Suzanne Tobias

Volunteer Book Reviewer

Suzanne Tobias 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. She and her husband, Randy, have 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

“Heart of Junk,” a new novel by Luke Geddes, opens with uptight Margaret watching two vendors unpack their wares at the Heart of America Antique Mall – a large but struggling operation in Wichita, Kansas.

Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your reading life is to revisit the kinds of books that made you fall in love with reading in the first place – the early chapter books or middle-grade novels that illustrate the power of great storytelling. That’s the reason I picked up “To Night Owl From Dogfish,” a collaboration by authors Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolizter that had me feeling like a tween again.

Suzanne Tobias

Today is the final day of 2019, and I imagine you’re growing tired of “best of” lists. Best of the year. Best of the decade. But aren’t these lists important? I mean, how can one be expected to grow without reflection and resolution?

When I look back at my 2019 reading life, I see that I read 62 books, probably abandoned even more, listened to 13 audio books, analyzed more poetry than I’ve ever read before in my life, and interviewed 35 authors for Marginalia.

If you’re a parent, you know the feeling: You’re with your child in a grocery store, or restaurant, or theater, or airplane, and they pitch a fit so sudden and volcanic, you worry they might spontaneously combust, right there on the spot. You imagine them aflame, fueled only by rage, destroying everything in their path – the epic meltdown.

An epigraph at the start of Carmen Maria Machado’s memoir quotes author Zora Neale Hurston: “If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.”

On New Year’s Day 2013, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gene Weingarten carried an old green fedora into a restaurant in Washington, D.C., and asked three strangers to pluck a day, a month and a year out of the hat. They picked December 28, 1986.

Early in Ann Patchett’s new novel, “The Dutch House,” the narrator, Danny, poses a question to his sister, Maeve:

“Do you think it’s possible to ever see the past as it actually was?”

For people around the world – and particularly in Kansas – Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka is a symbol of extremism and hate.

In her debut novel, “The Dearly Beloved,” author Cara Wall tells the story of two couples over decades of love and friendship — all of it centered on the exploration of faith and the struggle to find meaning in life.

Since her groundbreaking autobiography, “Brown Girl Dreaming,” Jacqueline Woodson has used spare prose to tell rich, multilayered stories in a fraction of the space other writers require.