Suzanne Tobias

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

Mary Beth Keane’s novel, “Ask Again, Yes,” opens on a New York City street in 1973. Rookie cops Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope respond to an armed robbery in progress, and while Francis checks a victim’s pulse, he considers larger issues:

For eight years, journalist Lisa Taddeo traveled the country and embedded herself with ordinary women in an attempt to explore a topic few people talk about – female desire.

As first sentences go, Helen Phillips’s new novel, “The Need,” packs a dramatic punch:

“She crouched in front of the mirror in the dark, clinging to them. The baby in her right arm, the child in her left. There were footsteps in the other room. . . .”


In interviews about her new novel, “City of Girls,” author Elizabeth Gilbert said she wanted to write “a sort of fizzy, joyful, sex-positive book” – one that would go down like a champagne cocktail. And this one is crisp and fun, even as it explores serious topics of female desire, friendship and the consequences of the choices we make.


Samanta Schweblin’s new collection of short stories, “Mouthful of Birds,” draws you in with its stunning cover – dozens of jewel-toned butterflies piled atop one another in a kaleidoscopic tumble of color. It’s a fitting image for the stories inside, which attack the senses in powerful bursts of language.


The most disturbing thing about “The Farm,” by Joanne Ramos, is that its premise seems completely plausible.

It’s Memorial Day, and you know what that means: the official start of summer reading season.

For me, there are four categories of summertime books, and I like to draw a few from each when I compile my reading list.


If you haven’t yet heard of Sally Rooney, you probably will soon. The Irish writer seems to be the literary phenom of the moment, after her 2017 debut novel, “Conversations With Friends,” won widespread critical and commercial acclaim.

 

Springtime inspires me to sweep out the garage, strip the flannel sheets off the bed and exchange all those bulky coats and sweaters for T-shirts and flip-flops. And that’s when I gleefully grab mind-candy novels like “Daisy Jones & The Six” – the latest from author Taylor Jenkins Reid.

Between 2005 and 2009, in a remote Mennonite colony in Bolivia, girls and women would wake in the morning feeling lightheaded and in pain, their bodies bruised and bleeding. For years, residents of the colony thought demons were attacking the women in the night. Some felt God was punishing them for their sins. Others attributed the episodes to “wild female imagination.”

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