We are excited to announce a collaboration between the Chicago Review of Books and the Your Favorite Book podcast. Malavika Praseed, frequent CHIRB contributor and podcast host, asks readers and writers one of the hardest questions there is: what’s your favorite book, and why?
Joining us this week is Dantiel Moniz, author of the debut short story collection Milk Blood Heat. This collection touches on the intimacies and darker impulses in all of us, traversing topics such as womanhood, infidelity, loss, survival, and how the undercurrents of identity impact every decision we make. These stories, set in and around Moniz’s hometown of Jacksonville, add another dimension to Florida’s growing literary tradition. Sharp, visceral, darkly funny, and deeply meaningful, these stories come together to form a riveting body of work.
Moniz cites White Oleander by Janet Fitch as an all-time favorite book, a cornerstone of her formative years and forever influencing her approach to her own writing. This novel, originally published in 1999, follows Astrid Magnussen, the teen daughter of famed poet Ingrid Magnussen. When Ingrid is convicted of murder, Astrid moves from foster home to foster home across the city of Los Angeles. She experiences one horrific tragedy after another, and must find a sense of self amidst this trauma. We discuss the prose, characters, themes, and impact of White Oleander, while avoiding spoilers along the way. Moniz also shares her insight on numerous other topics, such as what popular culture gets wrong about Florida, her takeaways from her MFA, and so much more. This is a fun, laid-back conversation that we hope you enjoy!
Listen to this episode of Your Favorite Book at the link below:
Malavika Praseed is a writer, book reviewer, and genetic counselor. Her fiction has been published in Plain China, Cuckoo Quarterly, Re:Visions, and others. Her podcast, YOUR FAVORITE BOOK, is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and various other platforms