This weekend I adventures to Iowa City, IA. Did you know Iowa City is one of America’s best small towns for the arts? And their a city of Literary importance. University of Iowa is also home to the country’s most prestigious Creative Writing and English program. This city is a Bookworms dream.
I went to Iowa City because one of my greatest friends from high-school attends U of I. She showed me the ropes of all University of Iowa has to offer: including the writers workshop house. The hub of their MFA in creative writing .
I know the ins and outs of Indiana’s English program so well that i probably recite them in my sleep. Seeing how English looks at a different University was eye opening. I enjoyed every second of it. I read every posting for classes in their hallways, saw reading rooms, and toured the building that house the English department.
Among other activities, I also got to see the Iowa Memorial Union, my friend’s Freshman year dorm, great restaurants, and cute boutique shops.
One of the best parts of my trip was visiting Prairie Lights Bookstore. This three story home of books could have trapped me for hours. It is packed with shelves. They have everything from rare and used to new YA adventure stories. They even have a cafe upstairs so you can read and caffeinate all in one spot.
The most unique characteristics of this book store is their system for staff picks. Most bookstores, even Barnes and Nobel, have staff picks. These books are designated by the workers as being some of their favorites. Normally it’s a sign or a sitcky note on the shelves.
Here at Prairie Lights, the books have notes hidden within their pages from the staff. It makes the experience more intimate and personal. The staff is even given a section of the store’s website where they can post in detail about their favorite books.
Of course, I cannot visit a bookstore without buying some books. I came away from the visit with three new titles: “The Immortalists” by Chloe Benjamin, “Paris by the Book” by Liam Callanan and “The Rules Do Not Apply” by Ariel Levy. This mini book haul was so enjoyable. I picked up at least two dozen books. No worries, I added some to my Goodreads.com list, so I will be able to find them later. These three really caught my eye. My Hawkeye friend recommended “The Rules Do Not Apply” she claims to have read it multiple times. “Paris by the Book” was a no brainer, I am in love with any book about a book shop.
I’m so excited to add these titles to my list, especially knowing they came from such a special place.
Keep Reading Bookworms, and visit Iowa City when you get a chance. It won’t disappoint.