PODCAST

Episode 294: Best Books Fiction

BY MEGAN LABRISE • November 15, 2022

Novelist Julia May Jonas and fiction editor Laurie Muchnick launch our Best Books coverage.

Kirkus’ Best Books of 2022 are here! Every year our editors take on the tall task of selecting the top 100 titles in fiction, nonfiction, picture books, middle grade, and YA from thousands of industry-first reviews. In celebration of their hard work, over the next five weeks Fully Booked will feature one author from each of our Best Books lists, followed by a special conversation with that section’s editor. First up is fiction, followed by nonfiction (Nov. 22), children’s books (Nov. 29), middle grade (Dec. 6), and YA (Dec. 13).

On our inaugural Best Books episode, Julia May Jonas discusses Vladimir (Avid Reader Press, Feb. 1), one of Kirkus' Best Books of 2022. Here’s a bit from our starred review of Jonas’ blistering novel: “When her husband is accused of sexual misconduct on campus, an English professor is overcome by scandalous drives of her own.…Like the man she shackles to a chair in the prologue, once this narrator has you, she won’t let go. A remarkable debut.”

Jonas and host Megan Labrise discuss Jonas’ “wonderful and surprising and exciting” publication year; playwriting; the rules for a good novel; how reading can be like a drug; the aesthetic and material conditions of Vladimir’s unnamed narrator; how to get readers to turn the page; desire and disruption; Jonas’ year in reading; reading as religion; and much more.

Then fiction editor Laurie Muchnick joins Megan to discuss this year’s Kirkus Prize ceremony and the 2022 Best Books lists.

Laurie’s picks:

Trust by Hernan Diaz (Riverhead)

The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka (Knopf)

The Hero of This Book by Elizabeth McCracken (Ecco/HarperCollins)

The Family Chao by Lan Samantha Chang (Norton)

The Family Izquierdo By Rubén Degollado (Norton)

This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub (Riverhead)

Calling for a Blanket Dance by Oscar Hokeah (Algonquin)

If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery (MGD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Vladimir by Julia May Jonas (Avid Reader Press)

Out There by Kate Folk (Random House)

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (Doubleday)

The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty (Knopf)

Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm by Laura Warrell (Pantheon)

Mecca by Susan Straight (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Fellowship Point by Alice Elliott Dark (Marysue Rucci Books/Scribner)

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver (Harper/HarperCollins)

 

Thanks to our advertisers:

The Medievalist by Phil Adamo

History According to SAT by Elizabeth Breau, Ph.D.

Flyin’ Kai by Duncan P. Forgey

Praesidium by McKinley Aspen

Good Lookin’ by T.L. Bequette

 

 

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

 

 

 

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