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The Bookish Life

The Bookish Life

By Bookish: An Indie Shop For Folks Who Read

The Bookish Life Podcast is a bi-weeky podcast production of Bookish: An Indie Shop For Folks Who Read in Fort Smith, Arkansas. You can follow us on Instagram at@bookishshopfs. All the books we talked about can be purchased on our website:

Sara and Phil are eternally grateful to Matthew Putman for editing and producing our little podcast.

If you like listening to this podcast, please tell us by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcasts. Email us your questions at

Currently playing episode

Gilbert Grape!

The Bookish LifeJul 15, 2022

Refreshed & Renewed
Jun 05, 202336:06


Sara and Phil wrap up this season by reading some of our favorites. Sara talks about the Natalie Haynes book Stone Blind which is longlisted for the Women's Fiction award, and Phil reads a new-to-him book from one of his favorite authors, David Mitchell, Slade House.

You can find these and all the other books we talked about HERE.

You can listen to audiobooks and support Bookish HERE!

Apr 19, 202326:14


Phil and Sara are back and recording in the new Bookish brick and mortar space. We discuss books Sara has been reading for the next Stems & Stories event, and one of them happens to be a book Phil has just finished. We spend a lot of time with Patrick Bringley's All the Beauty in the World in this episode, but it deserves it. We also talked about The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell and American Mermaid by Julia Langbein.

You can find all the books we discuss on our podcast here and here thanks to our partners at and

Happy Listening.

Apr 04, 202321:56
Anaximander & Schulyer
Apr 04, 202321:16
Genre Fiction is Good For You
Mar 20, 202326:02
Second Grade Math
Mar 06, 202321:00
Rage Against Book Bans
Feb 27, 202336:23
Podcast With the One You Love
Feb 20, 202327:27
Frazzle Dazzle
Feb 14, 202323:20
Why We Love The Storygraph
Jan 30, 202324:12
The Unbearable Divine
Jan 25, 202332:29
Phil and Sara go to India
Jan 17, 202327:55
Gold Star
Jan 10, 202322:44
Our First Ever BEST OF Episode!
Jan 02, 202326:35
Dec 19, 202235:30
God's Annointed Bookshop
Dec 12, 202221:14
McCarthy Episode

McCarthy Episode

We are back from a restful Thanksgiving and Phil has finished Cormac McCarthy's newest book, The Passenger. Needless to say, we had to talk about it. 

Sara finished Weyward - a debut novel about three generations of women who use their family histories to find their own empowerment. It's woodsy and witchy and a really fun read.

Here's what Sara's looking forward to next week!

A Left-Handed Woman by Judith Thurman

Noone Left to Come Looking for You by Sam Lipsyte

Stella Maris by Cormac McCarthy

Dec 05, 202228:40
National Book Award Winners 2022
Nov 21, 202231:56
Eat Your Vegetables
Nov 14, 202226:29
Revolution According to Phil

Revolution According to Phil

Our bookish conversation this week centered around Phil's book, Russia: Revolution and Civil War, 1917 - 1921, and a few snippets from our friends at The Guardian where writer Murakami asks "Who would I be if I weren't seeking anything?" We are both really excited about his new book coming out this week, Novelist as a Vocation. 

We talked about all of this stuff, too!

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Now is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson - finally hits the shelves this week! 

The Grimkes: The Legacy of Slavery in an American Family by Kerri Greenidge

Hanged: Mary Suratt and the Plot to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln by Sarah Miller

Eve Bites Back by Anna Beer

How it Went by Wendell Berry

Scattered Showers by Rainbow Rowell

Galatea by MADELINE MILLER - We are VERY excited to read something new from Miller. 

Nov 07, 202223:12
Not So Spooky Halloween Episode
Oct 31, 202225:17
Meet Blake, Read Poetry
Oct 24, 202221:55
Panic, People!

Panic, People!

Sara goes back and talks more about the new Kevin Wilson book, Now Is Not the Time to Panic!

Phil talked about The Trees by Percival Everett and what makes it a great book club pick. 

Here is what we're excited about the week of October 18th!

Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro

Accidental Gods: On Race, Empire, and Men Unwittingly Turned Divine by Anna Della Subin

Oct 17, 202228:05
Why Would You Want Something Serious?
Oct 10, 202222:02
Welcome, October!

Welcome, October!

In this week's podcast, Phil hesitantly talks about his latest read, THE CASE AGAINST THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION by Louise Perry

Sara discusses Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen which was our book club pick for September. 

New Releases this week:

Grace: President Obama and Ten Days in the Battle for America by Cody Keenan

Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese

Billie Starr's Book of Sorries by Deborah Kennedy

Phil also mentioned this article from The Guardian about Celeste Ng. Snag her newest book, Our Missing Hearts, out this Tuesday! 

Also, stay tuned for new books by Cormac McCarthy and John Irving this fall!   

Oct 03, 202220:04
Banned Books + Celeste Ng
Sep 26, 202235:00
Sep 19, 202227:41
Community Read

Community Read

Today, Sara touches on the pick for this year's Big Read. The Big Read is a community reading program sponsored by the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith. This year's featured novel is Colson Whitehead's The Nickel Boys. In this Pulitzer Prize-winning follow-up to The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys unjustly sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.

Also this week:

Up From the Depths by Aaron Sachs

The big idea: why relationships are the key to existence by Carlo Rovelli

How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water by Angie Cruz

Life's Work by David Milch

Happy Reading, 

Sep 15, 202228:14
You Don't Have to Like Everything You Read
Sep 02, 202229:07
Early Risers
Aug 28, 202220:20
Quickbooks 4 Life
Aug 19, 202231:43
Aug 12, 202225:11
We're Feminists, After All...
Aug 05, 202232:36
Vacation Reading

Vacation Reading

Phil is back from vacation, so we catch up with our reading and discuss burning questions like "What do you read on vacation?" 

In today's episode we discuss William Manchester's book AMERICAN CAESAR: DOUGLAS MCARTHUR 1880-1964, David Sedaris' HAPPY-GO-LUCKY, Sandra Newman's THE MEN, Adam Langor's CYCLORAMA, THE BOOK EATERS by Sunyi Dean, MERCURY PICTURES PRESENTS by Anthony Marra, and THE MANY DAUGHTERS OF AFONG MOY by Jamie Ford. 

All books are available at

Jul 29, 202225:08
Gettin' Bookish w/ Jen

Gettin' Bookish w/ Jen

While Phil's on vacation, Sara and Jen talk about books, new releases, and the Delia Owens controversy gripping some bookish folks. Today we discussed: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, Brood by Jackie Polzin, and Beasts of Ruin by Ayana Gray. 

Jul 22, 202220:51
Gilbert Grape!

Gilbert Grape!

We are including Phil's passage from William Manchester's book about Douglas MacArthur here. Do you have a passage that moved you this week? Tell us about it! 

"Captain Arthur McArthur was more austere than Judge MacArthur - he was, in fact, something of a stuffed shirt - but now and then he displayed flashes of wit. As Douglas told the story late in life, his father was serving on a military court in New Orleans when a cotton broker, urgently needing the loan of army transport facilities, attempted to suborn him. The bribe was to be a large sum of cash, which was left on his desk, and a night with an exquisite Southern girl. Wiring Washington the details, Arthur concluded: "I am depositing the money with the Treasury of the United States and request immediate relief from this command. They are getting close to my price." - Manchester

Jul 15, 202219:35
The Bookish Life 2.0

The Bookish Life 2.0

Phil Blackburn joins Sara this season as we talk about books, bookstore life, and focus on specific passages that get us through each week. 

Jul 07, 202224:53