Book Review

Veteran bookseller Sarah Bagby shares her experience and insight into the literary world. You also listen to Sarah's book reviews through iTunes. Listen or subscribe here

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.

This review originally aired on October 31, 2016.

Midwestern writer Peter Geye told me he titled his third novel Wintering “because it speaks to what all these characters are doing: hunkering down and readying themselves for what the world has to offer.”

Mark Woolcott Photography

What happens if you study orthodontia, but can’t stop drawing, then post clever comics about writing and reading on a website to be shared all around the world called incidentalcomics.com? And you live in Wichita?

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