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Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  463 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
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, Koos ...more
Paperback, 158 pages
Published March 1st 2004 by Bison Books (first published 2002)
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I cannot think of any person who could possibly not love this book......

This book grabbed my interest in a blink of an eye. Against all logical reasoning, I am putting it on the shelf from which I buy books. This is terribly out of character for me..... No, it does not take place in Czechoslovakia, but in fact in southeastern Nebraska. Many of the people living in this area were originally from Czechoslovakia. There are also many people of German descent. The author is th
M. Sarki
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

"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."___University of Nebraska Press/Bison Books

These days my wife and I clean and clear out as much clutter as possible from our lives. I am still the biggest collector of the thousand or so books remaining in m
Aug 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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 neigh ...more
Sep 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
Random musings in prose from one of our best poets. He's the guy I'd like to be stranded with at a truckstop in a snowstorm. Interesting to read his prose, which is in parts lyrical, in parts elegant, and in parts reassuringly ordinary. Kooser words make me think of Andrew Wyeth's paintings, and sometimes even Edward Hopper's. There's that certain slant of light to nearly every page. He's got a fierce love of the land, in particular his own Nebraska soil, and of his neighbors who work that land.
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If Ted Kooser wrote tractor repair manuals I would read those too.
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
It took me a while to get the feel for this author's style. I read his poetry book this month and this book about his life (and the seasons) is in a poetry style. Which takes a bit of a mind turn for reading and comprehending. I enjoyed it but the first bit too a while for me to turn into. The author uses his present and the seasons to tell about his past and some of the stories he has gathered. As he passes through the seasons he remembers those who have passed from his life.
There were lots of
May 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
This delightful little volume is well worth a subsequent listen. And its language is so engaging as to make me want to order a printed version so that I may go back and underline and highlight some passages that just demand more than a single look - which is the one down side of audio books that I have come to appreciate. When I first picked it up my first thought was, "On, another name for the Nebraska Sand Hills." But as I came to find out the Bohemian Alps are in the same state, but some dist ...more
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
Ted Kooser, former US Poet Laureate (2004-2006) has written a delightful book of life in the Bohemian Alps of Nebraska. Each of the vignettes started as a poem which was then expanded to be a story about life in the slow lane of rural Nebraska. All phases of live are here, the local rummage sales, the bank building being restored to a community center, moving the outhouse and his love of hardware stores and descriptions of his favorite sweater, preparing the garden plot and his concern about the ...more
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
A wonderful book of essays, I tried to read it very slowly to make it last but got carried away and finished it today.
I especially enjoyed the bits about his family and relatives and most especially enjoyed his take on garage sales. He explains perfectly the draw of going to such sales, describing them as theater. I also loved the ending, metaphor is definitely his area.
I was fortunate enough to take a class from Mr. Kooser a few weeks ago at Chautauqua, it was a lovely day.

Also loved the title
A beautiful little book full of reflections and observations about living in the Bohemian Alps of southeast Nebraska, and growing up in Ames Iowa. Kooser, former Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry crafts his stories to truly bring them to life. Divided into the four seasons of a year these stories of his life range from his childhood Christmases in Iowa to his current observations on county weed management along rural roads told with an equal vividness and interspersed with bits ...more
May 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
A church member loaned me this book by the former Poet Laureate. It is not a book of poems. It is gentle remarks on life in Nebraska hills.

Gentle is a good word to describe it. And generous. Kooser observes each season and the people, nature, land, and culture around him. He remarks on events in his life, including a startling section on his cancer diagnosis.

This is one of those books you have lying around and pick up and read a few pages every day or two, rather than reading large chunks in on
Written by an honored poet and former insurance company executive, this biography beautifully details the author's life in the low hills of southeastern Nebraska. Kooser is a master of writing big about small things - - "seeing small." Winner of the Nebraska Book Award for Nonfiction in 2003, Kooser was named the nation's poet laureate in October 2004 (lj)
Leah Kline
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ted made me a fan of poetry
Apr 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
All of Kooser's work is excellent, and this book of short, vignette-style essays is no exception. Really, this book should be handed out in conjunction with tourism info through the Chamber of Commerce in Nebraska. Through the specific details of the four seasons in the "Bohemian Alps" in SE Nebraska, Kooser gets at a kind of universal sense of what it's like to live in the Great Plains.

Jennifer Pullen
Jul 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Some moments of lovely close observation of nature and place. However, sometimes it got a little too cozy.
Dana Tuss
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Every page wasn't over-the-top amazing imagery, but I certainly enjoyed it. A nice leisurely read and quiet book perfect for writing about Nebraska.
Angie (Bussen) Siedell
What a nice little book. Ted Kooser captures so many of the subtle little things I adore about Nebraska.
Beth Budra
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Just beautiful. And learned a few things about my new neighbors.
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
contemplative. for quiet time. pick and choose.
Nathan Albright
Aug 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: challenge-2018
This book gave me an odd feeling, and I'm not sure it's a feeling I like.  When the author was talking about the small towns of the area of the Bohemian Alps, or about his fondness for having an outdoor toilet despite (or maybe because of) the disapproval of his neighbors, I found the book odd and somewhat likable.  When the author talked about his political views or whined about lots of other people wanting to move to the area, though, I thought the author should shut up, and found him not very ...more
Sep 15, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a memoir of life in southeastern Nebraska, an area know as the Bohemian Alps. The style of writing is poetic (Kooser was formerly US Poet Laureate), with vivid descriptions of the land and the people who live there. Arranged by the seasons, one experiences the slow yet significant changes brought by the passage of time. Kooser portrays all that is special and unique in an area of the US I had never thought of as interesting. The book gave me a much deeper appreciation of a land and cultu ...more
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So graciously written ... bits and pieces, stitched together with a love for his life in Nebraska ... indeed, a land of local wonders ... small things, in many ways, but full of detailed life ... people, dogs, birds, old cars, barns, and memories ...

Elegantly written, clean and clear ...

Andy Plonka
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: src
Even though I've never visited Nebraska, I feel a bit more informed about the state and its inhabitants after reading this book. Also learned something about Iowa as well, another state that I have never set foot in..
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Kooser writes beautifully. first paragraph - "Fat slides of snow plop from the wet tin roofs of turkey sheds, and it's suddenly spring, the barnyard air in compartments of warm and cold, blue in the shadows and yellow over the pooled wheel ruts in the sunny pigpens."
Chris S.
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
It pretty much nails a Nebraska that's slightly more urban than Roger Welsch's world.
Apr 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Poet (and Poet Laureate) Ted Kooser wrote this collection of prose pieces while in his early sixties, all of them appreciations of his daily life and memories of family going back to his boyhood in Ames, Iowa. Living today in a farmhouse near little Gardner, Nebraska, not far from Lincoln, he first describes the rolling terrain of the land and its Czech and Bohemian settlers, whose descendants continue to provide a cultural identity to the region. The essays are sprinkled with Czech and Bohemian ...more
Steve Kubick
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Kooser," as my family who knew him calls him, is full of vim and vigor in his descriptions of the Bohemian Alps, and being a liberal in that conservative-by-default corner of the world. His reflections are universal, yet personal. His face looks familiar so I probably met him as a child, but while reading it somehow I pictured a Wilford Brimley type of large old man in overalls, ruminating. There used to be a segment on Sunday Morning (with Charles Kuralt) that featured Postcards from Nebraska ...more
Jun 30, 2011 rated it liked it
This is NE's One Book One Nebraska read in 2011. Luckily I had a close friend who went to the U of NE - Lincoln and introduced me to Kooser (and Kuzma and Kloepfkorn) back in the '70's - way before he became the US Poet Laureate.

It helps to have lived in NE, and it definitely helps to know there are a lot of Czechs in NE. Kind of a journal of his musings through a year, each season gets about 35 pages. I find when he tries to achieve poetic insight within his prose that I tended to loose intere
Jul 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Former US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser shares memories of his adult life in rural Nebraska and childhood in Iowa. His uncommon gift for observation is reflected in lyrical, understated essays, some only a paragraph long. These are full of quiet wisdom, conveying his affection for his family, friends, and neighbors. My fondness for the Midwest made me appreciate this book even more than I might have otherwise.
Sep 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: finished
This is a book to go out and buy immediately. It was my introduction to Kooser, a former US poet laureate, and literally made me feel ashamed that I'd never heard of him. It is a wonderful book.

I read it last February, home sick with a horrible fever. I started reading to keep me focused, and I can't help but think that this book made me well. I've re-read it several times since, and can't suggest it highly enough.
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Ted Kooser lives in rural Nebraska with his wife, Kathleen, and three dogs. He is one of America's most noted poets, having served two terms as U. S. Poet Laureate and, during the second term, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his collection, DELIGHTS & SHADOWS. He is a retired life insurance executive who now teaches part-time at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. The school board ...more
“I now know that I was in the presence of the only angels we are ever likely to make the acquaintance of: teachers blessed with the love of small people who are trying to find their place in the world.” 1 likes
“I hunted when I was younger, but after I moved to the country, I swore of making loud noises except in the case of emergencies. When a gun goes off, it alters everything in the immediate vicinity, and this effect lasts for a good half hour. Every sparrow, every field mouse, every spider in its web freezes in place. Shooting guns and setting off Fourth of July firecrackers are far too much of an imposition on the natural world. None of our fellow creatures has evolved far enough to accept guns or loud noises as part of the order of things. These days I only use my shotgun for occasional tree trimming.” 0 likes
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