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New Episode of Your Favorite Book with Brandon Taylor

New Episode of Your Favorite Book with Brandon Taylor

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 episode marks the Season 2 finale, and our guest is Brandon Taylor, Booker prize nominee and the author of the new story collection Filthy Animals.Taylor weaves together stories of caregiving, grief, and discomfort, presenting us with humanity in all its messiness. From dancers in a fraught relationship to babysitting gone wrong, this collection leans in close to the tenuous nature of human connection. A mix of interlocking stories and standalones, the collection is shocking, heartbreaking, and deeply thoughtful.

For this episode, Brandon chose Jane Austen’s final novel Persuasion. He discusses discovering the works of Jane Austen while in a darkened lab studying C. elegans, and enumerates all the ways Persuasion is her magnum opus. The novel follows Anne Elliot, single and nearly geriatric at twenty-seven, coming to terms with her family’s faltering finances. Enter Captain Wentworth, wealthy and dashing, and Elliot’s former fiance (jilted years ago due to his lack of money and connections, at the suggestion of Anne’s loved ones). What follows is classic Austen in humor and wit, with a surprising gravitas and maturity.

Brandon discusses Persuasion at length, including the relatability of its plot, masterful dialogue, and its statements on love and companionship. We also chat about the process of crafting a short story collection (are you a singles artist or an album artist?), learning to appreciate ballet from an unlikely source, navigating awkwardness in life and in art, and so much more.

See Also

The Forty Rules of Love with Sumaiya Matin (Author of The Shaytan Bride) Your Favorite Book

We've talked about memoir on this show, but never have we interviewed a memoirist herself. Sumaiya Matin is a social worker and psychotherapist, as well as the author of debut memoir THE SHAYTAN BRIDE. In her book, Sumaiya details not only her childhood as a Bangladeshi immigrant in Canada, but also the traumatic events of her early adulthood. These conflicts bring to rise questions of faith, culture, gender, and the intersections therein. Sumaiya discusses the role of her Islamic faith and distinguishing between cultural norms and religious values, which gives way to the works of Turkish writer Elif Shafak. We discuss at length Shafak's first novel, THE FORTY RULES OF LOVE. This split narrative features the spiritual relationship between renowed poet Rumi and wandering dervish Shams of Tabriz, paralleling it with a modern-day love story and spiritual awakening of Ella Rubenstein, a Boston-area housewife.  Books discussed: 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak, A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum, Believing Women in Islam by Asma Barlas, Inside the Gender Jihad by Amina Wadud, Kimya Khatun by Saideh Ghods Find Sumaiya's memoir at her website: https://www.sumaiyamatin.com/about Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
  1. The Forty Rules of Love with Sumaiya Matin (Author of The Shaytan Bride)
  2. The Palace of Illusions with Annika Sharma (Author of Love, Chai, and Other Four-Letter Words)
  3. Thornyhold with Pitu
  4. Always Coming Home with Shruti Swamy (Author of The Archer)
  5. The Enchanted with Ari Honarvar (Author of A Girl Called Rumi)

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. Reviews on Apple Podcasts are also very much appreciated.

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