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Your Favorite Book

Your Favorite Book

By Malavika Praseed
Everyone's got a book they'll remember forever. I want to find out what it is and why it matters so much. Each episode, I talk to a new guest about their favorite book. I read it too, draw all my own conclusions, and the fun begins!
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The Enchanted with Ari Honarvar (Author of A Girl Called Rumi)

Your Favorite Book

The Song of Everlasting Sorrow by Wang Anyi (with Belinda Huijuan Tang, Author of A Map for the Missing)
We're back for a new season! Our guest this week is Belinda Huijuan Tang, author of the debut novel A Map for the Missing. The novel spans time from the 1970s through the 1990s, in China as well as the United States, and centers family secrets and miscommunication along with the impact of pursuing one's dreams. What does it mean to live a life of knowledge, and how easy is it to achieve that path? Belinda chose Wang Anyi's The Song of Everlasting Sorrow as her favorite book. Written in 1995 and translated from Chinese, this novel spans four decades in the life of Wang Qiyao, a former beauty queen who lives a life of heartbreak in both old and new Shanghai. The book is dense, complex, but also deliciously petty and joyful in its depictions of Wang Anyi's hometown. As always, no spoilers! Books discussed: Siren Queen by Nghi Vo, Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You by Alice Munro Buy Belinda's book: Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
August 11, 2022
A Death in the Family by James Agee (with Jean Thompson, Author of The Poet's House)
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:
July 21, 2022
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (with Natalka Burian, Author of The Night Shift)
We're indulging in something fun and delightful today, because that's just what we all need. My guest is Natalka Burian, author of the great new speculative novel THE NIGHT SHIFT, which combines the night life of New York City with the portals and intrigue of a time traveling sci-fi novel. It's fast paced and engaging from the very beginning, and an absolutely fun read. Natalka shares her thoughts on working in the service industry, running a nonprofit, and idolizing NYC from her childhood on a farm. We chat all about From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and spoiler, we're both absolutely delighted. Don't worry, no spoilers for the book. Buy Natalka's book: Natalka's tiktok: Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
July 14, 2022
The Lesser Blessed by Richard Van Camp (with Morgan Talty, Author of Night of the Living Rez)
My guest this week is Morgan Talty, author of the debut short story collection NIGHT OF THE LIVING REZ. Morgan shares his insights on his low residency MFA program, his approach to book structure and generating ideas, and his approach to writing intergenerational trauma from a Native American perspective. For this episode, Morgan chose the 1991 novel THE LESSER BLESSED by Richard Van Camp, and we dive into what seems to me to be the anti-YA novel. The book is abrasive and tough to read at times, but altogether unique in its craft and the level of nuance each of its young characters has. As always, no spoilers! Buy Morgan's book: Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
July 07, 2022
Short Story Book Club: The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (with Anna Johnson)
In light of recent events, for the first week of airing, my guest and I will be donating a dollar to local abortion funds across several states for every listen this episode gets. You can feel free to spread the word or join me in the fundraising. If you'd like to match a portion of the listens, please reach out to me on instagram or twitter @yfbpodcast We're chatting about one of the most famous American short stories ever written, "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson. Anna and I chat about how unfortunately timely this story feels, some wonderfully unexpected moments while reading this story, our grievances against long-held American traditions, and so much more. Everything is spoiled, so consider yourself warned! There are also some lighter reading recommendations at the very end, so stay tuned for those.
June 30, 2022
This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (with Kristina Forest, author of Zyla and Kai)
I'm not much of a romance reader, but I always love reading books that challenge my preconceived notions and break down boundaries. It's why I started this podcast in the first place. My guest is Kristina Forest, who writes romance for adults and young people alike, and today we talk about all things writing craft, summer reading experiences, and so much more. Kristina chose a well-loved Sarah Dessen book, THIS LULLABY, for our discussion and it proved to be a great first foray into Dessen's work for me. As always, no spoilers, although I bet many of you have read THIS LULLABY long before I have! Buy Kristina's book: Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast Short Story Book Club for June: The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
June 23, 2022
Airborn by Kenneth Oppel (with Jesmeen Kaur Deo, Author of TJ Powar Has Something to Prove)
We're back in the wonderful world of YA, and my guest this week is Jesmeen Kaur Deo, author of TJ POWAR HAS SOMETHING TO PROVE, a book that takes on high school pettiness, Eurocentric beauty standards, and high school debate teams. I personally related on so many levels. Jesmeen and I chat about the intricacies of debate, the joys of writing a headstrong character, and how the choice to remove or leave body hair takes on a whole new meaning to South Asians.  We switch gears entirely with Kenneth Oppel's AIRBORN, a childhood favorite of Jesmeen's that hearkens back to the adventure novels of yore, with snappy dialogue and a steampunk aesthetic to boot. We talk about the fun of anachronisms, another headstrong protagonist, and the joys of a wonderful audiobook adaptation, as well as so much more. As always, no spoilers! Buy Jesmeen's book: Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast Short Story Book Club for June: The Lottery by Shirley Jackson 
June 16, 2022
The Magical Language of Others by E.J. Koh (with Joseph Han, author of Nuclear Family)
Our guest this week is Joseph Han, the author of debut novel NUCLEAR FAMILY and one of the 2022 5 under 35 National Book Foundation honorees. His novel centers the palpable nature of generational trauma and hope by manifesting it literally, the spirit of an ancestor possessing a descendant, all amongst the backdrop of the longstanding Korean War and a Korean restaurant based in Hawaii. Joseph chose a book reflecting on similar themes for this episode, THE MAGICAL LANGUAGE OF OTHERS by EJ Koh. This memoir told through the language of translation defies expectation and feels to the reader like a triumph just for its existence. Joseph also shares his thoughts on all things Guy Fieri, what it means to chose the perfect title, and so much more. As always, there are no spoilers for either book in the episode. Buy Joseph's book: Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast Short Story Book Club for June: The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
June 09, 2022
Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi (with Grace Shim, Author of The Noh Family)
We're back in the world of YA literature and we're talking about one of the new greats (if I do say so myself), Mary H.K. Choi. Choi's book YOLK was one of my favorites of the year so far, and EMERGENCY CONTACT, her debut, brings some of the nuanced storytelling, subtlety, and maturity that she showed off in later works. My guest is Grace Shim, whose debut novel THE NOH FAMILY is all kinds of wild, with some of the craziness of Korean dramas and a lot of the cultural critique that can only come from someone intimately familiar. We chat about all things beauty standards, finding the right K drama for you, fangirl moments, and so much more. Read Grace's Book: Follow Grace on instagram @gkshimwrites Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast Short Story Book Club for June: The Lottery by Shirley Jackson:
June 02, 2022
Short Story Book Club: Inventory by Carmen Maria Machado (with Rena Patel)
We're at the end of another month, and we're bringing back a familiar voice for this one. Rena Patel was on the show over a year ago to talk about JULIET by Anne Fortier, but now we're taking on something far darker and foreboding, the short story "Inventory" by Carmen Maria Machado, part of her renowned collection HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES. This story is wild, y'all. Beautifully crafted, deeply unsettling, and somehow written before COVID. Yeah. We also chat about the differences between playwriting and prose writing, and there are some spoilers for the movie DON'T LOOK UP. Consider yourself warned. There are spoilers for this one! Read the short story here: Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter: @yfbpodcast
May 26, 2022
Real Life by Brandon Taylor (with Naheed Phiroze Patel, Author of Mirror Made of Rain)
This was an intriguing one, fellas! My guest is Naheed Phiroze Patel, author of the new novel MIRROR MADE OF RAIN, and she and I chat in detail about former YFB podcast guest Brandon Taylor and his debut novel REAL LIFE. Yes, being a podcast guest is Brandon's only claim to fame, how'd you guess? In all seriousness, this book is a masterclass of carefully crafted scenes, excruciatingly awkward moments, and flat-out beautiful prose. I couldn't put it down. Naheed and I also chat about her book, including writing for an audience in different continents, the possibly ingrained sexism of Karva Chauth, the pros and cons of an MFA program, and so much more. Books discussed this episode: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee, Arlington Park by Rachel Cusk Buy Naheed's book: May Short Story Book Club: Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast. Reviews always appreciated!
May 19, 2022
Wise Children by Angela Carter (with Nghi Vo, Author of Siren Queen)
Another weird book and a blast of an episode! Our guest is Nghi Vo, author of The Chosen and the Beautiful and most recently, Siren Queen. Combining 30s Hollywood with fairyland rules, Siren Queen shows us the dark side of celebrity and what it means to craft a persona for public consumption, and what it takes to climb to the top. The book is part Faustian legend, part Gatsbyesque glamour, and ultimately an aesthetic all its own. Nghi chooses a book she picked up at a Barnes and Noble over twenty years ago, a book she's read over and over until the cover fell off, Angela Carter's last novel Wise Children. This book is a haphazard, chaotic telling of a deeply dysfunctional family, with humor and darkness thrown in throughout, and ultimately a book that left us speechless at many, many points. We discuss all things celebrity culture and the morality of performance, along with plenty of laughs along the way. May Short Story Book Club Link: Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast Buy Nghi's book:
May 12, 2022
Short Story Book Club: The Worst Friend Date I Ever Had by Samantha Irby (with Jasmine Vyas)
It's the end of another month and we're here with another edition of the Short Story Book Club, the lowest stress book club you could ever join. This month it's an essay, and a hilarious one at that. My guest is Jasmine Vyas (from our What We Carry episode) and together we bring together equal parts literary criticism and laughing about trying to make friends as an adult. Okay, it's mostly the latter. Seriously, this is a great one if you just need to kick back and enjoy something funny, but there's some honest insight in this essay and the episode as well. Plus, you can hear me rant about various friend-making apps and why I'll swipe left on your Bumble BFF profile. There are spoilers in this talk, so read the essay! It's linked below. The essay: Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
April 28, 2022
Gregor the Overlander with Vaishnavi Patel (Author of Kaikeyi)
It's been a minute since we've had an honest to goodness childhood favorite on this show. You know the kind, the book you're obsessed with for most of your waking life, to the point where it creeps other people out. For me, it's the Trumpet of the Swan. For Vaishnavi Patel, it might just be Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins. Along with talking all things middle grade, writing nuanced characters, portraying trauma in a second world fantasy, and so much more, we also talk about Vaishnavi's own writing journey. Her book Kaikeyi is a retelling of the Ramayana with a focus on its most notorious villainess, and we chat about dealing with backlash, the editing and publishing process, how myths vary across time and space, and so much more. There are spoilers for Gregor, and we do focus mostly on Book 1 of the series. Books discussed: Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer, Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley, The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch.  Buy Vaishnavi's book: April Short Story Book Club:
April 21, 2022
Azadi with Madhushree Ghosh (Author of Khabaar)
Our guest this week is Dr. Madhushree Ghosh, author of the memoir Khabaar: An Immigrant Journey of Food, Memory, and Family. The book defies all real genre constraints by combining food writing, immigrant stories, journalism, explorations of trauma and violence, and so much more. Ghosh brings together her background as a scientist as well as her love for food and her Bengali heritage and creates a work unlike any other, a collection of related essays that embrace the idea as food as a personal and political symbol. For this episode, Dr. Ghosh chose the recent collection of essays Azadi by Arundhati Roy. Like much of Roy's fiction and nonfiction, the work is deeply political and focuses on the rise of the far-right movement in India, the changing perception of fiction, and the impact of recent politics on nationalistic ideals in India and around the world. This episode is part serious discussion and part recipe sharing, but altogether real and passionate. It's one you don't want to miss! Books discussed in this episode: Caste by Isabel Wilkerson, Curry: Eating Reading and Race by Naben Ruthnum, Southbound by Anjali Enjeti Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast Buy Madhushree's book: Short Story Book Club on April 28:
April 14, 2022
Animal with Chelsea Bieker (Author of Heartbroke)
Another heavy one, y'all. My 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. Buy Chelsea's book: Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
April 07, 2022
Short Story Book Club: A Cup of Tea by Katherine Mansfield (with MY MOM)
We're back with another short story for the end of the month. This one goes all the way back to 1922 by renowned short story writer Katherine Mansfield. Don't be fooled by the simple premise, there's a lot under the surface when it comes to craft, narrative framing, and social commentary. My guest is my beloved mom, Sreelatha. Mom talks about her experiences with this story in her sixth grade literature class, what's changed over the years, how we can discern theme from the movement of characters in a story, and so much more. Seriously, if you think anything I say is smart, you've gotta listen to my mom. Read the story (there are spoilers in this one!): Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
March 31, 2022
Oreo with Elaine Hsieh Chou (Author of Disorientation)
This week’s guest is Elaine Hsieh Chou, whose debut novel Disorientation is part campus novel, part political satire, part analysis of Asian American identity, and adds up to far more than the sum of its parts. The novel follows Ingrid, a PhD student making her way through her dissertation on Chinese-American poet Xiao-Wen Chou. Through her research she comes across a shocking discovery that throws not only her research into new light, but every aspect of her day to day life. Her family life, romantic relationship, friendships, and relationship to her Asian identity at large. As things spiral further out of control, Ingrid is forced to reexamine her worldview and fight for the reality she wants, even if it goes against what she's currently constructed for herself. Chou celebrates the off-the-rails satire by celebrating Fran Ross's 1974 novel Oreo. This book, an interpretation of the myth of Theseus starring a biracial teen, was unappreciated in its time and warrants more consideration. Oreo, our titular character, goes on an epic quest to uncover the secret of her birth, and along the way battles adversaries large and small. The novel defies our modern concepts of characterization and interiority, and in ways is both very of its time and ahead of its time. We discuss the merits of experiencing the novel both in print and via audio, the inherent wackiness of Greek mythology, and why this book remains uncelebrated in a world that worships Ulysses. Even if you've never read Oreo, it's certainly worth the listen. As always, there are no spoilers here. March Short Story Book Club: Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast Follow Elaine on twitter @elainehsiehchou
March 24, 2022
See No Stranger with Mishika Narula (Co-Founder of Brown Girl Bookshelf)
We're back with another nonfiction pick this week, and it's a heavier one this time. Renowed activist Valarie Kaur's memoir SEE NO STRANGER allowed BGB cofounder Mishika Narula to see herself in print in more ways than one. Kaur's work on revolutionary love draws heavily on her Sikh faith and her experiences as an activist and lawyer in a variety of settings. Mishika and I sit down and chat about the nuances of representation, the many facets of South Asian literature, unpacking labor as metaphor, and our favorite breakfast foods. It's a lively, insightful conversation that you don't want to miss! No spoilers in the book either. Books discussed today: All About Love by bell hooks, So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo Follow Mishika on instagram @browngirlbookshelf Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast March Short Story Book Club pick:
March 17, 2022
You Can't Be Serious with Shreshtha Garg
We're doing something new here at YFB, a celebrity memoir! Actor Kal Penn details the story of his life and career in a new memoir, entitled YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS. Despite the reputation celebrity memoirs often have, both Shreshtha and I adored this book, its ability to combine humor with real commentary on racism and politics in the United States. Along the way, we also chat about the 2008 election, our favorite Taylor Swift albums, and the magic of a great audiobook. Books discussed: Love, Loss, and What We Ate by Padma Lakshmi, Born a Crime by Trevor Noah, Good Talk by Mira Jacob Follow Shreshtha on instagram: @shreshtha_reads Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
March 10, 2022
Short Story Book Club: The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula Le Guin (with Deedi Brown)
We're back with February's short story book club, and my guest is a voice you might recognize from our Song of Achilles episode, Deedi Brown! Deedi and I chat about this sci-fi classic, its reinterpretations, how it's changed context in recent years for us, and so much more. Deedi even shares a bit about her hot tea obsession and her lavish smart mug (seriously, it sounds like the most unnecessary necessity in the world). There are spoilers for this one, so please read first! It's only 4 pages guys, come on. The Story: Follow Deedi on instagram @deedireads Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
February 24, 2022
The Book of Light with Leslie Gray Streeter (Author of Black Widow)
This episode covers all kinds of topics, where do I even begin? My guest is the funny and insightful Leslie Gray Streeter, whose memoir BLACK WIDOW captures the messiness of grief in a perspective often ignored. We chat about the enduringness of Joan Didion, how grief is non-linear, and so much more. Our conversation then switches to poetry. I share my thoughts on the intimidating medium and how I've learned to approach it (thanks in part, but not completely, to Thomas C. Foster's HOW TO READ POETRY LIKE A PROFESSOR). Lucille Clifton's book THE BOOK OF LIGHT is a revelation, and we take our time and pick apart specific poems, their context, their language, and every nuance we can wrap our heads around. I could've talked to Leslie for hours!  Check out Leslie's book here: Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast To read/listen to my short story:
February 17, 2022
Giovanni's Room with Marci and Ako (Hosts of the Colored Pages Book Club Podcast)
We've got the world's saddest love story, y'all. Happy early Valentine's Day. But my guests, Marci and Ako of the Colored Pages Book club, add as much humor and levity to the conversation. Also, so much insight. We dive into the ins and outs of this amazing book, Baldwin's direct prose, the frustration of reading David, and seeing Blackness and Whiteness in a novel that did not attempt to address race (it definitely did). We also chat about our snack obsessions, amazing animated TV, and so much more. Listen to Marci and Ako: Follow YFB on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
February 10, 2022
The Remains of the Day with Simon Jacobs (Author of String Follow)
This week’s guest is Simon Jacobs, whose latest novel STRING FOLLOW is a haunting look at Midwest suburbia and the inherent isolation of being a teen. STRING FOLLOW tracks a sprawling cast of characters and their growing fascination with the bizarre and occult. Narrated by the collective 'we' of a controlling force, the novel takes us into the inner minds of scared, lonely teenagers seeking guidance and belonging in a fraught, isolated world. The result is truly shocking, but in a larger sense, not as surprising as we think. Jacobs deviates from his horror/thriller genre to highlight a favorite book from his Anglophile days, THE REMAINS OF THE DAY by Kazuo Ishiguro. This 1988 classic is the simple tale of Stevens, a longstanding English butler who ties his innate self-worth to his service and performance. Slowly, Stevens's self-concept erodes as he takes a trip to the countryside and examines the course of his life, as well as the decisions and indecisions he's made through the years. Jacobs shares his insight on everything from writing the modern teen to interpreting this book in a capitalist system to further reading recommendations. It's a lively episode and certainly worth a listen. SPOILERS: Please skip 36:45-42:30 to avoid discussion of the ending Find Simon's book at Follow the podcast @yfbpodcast on instagram and twitter
February 03, 2022
Short Story Book Club: The Waltz by Dorothy Parker (with Emily Edwards)
This is the inaugural episode of the monthly Short Story Book Club, in which listeners can read that month's short story and tune in at the end for an in-depth discussion. This month we have THE WALTZ by Dorothy Parker, in discussion with Emily Edwards (host of Fuckbois of Literature). I'm delighted to have Emily back on the show to talk all things Dorothy Parker, including her skewed feminism, that famous Winnie the Pooh review, weird connections to Seinfeld, and much more. Emily also has exciting news to share about her upcoming cozy mystery series, and she offers some reading recommendations in that genre. Seriously, you don't want to miss this episode. And if you haven't read the story? Please do, it's only four pages Read THE WALTZ for free: Books brought up: Angela Marchmont Mysteries by Clara Benson, Skelton's Guides by David Stafford Check out Emily's show! Follow YFB on twitter and instagram @yfbpodcast
January 27, 2022
Pride and Prejudice with Casey Meserve (Host of Ents and Sensibility)
Well folks, we've got a big one today! We're talking about a book that needs no introduction (and yet I gave it one), Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I needed an authority for this one, so joining me is a Jane Austen Podcaster, Casey Meserve. Casey hosts Ents and Sensibility, which takes a chapter by chapter look at the world of Jane Austen and her universality. We chat about all things P&P, its adaptations, characters, as well as some hot takes. There are spoilers for this one. I mean, come on, it's Pride and Prejudice.  Also! Stay tuned for the very end because I announce the guest that will be joining us for the first Short Story Book Club episode! As a reminder, we're reading The Waltz by Dorothy Parker. It's like three pages, come join us! Casey's podcast: Follow the show on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
January 20, 2022
The Collected Stories of Grace Paley with Jami Attenberg (Author of I Came All This Way to Meet You)
Welcome to a new year and a new season of Your Favorite Book! Our inaugural guest this season is Jami Attenberg, most well known for her fiction (All This Could Be Yours, The Middlesteins, and others) but she's here to talk about her memoir, I Came All This Way to Meet You: Writing Myself Home. Jami shares her insights on book events, travel in the midst of COVID, setting boundaries with social media, and so much more. We also chat about a collection of short stories for the first time on this show, in this case the collected works of Grace Paley. We discuss her unique voice and eschewing of formal conventions, along with avoiding sentiment and cliche in writing domesticity. It's a great episode and definitely avoids spoilers, hope you all enjoy! Jami's virtual event at Women and Children First: Buy Jami's Book: Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
January 13, 2022
My Favorite Books of 2021
It's a week late but here we are! My favorite books of 2021, ranked and reviewed (spoiler free of course). Some of these I've referenced on the podcast, some have entire episodes dedicated to them, and some are completely new. I also include some 2022 updates for the podcast, so please pay attention for those announcements. Books were probably the best part of last year, so why not celebrate them? Short Story for January: Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
January 06, 2022
On Book Podcasting with Julie Strauss (Best Book Ever Crossover)
In honor of 2021 coming to a close and the holiday season stressing us all out, Julie Strauss and I decided to meet again and chat about all things book podcasting. Julie is the host of Best Book Ever, a podcast with a very similar premise to mine but a totally different listening experience. Honestly, if you love my show, you'll probably love hers too! Julie and I chat about our favorite episodes, dream guests, woes and pitfalls, and our favorites in other media. I could talk to Julie for hours and I think it shows!  Listen to Julie's podcast at Follow Julie on instagram @bestbookeverpodcast Follow Your Favorite Book on twitter and facebook @yfbpodcast
December 16, 2021
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking-Glass with Dr. Mark M. Hennelly
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
December 02, 2021
The God of Small Things with Mina Seçkin (Author of The Four Humors)
Oh boy, we're tackling a BIG one this week! 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 I 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. Books discussed: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner, Gold Diggers by Sanjena Sathian, The Vietri Project by Nicola DeRobertis-Theye, Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang, Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier Follow Mina on twitter @minaseckin and on instagram @littlebutta Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
November 18, 2021
Exit West with SJ Sindu (Author of Blue Skinned Gods)
This week’s guest is SJ Sindu, whose second novel BLUE SKINNED GODS takes on religion and identity in a bold new way. The novel follows Kalki, raised as the tenth avatar of Vishnu due to his blue skin, and explores coming to terms with trauma and self-concept as he grows into adulthood. We travel from an ashram in Tamil Nadu to the rock scene of New York City and observe with bated breath as Kalki comes to terms with his fraught familial relationships and the conflict of his divinity. Sindu’s work is accessible to a broad audience yet specific in its references to Hindu mythology and beliefs, and the result is a satisfying, page-turning read. Sindu cites Mohsin Hamid’s EXIT WEST as an all-time favorite book. This novel excels from a prose level, with its hallmark winding sentences and many commas. But beyond pure sentence structure, the novel is a detailed and tender character study, depicting the ebbs and flows in the relationship of its central characters. The magical realism elements of transformative doors adds not whimsy, but a dreamlike quality that only highlights the realities of immigration and finding home away from home. Sindu also shares their thoughts on everything from bespoke gift wrapping to the purpose of chapbooks, and so much more. And this one's spoiler free! Books we talk about: This Land is Our Land by Suketu Mehta, The Boat People by Sharon Bala, Stone Fruit by Lee Lai, The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen Sindu's website: Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
November 04, 2021
The Shadow of the Wind with Maxwell Dunn
That no series rule I have? Well, I may need to rethink it, if Book 1 can be as good as this. I sat down with bookstagrammer Maxwell Dunn and talked about a book he's read five times, THE SHADOW OF THE WIND by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Despite this book having more  Goodreads review than I ever thought possible, I hadn't heard of it and was so, so pleasantly surprised. This book is a love letter to literature, with dark academia vibes and a warm autumnal feeling. And a lot of postwar trauma. And some really crazy family dynamics. It's a complex book and we cover a lot in the episode! Huge spoiler warnings for this one, if you want to avoid spoilers, skip the parts between 25:30 to 33:00. Max and I also chat about book to movie adaptations, an ill fated trip to Barcelona, what constitutes YA literature, and so much more.  Follow Max on Instagram @welldonebooks Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast Books we discuss: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, The Angel’s Game, The Prisoner of Heaven, and The Labyrinth of the Spirits all by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
October 21, 2021
The Forty Rules of Love with Sumaiya Matin (Author of The Shaytan Bride)
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: Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
October 07, 2021
The Palace of Illusions with Annika Sharma (Author of Love, Chai, and Other Four-Letter Words)
I've always maintained that it's hard to work a full-time job, write, and run a podcast. My guest this week does it all, and more! Annika Sharma is the co-host of The Woke Desi and the author of LOVE, CHAI, AND OTHER FOUR-LETTER WORDS, an interracial romance that takes place in NYC and combines adorable bucket list hijinks with serious cultural conversations. Annika shares her insights on podcasting, evolving as a writer, finding balance day to day, and so much more. I was so pleased that she chose THE PALACE OF ILLUSIONS by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni as an all-time favorite book, because this retelling of the Mahabharata from the perspective of queen Draupadi was really something special. We gush over Amar Chitra Kathas, discuss tailoring books for certain audiences, and share other recommendations along the way. You don't want to miss this episode, and it's spoiler free! Books discussed: Circe and The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, The Women of Troy and The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker, books by Indu Sundaresan Find Annika at her website, and follow her @annikasharma and @thewokedesi Follow Your Favorite Book on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
September 23, 2021
Thornyhold with Pitu
Today we're settling in with an underrated comfort read. My guest is Pitu, a bridal stylist and lifelong reader, who relates to THORNYHOLD by Mary Stewart for so many reasons. This book was a pleasant surprise for me, all magical realism and cottagecore vibes. Where the book is a little lacking...maybe plot and characters. But hey, when the escapism and joy is this good, who really needs those other things? Along the way, Pitu and I chat about picking out bridal gowns, living in new continents, really terrible Bollywood movies, and so much more. This is a nice, laid back episode with plenty of recommendations at the end.  Other books discussed: Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery, The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier Follow Pitu on instagram @pitusultan Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
September 16, 2021
Always Coming Home with Shruti Swamy (Author of The Archer)
This week’s guest is Shruti Swamy, author of debut novel THE ARCHER. What does it mean to pursue art as a woman, especially when society imposes rigid goals and obstacles never cease to block the path forward? Shruti Swamy explores this in her detailed character study of a young Kathak dancer. Vidya, who wishes to devote her life to the classical Indian dance, must eke out an honest existence for herself as family, teachers, friends, and many others cast doubt along the way. With rich prose and loving interpretations of pure dance, we are transported to an India of yesterday, distinctly specific in its detail. It boldly declares that art is not only a calling, but a calling that must be heard. Shruti, a longtime Ursula Le Guin fan, brings to the table a recent read as a new favorite book. ALWAYS COMING HOME, considered the culmination of Le Guin's cultural musings and varied influences, is by no means an easy read. This fictional ethnography of the postapocalyptic Kesh people combines anthropology, poetry, prose, linguistics, and numerous other genres to paint a portrait of this new society. It combines the agrarian with the scientific, bleakness with hope, and is one of the most unique books we've covered on this podcast. Shruti reflects on what makes a novel a novel, what inspires her about Kathak and stories of the Mahabharata, what it means to create a culture and honor existing ones, and so much more. This is a spirited discussion full of recommendations aplenty, and no spoilers. Find Shruti and buy the book at Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast Books discussed in this episode: The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula Le Guin, The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin, Curb by Divya Victor, Kith by Divya Victor, Finding the Raga by Amit Chaudhuri
September 09, 2021
The Enchanted with Ari Honarvar (Author of A Girl Called Rumi)
We're delving into some darker subject matter on the show today. This week's book, THE ENCHANTED, delves into the real-life horrors of death row inmates, with the prose and mystique of a magical realism novel. The book straddles the line between the two and the result is a wholly unique read that I had a hard time discussing. Seriously, I'm still trying to work out how I feel about this book. Ari and I also discuss her upcoming novel, A GIRL CALLED RUMI, which takes place partially in 1980s Iran. Ari shares her own experiences of this time, along with what it means for an American audience to come to terms with a conflict in which their nation played a role. This book doesn't shy away from controversial, serious subjects, but Ari and I share a few lighthearted moments along the way. After all, it's not a YFB episode without me making awkward small talk and getting at least a couple laughs. Find Ari and pre-order A GIRL CALLED RUMI at Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
September 02, 2021
The Hobbit with Merilla Michael
We're coming back to books I loathed as a child and reconsidered as an adult, with JRR Tolkein's THE HOBBIT. Joining me is Merilla Michael, Boston-area scientist and Tolkein enthusiast, and we have an absolute blast. Merilla dishes on the LOTR books and movies, loving THE HOBBIT as an adult, the excellence of audio storytelling, and some well-deserved critique of the Hobbit movies. We also chat about our favorite animals, complain about no female characters in this book (seriously, not a one), and talk about other books we'd recommend for those looking beyond the Tolkein universe. I loved getting to revisit and recontextualize this book, and I hope you all love the discussion. We do discuss the ending of this book, so if you wish to avoid spoilers, please skip past minutes 30:00 through 35:39. Follow Merilla on instagram @merillaaa Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast Please rate and review the pod on apple podcasts if you enjoy it! Seriously, reviews mean so much.
August 26, 2021
No Comebacks with MY DAD
We're a bit outside my comfort zone with the book this week, but certainly not with our guest. My dad, Praseed Thapparambil, decided to admit that he's well-read after all and shared his favorite books on the show. This book, NO COMEBACKS by Frederick Forsyth, is a collection of short stories with thriller plots and twist endings. This book was written with entertainment in mind, but led to great discussion on characterization, racist depictions, when info-dumping works and doesn't work, and so much more. Dad shares his evolution as a reader, his love for short stories, and the audio recordings of Tamil stories he does on his own podcast, RadioPras. More than anything, we have a good time. Check it out! Also, if you want to hear code-switching in action, my accent flows and shifts depending on topic and how directly I'm speaking to my dad. Something I've done my whole life and it always amuses me to hear it in person. Follow Dad's show on all podcast platforms and on youtube at Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
August 19, 2021
1984 with Said Sayrafiezadeh (Author of American Estrangement)
We've got another big famous classic on our hands! This week's guest is Said Sayrafiezadeh, author of new collection AMERICAN ESTRANGEMENT. These stories explore the insidousness of boredom, apathy, frustration, and alienation while navigating day to day life in America. Some stories thrive in the mundane, such as a reception desk at an art museum. Others explore a nation just outside the realm of current reality, imagining borders between states as stifling as those between countries. All are detailed, incisive stories that do not span genres, but at times press at their delineations in new and intriguing ways. Said cites George Orwell's classic novel NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR, or 1984, as an all time favorite book, dating back to an initial reading experience as a young teen. But this book, read in classrooms all over the western world, has garnered polarizing opinions. Are the ideas of Big Brother, Newspeak, Doublethink, and Orwellian regimes just too saturated in popular culture? Or are there new and overlooked insights that can be gained from NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR, years after its publication?  Said reflects on his upbringing in the Socialist Worker's Party and how it influences his reading of the book. In his own work he discusses turning to fiction and how he discerns what to render as real or unreal. How can we convey boredom without being boring? How does a decades-old book continue to influence works to come? All these are discussed, and more, in this week's episode of Your Favorite Book. Note: there are spoilers in this episode! To avoid discussions of the ending, please skip over minutes 41 to 47 of this episode. Find Said and buy his book on his website at Follow the podcast on twitter and instagram @yfbpodcast
August 12, 2021
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter with Malavika Praseed and Julie Strauss (Best Book Ever Crossover)
Me again! This episode is a throwback to a few months ago, when I sat down with my friend and podcast twin, Julie Strauss, to talk about THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER by Carson McCullers. It may not be THE favorite, but it's one of the favorites! We talk about my weird affinity for sad stories and Southern literature, revisiting a classic after many years, making sense of changing times and dealing with racism in literature. We also just have a really good time, because Julie is an amazing host and if you don't already follow her show, the Best Book Ever podcast, you should! If you missed the episode of my show where she chats with me about HOWARD'S END by EM Forster, that's up on her show now as well. The book podcast world is small indeed, but it's how I've made friends and I'm grateful for it.  Follow Julie's podcast @bestbookeverpodcast on instagram and on her website at Best Book Ever is on all podcast platforms! We've covered some similar books (The Song of Achilles, Catcher in the Rye, and The Hating Game) but thanks to different perspectives and different guests, it'll never be the same conversation twice. Follow Your Favorite Book on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
August 05, 2021
Your LEAST Favorite Books
It's the one year anniversary of the Your Favorite Book podcast, and to celebrate me sticking with something for a whole 12 months (and of course celebrating all you wonderful listeners), I decided to have a little fun. We're talking about LEAST favorite books today, the ones that disappoint, frustrate, enrage, and bore you. The ones that make you doubt literature as a whole (okay, maybe that's a little dramatic). We have my musings on least favorites through time, takes on disappointing and problematic literature, and coming back to books you may have hated once. But the best part, we have GUEST SUBMISSIONS from listeners and former podcast guests alike, some which were submitted via audio and some as written rands (read by yours truly). With least favorite books come ranting about endings, so below are the books that have endings revealed. Listen at your own risk! But honestly, maybe you hate these books along with us. Maybe you think we're totally wrong. In that case, feel free to let us know! I always welcome honest criticism, as well as rants of any kind, even if they're about how dumb I am. Books with Endings Mentioned: The Girl with the Green Ribbon, Our Only May Amelia, Jane Eyre, The Rum Diary, Robinson Crusoe Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast. We'll be back to our regular interview episodes next week, with a VERY special guest!
July 29, 2021
Kid Lit! Sugar in Milk with Brinda Shah
Our first, but hopefully not our last, foray into the wonderful world of picture books. My guest Brinda Shah is a pharmacist, aspiring picture book writer, and creator of #PictureTheWordsWithB on instagram. She dives deep into the world of South Asian picture books, fully embracing them as pieces of art for children and adults alike. This book, SUGAR IN MILK by Thrity Umrigar and Khoa Le, is the definition of art. Beautifully crafted and surprisingly tender, the book follows a young girl as she attempts to adjust to a country that is now her home. Her aunt tells her a story of Persian migrants arriving in India, and the struggle for them to be accepted in a new land. The illustrations are lovely, the message all too relevant, and there are so many wonderful subtleties that were lost on me during my first read. Brinda and I dive into this book and the world of kid lit in general, talking about what makes a great picture book, the importance of diverse storytelling in the kid lit space, how to read to a child, and my husband's experiences in the world of kid lit (he's even got a youtube channel!) Buy the Book: Follow Brinda on instagram @brindas.bookshelf Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast New episodes of Your Favorite Book every Thursday! Please rate and review on Apple Podcasts, it seriously helps. :)
July 22, 2021
Killers of the Flower Moon with Dean Jobb (Author of The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream)
Welcome to the first episode of Season 3! This week’s guest is Dean Jobb, true crime writer and fellow Chicago Review of Books reviewer. His most recent book, THE CASE OF THE MURDEROUS DR CREAM, tracks the rise and fall of one of the 19th century's most notorious serial killers, and perhaps one of its most unknown. Thomas Neill Cream, Canadian by birth but known for his crimes across several country borders, used and abused his powers as a medical doctor to murder nearly a dozen people, often through poisoning. And that's just what we know. Jobb takes us through how this evil figure came to be, how societal standards of the day allowed him to dodge the law, and what interesting twists and turns ultimately led to his demise. For this episode, Dean stayed true to his true crime roots and chose the 2017 work KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON by renowned journalist David Grann. This book delves into the Reign of Terror in the Osage community, and how one of America's wealthiest peoples came to be targets of white supremacy, unprecedented violence, and paternalistic policies. Grann weaves in the bungled investigation, along with its close ties to the early FBI, and creates a fascinating tale that educates, shocks, and leaves us scratching our heads. This is a story that's far from over and one that leaves you thinking. Dean also shares his wisdom on what makes an excellent true crime book, the role of a nonlinear narrative, and whether the public fascination with high-profile murder cases has really changed over the years. There are spoilers for Dean's book when it comes to the narrating of Dr. Cream's life, but we leave KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON intact to preserve the mystery. In the end both books are certainly worth the read. Follow Dean on twitter @deanjobb and find him at his website Follow the podcast on twitter and instagram @yfbpodcast. Stay tuned for our upcoming website!
July 15, 2021
Persuasion with Brandon Taylor (Author of Filthy Animals)
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. 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.
June 24, 2021
50th Episode Special: Book Recommendations!
Our 50th episode! Just me this week, here to offer some reading recommendations as we get into the summer season. We have a lot of different genres to choose from (literary, romance, memoir, and more), all with spoiler free reviews and recommendations. Let me know if you decide to dive into one of these. Happy reading! Follow the podcast on twitter and instagram @yfbpodcast
June 17, 2021
Invisible Man with Jesse McCarthy (Author of The Fugitivities)
This week’s guest is Jesse McCarthy, professor at Harvard University and author of THE FUGITIVITIES. In this debut novel we follow Jonah Winters, a recent college grad and current teacher in New York City. Already disillusioned with teaching and unsure what to do next, he travels to Brazil after a chance encounter with a former NBA player. With nothing but his lived reality as a young Black man and the people he meets along the way, Jonah seeks to find what is missing in his life and in his sense of self. For this episode, Jesse chose a novel he has long loved and enjoys teaching, Ralph Ellison's 1952 masterpiece INVISIBLE MAN. In this picaresque, an unnamed narrator tells the story of his life in episodes, beginning with a harrowing graduation day, through his college years, and onto the streets of Harlem.This book shows us the many intersections of race and class and rings true even today. Jesse discusses INVISIBLE MAN on a textual basis as well as how it hearkens back to African American history as well as the present. We discuss reader curiosity in the author's life, writing across fiction and nonfiction, the role of the novel in an answer-seeking society, how INVISIBLE MAN may be the progenitor for the modern social thriller, and so much more. This episode has some mild spoilers, which are indicated at appropriate times during the episode. Buy Jesse's Book: Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast If you can, please rate and review on Apple Podcasts! It's very much appreciated.
June 10, 2021
Anne of Green Gables with Payal Doshi (Author of Rea and the Blood of the Nectar)
Who better to talk about a middle grade novel than a middle grade author? In this nostalgic episode, Payal Doshi and I talk all things ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, everything from Anne's spunky attitude, Merilla's relatable energy, the will they/won't they of Anne and Gilbert, and so much more. We also chat about Payal's upcoming middle grade novel, which is a wonderful read in its own right. Payal talks about researching settings and worldbuilding, how to create a unique magic system, revising to fit the message you want to convey, and a whole lot more. We also share some of our favorite middle grade recommendations. If you have young people in your life, or are simply young at heart, you'll love this episode! There are some spoilers for ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, but honestly you probably know the main 'plot points' already. The book's over 100 years old, people! If you want ANNE content only, skip to the 29 minute mark. But honestly, you want to listen to this whole episode! Payal's website (pre-order her book!): Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast. Website is coming!
June 03, 2021
The Song of Achilles with Deedi Brown
We've had a few lesser known books on the show recently, so I want to bring it back to a critical and cultural darling, THE SONG OF ACHILLES by Madeline Miller. My guest is none other than Deedi Brown, known as @deedireads on instagram. Deedi runs the Booker of the Month book club, reviews every book she reads on her blog, releases a newsletter, advocates for indie booksellers, and so much more. I'm exhausted just thinking about it! Deedi has excellent taste in books and this one is no exception. We gush about Miller's wonderful prose, tender characters, and reinterpretation of the age old myth. If you haven't read this one, don't worry, no spoilers! We also talk about the importance of supporting indie bookstores, how to practice positivity in dark times, following book prizes, and so much more. Deedi also has a TON of book recommendations for all of us, in case your TBR needed toppling. If you're looking for ACHILLES book discussion only, skip to the 20 minute mark, but you definitely want to listen to this whole episode.
May 27, 2021
Shadow of the Moon with Amrita (Creator of Amrita by the Book, Co-Host of Khandaan: A Bollywood Podcast)
Guys, we've made it to our first truly problematic favorite book. And I relish discussions like this, because let's face it, every book is problematic in its own way, even your all time favorites. But M.M. Kaye's SHADOW OF THE MOON might just take the cake. Romanticizing the British empire in India? Yikes. But Amrita points out the nuance, detailed writing, and interesting characterizations of this book. We also chat about multiple perspectives in history, the fascinating life of M.M. Kaye, whether you can write a book like this nowadays (probably not), and so much more. Amrita provides a wealth of information that I never could, so you don't want to miss this discussion.  Subscribe to Amrita's booktube channel: Listen to the Khandaan Podcast: Follow the YFB podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
May 20, 2021
The Buddha of Suburbia with Sanjena Sathian (Author of Gold Diggers)
This week's guest is Sanjena Sathian, author GOLD DIGGERS. We follow Neil Narayan as he navigates his tumultuous teen years entrenched in the Indian community in suburban Georgia, as he progresses to struggling grad student in the Bay area. The question of ambition looms large in Neil's life, and his lack of interest in academic and extracurricular excellence set him apart from his peers. His attentions are more focused on his neighbor, Anita. Neil soon learns the secret to Anita's ambition is a potion brewed from stolen gold. Neil gets involved in gold pilfering, and after tragedy strikes, he must decide whether to return to the practice in his mid-twenties when the stakes are even higher. Focusing on the idea of the 'typical' South Asian novel and her own desire to eschew tradition, Sanjena chose the 1990 novel THE BUDDHA OF SUBURBIA by Hanif Kureishi, a book that rolls its eyes at conventions and expectations. Instead, Kureishi delves us into the wild world of Karim Amir, coming of age in mid 1970s London. Karim, half South Asian and half English, sees his immigrant father transition from mildmannered family man to newly ordained Buddhist guru for unhappy white people. When Karim's own life takes a turn into an acting career, and the roles he take on call into question his identity, Karim sees the common ground between himself and his father. Ultimately, this is a work of race, society, as well as sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Sanjena waxes poetic on influential works, how the history of South Asian America is more complicated than we think, as well as representation in a burgeoning media market. As always, all episodes are spoiler free, although we believe that a novel like THE BUDDHA OF SUBURBIA may not even have spoilers in the traditional sense. Buy a signed copy of Sanjena's Book! Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
May 13, 2021
The Westing Game with Mia P. Manansala (Author of Arsenic and Adobo)
This week’s guest is Mia P. Manansala, author of ARSENIC AND ADOBO. In this brand-new cozy mystery novel, we follow Lila Macapagal as she returns to her hometown of Shady Palms after a stint in Chicago and the collapse of a relationship. She reunites with her childhood sweetheart, Derek, and starts working in her Tita Rosie’s restaurant. Except Derek’s a jerk, and a vengeful food critic to boot, and things immediately go awry when Derek drops dead at the restaurant. And Lila is immediately suspect number one. Reflecting on the nature of mystery novels and what makes a favorite book, Mia chose middle grade classic THE WESTING GAME by Ellen Raskin. Sixteen near-strangers, some neighbors and some unknowns, are summoned to the reading of a will. The deceased is Samuel Westing, an eccentric billionaire, who sees the will reading as his final game. All sixteen are challenged to get to the bottom of his untimely demise. With an immense fortune at stake and constant twists and turns, THE WESTING GAME involves children and adults working together to get to the bottom of a very strange riddle. Mia shares her insight on writing mystery as a person of color, what makes a satisfying middle grade novel, falling in love with a genre, and so much more. Mystery lovers, this episode is for you! And of course, no spoilers for either book. Follow Mia on instagram and twitter @mpmthewriter Mia's website: Buy the book! Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
May 06, 2021
The Hating Game with Rachel Allen
Our first repeat guest on this show, Rachel Allen, returns with another enemies to lovers classic. This time, the contemporary rom-com darling THE HATING GAME by Sally Thorne. Y'all, this episode isn't the researched, educated, pseudo-intellectual content you normally get on YFB. Instead, you get a lot of laughter, a lot of rambling, and what I think is a really fun conversation. I'd have Rachel as a permanent co-host in a heartbeat! We chat about trying to do makeup in a pandemic, the joys of bookstagram, what makes a book boyfriend, why boys need to go to therapy, and so much more. And of course, I just happen to hate on a book so many other people love. Ah well. I never claimed to have great taste.  Follow Rachel on instagram Follow Your Favorite Book on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
April 29, 2021
What We Carry with Jasmine Vyas
Although this book has only been out around a year, Maya Shanbhag Lang's WHAT WE CARRY has already made an impact on so many people. My guest, attorney and bookstagrammer Jasmine Vyas, is one of those people. Jasmine is a longtime YOUR FAVORITE BOOK listener and has always given me wonderful feedback and helpful suggestions, and I was so happy to experience this memoir she suggested. WHAT WE CARRY touches on motherhood, cultural expectations, caring for an aging parent, and so much more. Delving in and out of the present, focusing on relationships with others and with oneself, Maya's journey as her mother's caregiver is one to learn from and reflect upon. In this episode, Jasmine shares her own insights as a parent, the disparate expectations in Indian-American households, and what it means to promote underrepresented works. Whether you love this book or are new to it, this episode is for you! After all, memoirs don't really have spoilers...right?? TW for episode/book: abuse, suicide attempt
April 22, 2021
A Discovery of Witches with Rachel (Host of Barely Bookish)
I've dabbled into fantasy a bit, but my guest Rachel (host of the Barely Bookish podcast, all about rediscovering classic literature and picking up the books you missed in school) is an expert. We chat about book 1 in the All Souls Trilogy, Deborah Harkness's A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES. It wasn't for me. Rachel and I debate a few points and talk about how there are all kinds of readers out there, and what didn't work for me may work for you! We also chat about the challenges of running a podcast, how old is too old for TikTok, my very specific pet peeves when it comes to genetics in fiction, and so much more. Rachel references tropes and elements that change in books 2 and 3, but there are no outright spoilers in this episode. If you love or hate this book, or just haven't picked it up yet, I think you'll find something to love in this episode. Check out Rachel's podcast at Follow Your Favorite Book on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
April 15, 2021
Temporary with Morgan Jerkins (Author of Caul Baby)
This week’s guest is Morgan Jerkins, author of CAUL BABY. This novel combines folklore and Black womanhood with gentrification and healthcare disparity, creating an unforgettable work of magical realism. The book follows the Melancon family, born with a layer of skin (the caul) that protects them from harm and imparts good fortune on those that carry it. The Melancons choose to sell pieces of their caul to ensure their safety and social standing, and for years this occurs without issue. Until the day they refuse sale to a pregnant Black woman and she loses her pregnancy. This sets into motion a series of events, including the adoption of a caul-bearing girl, that shakes the Melancon family and the Harlem community to its core. In this pandemic, with our society questioning the nature and importance of employment, Morgan’s mind went to TEMPORARY by Hilary Leichter as an all-time favorite book. This short, idiosyncratic novel follows an unnamed narrator that exists as a temporary worker. She fills in for roles that need filling, everything from a barnacle on a rock to Chairman of the Board. Jobs, relationships, friendships, these are as fleeting as a few hours of PTO. The goal is steadiness, but as the novel progresses, we wonder if steadiness is a reality or just a means to an end. Morgan shares her thoughts on moving from nonfiction to fiction, the status of gentrification in Harlem, millennial work culture, and so much more. And as always, the episode is spoiler-free. Buy the book: Follow Morgan on twitter @morganjerkins and on instagram @_morganjerkins Follow Your Favorite Book on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
April 08, 2021
A False Spring with Jeff Pearlman (Author of 9 Books, Host of Two Writers Slinging Yang)
A long time ago I wanted to be a sportswriter. I still kinda do. Thanks to writers like Jeff Pearlman, I've been able to immerse myself in the world of sports and in the incredible stories that sports can create. Jeff is the author of nine books, several of which are NYT bestsellers. His 2018 book FOOTBALL FOR A BUCK was one of my favorite reads last year, and his podcast Two Writers Slinging Yang has become one of my go-tos every week. Jeff's choice for this week is A FALSE SPRING by sportswriter Pat Jordan. This memoir catalogues Pat's failed minor league baseball career and the slow transition from youthful dreams to adult reality. It's a detailed, dated, bitter book and there's so much to discuss. Jeff and I talk about the nature of print journalism, what it's like interviewing a curmudgeon, going to school with an athlete's kid (ok, maybe that one's just my story). Nevertheless, even if you're not into sports, great prose is great prose and I think you'll still love this episode.  Jeff's podcast: Follow Jeff on twitter @jeffpearlman Follow Your Favorite Book on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
April 01, 2021
The Blind Assassin with Nicola DeRobertis-Theye (Author of The Vietri Project)
This week’s guest is Nicola DeRobertis-Theye, author of The Vietri Project. This novel combines millennial disillusionment, historical and present-day Rome, the resurfacing of childhood trauma, and a healthy dose of intrigue. Gabriele, a 25 year old woman struggling with purpose after graduating from college, travels to Rome in search of Vietri, a former client of hers at the bookstore where she worked. Gabriele knows nothing of Vietri other than his taste in dense academic books, and her quest brings her not only knowledge of Italy’s sordid colonial past, but also brings her face to face with family she left behind, as well as her own sense of self. This is an introspective novel with a strong sense of setting and nuanced characterization. If you’ve been yearning to travel, this might be the book for you. Nicola reflects on an all-time favorite book, Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin. This dense, ambitious project, somewhat overshadowed by Atwood’s speculative fiction, is a blending of genre and narrative style in its own right. Comprised of newspaper clippings, character recollections, and a novel within a novel, readers piece together the disintegration of a family and the legacy its members have left behind. DeRobertis-Theye shares her story of reading The Blind Assassin as a teen, finding new insight in the book as an adult, the other writers that have influenced her prose style, and so much more. All episodes are spoiler-free! Buy The Vietri Project: Follow Nicola on Twitter @NicolaDeRT Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
March 25, 2021
Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls with Kati Kostyk (Host of Shelf Made Women)
Kati Kostyk is a bookstagrammer, podcaster, and mental health advocate. Her two podcasts, Books and Boobs and Shelf Made Women, have contributed so much to the literary conversation in just a few months. Today, Kati sits down with me and chats about LONG LIVE THE TRIBE OF FATHERLESS WOMEN by T. Kira Madden, a beautifully crafted and harrowing memoir. Privilege, neglect, sexuality, family, all of these are tackled and more, and with exquisite prose to back it up. Along the way, Kati and I also talk about redefining memoir as a genre, being a literary citizen, the challenges of podcasting, and so much more.  TW for episode/book: abuse, neglect, sexual assault, overdose Follow Kati on instagram and twitter @shelfmadewoman Books and Boobs: Shelf Made Woman: Follow Your Favorite Book on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
March 18, 2021
The Catcher in the Rye with Kaylee Craft Mitchell
We've got another all-time classic on the podcast today, that controversial piece of early YA fiction, THE CATCHER IN THE RYE. To some of us this is an overrated slog about a whiny privileged kid pointing fingers at everyone. To others it's a heartfelt piece of literature with real insight and beautiful storytelling. To Kaylee Craft Mitchell, a middle school English teacher and mother of two, this book is the latter and so much more. She shares with us how Holden Caulfield helped her feel seen, and about her own journey with mental illness and its stigmatization today. We also talk about making literature appealing to kids, broadening the literary canon, and why impulse buying Lady Gaga tickets at Madison Square Garden was probably the best decision ever. To me, CATCHER is both overrated and underrated at the same time. Hopefully this episode will let you know why. Follow Kaylee on instagram @kayleeisreading Follow the Your Favorite Book podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast. New episodes every Thursday!
March 11, 2021
The Autobiography of Malcolm X with Poonam Mathur
In what's perhaps the most important book yet on the podcast, Poonam Mathur and I talk about THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM X. Impact, construction, insight, appeal, there's so much to cover here. As South Asians, Poonam and I talk about the importance of engaging with stories that are not our own, and the importance of understanding political power structures in America and confronting antiblackness in our communities. If you haven't read this book, you should. We aim to tell you why. Follow Poonam on instagram @bookish.behavior and subscribe to her newsletter! Follow the podcast @yfbpodcast on instagram and twitter
March 04, 2021
The Bluest Eye with Nancy Johnson (Author of The Kindest Lie)
Today we’re joined by Nancy Johnson, author of the debut novel THE KINDEST LIE. This novel centers Ruth Tuttle, an Ivy league-educated Black engineer, who returns to small town Indiana in search of the baby she left behind, and to uncover the secrets surrounding this painful choice. Set in the early days of the Obama administration, THE KINDEST LIE explores division and the effects of the 2008 recession in a “post-racial society”. The novel is warm, insightful, and explores very real characters with a great deal of nuance. Nancy speaks to her experiences as a young Black girl, never quite finding literature that reflected her reality. This brought her to Toni Morrison as an adult, specifically Morrison’s debut novel THE BLUEST EYE. This classic features Pecola Breedlove, a young Black girl that observes the poor way she’s treated in a world that prizes beauty and whiteness, and the resulting feelings become a yearning for blue eyes. With exquisite prose, a fascinating framing device, and multidimensional characters, Morrison’s debut established her as one of America’s preeminent writers. In this episode Johnson shares her wisdom on many other topics, such as sharing a birthday with your literary idol, a complicated experience of the 2008 election, how white writers should approach writing characters of color, and so much more.  All episodes are spoiler free! Nancy's Website: Follow the Your Favorite Book podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
February 25, 2021
White Oleander with Dantiel Moniz (Author of Milk Blood Heat)
Joining us this week is Dantiel Moniz, author of the debut short story collection MILK BLOOD HEAT. This collection touches on the intimacies and darker impulses in all of us, traversing topics such as womanhood, infidelity, loss, survival, and how the undercurrents of identity impact every decision we make.  Moniz cites WHITE OLEANDER by Janet Fitch as an all-time favorite book, a cornerstone of her formative years and forever influencing her approach to her own writing. This novel, originally published in 1999, follows Astrid Magnussen, the teen daughter of famed poet Ingrid Magnussen. When Ingrid is convicted of murder, Astrid moves from foster home to foster home across the city of Los Angeles, and must overcome horrific tragedy to discover who she really is. We discuss the prose, characters, themes, and impact of WHITE OLEANDER, all while avoiding spoilers along the way. Moniz also shares insight on numerous other topics, such as what popular culture gets wrong about Florida, her takeaways from her MFA, and so much more. This is a fun, laid-back conversation that we hope you enjoy. Dantiel's Website: Follow the Your Favorite Book podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
February 18, 2021
Juliet with Rena Patel
In honor of Valentine's Day right around the corner, I wanted to give you all a romance for the ages. JULIET by Anne Fortier is a sprawling historical romance that'll appeal to all the Shakespeare nerds out there...and maybe the Dan Brown nerds too? The book is a new interpretation of Shakespeare's ROMEO AND JULIET, hearkening back to the original Italian duo and weaving in the modern legacy of these star-crossed lovers. Rena Patel, a first year law student who is hard at work on her debut novel, talks to me about her discovery of this book, her love for Greek mythology, the fun of a self-insert main character, representing cultures that are not your own with respect, and so much more.  All reviews are spoiler-free! Follow Rena Patel on instagram and twitter @renapatelwrites Follow Your Favorite book on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
February 11, 2021
PULITZER PRIES: The 1920s Part 1 (Wharton, Tarkington, Cather)
Episode 2 of our monthly series. I bring you The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington, and One of Ours by Willa Cather. Observations, reviews, jokes, and critiques. Join me on this crazy journey! I attempt to tackle every book that has ever won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, starting in 1918 and all the way to the present day. I attempt to provide spoiler-free reviews and reflections of each of these books in chronological order, and ultimately try to decide how to classify each book. Hidden gem? Forgotten stinker? Overrated book? Deserving classic? This is meant to be a loose, fun discussion, as I have no academic qualifications other than a love for reading. Enjoy! Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
February 08, 2021
All Men are Mortal with Susan Rubin (Author of The Road Not Taken)
This week we're diving far, far outside my comfort zone with some French existentialism. I never knew Simone de Beauvoir wrote novels, and according to Susan Rubin, they're some of the most insightful novels ever written. ALL MEN ARE MORTAL is a tragic love story unlike any other, rich with history and leaves you unsettled at the end. It's also dense, wordy, and has its own flaws. We unpack all of it here! Along the way, Susan and I also talk about her debut novel THE ROAD NOT TAKEN, her journey from playwriting to documentary filmmaking to authorship, and the lessons she's learned along the way. I learned a lot, and you probably will too. Buy Susan's Book: Follow Your Favorite Book on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
February 04, 2021
The Great Gatsby with David Stuart MacLean (Author of How I Learned to Hate in Ohio)
This week we're taking it back to one of those assigned reading classics, The Great Gatsby. Author David Stuart MacLean talks about how he incorporated aspects of this novel into his work, How I Learned to Hate in Ohio, and took it all in a new direction. Add in xenophobia, rural Ohio in the 1980s, a teenage boy, and the Challenger disaster, and you've got yourself one crazy book. Along the way we talk about reckoning with the sins of your childhood, the soullessness of high school, writing during a pandemic, and what we miss when we learn about The Great Gatsby. Celebrate this novel entering the public domain by listening to the episode! (There are mild spoilers for Gatsby but not for David's book) TW: homophobic slurs, hate crime Buy David's book and support local indies: Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
January 28, 2021
The Quarter-Life Breakthrough with Isha Modi
Once again we journey into the strange world of self-help books! In this book, Adam 'Smiley' Poswolsky takes on the idea of the corporate ladder and how out of date it really is for today's workers. Isha, a grad student in Media Advocacy, says this book found her in the right place at the right time. Along the way, we chat about grad school, white saviorism, career paths in the South Asian community, and so much more.  Find Isha on instagram @ishamodiii Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
January 21, 2021
A Visit from the Goon Squad with Joan Thomas (Author of Five Wives)
Joan Thomas, winner of the Governor's General Award for Fiction and numerous other accolades, spoke with me about her most recent work FIVE WIVES. This is a fascinating fictionalized account of Operation Auca, a historical event in Ecuador involving Indigenous people and evangelical missionaries. We also talk about Jennifer Egan's Pulitzer prize winning work A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD. Along the way we also chat about Own Voices literature, the lasting impact of evangelism, and what constitutes historical fiction. It's an illuminating conversation you don't want to miss! Joan's website: Buy FIVE WIVES: Follow Your Favorite Book on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
January 14, 2021
The Tender Bar with Jennifer Locke
Our first interview episode of 2021! Jennifer and I talk about the detailed and reflective memoir THE TENDER BAR by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist J.R. Moehringer. What happens when a boy is raised by a single mother and a bar full of rowdy characters in Long Island? Moehringer takes us on a journey through his childhood, adolescence, and post-college life in the midst of all this. Along the way, Jennifer and I also talk about representation in middle grade fiction, drinking culture, and our love for Fleetwood Mac. If you haven't heard of this memoir, don't worry, neither had I! It was an interesting read and we had a great time diving in. Follow the podcast on Instagram and Twitter @yfbpodcast Find Jennifer at, follow her on instagram @jenniferlockewrites 
January 07, 2021
PULITZER PRIES: Intro and the 1910s
Episode 1 of a new monthly series! I attempt to tackle every book that has ever won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, starting in 1918 and all the way to the present day. I attempt to provide spoiler-free reviews and reflections of each of these books in chronological order, and ultimately try to decide how to classify each book. Hidden gem? Forgotten stinker? Overrated book? Deserving classic? This is meant to be a loose, fun discussion, as I have no academic qualifications other than a love for reading. Enjoy! Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
January 03, 2021
My Favorite Books of 2020
It's the end of the year, and time for me to provide my sincerest recommendations. These are twelve books (and several honorable mentions) that I wholeheartedly recommend. As always, these reviews are rambling, unedited, honest, and spoiler-free. Here's to a better 2021, and happy reading.
December 30, 2020
Howards End with Julie Strauss (Host of Best Book Ever)
Julie Strauss is the host of the Best Book Ever podcast, and while our shows may have similar premises, we as readers couldn't be more different. Case in point, her favorite book, HOWARDS END by E.M Forster, is the kind of seemingly stodgy British novel I have no interest in. But this book was so much more than that and we had a blast delving into it! Along the way, we also chat about traveling through Europe on a budget, the joys of audiobooks, book to movie adaptations, and me surprising Julie with a lot of fun facts. You don't want to miss this one! Julie's Podcast: Catch me on Best Book Ever: Find Julie on instagram @bestbookeverpodcast Follow YOUR FAVORITE BOOK on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
December 17, 2020
The Power with Poonum Desai (Author of Sincerely, Life)
Continuing our celebration of South Asian authors, Poonum and I chat about all things personal development, finding your path in life, and the writing process. We also talk about Naomi Alderman's award winning novel THE POWER, a book that asks the question, what would it be like if women held power over men? For our ramblings about feminism, intersectionality, and so much more, tune in! You can find Poonum's book on Amazon or most ebook sites.  Amazon link: Follow Poonum @authorpoonumdesai on instagram Follow the Your Favorite Book podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
December 10, 2020
Well-Behaved Indian Women with Sabreet Kang Rajeev (Author of Generation Zero)
As part of December's celebration of South Asian authors, I chat with Sabreet about her upcoming memoir, Generation Zero, as well as what representation means in the South Asian community, the writing process, and the model minority myth. We also talk about Well-Behaved Women by Saumya Dave, a multigenerational work of literary fiction that unpacks the lives and narratives of three women in an Indian family. It's relatable, full of heart, and made for a brilliant conversation. Check it out! Sabreet's book, Generation Zero: Reclaiming My Parents' American Dream, is out December 8! Look for it wherever you buy books. Follow Sabreet on instagram @sabreetkangrajeev Follow Your Favorite Book on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
December 03, 2020
November Reading Wrap-Up (Ranked and Reviewed)
Another month, another casual, unscripted wrap-up episode. Here are the 10 books I read in November, spoiler-free and ranked from least favorite to most favorite. Most of these you'll see in current or future podcast episodes, so be sure to listen to those for more details! (Books discussed: Crosshairs, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Howard's End, This Land is Our Land, Mother Night, The Priory of the Orange Tree, Quiet, The Tender Bar, Will Grayson Will Grayson, Well Behaved Indian Women)
November 29, 2020
Quiet with Daman Tiwana (Co-Host of Brown Girls Read)
Happy Nonfiction November! For this episode, one of the cohosts of the Brown Girls Read podcast and I take on Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Along the way we chat about why cheesy Bollywood movies make us cry, what being an introvert in 2020 means, the role of gender and culture in personality, and why open floor plan offices are the worst. Check it out!  Listen to Brown Girls Read: Follow Brown Girls Read on instagram @browngirlsreadpod Follow Your Favorite Book on instagram @yfbpodcast 
November 26, 2020
Mother Night with Emily Edwards (Host of FBoL)
Emily Edwards, host of Fuckbois of Literature, and I talk about one of Kurt Vonnegut's oft-forgotten early novels, MOTHER NIGHT. Along the way we chat about whether straight male English majors can be trusted, sharing favorite books with our mothers, the endurance of Confederate monuments, and so much more. Oh yeah, this episode gets POLITICAL. Consider yourself warned. As always, spoiler free and lots of fun, despite the dark subject matter of this week's book. Emily's Podcast: --- Follow YFB on: Twitter: Instagram:
November 19, 2020
The Priory of the Orange Tree with Caroline Conner
In this episode, recorded minutes after the results of the 2020 US Presidential Election were announced, Caroline and I talk about the recent feminist fantasy The Priory of the Orange Tree. Along the way we chat about finding English-language books in France, sexism in the wine industry, and so much more. Some MINOR SPOILERS in this episode (it's an 800 page book with so many twists and turns guys) so consider yourself warned.
November 12, 2020
My Favorite Short Stories
On this most tumultuous of weeks (at least here in the United States) I wanted to bring you all something casual and lighthearted. I talk about some of my favorite classic short stories, everything from Lahiri to Chekov to Joyce Carol Oates. I talk about my experiences with the genre and spill some hot takes. I mix up Raymond Chandler and Raymond Carver for a hot second. And overall, I just talk about the stories that make me happy, and maybe they'll make you happy too. 
November 05, 2020
October Reading Wrap-Up (Ranked and Reviewed)
For this casual, unscripted wrap-up episode, I go through the 8 books I read in October and give you my brief thoughts and reflections. No spoilers! (Books discussed: The House in the Cerulean Sea, Nothing to See Here, Radical, The Royal We, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, Shadow and Bone, Writers and Lovers, The Writer's Library)
November 01, 2020
Shadow and Bone with Kota Connell-Ledwon
Kota, a close friend from college, and I take on Leigh Bardugo's beloved debut, "Shadow and Bone". Along the way we talk about YA fantasy tropes, what you can do with an English major, the Wicker Basket comic, and so much more.
October 29, 2020
The Royal We with Disha Mistry Mazepa (Host of But What Will People Say)
Disha Mistry Mazepa, host of the But What Will People Say podcast, joins me to chat about a quarantine guilty pleasure read, The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. Along the way we talk about which countries are truly romantic, whether you can be any more American than a Cubs fan from Iowa, and whether I need to read the sequel to this book (I probably do). Don't worry, this (and every) episode is spoiler free!
October 22, 2020
Charlotte's Web with Charlene Norman
Charlene Norman and I talk about the beloved children's classic and the potent nostalgia surrounding this book. Along the way we also talk about what wine to drink when you don't like wine, how seriously to take elementary school plays, and why EB White may have another book that's a little bit better (at least to me).
October 15, 2020
Much Ado About Nothing with Rachel Allen
Rachel, a classmate from my middle school days, and I chat about Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. Along the way we discuss whether it's acceptable to name a child after a Shakespearean character, setting plays to Beatles songs, and why Lewis Carroll really had nothing better to do. Hope you laugh along with us!
October 08, 2020
September Reading Wrap-Up (Ranked and Reviewed)
In this super casual, unscripted mini-episode, I go through the twelve books I read this month and provide some brief opinions and reviews, and rank the books from least favorite to favorite. No spoilers! (Books discussed in this episode: Born Confused, Charlotte's Web, Ender's Game, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, Half God's, Herzog, Good Talk, The Land, Much Ado About Nothing, Solve for Happy, Wow No Thank You, and The Vanishing Half
October 03, 2020
Born Confused with Rabiya Bower
Rabiya, creator of @beti.books and moderator of SAWIR, sits down with me to chat about a formative read in her teenage years, Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier. Along the way we talk about who's allowed to borrow a sari, parenting expectations, Indian weddings, and being brown in a Post-9/11 world.
October 01, 2020
Pigs is Pigs with Baylea Williams
Our first episode! Join me as I talk to my old college friend Baylea about a short, wacky, early 20th century story about guinea pigs. Or maybe they're pets?
September 27, 2020
Solve for Happy with Craig Inzana
Craig Inzana, host of the Happy You Are Here Podcast, and I talk about Mo Gawdat's Solve for Happy. Along the way we talk about self-help books as a genre, mental health, working in a bookstore, and all sorts of other topics.
September 23, 2020
Ender's Game with Alexander Zimmerman
Artist and fellow podcaster Alexander Zimmerman chats with me about sci-fi classic Ender's Game. Along the way we talk about separating art from the artist, video games, and our relationships with sci-fi as a genre.
September 16, 2020
Herzog with MY MOM
Today's guest is my original literary inspiration. We dive into Herzog by Saul Bellow, one of the many books my mom dissected in her graduate studies. Along the way we talk about long distance relationships in the 90s, the strangeness of canned beans, and whether we've found the most unlikable protagonist in literature.
September 10, 2020
August Reading Wrap-Up (Ranked and Reviewed)
The first monthly ranking of books I've read in a given month. Books discussed are: A Burning, All My Sons, Kim Jiyoung Born 1982, The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali, Master of Poisons, My Sister's Keeper, Red at the Bone, With the Fire on High
September 07, 2020
Queenie with Jessica Poitevien
My guest, travel writer Jessica Poitevien, and I gush about QUEENIE, the debut novel by Candace Carty-Williams. Along the way we discuss bucket lists, antiracist reading, and the dumpster fire that online dating can be.
September 04, 2020
All My Sons with Neha Praseed
I dive into the wild world of theatre by starting with one of its greats. Helped by my sister, Neha, we explore what makes All My Sons so special. Along the way we talk about stealing food from people's refrigerators, why Hamlet isn't the best introduction to theatre, and cool teachers that let you sneak into their classroom to act out versions of long forgotten plays.
August 27, 2020
My Sister's Keeper with Anvita Jain
Anvita and I talk about the nostalgic appeal and emotional resonance of Jodi Picoult's landmark novel My Sister's Keeper. When do subplots work and when do they not? Who's more mature, a thirteen year old girl or a thirty year old lawyer? Tune in to find out!
August 22, 2020