Book club discussion on Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

Roz Chast’s Formally Inventive, Moving Cartoon Memoir

Roz Chast’s Formally Inventive, Moving Cartoon Memoir

Discussing new and classic works.
Aug. 8 2014 11:06 AM

The Audio Book Club Asks, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

Slate critics take on Roz Chast’s cartoon memoir about her parents’ decline.


To listen to the Audio Book Club discussion of Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, click the arrow on the player below.

This month, Slate Book Review editor Dan Kois, DoubleX founder Hanna Rosin, and Slate senior editor Emily Bazelon discuss Roz Chast’s comics memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? The best-seller follows George and Elizabeth, Chast’s parents, through the final years of their lives, as Chast tries to care for them without driving herself insane. Slate’s critics debate whether Chast is too harsh in her portrayal of her needy parents and herself; what the book has to teach children of aging parents about the process to come; and whether the Chastian style, so familiar from The New Yorker, translates to this personal story.


In addition to Chast’s book, the Audio Book Club recommends:

Hanna recommends Christopher Hitchens’ memoir Mortality.

Emily recommends Meghan O’Rourke’s memoir The Long Goodbye.

Dan recommends Joyce Farmer’s comics memoir Special Exits.


Next month’s Audio Book Club selection is Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, a collection of essays about race, gender, relatable characters, and women who love Chris Brown. Read it and join us for our next discussion on Sept. 5.

Visit our Audio Book Club archive page for a complete list of the more than 60 books we’ve discussed over the years. Or you can listen to any of our previous club meetings through our iTunes feed or through the player below.


Podcast produced by Abdul Rufus and Andy Bowers.

Emily Bazelon is a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine and the author of Sticks and Stones

Dan Kois edits and writes for Slate’s culture department. He is writing a book called How to Be a Family and co-writing, with Isaac Butler, an oral history of Angels in America.

Hanna Rosin is the co-host of NPR’s Invisibilia and a founder of DoubleX. She is also the author of The End of Men. Follow her on Twitter.