Sarah Bagby

Book reviewer

Sarah Bagby is the owner of Watermark Books & Café, and publisher of Watermark Press. As such, she has been reading and recommending books to readers for over 30 years. Involved in numerous regional and national industry organizations, she advocates for issues facing local independent businesses.

She loves her store and café, and all the opportunities it affords the staff and customers to come together to create a vibrant literary culture in Wichita and Kansas.

She is married to Eric Cale and they have one daughter.

Two new novels about family destiny, Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing and Alice Hoffman’s The Rules of Magic, distinctly explore how burdens of the past manifest for generations. Ward draws on elements of the Southern Gothic tradition while Hoffman’s novel harkens back to the Salem Witch Trials.

Elisabetta A. Villa

If you need to love a character to love the book, don't hesitate to dive headfirst into Manhattan Beach by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jennifer Egan.

The number seven can provide structure: the days of a week, the colors of the rainbow, a musical scale.  There are the seven chakras of Hinduism, and seven requests in the Lord’s Prayer. For ancient Egyptians it symbolizes eternal life, a complete cycle, a dynamic perfection. And of course, seven is a lucky number.

Jessica Marx

Set in the first decade of the 21st century, The Locals, by Jonathan Dee, takes place in the small fictional community of Howland, Mass. Mark Firth is a local contractor, and a bit of a dreamer who works hard for his blue collar life. Philip Hadi is a wealthy businessman who descends on the small town to quell his fear after 9/11. 

Daniel Grisales

Lucky Boy is Shanthi Sekaran’s second novel. Set in Berkeley, the timely tale dives deep into the immigrant experience from two disparate perspectives: one of poverty and one of privilege. 

This book review originally aired on February 20, 2017. 

Not to be confused with Colson Whitehead’s inventive novel, Underground Railroad is Ben H. Winter’s Underground Airlines. Part thriller, part alternative history, and fully engaging, Underground Airlines is set in the present. 

Michael Connelly’s latest detective novel, The Late Show, his 30th, introduces a new female detective, Renee Ballard.

In his latest crime novel, The Force, Don Winslow abandons the Mexican-California border of his acclaimed novel The Cartel for the patrol borough of Manhattan North, New York City.

Willy Somma

Whiting Award winner Catherine Lacey’s second novel, The Answers, is ambitious. Her needy protagonist is one we could easily dismiss; she has chronic pain, lives way beyond her meager means, and is emotionally drained. So, why are we engaged with the single twenty-something travel agent assistant? The answer is that Catherine Lacey is an amazing stylist, infusing humor and empathy into a beguiling intellectual narrative.

Our president’s inability to communicate beyond a revolving door of fear-inducing polemics inspired Carolina de Robertis, a creative writing teacher at San Francisco State University, to create a collection of letters written by writers and political thinkers entitled: Radical Hope: Letters of Love and Dissent in Dangerous Times.

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