PODCAST

Episode 295: Best Books Nonfiction

BY MEGAN LABRISE • November 22, 2022

Our Best Books coverage continues with author Jazmina Barrera and Kirkus’ Eric Liebetrau.

Kirkus’ Best Books of 2022 are here! Over the course of five episodes, Fully Booked is featuring one author from each of our Best Books lists, followed by a special conversation with that section’s editor. Last week we hosted novelist Julia May Jonas and fiction editor Laurie Muchnick. This week it’s nonfiction in the spotlight—followed by children’s books (Nov. 29), middle grade (Dec. 6), and YA (Dec. 13).

On today’s episode, Jazmina Barrera discusses Linea Nigra: An Essay on Pregnancy and Earthquakes (Two Lines Press, May 3), one of Kirkus’ Best Nonfiction Books of 2022. Here’s a bit from our starred review: “When Barrera first found out she was pregnant with her son, Silvestre, her husband suggested that she keep a pregnancy diary. Although she thought the idea of a pregnancy diary was ‘a little hackneyed,’ she admitted that she was writing about her experience, albeit mostly in fragments….

“Barrera communicates her trenchant observations in gorgeous, highly efficient prose that sharply reflects the fragmented reality of pregnancy and early parenthood. Rather than adhering to a traditional narrative structure, the author follows her trains of thought wherever they take her, and readers will be happy to tag along. A uniquely lyrical account of early motherhood.”

Barrera and host Megan Labrise discuss the decision to share writing that began as a personal diary with a wider audience; the dearth of literature on pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding; why the essay is Barrera’s favorite form; how pregnancy and motherhood revised her relationship with her own mother; Mary Shelley’s famous quote about creation coming from chaos; working with translator Christina MacSweeney; and much more.

Then nonfiction editor Eric Liebetrau joins Megan to discuss this year’s Kirkus Prize ceremony and the 2022 Best Books lists.

Eric’s picks:

In Sensorium: Notes for My People by Tanaïs (Harper/HarperCollins)

An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us by Ed Yong (Random House)

Life on the Mississippi: An Epic American Adventure by Rinker Buck (Avid Reader Press)

Ever Green: Saving Big Forests To Save the Planet by John W. Reed & Thomas E. Lovejoy (Norton)

Wild New World: The Epic Story of Animals and People in America by Dan Flores (Norton)

Nein, Nein Nein!: One Man’s Tale of Depression, Psychic Torment, and a Bus Tour of the Holocaust by Jerry Stahl (Akashic)

A Billion Years: My Escape From a Life in the Highest Ranks of Scientology by Mike Rinder (Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster)

Linea Nigra: An Essay on Pregnancy and Earthquakes by Jazmina Barrera (Two Lines Press)

Imagine a City: A Pilot’s Journey Across the Urban World by Mark Vanhoenacker (Knopf)

The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story edited by Nikole Hannah-Jones, Caitlin Roper, Ilena Silverman and Jake Silverstein (One World/Random House)

 

Thanks to our advertisers:

The Medievalist by Phil Adamo

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

Flyin’ Kai by Duncan P. Forgey

Robert Morris: Inside the Revolution by Robert M. Morris

 

 

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

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