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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (233 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ted Kooser Narrator: Ted Kooser Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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, including memories of his grandmother’s cooking. Kooser also reminds us that the closing of local schools, thoughtless county weed control, and irresponsible housing development destroy more than just the view.

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, baking a pie, or decorating the house for Christmas can summon memories of his Iowa childhood.

This writer sees the extraordinary within the ordinary, the deep beneath the shallow, and the abiding wisdom in the pithy Bohemian proverbs that are woven into his essays.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Quietly eloquent…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

  • “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.”

    Harvard Review

  • “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.”

    Bloomsbury Review

  • “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.”

    Lincoln Journal Star

  • “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

  • “Artist and farmer Ted Kooser, who took up residence in the Bohemian Alps of Nebraska in the 1980s, shares his observations and thoughts about the region and his life. His gravelly voice sets the scene well as he gives listeners a tour of the area, conveying the wisdom that comes with life’s experience. His memoir, framed around the four seasons, jumps from childhood reminiscences to history to personal anecdotes, with a major life event capping it all off. If you want to share the experience of painting outdoors in the spring, making applesauce, or visiting a Mennonite thrift store, Kooser paints those experiences, and more, with his words.”

    AudioFile

  • “Season by season, Kooser reflects upon life in, around, and beyond his home nestled in the rolling hills of eastern Nebraska...Through his eyes, we learn to see, then appreciate, the beauty and grace in everyday miracles, the comfort and sanctity in local wonders.”

    Booklist

  • “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

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Gary J. | 2/20/2014

    " Wonderful! With his characteristic dry humor and folksy wisdom Kooser writes about his ordinary life in eastern Nebraska. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Mariah | 2/20/2014

    " My grandmother (and mother) are from Nebraska and I traveled there a lot in my youth. You don't have to be from Nebraska to appreciate this book, but I bet it helps to be familiar with this rural kind of landscape. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Lindsey | 2/19/2014

    " There is a quote on the cover of this book from Kooser's friend Jim Harrison: "The quietest magnificent book I've ever read." Brian and I have been reading this book aloud for the past year, and each time I'd put it back on the nightstand, I'd see that quote and think what a fitting description it was. I've always been a fan of Kooser's poetry, also for its quiet insights, so I was excited to read these essays. They are organized by season and range from observations of his rural Nebraskan neighbors and quirky thoughts he has during the day, to beautifully rendered memories of growing up in Ames and frank discussions of his bout with cancer. Some of the pieces are several pages, while others are only a few sentences; after almost all of them, though, one or both of us would make a contented "hmm." Kooser's word choice is simple and straightforward and perfect. This is one of those books that you just know you'll return to for the sense of calm reflection it provides. It easily ranks among my all-time favorite collections of essays, right up there with Barbara Kingsolver's "Small Wonder," and I can't recommend it highly enough. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Conrad | 2/16/2014

    " Just as he does with his poetry, so Kooser does with his prose also - he manages to convey images beautifully with a minimum of words. Many of his observations connect two (apparently) dissimilar topics in a way that can't help but bring a smile to the readers face. He sees the world through a poet's eyes and in doing so opens our eyes to see those local wonders also. "

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About the Author
Author Ted Kooser

Ted Kooser is a poet, essayist, and a Presidential Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He served as the US poet laureate from 2004 to 2006, and his book Delights & Shadows won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. He lives in Nebraska with his family.