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

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.


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.

Book Review: 'Where The Dead Sit Talking'

Nov 26, 2018

Brandon Hobson, a member of the Cherokee Nation Tribe, lives in Ponca City, Oklahoma, and teaches writing. His novel Where the Dead Sit Talking was a finalist for the National Book Awards. It’s a coming of age story set in rural Oklahoma in the late 1980s.

Book Review: 'Dry'

Nov 12, 2018

Award-winning author Neal Shusterman wrote the new Young Adult novel Dry in collaboration with his son. In it, they’ve turned a drought-plagued Southern California into a dystopian region when access to the Colorado River is entirely cut off, and made this a thrill-ride of a novel.

Book Review: 'Marine, Public Servant, Kansan'

Oct 29, 2018

Marine, Public Servant, Kansan, written by Dennis Garcia, tells the story of Dennis’s cousin, Ernie Garcia. The child of immigrants, Ernie was born in the barrio in Garden City in the mid-20th century. He had a career in the military, worked for Senator Bob Dole—who wrote the foreword to this book—and held the esteemed position of sergeant-at-arms for the U.S. Senate, rising through the ranks of government to travel worldwide as a congressional delegate.

The first thing to know about Kate DiCamillo’s middle-grade novels is this: They’re not just for kids.  DiCamillo – the author of Because of Winn-Dixie and two Newbery Medal winners, The Tale of Despereaux and Flora and Ulysses – creates unforgettable characters that tug at your emotions no matter your age. 

Book Review: 'Just Mercy' For Young Adults

Oct 1, 2018

I reviewed Bryan Stevenson’s well-known book Just Mercy on this station in March of 2015. I explained that Just Mercy is a gripping and painful narrative of challenging the judicial system in an Alabama that’s very deeply entrenched in court-sanctioned prejudice. What I didn’t focus on is Stevenson’s hope and the extensive lesson in civics he delivers.

Book Review: 'Heartland'

Sep 17, 2018

Sarah Smarsh’s debut book Heartland, a memoir of growing up in a working class/poor family in south central Kansas, has just been long listed for this year’s National Book Award for non-fiction. Born in 1980, the daughter of a teenage mother, Smarsh uses her own experience to show us the divide between the middle-class and the working poor. She incisively cuts through our assumptions about a mother who works three jobs that are hard on her body; about a farmer or laborer harmed by government policies--or lack thereof--all burdened by the emotional toll of making ends meet.