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.
A Death in the Family by James Agee (with Jean Thompson, Author of The Poet's House) – Your Favorite Book
- A Death in the Family by James Agee (with Jean Thompson, Author of The Poet's House)
- From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (with Natalka Burian, Author of The Night Shift)
- The Lesser Blessed by Richard Van Camp (with Morgan Talty, Author of Night of the Living Rez)
- Short Story Book Club: The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (with Anna Johnson)
- 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.
Malavika Praseed is a writer, book reviewer, and genetic counselor. Her fiction has been published in Plain China, Cuckoo Quarterly, Re:Visions, and others. Her podcast, YOUR FAVORITE BOOK, is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and various other platforms