Suzanne Perez

Volunteer Book Reviewer

Suzanne Perez writes editorials and opinion columns for The Wichita Eagle, where she has worked as a journalist for nearly 30 years. She also oversees the Eagle’s books coverage and coordinates the #ReadICT Challenge, an annual effort to encourage Wichitans to explore new authors and genres and just to have more fun reading.

Suzanne grew up in North Carolina and attended North Carolina State University, where she earned a bachelor’s in English and an unofficial minor in Waffle House hashbrowns (“scattered, smothered and covered”). She moved to Wichita in 1990 and has two children.

When she’s not reading or listening to an audio book, Suzanne loves to shop for books and talk about books, and she’s an enthusiastic member of way too many book clubs. She has a hard time picking favorites, but some books that have shaped her life include Charlotte’s Web, The Outsiders, Bird by Bird, The Handmaid’s Tale, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life and A Prayer for Owen Meany.

Ways to Connect

Don and Mimi Galvin had a dozen children—10 boys and two girls—born between 1945 and 1965, perfectly spanning the baby boom. 

In Yaa Gyasi’s new novel, Transcendent Kingdom, a Stanford Ph.D. candidate named Gifty studies reward-seeking behavior in mice and the mysterious synapses that can lead to addiction or depression. She does it because her brother, Nana, was a gifted basketball player before an injury led to an OxyContin addiction and eventually to a deadly heroin overdose. And she does it because her mother, a Ghanaian immigrant, is depressed and living in her bed.

In her debut novel, The Bright Side Sanctuary for Animals, Kansas native Becky Mandelbaum tells the story of a mother-daughter pair and also of the prairie, a landscape she reflects with detail in this passage about the melodramatic Kansas sky:

I guess I’ve been on a bit of a short-story kick lately. After reviewing Susan Minot’s new book, Why I Don’t Write,  and rediscovering the lovely, independent little universes of short fiction, I picked up another new collection—Laura van den Berg’s I Hold A Wolf By the Ears—and dove right in.

And this one, my friends, is even better.

It’s been three decades since author-playwright Susan Minot has published a collection of short fiction. So perhaps it’s fitting that her new one, which is being released this week, is titled “Why I Don’t Write: And Other Stories.”

I knew I wanted to read Death in Her Hands, Ottessa Moshfegh’s newest novel, before I knew anything about it. Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation was one of the best books I read in 2019—a darkly comic novel about a young woman’s extended hibernation with a battery of prescription meds—and I couldn’t wait to see what the author would do next.

The tiny town of Merinac, Kansas -- the setting of KJ Dell’Antonia’s new novel, “The Chicken Sisters” -- is a fictional place. But anyone familiar with a two-lane stretch of road in southeast Kansas will immediately recognize it:

This is “Chicken Dinner Road” -- home of Chicken Annie’s and Chicken Mary’s, two restaurants that sit about 300 feet apart and have been the center of a fried chicken debate for 70 years.

“You have to wonder what goes through the mind of a man like Micah Mortimer,” Anne Tyler begins her newest novel. “He lives alone; he keeps to himself; his routine is etched in stone.”

Micah, the persnickety main character in Redhead by the Side of the Road, likes things just so. He starts his daily run precisely at 7:15. He works as a tech consultant and moonlights as the building super. He keeps his apartment neat and clean and orderly. He’s a good guy with a good, predictable life.


Chelsea Bieker’s debut novel, Godshot, is the story of Lacey May Herd, a 14-year-old girl stuck in Peaches, a drought-stricken, God-forsaken town in California’s Central Valley.

Grant Snider, with permission

I loved Grant Snider’s new book from the moment I pulled it out of the bag—a pleasant sort of surprise bag, thanks to COVID-era curbside pickup at my local independent bookstore. “I Will Judge You By Your Bookshelf,” a collection of Snider’s one- and two-page comics, features a die-cut cover with an adorable character peeking out from behind a crowded bookshelf.