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New Episode of Your Favorite Book with Jesse McCarthy

New Episode of Your Favorite Book with Jesse McCarthy

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 Jesse McCarthy, professor at Harvard University and author of The Fugitivities. In this debut novel we follow Jonah Winters, a recent college grad and current teacher in New York City. Already disillusioned with teaching and unsure what to do next, he travels to Brazil after a chance encounter with a former NBA player. With nothing but his lived reality as a young Black man and the people he meets along the way, Jonah seeks to find what is missing in his life and in his sense of self.

For this episode, Jesse chose a novel he has long loved and enjoys teaching, Ralph Ellison’s 1952 masterpiece Invisible Man. In this picaresque, an unnamed narrator tells the story of his life in episodes, beginning with a harrowing graduation day, through his college years, and onto the streets of Harlem.This book shows us the many intersections of race and class and rings true even today.

Jesse discusses Invisible Man on a textual basis as well as how it hearkens back to African American history as well as the present. We discuss reader curiosity in the author’s life, writing across fiction and nonfiction, the role of the novel in an answer-seeking society, how Invisible Man may be the progenitor for the modern social thriller, and so much more. This episode has some mild spoilers, which are indicated at appropriate times during the episode.

See Also

Short Story Book Club: The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (with Anna Johnson) Your Favorite Book

In light of recent events, for the first week of airing, my guest and I will be donating a dollar to local abortion funds across several states for every listen this episode gets. You can feel free to spread the word or join me in the fundraising. If you'd like to match a portion of the listens, please reach out to me on instagram or twitter @yfbpodcast We're chatting about one of the most famous American short stories ever written, "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson. Anna and I chat about how unfortunately timely this story feels, some wonderfully unexpected moments while reading this story, our grievances against long-held American traditions, and so much more. Everything is spoiled, so consider yourself warned! There are also some lighter reading recommendations at the very end, so stay tuned for those.
  1. Short Story Book Club: The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (with Anna Johnson)
  2. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (with Kristina Forest, author of Zyla and Kai)
  3. Airborn by Kenneth Oppel (with Jesmeen Kaur Deo, Author of TJ Powar Has Something to Prove)
  4. The Magical Language of Others by E.J. Koh (with Joseph Han, author of Nuclear Family)
  5. Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi (with Grace Shim, Author of The Noh Family)

Listen to this episode of Your Favorite Book at the link above, 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.

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