . Kooser is a poet by nature, and his essays have the generous feel of a man who's rolled up his sleeves, pen in hand, for a long time, choosing words as an act of beauty, and knowing the small things of the world are of great import."—The Bloomsbury Review
Janet Maslin

"A quietly eloquent diary of a year in a small town in Nebraska. . . . This is a heartfelt plainspoken book about slowing down and appreciating the world around you. . . . Maybe it's exactly the feeling your friends, even you, are looking for."—New York Times book critic Janet Maslin on CBS News Sunday Morning
Verlyn Klinkenborg

"Reading Ted Kooser's Local Wonders, I feel like I've wandered into another world, a place where the past endures—broken down a little, it's true—and where the present contains enough room to pay attention to the people and the countryside around you. This is simple, patient prose, the annotations of living in a wide-open place."—Verlyn Klinkenborg
Jim Harrison

"Ted Kooser's Local Wonders is the quietest magnificent book I've ever read."—Jim Harrison, author of Legends of the Fall
Merrill Gilfillan

"Local Wonders takes its luminous place in the time-honored tradition of seasonal contemplation within a cherished place. It is a companionate book—bright of eye and wit, warm with the details and reflections of the world."—Merrill Gilfillan, author of Grasshopper Falls
Judith Kitchen

"Kooser claims he doesn't like to travel, but for someone who stays put, he does an awful lot of sightseeing. Hindsight, foresight, near sight, far sight, insight, out of sight, you name it—Local Wonders takes us both 'out far' and 'in deep.'"—Judith Kitchen, author of Only the Dance: Essays on Time and Memory
Omaha World-Herald

http://nebraskapress.typepad.com/university_of_nebraska_pr/2011/10/local-wonders.html
Literature and Life

lindsleyrinard.blogspot.com/2010/10/ted-kooser-poet-extraordinaire-this.html

— Lindsley Rinard

Crickhollow Books blog - Philip Martin

http://crickhollow.wordpress.com/2010/03/08/poetry-home-repair-manual-small-press-month-book-recommendation-5/

UNP blog - Cara Pesek

http://nebraskapress.typepad.com/university_of_nebraska_pr/2011/10/local-wonders.html
Nebraska Life - Matthew Spencer

http://nebraskapress.typepad.com/university_of_nebraska_pr/2011/10/local-wonders.html
Literature and Life - Lindsley Rinard

http://lindsleyrinard.blogspot.com/2010/10/ted-kooser-poet-extraordinaire-this.html

Newsday - Dan Cryer

"Eloquent meditations on country pleasures, the rhythms of the seasons and the lingering presence of Czech folk culture in rural Nebraska."—Dan Cryer, Newsday
Speakeasy - Patrice Koelsch

"Clear, generous, and imaginative, Local Wonders increases the sum of the world's best goods."—Patrice Koelsch, Speakeasy
Harvard Review - Jeffrey Galbraith

“Kooser forges connections with the past through witty, commonsense proverbs inherited from Czech and German immigrants to southeastern Nebraska. The proverbs lend a poetic folk wisdom to the examination of his rural environs.”—Jeffrey Galbraith, Harvard Review
Dallas Morning News - Dan Barber

"Local Wonders should be read and reread. It is a treasure, like the ripe wild plums Mr. Kooser, a retired insurance executive, picks along rural Nebraska roadsides."—Dan Barber, Dallas Morning News
Colorado Review - Mark Easter

"In this elegaic volume of four chapters, National Poet Laureate Kooser shares with the reader a lifetime of observations about home, familiy, and land distlled into a series of sometimes sparkling, other times electrifying, and always engaging scenes that read like a poet's diary."—Mark Easter, Colorado Review
Lincoln Journal Star - Dan Semrad

"With Thoreaulike reflection and insight, the author artfully engaged this reader in a lyrical embroidery of this neighboring frontier. Weaving images in soothing language, Kooser meticulously captures the nuances of life as it evolves in a country setting in which he is both observer and participant."—Dan Semrad, Lincoln Journal Star
Heartlands - Larry Smith

“This small gem of a book matches perfectly the vision of our Heartlands--conveying the beauty and courage of living close and deep.”—Larry Smith, Heartlands: A Magazine of Midwest Life and Art
Sioux City Journal - Sean Meehan

“A graceful memoir that saunters from his boyhood in Ames, Iowa to more recent years living as a writer…. Local readers everywhere will equally rejoice in the discovery of this wonderful and simple book.”—Sioux City Journal
Dallas Morning News

"Local Wonders should be read and reread. It is a treasure, like the ripe wild plums Mr. Kooser, a retired insurance executive, picks along rural Nebraska roadsides."

—Dan Barber, Dallas Morning News

Heartlands

“This small gem of a book matches perfectly the vision of our Heartlands--conveying the beauty and courage of living close and deep.”

—Larry Smith, Heartlands: A Magazine of Midwest Life and Art

Booklist

"Through his eyes we learn to see, then appreciate, the beauty and grace in everyday miracles, the comfort and sanctity in local wonders."

The Bloomsbury Review

"When you read Ted Kooser's Local Wonders, you question where he's been all these years. He'd probably tell you he''s been right here, amidst all of us, working the simplicity of words, the clarity of insights. What he wouldn't tell you is that he has the quiet ability to sneak beneath your skin and ripple it ever so slightly. . . . Set back in the hills of southeastern Nebraska–the Bohemian Alps–Kooser's book doesn't venture far geographically but travels great distances along the lengths of wisdom. . . . Kooser is a poet by nature, and his essays have the generous feel of a man who''s rolled up his sleeves, pen in hand, for a long time, choosing words as an act of beauty, and knowing the small things of the world are of great import."

Harvard Review

“Kooser forges connections with the past through witty, commonsense proverbs inherited from Czech and German immigrants to southeastern Nebraska. The proverbs lend a poetic folk wisdom to the examination of his rural environs.”

—Jeffrey Galbraith, Harvard Review

Lincoln Journal Star

"With Thoreaulike reflection and insight, the author artfully engaged this reader in a lyrical embroidery of this neighboring frontier. Weaving images in soothing language, Kooser meticulously captures the nuances of life as it evolves in a country setting in which he is both observer and participant."

—Dan Semrad, Lincoln Journal Star

Sioux City Journal

“A graceful memoir that saunters from his boyhood in Ames, Iowa to more recent years living as a writer…. Local readers everywhere will equally rejoice in the discovery of this wonderful and simple book.”

— Sean Meehan, Sioux City Journal

Colorado Review

"In this elegaic volume of four chapters, National Poet Laureate Kooser shares with the reader a lifetime of observations about home, familiy, and land distlled into a series of sometimes sparkling, other times electrifying, and always engaging scenes that read like a poet's diary."

—Mark Easter, Colorado Review

Nebraska Life

"Call them stories then. Call them letters from a friend. Call them what you wish, but read them."

Lahontan Valley News / Fallon Eagle Standard

“What Kooser does in this remarkable book is describe in exquisite—and understated, humorous—detail the place where he lives: the rural area of southeastern Nebraska. Kooser is one of our finest poets and has, over the years, published a series of poems about the rural life in Nebraska that are superb evocations of place. Here, he does the same thing in prose, again and again, discovering the extraordinary in the ordinary, the pithy underlying truth of conventional folk wisdom.”

Fourth Genre

“Reading . . . Local Wonders is a bit like running into Lao Tsu and Confucius in line at the hardware store. A Taoist love of country life permeates the book. . . . It is not nature alone, Kooser’s beautiful book reminds us, but the play of the imagination on nature--the mind that can speculate on the connection between stars and moths—that produces glory and brings insight into life’s inescapable truths.”

L Magazine

“Ted Kooser is a travel agent of words. He transports readers to a landscape of old grain trucks and weedsprayers and outhouses. Of country schools and grain elevators and fried pig’s ear crumbled over oatmeal. Of handmade quilts that cost exactly 12.43. His destination? The Bohemeian Alps, a cluster of affectionately nicknamed silty clay knolls in southeastern Nebraska. His tourists? Anyone.”

L Magazine: Lincoln’s Premier Lifestyle Magazine

New West Front Page

“Kooser writes with lovely prose, full of wry humor and affection for the land and its people.”

Newsday

"Eloquent meditations on country pleasures, the rhythms of the seasons and the lingering presence of Czech folk culture in rural Nebraska."—Dan Cryer, Newsday

— Dan Cryer

Speakeasy

"Clear, generous, and imaginative, Local Wonders increases the sum of the world's best goods."—Patrice Koelsch, Speakeasy

— Patrice Koelsch

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803278110
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Series: American Lives Series
  • Pages: 158
  • Sales rank: 205,862
  • Product dimensions: 5.82 (w) x 10.60 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Ted Kooser

Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate (2004–6) and winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, is University of Nebraska Presidential Professor. In addition to his many volumes of poetry, he is the author of Lights on a Ground of Darkness and The Poetry Home Repair Manual, both available in Bison Books editions.
 

Good To Know

Kooser revealed some interesting facts about himself in our interview:

"I wanted to be a writer from the time I was a young man, but realized that I'd have to make a living somehow. I tried high school teaching but was incapable of maintaining discipline in the classroom and the students ran right over me. In 1964, after being tossed out of graduate school because I was a completely undisciplined scholar, I went to work at an "entry level" job in a life insurance company and over twenty five years was gradually elevated to a vice presidency.

During those years I wrote every morning from 5:30 till about 7:00. I never saw myself as an insurance executive, but rather as a writer in need of a paying job."

"I love living in rural America, away from the noise and clamor of the city, and I am completely content to go all week without speaking to anyone but my wife and my dog. My wife, Kathleen Rutledge, is the editor of the Lincoln Journal Star, the daily newspaper in Lincoln, Nebraska, and she helps keep me up on the news. I rarely leave home unless I can't find a good excuse not to go.

I write and paint and do chores around the farm, and am immensely thankful for every new day."

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      Garland, Nebraska
    1. Date of Birth:
      1939
    2. Place of Birth:
      Ames, Iowa
    1. Education:
      B.S., Iowa State University, 1962; M.A., University of Nebraska, 1968

Read an Excerpt

Today I put on a cowboy shirt my mother made for me when I was fourteen. It still fits, though the style is quaint. It's red with a white yoke and white cuffs, and the yoke and cuffs are embroidered with plump green cacti. It's the kind of shirt Roy Rogers wore for the Saturday matinees when I was a boy. Long ago I lost my long-barreled pearl-handled cap pistols and wore out the boots with the stars.

Mother made most of our clothes when my sister and I were small, and nearly all of her own. One of the most difficult moments we faced after she died was carrying armloads of her handmade suits and jackets and skirts into a charity thrift shop. And then turning our backs on them. I kept her black Singer with its strap of green felt around the neck, with pins and needles waiting and ready. And the sewing basket my Grandfather Kooser bought for her at an auction when I was a baby.

Mother was working as a salesgirl when she met my father, but when they were married, she became a full-time homemaker and never went back to salaried work. My father was never a highly paid man, and in dime store spiral notebooks, she kept track of every cent they spent from 1936 till the day she died. The hospital bill, ten days for Mother and me when I was born, was $47.38.

For almost twenty years after my father was gone, she lived alone in their house. With the taste for frugality she'd learned in the Great Depression, she saved what she could from Dad's modest pension and her own small social security checks. She invested in CDs, watching the newspaper to catch the best rates, and slowly amassed nearly a half million dollars, far more than the sum of my father's income for all the years he'd worked.

I asked her one day if she ever went out to eat, and she said, "Yes, when Colonel Sanders has that two-piece chicken special, I'll pick one up. Then I eat one piece that day and the other piece the next." Even with all that money in the bank, she liked to see if she could talk her doctors out of free samples of prescription drugs.

Perhaps fifteen years ago I was visiting with her long distance, and she told me she'd just finished another crazy quilt. She made about ten of these, handsome, featherstitched along the patches but not quilted, tied instead, like comforters. She made them from garage sale fabric scraps. She told me that because she'd already given a quilt to each member of our family, she didn't know what to do with this one. I asked her how much she had in it, and without a pause she said, "Twelve dollars and forty-three cents."

I said, "Why don't you figure out how much you'd like to have for it, maybe seventy-five or a hundred dollars, and I'll buy it from you."

"Why would you do that?" she asked.

I told her I had an old girlfriend who had recently been married and I hadn't yet given her a wedding gift. Mother paused for no more than a breath and then said, "Ted, that's too much to give to an old girlfriend." And she wouldn't let me buy the quilt. I didn't argue. The Bohemians say, "Never blow in a bear's ear."

She sold her house a few months before she died and moved into an apartment. On swollen feet neatly tucked in businesslike shoes, with bad lungs wheezing her up and down care center steps, she shopped for her last best deal. Once she found the place she liked, she was happy there, in part because she had enough CD earnings to pay her rent without touching the capital. That had been set aside for my sister and me and our sons.

It was like her to die the day before the rent was due. Just a week before, she'd said to my sister, "The minute I'm gone, you and Ted get my things out of here. We don't want to pay them any extra." You can't discount her choice of that "we." She knew she'd be guiding us even in death. She walks beside me through every store I enter, saying, "Do you really need that?"

Her apartment was in an assisted living complex, with three levels of care. The tenants on the lower floor, where Mother lived, had the least expensive quarters and services. The second floor was for more attentive care, equivalent to that of a nursing home. The third floor was for Alzheimer's patients, some of whom stood at the windows looking down into the parking lot.

Despite the fact that Mother was eighty-nine and unable to walk from her chair to the bathroom without sitting down to rest, she persuaded the management to admit her at the least expensive level. It was an example of her extraordinary bargaining skills that they bought into this when they knew from her papers that her heart was enlarged and failing, her lungs were down to 10 percent capacity, and she was tethered full time to an oxygen machine.

At the minimum level of care, renters were encouraged to get engaged in social activities--card games, crafts, and group entertainments--but Mother let them know she had no interest in that. You were also to take your meals in a common dining room, but within a few hours she'd convinced them to bring her a tray. From her first day there, the only times she stepped into the hall were the three or four times she had to be taken to doctors' offices.

I'd seen her drive hard bargains all my life, but try as I might, I never got the hang of it. When she was younger and still able to drive, I'd walked beside her as she entered a Ford dealership, wearing her powder blue Mamie Eisenhower pillbox hat and holding her matching purse in both hands. Without ever raising her voice, she talked the dealer into selling her a new Ford for about three-fourths of the sticker price. And she paid for it out of her purse. Several years after that, in the wood-paneled office of a funeral director, with my father's body under a sheet in an adjacent room, she cut a good deal on the price of his cremation. To every amenity the man proposed, she said, "We won't be needing that." When she signed the paper, her lips trembled a little, but she took a deep breath, set her jaw, and got ready for the rest of her life.

A shirt she made has lasted forty-five years.

. . .

On hot June days like this, in the days before air conditioning, it must have felt good to sit in a cellar. A while back, I was down in one on an abandoned farm near here and found the parts of a kitchen chair that over the years had come unglued and fallen apart. In the half-light it looked like a pile of animal bones. Somebody had taken it down there to sit on maybe fifty years ago.

I was down in my own cellar just now and noticed our stack of cookie tins is getting rusty. They circulated in our family for years but are temporarily at rest. It's damp down there, too damp to keep potatoes and onions from sprouting, and the rust is coming on around the edges.

Somewhere in every house there's a cookie tin, maybe one with green holly stamped in the tin all around the outside, or one with Santa and his sleigh and reindeer whisking along over the snow, or one with a picture of a quaint little village with candles flickering in the windows of the houses. Inside, they're all the same. You can see your face in the bottom, and there may be a few tiny candy balls and old crumbs you can pick up with the tip of your finger.

You find them on a shelf under the basement stairs, or up in a kitchen cupboard, or stuffed in under the sink. One's sitting in the darkness at the back of a closet with somebody's empty galoshes standing on it, or out in the garage, full of rusty nails or oily sparkplugs. Sometimes they're full of spools of thread or buttons and parked under a sewing machine. They spend their entire careers moving from house to house, from town to town. Yours may be ten years old, or twenty, or even thirty.

Let us praise the good ghosts of cookies! Sugar cookies, of course, cut in the shapes of camels and stars and Santas with packs on their backs, some with colored frosting sprinkled with sweet little balls. Molasses cookies too, big and soft or baked hard and thin and burnt around the edges. Kringla like sweet white pretzels, Rice Krispies bars that gum up your teeth, date pinwheels, pfeffernuesse like tiny sofa pillows. Some not so good, but some perfection.

Of all the things left waiting around the house, cookie tins will wait the hardest. Their purpose is freight and travel, and their next stop is never their last. Even mine, with their rust, will move on someday. An old chair in a cellar can collapse from a lack of expectation, but a cookie tin--even embarrassed, covered with mouse turds--is ready to cheerfully pack up and go.

Theirs is no life for a fretter like me. Sitting on a shelf, empty, next to a roasting pan, a man could get too metaphysical: What if this waiting here is all there is? But a cookie tin doesn't have a care in the world. You have to give them plenty of credit.

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Table of Contents

Preface xi
Acknowledgments xvii
Spring 1
Summer 37
Autumn 77
Winter 115
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2003

    memory lane

    As a native of Seward County (Seward High School, 1984) Mr. Kooser has provided me with a wonderful trip down memory lane. But even if I was not, I would still have enjoyed the book immensely. Mr. Kooser weaves together some of the everyday tasks of living in rural Nebraska into a basket full of life. The book is a wonderful escape from the life I now live (city life, frustrating job), back to the life I remember and plan to return to. It is very easy to read, with the individual stories flying past as I turned the pages. I must admit I was disappointed when I finished it - only because I didn't want to leave the place where Mr. Kooser had invited me. I wish it had been 10 times as long. A wonderful book !

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2002

    Emotional

    One measure of good writing is the work's ability to evoke emotion in the reader. This book will do that for any reader old enough to appreciate life. I was reading early one rainy morning and almost called in sick I was so absorbed. Book is full of one or two page essays. Some are poetic, some are sad, some are humorous, all are well written.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2002

    simple pleasure

    Imagine yourself sitting on a porch or in a small town restaurant and listening to the local fellows talk about life and all of it's meanderings. Ted Kooser is a wonderful storyteller and this book is like a warm quilt-it warms your heart and spirit. A must read if you are from the Heartland or if you grew up in Seward County Nebraska and it's surrounding communities.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2002

    Every word is perfect

    Kooser shares his observations of the place he lives and brings memories to life for all of us. He is a master of making the small things meaningful. I loved it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2003

    great thoughts and simple observations in a gentle rain

    This book, was a grand expression of life. The author has certainly found the simple foundation and essence of being human. While reading the book, I often felt I was just drifting, lost in the peace and simplicity of just drifting about in an old rowboat, on some abandoned farm pond. I loved this book. The book takes you places you have been to, and at times to places you wish you had been to.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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