Book Review

Journalist and book reviewer Suzanne Tobias reviews the latest books and such for KMUW on air and right here. Discover new reviews on alternate Mondays. You can also listen to KMUW book reviews through iTunes. Listen or subscribe here

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.”

I should begin by stating that I am no connoisseur of magical realism. Throughout my reading life, I have flitted around the genre like a hummingbird near honeysuckle, pausing every now and then for a tiny taste – some Haruki Murakami here, some Toni Morrison there. It always left me feeling lightheaded and a little bewildered, like “What the heck is in that stuff, anyway?”

Book Review: 'Shout'

Mar 18, 2019

Author Laurie Halse Anderson first wrote about sexual assault in her groundbreaking novel, Speak, which came out in 1999 and opened the door for a national dialogue about rape culture and consent.

Dave Cullen produced a masterpiece of investigative journalism with his 2009 book, Columbine, which took him 10 years and chronicled the events surrounding the mass murder at Columbine High School in Colorado.

His new book, Parkland, details another horrific school shooting.