Book Fight

It's the most wonderful time of the year! A time for gathering with family, drinking lots of egg nog, and reading some absurdly terrible Christmas-themed books. First up this year is Christmas Letters, a delightful little romp from Debbie Macomber about a woman who finds love in the last place she thought to look (her own apartment building). Then there's The Christmas Thief, co-written by the mother-daughter team of Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark, about a Bernie Madoff type who hides diamonds in a tree and the merry band of self-satisfied lottery winners who manage to bring him to justice.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

 

Direct download: Ep107_ChristmasSpectacular2015.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

In celebration of the holidays, this week we're talking about an Isaac Fitzgerald essay, originally published by Buzzfeed in 2013, about a Christmas trip in which he scaled Mount Kilimnjaro with his estranged family. In the second half of the show, we discuss a listener-submitted story of authorial spite, plus a new installment of Fan Fiction Corner in which we explore the Grinch's sexuality.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep106_IsaacFitzgerald.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Penelope Lively has written more than thirty books, and Tom picked this one, for some reason. The novel purports to explore the line between fiction and nonfiction, but it does so in a way neither of us found particularly interesting. We talk about what separates a "novel" from a purposeless series of writing exercises. 

In the second half of the show, we delve into the world of Christmas-themed fan fiction, with stories about the characters from Love, Actually, Law and Order: SVU and Veronica Mars.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep105_PenelopeLively.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

This week we're discussing the title story of Scottish writer Elspeth Davie's 1980 story collection. Though her story collections were well-reviewed, Davie is far from a household name. We talk about what separates literary writers who are remembered from those who aren't, and whether the writers themselves have any control over their own legacies. 

Also, as it's the end of National Novel Writing Month, we take one final dive into the NaNoWriMo forums, where we make a shocking discovery that might just blow the lid off one of the biggest writing-related conspiracies of all time. 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep104_FunnyHats.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

A long episode about a short book: it's the Book Fight way! In the first half of the episode we try to figure out Adler's 1976 novel, which has been cited as a touchstone by many writers, including David Shields and David Foster Wallace. In the second half of the show we talk about Adler's famous takedown of movie critic Pauline Kael, and consider a recent case of an author stalking someone who gave his book a negative customer review. Plus we take another dive into the NaNoWriMo forums to see what the intrepid NaNo-ers are struggling with here at the midpoint of their month-long journey. 

For more, including a link to Adler's piece on Kael, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep103_Adler_Speedboat.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

For today's episode we read this essay from The Toast, about the author's trip to Jerusalem, her religious parents, and the rift in her family following her sister's sexual assault. 

We've also got more from the NaNoWriMo forums, plus hot takes on Baby Hitler!

For more, as always, you can visit us online at bookfightpod.com.  

Direct download: Ep102_LyzLenz_Absalom.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

This week's book is both a detective story and an academic satire. We talk about the genre conventions of noir novels, and some of the more frustrating and ridiculous aspects of academia. In the second half the show we've got a new installment of Raccoon News that includes some historical raccoon news, plus more questions from the NaNoWriMo forums.

For more, you can visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep101_JTHill_AcademyGothic.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

This week we talk about a story by the crime writer Dennis Lehane (author of Gone Baby Gone, Mystic River, and lots of other stuff). We also dip back into the NaNoWriMo forums to offer our advice on character names, bayou witch doctors, and whatever in the world a "Nano jar" is. 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep100-Lehane_BeforeGwen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Everyone's been talking about Karl Ove Knausgaard's six-volume series of autobiographical novels, My Struggle. But we're reading the doorstop of a novel that won him acclaim in his home country before he turned his lens on his own life.

A Time for Everything is part historical novel, part Biblical reinterpretation, part faux-theological study of the long evolution of angels. It's a book that's pretty tough to pin down. But we'll try!

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com.   

Direct download: Ep99-Knausgaard_ATimeForEverything.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

This week we're hitting the road, recording while driving to the Barrelhouse-sponsored Conversations and Connections writers' conference in Pittsburgh. To make our conversation thematically appropriate we chose an essay by Paul Theroux called "Taking the Great American Roadtrip."

We talk about what separates interesting travel writing from boring travel writing, our varying tastes for long drives, and why central Pennsylvania is both a beautiful and frightening place. 

You can read Mike's piece about driving cross-country here. We're not saying it's better than Paul Theroux, but maybe it's better than Paul Theroux?

For more, as always, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep98-RoadTripPittsburgh.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST