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Your Favorite Book with Chelsea Bieker

Your Favorite Book with Chelsea Bieker

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?

Our guest this week is Chelsea Bieker, author of the new collection Heartbroke. Here we are thrust into the world of California’s Central Valley, its landscapes, textures, history, and people. Bieker highlights the fraught relationships between parents and children and shows us the very limits of human endurance. From wandering artists selling more than dreamcatchers on a toxic beach to delusional cowboy fantasies to the dreams and regrets of raisin farmers, the collection is layered, witty, and never ceases to surprise.

For this episode, Chelsea chose a recent novel and a polarizing one, Lisa Taddeo’s Animal. We discuss the nature of an unlikeable protagonist, the difference between trauma sharing and dumping, the relatability of power imbalanced relationships, and so much more. As always, no spoilers for any of the books discussed.

See Also

A Death in the Family by James Agee (with Jean Thompson, Author of The Poet's House) Your Favorite Book

Welcome to the Season 4 finale! Our guest is Jean Thompson, author of many novels, former National Book Award finalist, and most recently the author of The Poet's House. This book explores the sordid lives and falsehoods of poets in California through the eyes of a young admirer, a woman entrenched in blue-collar life but fascinated by poetry. The book takes on the blurred lines of mentorship, the elitism of poetry, and the differences between loving writing and writers themselves. Jean chose a book first and foremost for its prose style, so unique and unlike a great deal of contemporary writing. James Agee's A Death in the Family, his posthumous Pulitzer prize winning masterpiece, takes the simple and magnifies it to Biblical proportions. The death of a family patriarch shatters the suburban ideals within, and we witness the internal and external carnage in one way or another. This is our season finale, but Your Favorite Book will be back in mid-august with more interviews. Stay tuned! Follow the show on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast Buy Jean's book:
  1. A Death in the Family by James Agee (with Jean Thompson, Author of The Poet's House)
  2. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (with Natalka Burian, Author of The Night Shift)
  3. The Lesser Blessed by Richard Van Camp (with Morgan Talty, Author of Night of the Living Rez)
  4. Short Story Book Club: The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (with Anna Johnson)
  5. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (with Kristina Forest, author of Zyla and Kai)

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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