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New Episode of Your Favorite Book with Morgan Jerkins

New Episode of Your Favorite Book with Morgan Jerkins

Welcome to another installment of a collaboration between the Chicago Review of Books and the Your Favorite Book podcast. Malavika Praseed, frequent CHIRB contributor and podcast host, seeks to talk to readers and writers about the books that light a fire inside them. What’s your favorite book and why?

This week’s guest is Morgan Jerkins, author of Caul Baby. This novel combines folklore and Black womanhood with gentrification and healthcare disparity, creating an unforgettable work of magical realism.The book follows the Melancon family, born with a layer of skin (the caul) that protects them from harm and imparts good fortune on those that carry it. The Melancons choose to sell pieces of their caul to ensure their safety and social standing, and for years this occurs without issue. Until the day they refuse sale to a pregnant Black woman and she loses her pregnancy. This sets into motion a series of events, including the adoption of a caul-bearing girl, that shakes the Melancon family and the Harlem community to its core.

In this pandemic, with our society questioning the nature and importance of employment, Morgan’s mind went to Temporary by Hilary Leichter as an all-time favorite book. This short, idiosyncratic novel follows an unnamed narrator that exists as a temporary worker. She fills in for roles that need filling, everything from a barnacle on a rock to Chairman of the Board. Jobs, relationships, friendships, these are as fleeting as a few hours of PTO. The goal is steadiness, but as the novel progresses, we wonder if steadiness is a reality or just a means to an end.

Morgan shares her thoughts on moving from nonfiction to fiction, the status of gentrification in Harlem, millennial work culture, and so much more. And as always, the episode is spoiler-free.

See Also

Listen to this episode of Your Favorite Book at the link below, and stay tuned for more episodes with other writers in the weeks to come. If you enjoy this episode, check out other episodes of Your Favorite Book on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or other major podcast platforms.

What We Carry with Jasmine Vyas Your Favorite Book

Although this book has only been out around a year, Maya Shanbhag Lang's WHAT WE CARRY has already made an impact on so many people. My guest, attorney and bookstagrammer Jasmine Vyas, is one of those people. Jasmine is a longtime YOUR FAVORITE BOOK listener and has always given me wonderful feedback and helpful suggestions, and I was so happy to experience this memoir she suggested. WHAT WE CARRY touches on motherhood, cultural expectations, caring for an aging parent, and so much more. Delving in and out of the present, focusing on relationships with others and with oneself, Maya's journey as her mother's caregiver is one to learn from and reflect upon. In this episode, Jasmine shares her own insights as a parent, the disparate expectations in Indian-American households, and what it means to promote underrepresented works. Whether you love this book or are new to it, this episode is for you! After all, memoirs don't really have spoilers…right?? TW for episode/book: abuse, suicide attempt
  1. What We Carry with Jasmine Vyas
  2. A Discovery of Witches with Rachel (Host of Barely Bookish)
  3. Temporary with Morgan Jerkins (Author of Caul Baby)
  4. A False Spring with Jeff Pearlman (Author of 9 Books, Host of Two Writers Slinging Yang)
  5. The Blind Assassin with Nicola DeRobertis-Theye (Author of The Vietri Project)
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