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

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.

Book Review: 'The Man Who Came Uptown'

Sep 3, 2018

The Man Who Came Uptown is classic George Pelecanos. Are you thinking, “I know that author’s name, I just don’t know why?” 

Book Review: 'The Air You Breathe'

Aug 20, 2018

The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles is a tale of the long and complicated friendship of two women. 

Review: Laura Lippman's 'Sunburn'

Aug 6, 2018

This commentary originally aired February 19, 2018.  

Inspired by the noir novels of James M. Cain, Laura Lippman assiduously delivers a masterpiece of the form in her steamy novel Sunburn. An alleged secret stash of cash from a questionable insurance settlement, apparently amoral characters, and ulterior motives all mixed up because of a fervid love affair simmer over a steady flame, until everything combusts.

Book Review: 'Our Towns'

Jul 23, 2018

The new book by The Atlantic correspondent James Fallows and his wife, linguist and writer Deborah Fallows, titled Our Towns, is a compelling look at local communities and how they function--for better or worse-- in a time of national political dysfunction.