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.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Mon September 8, 2014

'Soldier Girls' Is A Compelling Portrait Of Women In War

Helen Thorpe profiles three women who joined the Indiana National Guard before 9/11 in her compelling new book, Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Mon August 25, 2014

New Author Weaves Story Of Family And Difficulty

The Leary family—Eileen, a nurse; her professor husband, Ed; and their ordinary son, Connell—are like most families. Their upward trajectory in economic status results in a move to the New York City suburbs from their working class Brooklyn. Things continue pretty much as expected until the arrival of a debilitating illness: Ed develops early onset Alzheimer’s disease, which they face with perseverance and dignity.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Mon August 11, 2014

A True-Life Arctic Adventure

Credit www.history.navy.mil / Google Images / Creative Commons

Hampton Sides is an editor-at-large for Outside Magazine and a master of narrative non-fiction. His latest book, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette, combines just the right amount of adventure, meticulous research and remarkable characters with lofty dreams.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Complex Worlds and Complex Families

In her novel The Land of Love and Drowning, Tiphanie Yanique takes us to the Virgin Islands in the early 1900s, as rule is transferred from Denmark to the United States.

Two sisters, Eona and Annette, and a brother they don’t know they have, all possess a particular beauty and sensuality. Orphaned after a shipwreck and stripped of their social status, the siblings traverse the next 60 years on the beloved island that is bound by the sea that killed their father.

Yanique, a native of St. Thomas, creates a multifaceted world you won’t soon forget.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Mon July 14, 2014

New Books Find Humanity In Difficulty

A good novelist weaves a gripping story out of small details, big emotions and just the right words to transport us into the mind of and emotional terrain of his or her characters. Good writing draws me into tragedy before I know it, and two new releases did just that.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Books To Make You Feel

Salman Rushdie said, “literature opened the mysterious and decisive doors of imagination and understanding. To see the way others see. To think the way others think. And above all, to feel.”

Two new novels will grab you at your core, getting hold of your empathy, sympathy and humanity, as only good stories can.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Mon June 16, 2014

A Reissue From A Landmark Series

Poet and activist Lawrence Ferlinghetti co-founded the venerable City Lights Bookstore in 1953 and the City Lights Press in 1955.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Mon June 2, 2014

'My Salinger Year' Is An Irresistible Literary Memoir

In the mid-1990s, when the Grande Dame of Literary Agents could still-- possibly, even credibly-- think that computers in the workplace were a passing fad, Joanna Rakoff, at age 23, took a job as her assistant.

My Salinger Year is Rakoff’s irresistible memoir of the year she assisted this unnamed legendary agent whose clients included Judy Blume and, most importantly, the elusive and private J. D. Salinger—known as "Jerry" to those in the office.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Mon May 19, 2014

'The Painter' Is Rock Solid

Meet Jim Stegner: mid-40s, a fly-fisherman, painter and killer.

He is the masculine protagonist in Peter Heller’s new novel, The Painter. The opening line is masterful and captures our attention-- 45-year-old Jim reflects, “I never imagined I would kill a man.” From then on, Heller holds us until the very last sentence.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Mon May 5, 2014

New Yorker Cartoonists Pen Brilliant Memoirs

I have two cartoons clipped from the New Yorker displayed on my fridge door.

One is by Roz Chast, with the caption, “When Moms Dance”-- you know what we look like. And one is by Bob Mankoff, with the caption, “How about Never—is Never good for you?” Haven’t you ever wanted to say this to a persistent salesperson?

In one frame, Chast and Mankoff capture life’s telling moments with hilarity, brilliance and poignancy. Now, each has a new memoir for fans to relish.

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