Your Favorite Book podcast

The Hobbit with Merilla Michael

0:00
48:00
Rewind 15 seconds
Fast Forward 15 seconds

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.

More episodes from "Your Favorite Book"

  • Your Favorite Book podcast

    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking-Glass with Dr. Mark M. Hennelly

    39:24

    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
  • Your Favorite Book podcast

    The God of Small Things with Mina Seçkin (Author of The Four Humors)

    39:15

    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
  • Your Favorite Book podcast

    Don't miss an episode of Your Favorite Book and subscribe to it in the GetPodcast app.

    iOS buttonAndroid button
  • Your Favorite Book podcast

    Exit West with SJ Sindu (Author of Blue Skinned Gods)

    41:58

    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: https://sjsindu.com/ Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
  • Your Favorite Book podcast

    The Shadow of the Wind with Maxwell Dunn

    44:22

    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
  • Your Favorite Book podcast

    The Forty Rules of Love with Sumaiya Matin (Author of The Shaytan Bride)

    1:01:12

    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: https://www.sumaiyamatin.com/about Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
  • Your Favorite Book podcast

    The Palace of Illusions with Annika Sharma (Author of Love, Chai, and Other Four-Letter Words)

    58:33

    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 www.annikasharma.com, and follow her @annikasharma and @thewokedesi Follow Your Favorite Book on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
  • Your Favorite Book podcast

    Thornyhold with Pitu

    38:02

    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
  • Your Favorite Book podcast

    Always Coming Home with Shruti Swamy (Author of The Archer)

    43:39

    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 shrutiswamy.com 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
  • Your Favorite Book podcast

    The Enchanted with Ari Honarvar (Author of A Girl Called Rumi)

    46:25

    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 rumiwithaview.com Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
  • Your Favorite Book podcast

    The Hobbit with Merilla Michael

    48:00

    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.

Get the whole world of podcasts with the free GetPodcast app.

Subscribe to your favorite podcasts, listen to episodes offline and get thrilling recommendations.

iOS buttonAndroid button