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Your Favorite Book: The God of Small Things with Mina Seçkin

Your Favorite Book: The God of Small Things with Mina Seçkin

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 Mina Seçkin, whose novel The Four Humors is a meandering and thoughtful exploration of family secrecy and cultural identity. Our main character, Sibel, is a college student visiting family in Turkey along with her white American boyfriend, and the pressures of adulthood and losing her father culminate in inexplicable headaches. Sibel becomes fascinated with the theory of the four bodily humors and ancient medicine, and slowly finds her way through not only this ancient field, but the covered-up ancient secrets of her own family. The book is compelling; equal parts coming of age and family saga, with the added texture of an at-times abrasive protagonist.

Seçkin calls Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things one of her all time favorite books, and together she and Malavika discuss the remarkable prose of this novel, its Faulkner-esque experiments with time, and the deep understanding of childhood trauma. There is also the matter of explaining one’s cultural background without overexplaining, defining an audience for your work, picking the ideal writing snacks, and so much more discussed in this episode. There are also many, many other book recommendations, in case your list needs growing.

See Also

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking-Glass with Dr. Mark M. Hennelly Your Favorite Book

This week's episode is here to give you a new twist on familiar classics. We take on the Alice books, those weird little Victorian novels that Disney and Tim Burton usurped as their own, with a particularly knowledgeable guest. Dr. Mark M. Hennelly is a retired California State University professor specializing in Romantic, Victorian, Gothic, and Fantasy literature, along numerous other topics. Dr. Hennelly continues to write and has written extensively on the Alice books in recent years. We discuss whether children's literature truly exists, how to make material new year after year, what the Jabberwocky even means, and whether Turkish Delight is worth eating (spoiler, it's not). This is one of those episodes where I let my guest take the lead and I'm just here for the ride. Hope you come along with us! Books discussed: Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis, The Hobbit by JRR Tolkein, Phantastes by George MacDonald, A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
  1. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking-Glass with Dr. Mark M. Hennelly
  2. The God of Small Things with Mina Seçkin (Author of The Four Humors)
  3. Exit West with SJ Sindu (Author of Blue Skinned Gods)
  4. The Shadow of the Wind with Maxwell Dunn
  5. The Forty Rules of Love with Sumaiya Matin (Author of The Shaytan Bride)

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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