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 Saeed Jones, the acclaimed memoirist and poet, whose recent collection Alive at the End of the World takes on both individual and collective grief in the midst of a nation in crisis. Spanning topics from the legacy of Black artists and entertainers to visions of the end of the world as a chaotic rave, Saeed brings every feeling to the forefront and never turns his back to the hard questions.
Saeed chose a book stemming from his adolescence and one that continues to generate deeper meaning for him, Toni Morrison’s SULA. This book, hardly two hundred pages in length, delves deep into what it means to be a Black girl, and to be both in and out of a community, and the complicated social dynamics it takes to perpetuate said community. The book is luminous at a prose level and never ceases to shock at every turn. There are some spoilers for this episode, but none that take away from the integrity of the novel.
Together we chat about all things crafting a poetry collection, why the United States struggles with creating a grief culture, the triumphs and pitfalls of high school literary opinions, and so much more.
I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy with Deeba Zargarpur (Author of House of Yesterday) – Your Favorite Book
- I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy with Deeba Zargarpur (Author of House of Yesterday)
- Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (with Ethan Chatagnier, author of Singer Distance)
- The House of Mirth with Sara Bennett Wealer (Author of Grave Things Like Love)
- Sula by Toni Morrison (with Saeed Jones, Author of Alive at the End of the World)
- Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward (with Joe Meno, Author of Book of Extraordinary Tragedies)
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 and other platforms 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