While brainstorming blog post ideas, I kept trying to think of a way to get the word out about a new podcast called Talk Crooked. My friend Carrie and her bestie Kae are the hostesses, and the premise of their podcast is:
A social justice and comedy podcast for the under-represented & alienated; the feminists & freaks; the misinformed & misunderstood.
These ladies talk about EVERYTHING, and often it’s the stuff not heard in “polite, conventional, conservative conversation.” I LOVE IT. All those thing you and your best friends talk about in hushed tones or preface with “TMI but…”, they dive into. Every episode, they start off with a welcome to the podcast, where they state that they’re just two friends who “laugh, cry, and rage about an unspeakable subject.” Occasionally, adult beverages are added for even more entertainment. The topics range widely and are well researched, and almost every episode includes an example- someone who either experienced or caused the current topic.
As I listen to their episodes, I often find points of reference about certain topics from books that I’ve read, so I thought it would be super fitting to come up with a book recommendation based off some of their previous episode discussions. So, I talked with the ladies of Talk Crooked, and this is the selection we’ve collaborated on to present you with!
Episode 1: Listen to Your Gut, Doctored Photos Are Not a Move
Topic Addressed: Stalkers
Rec: Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser
A 2018 release, Not That I Could Tell certainly fits the bill if you want a current novel about the scary reality of stalkers. In this novel, a woman goes missing with her children, leaving the neighborhood concerned. When the woman’s estranged, soon to be divorced husband, a maternity ward doctor no less, is revealed to have a violent past, the main characters have to decide if he had any influence on their disappearance. It’s a well written twisty suspense mystery that’ll creep you out in a good way!
Episode 2: Anxious Farts
Topic Addressed: Anxiety
Rec: The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn
This novel is about a psychologist who, after the loss of her family, has become an alcoholic agoraphobic stalker. Stuck inside, she takes to neighbor watching, and bears witness to what she thinks is a murder. Obviously, this book is way more extreme than the episode’s discussion on anxiety, but it’ll help you relate to someone who struggles to control their body’s own reactions to stressors.
Episode 3: If You Can’t Say Anything Kind, Please Don’t Throw Potatoes
Topic Addressed: Emotional / Verbal Abuse
Rec: A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum
Debut author Etaf Rum wrote a heartbreaking novel about Palestinian culture and the devastating effects of traditional oppression. The main characters struggle with emotional and verbal abuse that eventually turns violent. Rum’s novel signifies a need for change, not just in traditional cultures but in all families who turn a blind eye or deaf ear.
Episode 4: A Bare Freaking Vagina on a Pile of Goo for $550, Please
Topic Addressed: Fetal Abductions
Rec: A Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
This one is definitely not about fetal abductions, but this is, in a way, about a baby abduction. Young couple Tom and Isabel, who live on an island and service a lighthouse, have desperately tried to conceive. After several miscarriages, Isabel is losing faith until one stormy night, Tom and Isabel find an infant, and convince themselves that it would be okay if they keep it. A Light Between Oceans is a hauntingly beautiful story that allows you to see both sides of the controversial child custody narrative.
Episode 5: Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, and Absent…OH.
Topic Addressed: Female Superheroes
Rec: Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha Series) by Tomi Adeyemi
If you can’t decide whether you’re team Marvel or DC, plead the fifth and go for fantasy, which is full of other-worldly heroes, such as badass heroine Zélie. In the fantasy world of Orïsha, magic has been banned by the king and all maji who practiced magic were slaughtered. The only way to bring down the king, avenge the maji deaths, and to restore magic is to outrace the prince on his journey to eradicate magic entirely. Zélie is one tough character, and though I personally was let down by the overall plot, she carried the story for me and has made me eager to read this year’s release of the sequel in the Orïsha trilogy, Children of Virtue and Vengeance.
Episode 6: You Hit Me With a Poem
Topic Addressed: Pink/Luxury Tax
Rec: Poetry by Rupi Kaur
Not only is Rupi Kaur mentioned and quoted in the episode, but she is also a fantastic example of poetry that is written for the modern feminist who struggles with inequality. She’s written two very popular collections of poetry- the first being Milk and Honey, which is more about relationships, love, and loss with a feminist twist, and the second is The Sun and Her Flowers, a great collection about her struggle with equality, feminism, and tradition.
Episode 7: Pull Back the Veil, Take Over the Light
Topic Addressed: Mental Illness
Rec: It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
Ned Vizzini channeled his own struggles with mental illness into semi-autobiographical young adult novel, It’s Kind of a Funny Story. In doing so, he created a character who is relatable and who can offer inspiration to readers, to just take one day at a time and get help. The ladies of Talk Crooked always end their episodes with, “You are not a monster” and I find that Vizzini’s novel exemplifies this statement.
Episode 8: We’re Not Sorry for the Concert
Topic Addressed: Over-apologizing and Politeness
Rec: Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis, or Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls by Jes Baker
Unapologetic living is having a serious moment these days, and therefore there are many books out there that would make for great reading on the subject. For certain people, Girl, Stop Apologizing will be the ticket for understanding why you should stop saying sorry for everything (I however don’t care for Rachel Hollis’ delivery techniques, but acquiesce that she’s a popular source of inspiration and advice). Personally, I’m more inclined to read Jes Baker’s no-holds memoir, Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls, about body positivity and unapologetic living. The way she states that she’s sick of apologizing for everything, from what her body does, to how it looks, to what she has to say about it… I’m living for it. Sorry, not sorry.
Episode 9: PCOS Without the C, Because Let’s Make It More Confusing
Topic Addressed: PCOS and Gynocology
Rec: Landwhale by Jes Baker, or Everything Below the Waist by Jennifer Block
During this episode of Talk Crooked, Carrie and Kae talk about the importance of being honest with your gyno about any concerns you may have regarding your reproductive health- even if you’re embarrassed to. Honesty is Jes Baker’s policy in Landwhale, which includes a chapter on her struggle with PCOS and the symptoms she experiences. In it’s entirety, Baker’s memoir is full of confessional insight, and so relatable to everyone who has ever had issues with body acceptance. Also, if you want to dive into an excellent feminist women’s health memoir, check out Everything Below the Waist by Jennifer Block. She’s done so much research about historical and current health care for women, and leads a fascinating charge in understanding and revolutionizing our reproductive rights.
Episode 10: Vaginal Fumigation and the Poor Plumber Who Had Enough
Topic Addressed: Abortion and Methods of the Past
Rec: A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult, or Red Clocks by Leni Zumas
I know that both of these novels has struck up a lot of controversial conversations, mostly because of the focus on the plot- abortions. In Picoult’s novel, the action is centered around a Planned Parenthood- type women’s center, with pro choice and anti-abortion points of view both explored. In Zumas’ novel, women are seeking aid from a herbalist for abortions because local government has banned abortion. Both books are written in creative stylistic formats- which is something that I struggled with in Red Clocks and others have disliked about A Spark of Light– but both novels are at least tackling the hot button issue with an observational quality, rather than a biased one.
Check out the latest episodes of Talk Crooked, available on Anchor, Spotify, Soundcloud or through your Apple and Android app stores. New episodes air every Monday, and Crooked News airs every Friday!
Additionally, stay tuned for more recommendations, with Crooked Book Recommendations, Part 2!