PODCAST

Episode 237: Susan Orlean

BY MEGAN LABRISE • October 12, 2021

Susan Orlean's delightful essay collection 'On Animals' celebrates the finned and the furred.

On this episode, Susan Orlean discusses On Animals (Avid Reader Press, Oct. 12), a wide-ranging selection of bestial essays and creature features from a beloved New Yorker staffer and lifelong animal lover. “Animals have always been my style,” Orlean writes, introducing this lively selection of stories culled from more than two decades’ worth of writing on animals for the New Yorker, the Atlantic, Smithsonian Magazine, and others.

From the Kirkus review of On Animals: “The variety on display is especially pleasing. Some essays are classic New Yorker profiles: Who knew that tigers, near extinction in the wild, are common household pets?…In ‘The Rabbit Outbreak,’ Orlean writes about how rabbit meat was an American staple until replaced by beef and chicken after World War II, whereupon rabbit pet ownership surged.…The author handles dogs like a virtuoso, with 10 hilarious pages on the wacky, expensive, but sometimes profitable life of a champion show dog.…Another winner featuring the author’s trademark blend of meticulous research and scintillating writing” (starred review).

Orlean and host Megan Labrise discuss Orlean’s juvenilia, and whether she was a fables fan; where the idea for an animal-themed collection came from; the importance of percussion and musicality in her writing; how first sentences are the key to a piece; what she loves about chickens; why turkeys get a bad rap; and much more.

Then editors Laura Simeon, Eric Liebetrau, and Laurie Muchnick offer their top picks in books for the week.

This episode is sponsored by Lake Union Publishing, home of What Passes as Love by Trisha R. Thomas.

 

Editors’ picks:

Chasing the Truth: A Young Journalist’s Guide to Investigative Reporting (She Said Young Readers Edition) by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twhohey, adapted by Ruby Shamir (Philomel)

Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement by Tarana Burke (Flatiron)

Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket by Hilma Wolitzer (Bloomsbury)

Also mentioned on this episode:

Know My Name by Chanel Miller (Viking)

Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators by Ronan Farrow (Little, Brown)

The Color Purple by Alice Walker (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich)

The Woodcutter by Reginald Hill (Harper/HarperCollins)

"These Writers Over 80 Are Still Going Strong" by Tom Beer

 

Thanks to our advertisers:

The Black Alabaster Box (Last Crystal Trilogy: Book One) by FrancesSchoonmaker

Monster on the Moors by J.M. Kelly

Alaric Thain’s History of the 21st Century by Alaric Thain

 

Fully Booked is produced by Cabel Adkins Audio and Megan Labrise.

Our Take On This Week's Bestsellers

  • Our Verdict

    GET IT

  • Our Verdict

    GET IT

  • Our Verdict

    SKIP IT

  • Our Verdict

    SKIP IT

  • Our Verdict

    GET IT

  • Our Verdict

    GET IT

  • Our Verdict

    GET IT

  • Our Verdict

    GET IT

  • Our Verdict

    SKIP IT

  • Our Verdict

    GET IT

  • Our Verdict

    GET IT

  • Our Verdict

    GET IT

  • Our Verdict

    GET IT

  • Our Verdict

    GET IT

  • Our Verdict

    GET IT

Advertisement

The Magazine: Kirkus Reviews

Bestselling author Amor Towles takes readers on an unforgettable American road trip in The Lincoln Highway.

subscribe
  • The Kirkus Star

    One of the most coveted designations in the book industry, the Kirkus Star marks books of exceptional merit.

  • The Kirkus Prize

    The Kirkus Prize is among the richest literary awards in America, awarding $50,000 in three categories annually.

    See the 2020 winners.

Great Books & News Curated For You

Be the first to read books news and see reviews, news and features in Kirkus Reviews. Get awesome content delivered to your inbox every week.

Thank you!