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.

Border Cantos, an oversized volume of brilliantly painful color photographs by Richard Misrach taken at the Mexican Border of the United States, is haunting. 

This review originally aired on May 16, 2017

Three time periods, three cities, and one gorgeous painting, in a smart and well crafted novel: The Last Painting of Sara De Vos by Dominic Smith.

Two inspired illustrated books recently caught my eye; two distinctive palates, two portraits of child artists, two books that distill complicated concepts. 

Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid is the bestselling author of novels and essays, among them the revered novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist. His latest book, Exit West, is one every reader should read now. I have not been this emotionally moved by a book in years.

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. 

Kwame Alexander has written two novels in verse. Each verse/voice is distinct and fun to read.

Book Review: 'Victoria'

Jan 25, 2017

I couldn’t resist reading Victoria, the novel by Daisy Goodwin. It follows Queen Victoria beginning in 1838, when she becomes Queen of England a month into her 18th year, taking us through her courtship and marriage to Prince Albert in 1840. Goodwin was commissioned to make a TV series about the life of Victoria and I tuned into the first episode now airing on PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre. I wanted more and I got exactly what I wanted. 

Sheila Kohler has released her 14th book, entitled Once We Were Sisters. Told mostly in the collective “we,” Kohler takes an intimate look at the unassailable bonds of sisterhood. Sheila May and Maxine’s affluent and charmed early years are spent at Crossways, an estate in the suburbs of Johannesburg, supported by an army of servants. After the death of their timber magnate father, the pre-teen girls move with their family into a boarding house, under the care of their unstable and overbearing mother.

Among my favorite books of 2016 are two novels, a work of history, and the collected works of a great American poet.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles is a beautifully rendered period piece set primarily in the Metropol Hotel across from the Kremlin in post revolutionary Russia where a Count is under house arrest. The transformative descriptions place the reader in the hotel alongside the Count as history is being made and lives are changing dramatically in the new political climate. 

Mary Reagan

Prolific mystery writer Lawrence Block, creator of characters Matt Scudder, Bernie Rhodenbarr and Evan Tanner, has never been lacking in ideas. He writes books with colleagues, works under pseudonyms and writes guides for aspiring writers, such as Telling Lies for Fun and Profit

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