Seasons in the Bohemian Alps
by Ted Kooser
Review by: Craig R. Stafford
Reflecting on the seasons of everyday wisdom in quiet rural life in the Bohemian
Alps (located in Nebraska), these essays are verbal snapshots of the ordinary.
Gentle aphorisms pepper this simply exquisite book. This is a non-fiction book
that I reflect upon frequently, that resonates through my days, and that I have
often wrapped in bright paper and ribbon as a special gift to give to myself.
The writing is gentle, evocative, thoughtful and wise. Kooser is a poet (though
this is not poetry), and his choice of words reflects his poet's sensibilities.
Each sentence, every paragraph, is a delight to read, enjoy and behold. Many
books deserve to be read, but few deserve to be read aloud-and this deserves
to be read quietly aloud.
In fact, practicing what I preach, I have read many portions to friends and loved
ones over coffee. My favorite fragments include: "A person needn't be fearful
of sixty-five-year-old Mennonite women in white lace caps...," "I have been sitting
outside tonight getting the very old news from the stars..." and "Lots of Avon,"
where he compares the mysteries and joys of going to country garage sales as is
if it were a Shakespearean play. There are simply so many priceless gems bound
in the pages of this book, that you will certainly discover favorites all your
I am a greedy book reviewer, and I simply cannot conclude this item without
sharing a closing fragment from the last pages of the book. It always makes
me tear up. I hope that you will set the words free and read this aloud:
"Life is a long walk forward through the crowded cars of a passenger
train, the bright world racing past beyond the windows, people on either side
of the aisle, strangers whose stories we never learn, dear friends whose names
we long remember, and passing
acquaintances whose names and faces we take in like a breath and soon breathe