Our Story


Our Story

No surprise, at PPB we buy and sell books we love.  Before the store, I used to read at least two books a week, and have one going in my car, too.  Now I know I need help to get a ton of books read each month so we can make knowledgeable recommendations over a wide range.  So I have my beloved PPB Readers attacking big big stacks of new fiction and non-fiction releases, and re-visiting paperbook goodies too.  In our new window-lit "Recommendation Room" you'll find photos of each of us and our latest loves - all with a personal review tucked inside.  Come visit and let us point you in a beautiful book direction! — Sandy


Owners Sandy Koropp and Jenny Riddle

Law school nearly killed Sandy’s love of reading.  Born chatting, she knows the party hasn’t started until someone asks, “Read any great books lately?” 

Jenny thrives on drama—namely her one-woman shows that bring books to life. When she's not center stage, she loves discussing books, usually with coffee (or wine) and lots of facial expressions and gestures. 

Like a lot of women, we are wives and mothers, teachers and cooks, volunteers and friends. Talking about books makes us happy. 

Sandy and Jenny love books. One day, they decided to get serious about their book-love and settle down. They decided to open a bookstore. 

It couldn’t be just any old bookstore. They weren’t interested in creating another building full of thousands of books with no room for people. No, no. They wanted shelves stocked with the best fiction they knew of, the histories and memoirs they adored, and the most charming and fabulous children's book section ever offered.  Sandy loves cook books most of all—they needed a giant section for those—and Jenny is keen on biographies so there must be a special place for those. Prairie Path Books, GATHERINGS and Great Reads. Events are a big part of who they are. They wanted to create the fun of going out to a restaurant with friends. They wanted events nice enough to feel like “date night.” They wanted folks to come meet authors and talk over their works. They wanted to bring in experts on nonfiction topics that broaden understanding. They wanted to offer gift shopping (with free wrap!) that traded crowds for a festive good-time. 

Most of all, they wanted to connect readers, book groups and friends with books to love. Prairie Path Books was the answer. 

  • The most personal service from ONLY staff that read constantly, and the best hand-selected reads in a fabulous space you can cozy up in.
  • Exclusive events featuring hand-selected books for sale, and performances, author signings and creative gatherings that will inspire and refresh. Join our special event email list.
  • Book club suggestions. Invite us to your next book group meeting right here in our Reading Room! We’ll provide a range of titles to choose from and deliver the books right to you.

(And this is no small thing: Toms-Price/Prairie Path Books has one whole city block of PARKING!!) 


Our Readers

Our Readers


Sandy Koropp

Sandy's tastes are all over the place:  new fiction mostly, but also young adult, American history, every kind of cookbook, and an occasional thriller.  She often follows a great "big" read with something quick and cozy; she calls them her "Happies."



Wendy Durkin

My reading taste is an eclectic mix: I love historical fiction and what I call "narrative nonfiction" (nonfiction that narrates historical events in a story-like fashion). I am also an avid reader of contemporary fiction, all sorts, and am starting to re-engage in my past fascination for good mystery writing.  I lean toward books that favor character development over action. 

Cathy Higley

My taste in books tends to run the gamut. I enjoy historical fiction and fiction. If I find an author I like, I will read many of their books. Fiction from older novelists as well as the new up and coming are a delight to me. Occasionally I will delve into non fiction, but it should be historical in nature.


Jenny Riddle

I'm a fan of biography because I'm always amazed at the universality of the human experience.  In fiction, well-written novels that explore relationships and personal growth are my favs.  With all books, I love the surprise of finding the extraordinary in the ordinary.


Emma Koropp 

Buyer for Children and Young Adults

Like my mom, I’m a bit all over the place. I love biographies, short stories, coming-of-age and graphic novels, but the one thing that ties my faves together is quirkiness. I love me a character with quirk.

Paula Wilding

As C.S. Lewis said, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." I have a background in publishing and teaching college-level English courses, so words and books are my professional and personal passion. My reading tastes range from charming European novels to the Founding Fathers to Christian living. I do like recent fiction but am always glad to read a classic, especially Shakespeare. My interest in nonfiction has increased over the years. I have favorites that I return to every few years yet love tackling a big book that can also be used as a doorstop! After living in Wheaton for eight years, I have come to understand the wisdom always carrying a book with me because you never know when you will get stuck at the train tracks.

Jennifer Houghton

I look for two things when reading: a compelling narrative and quality writing. When I find both in one book, you'll get a two thumbs up recommendation from this satisfied reader. I prefer to get drawn into a good collection of essays, but while I hover closely to nonfiction I have no qualms about digging into a novel. Guilty confession: If there is a dog in the story or on the cover of any book, I'll read it.

Betsy Westhoff

I love to read fiction that transports me to another place or perspective.  But I also love to read fiction where I find a character simpatico to myself- sometimes I am reminded about something I love or loathe in a beautiful passage.  As I age, I find I have less “tolerance” for mediocre writing—and much much appreciation for beautiful, heart rending passages.  It’s funny that two of my favorite books of the past few years were non fiction—but still ones that made me laugh, cry and took me out of my comfort zone—and then right back into it:  "Beyond the Beautiful Forevers" by Katherine Boo and "Bossy Pants" by Tina Fey.