Welcome to another installment of a collaboration between the Chicago Review of Books and the Your Favorite Book podcast. Malavika Praseed, frequent CHIRB contributor and podcast host, seeks to talk to readers and writers about the books that light a fire inside them. What’s your favorite book and why?
This week’s guest is Jami Attenberg, whose first memoir I Came All This Way to Meet You examines a writing life in its broadest sense. Attenberg looks back on her writing career in the context of her travels, and the nonlinear format allows her to explore topics such as anxiety, gentrification, forming and losing relationships, and many others. And as her attention to detail and narrative voice brought her acclaim as a fiction writer, she brings these same qualities to nonfiction, with marvelous result.
Attenberg is our first guest to choose a collection of short stories for the show, this being the collected works of Grace Paley. We discuss Paley’s eschewing of conventional setup in her writing, along with her close analysis of motherhood and domesticity, all set in noisy urban settings with a rotating cast of memorable characters. Attenberg also shares her experiences creating and thinking about memoir, the exhaustion that comes with social media, and numerous other topics.
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.