Book Review

Journalist and book reviewer Suzanne Perez 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

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. 

What’s the most irritating question a writer can be asked?

According to Maurice Swift, the amoral protagonist in John Boyne’s new novel, A Ladder to the Sky, the answer is simple: Where do you get your ideas?

By now you’ve no doubt seen – or at least heard about – Netflix’s post-apocalyptic survival film “Bird Box.” The movie has captured audiences, spurred memes and given rise to another dangerous internet “challenge,” as people wander around or even drive blindfolded, inspired by scenes depicted in the film.

Sometimes a book grabs you and won’t let go. That’s the case with Ghost Wall, a tense, provocative, explosion of a novel by British author Sarah Moss.

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Another turn of the calendar is a great time to think about how you’d like to enrich your life. So why not resolve to read more in 2019?

The goal sounds simple, but it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of life and forget about reading. So here are a few tips that might help:

“Books saved my life.”

“Reading takes apart your world and expectations and rearranges them.”

“Reading is not antisocial but the most social act we can imagine, inviting us to see, hear, feel, taste, smell someone else's life from the inside.”

“It’s lovely to read in the bathtub.”

Book Review: 'Friday Black'

Dec 10, 2018

The short stories in Friday Black, by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, who was just named one of the five-under-35 authors to watch by the National Book Foundation, are wholly original in their depiction of what it feels like to be young and black in America.

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