PODCAST

Unspooling the American Dream

BY MEGAN LABRISE • April 13, 2021

Former ‘cable guy’ Lauren Hough wrote a dynamite memoir in essays. You’re welcome.

On this week’s episode, Lauren Hough discusses Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing (Vintage, April 13), a knockout debut essay collection from the author of the 2018 viral essay “I was a cable guy. I saw the worst of America.

Kirkus: “In her debut, Austin-based writer Hough, ‘born in Germany and raised in seven countries and West Texas,’ probes an identity she once hid behind stories that made her ‘better at lying than…at telling the truth.’ As the daughter of parents who followed the Children of God cult around the world, Hough joined the Air Force as a teenager, in part to prove an Americanness she never felt strongly.… Too often, Hough often found herself targeted for being different—‘too loud, too quiet, too stubborn, too masculine’—and during her time in the Air Force, she received death threats for being gay.… Only when she began to write and allow herself to be who she was did she realize she wanted no part of the ‘[cult of] normal’ she had sought all her life.”

For the audiobook, Hough, who excels at Twitter, shares narration duties with Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett.

Hough and host Megan Labrise discuss the effects of a viral essay on a writer’s life, code-switching, Hough’s TEDx talk “A lesbian walks into a bathroom,” the provenance of the book’s title, Hough’s favorite adjective, the top drink order that makes a bartender think you’re jerk, and much more.

Then editors Vicky Smith, Laura Simeon, Laurie Muchnick, and Johanna Zwirner join with their reading recommendations for the week.

 

Editors’ picks:

Hear My Voice / Eschucha Mi Voz: The Testimonies of Children Detained at the Southern Border of the United States, edited by Warren Binford (Workman)

Notes From a Young Black Chef (Adapted for Young Adults) by Kwame Onwuachi with Joshua David Stein (Delacorte)

Good Company by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (Ecco)

Antonio by Beatriz Bracher, trans. by Adam Morris (New Directions)

Also mentioned in this episode:

The Other Side: Stories of Central American Teen Refugees Who Dream of Crossing the Border by Juan Pablo Villalobos, trans. by Rosalind Harvey (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Yes, Chef: A Memoir by Marcus Samuelsson (Random House)

Make It Messy: My Perfectly Imperfect Life by Marcus Samuelsson with Veronica Chambers (Delacorte)

 

Thanks to our advertisers this week:

Meal and a Spiel by Elana Horwich
The Tree That Ate Everything by Bob Feiner
Teach Me How To Die by Joseph Rauch
Riding With Ghosts, Angels, and the Spirits of the Dead by John Russell

 

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

    GET 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

  • 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

In this Special Diversity Issue, Michelle Zauner discusses Crying in H Mart and forges connections to her literary heritage.

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!