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Thanks to Jan Weissmiller, poet and co-owner of Prairie Lights, Caring Lessons: A Nursing Professor’s Journey of Faith and Self will soon be shelved in this much-loved independent bookstore in Iowa City.

01aca7fbdc5aeee0109516b0b91ce302f0a5149b98When I attend the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, as I did last week, I hang out at Prairie Lights between classes and evenings. You’d be there, too, if you like three floors of carpet to ceiling books, that wonderfully pervasive aroma of real-live paper and ink, a half floor of a coffee shop with chewy chocolate chip cookies, and authors of all genres giving readings.

The readings are broadcast on local radio and can be heard on the bookstore’s website. Tune in to find Sherman Alexie, Christine Sneed, Elizabeth McCracken, and many more.

After talking with Jan, I take a photo of the sign on the door. It’s too bad you can’t see  my heart hopping.

01ae0ff4b8b54dc402b8f5dac35764ff599f94aa8dOn another visit, I take a picture of the Health section where Jan said my nursing career memoir would probably be shelved. I find only one other memoir, one by a physician. Hers is alone on the bottom of the middle shelves. Will Caring Lessons share the space?

01aac15ea46e76016dea26063766bab409730090c2On yet another visit, I buy a T-shirt in muted blue that provides a calming background for Caring Lessons. Or a comforting reminder whenever I wear it .

01e240ae4e20d513120ca484efa986e0095e5faf58_00001Prairie Lights was started in 1978 and has managed to survive.  A year ago, Forbes said, “Prairie Lights in Iowa City represents the very best of the increasingly rare independent brick-and mortar-bookstores.”

I say Amen to that!

Click on a highlighted Prairie Lights above to lose yourself for an afternoon of bookish fun and inspiration. You will be happy you did.