Book Fight

As is our holiday tradition, we've got two Christmas books this week in a jam-packed, super-sized episode of Book Fight. First we talk about a novel ostensibly about Christmas but really more about punching and shooting and also racism towards Native Americans. In the second half of the show we talk about a sexy Christmas romance novella in which an undercover cop and a fake stripper fall in love (and have SO much sex it's a wonder their privates didn't fall right off). We've also got a very special guest joining us for the second half of the show. We can't tell you who it is, but longtime listeners will be VERY excited.

Direct download: Ep159_Christmas_2016.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

This week, prompted by a book that's been named to a bunch of Best of 2016 lists, we talk about how those lists are constructed, and whether they're a good representation of a given year's literature. We also talk about empathizing with murderous characters, and novels that portray contemporary political events. In the second half of the show, we try out some snacks that were sent to us by a listener in Japan, including some boozy Kit Kats, a drink that looks like watery milk, and some dried and salted fish.

Thanks to this week's sponsor, M.B. Manthe, whose poetry and publishing projects you can learn more about at her site.

Direct download: Ep158_Mahajan_SmallBombs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

This week's story is about an aging boxer who just wants one last payday (and a big juicy steak). But first he'll have to use all his wiles to defeat a younger, fitter opponent. We also enjoy a grab bag of snacks that are new to us, including Faygo Red Pop, Chocodiles, and some weird and, frankly, unsettling 7-11 chips.

 

Direct download: Ep157_Fall16_JackLondon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

We welcome guest Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib (author of, most recently, The Crown Ain't Worth Much) to talk about the collected writings of music critic Lester Bangs, assembled as a book after Bangs's death. We talk about good music writing versus bad music writing, how to make an argument about things you love and things you hate, how to keep nostalgia in its proper place, and why the NBA is a better ethical choice for sports fans than the NFL. 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com. 

Direct download: Ep156_LesterBangs_PsychoticReactions.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

I know you probably think we forgot, but we did not forget. Here at the close of November, we're bringing you a special bonus episode for National Novel Writing Month 2016. We take our usual dive into the NaNoWriMo forums to see what the Wrimers are struggling with this year. What kinds of food should the characters eat in your fantasy world? Where do robots go on dates? And much, much more. 

Direct download: BonusEp_NaNoWriMo_2016.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:37am EST

This week we read an essay from The Oxford American co-written by John T. Edge and Tunde Wey, "Who Owns Southern Food?" The piece was inspired, in part, by an article in Eater called "How Gullah Cuisine Transformed Charleston Food," which created a bit of a firestorm in Charleston, sparking debate about the economics of cultural appropriation. 

All of which is a bit afield of what we normally discuss on the show, though it sparked a lot of conversation, and dovetailed with a number of issues we've both been thinking about, as of late, about race and politics.

Oh, and we eat some snacks, since that's our deal lately. Our first-ever homemade snack (cheese grits!), plus Tastykakes, and some Middleswarth chips (the secret ingredient is MSG).

Direct download: Ep155_Fall16_Gullah.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

This week we welcome guest Sam Allingham (author of The Great American Songbook) to discuss the South Korean novel The Vegetarian, which won the Man Booker International Prize. We also talk about Sam's story collection, which recently came out from A Strange Object, and we subject him to our usual tomfoolery. 

As will be obvious within the first few seconds of this episode, we recorded it before the recent presidential election. If you don't want to hear our dumb election jokes, just skip the first minute or so, and then enjoy an election-free discussion with Sam.

Thanks for listening!

Direct download: Ep154_Kang_TheVegetarian.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

A listener sent us a big box of Canadian snacks, so we're devoting this episode to our friendly neighbor to the north. We're talking about an Alice Munro story, "Family Furnishings," and specifically how Munro uses food and eating to characterize family members and the relationships between them. 

In the second half of the show, we dig into those snacks! Ketchup-flavored potato chips. Smarties (of the chocolate variety). Hickory sticks. And some thing called a King Turk that may have scarred us for life.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com. 

Direct download: Ep153_Fall16_CanadaSpecial.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

You may know the name Kinsella from the Kevin Costner character Ray Kinsella in Field of Dreams. But it's also the name of the author who wrote the novel, Shoeless Joe, on which that movie was based. Kinsella was born in Canada, and lived most of his life there, though he did a stint at the Iowa Writers Workshop, near where the book is set. He wrote several other novels, and a bunch of short story collections, most of which dealt with either baseball or First Nations people, another passion of his. Kinsella recently passed away, and so it seemed like an appropriate time for us to finally read his most famous book.

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

Direct download: Ep152_ShoelessJoe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

We're talking about two super-spooky short stories for Halloween this year: Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" and Joe Hill's "Abraham's Boys." We talk about what scares us, and the qualities that make for a good horror story.

It also continues to be the Fall of Food, so this week we're talking Halloween candy. Best treats? Worst treats? And what's up with those candies that seem to exist only on Halloween? Plus: we each rank our top five candy bars, which will no doubt be contentious. 

Further reading:

Shirley Jackson, "The Lottery"

Joe Hill, "Abraham's Boys"

Direct download: Ep151_2016_Halloween_Spooktacular.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

This week we've got a special Fall of Food episode with guest Sarah Sweeney, who chose an essay for us to read: an Esquire profile of acclaimed chef Ferran Adria, written by Michael Paterniti. We talk about the line between interestingly descriptive food writing and absurd, overblown food writing. We also talk about the culture of the celebrity chef, and whether it's gone too far. 

In the second half of the show, we eat a traditional Mexican snack prepared by Sarah, who just got back from an extended stay in Oaxaca. She also makes us a hibiscus drink, and then forces some booze on us. Good times! Plus we get her take on North Carolina barbecue, and probe why her mother wouldn't let there be any white, creamy foods in the house.

You can order a copy of Sarah's book from the Barrelhouse store--use code POPTART for a 10% discount for Book Fight listeners.

 

Direct download: Ep150_SarahSweeney.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:21am EST

This week we're discussing an Anthony Bourdain essay that became part of his breakout book, Kitchen Confidential, plus we talk about our very different experiences working in food service, and we eat a couple of weird, unconventionally flavored snacks. 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep149_Fall16_Bourdain.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

This week we welcome special guest Jim Miller to talk about one of his favorite books, Michael Crichton's 1990 bestseller Jurassic Park. We discuss dinosaur knowledge, books we loved as children, and Crichton's supposed dickishness. 

We also talk to Jim about his work as a cartographer, his appearance in Sports Illustrated, and his development of various apps, including one that teaches kids how to draw dinosaurs.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep148_JurrasicPark.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Do you like food? Do you eat it several times a day in order to survive? Then you will love our new seasonal theme! This fall we'll be reading stories and essays in which food plays a major role. We'll also be talking about a variety of food-related things. This week: What foods are we nostalgic for? What foods make us think of our childhoods? Each of us also brought in a nostalgic snack for a quick taste test.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep147_Fall16_Dybek.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Have you heard of this Cormac McCarthy fellow? Pretty good writer! Somehow, neither of us had ever read The Road, and we thought it was time to rectify that. Especially since America seems to be getting closer and closer to making its post-apocalyptic hellscape a reality. 

 

Direct download: Ep146_TheRoad.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

In the first half of this week's show we discuss this 2007 Matthew Quick story, originally published in Agni. Long-time listeners will recall that Tom has occasionally taken issue with Mr. Quick's work, as well as his life and just his all-around "thing." So reading one of his early publications, from a reputable lit journal, seemed like a great opportunity for Tom to open up his heart and give "Q" a second chance.

In the second half of the show we eat a bunch of Pop Tarts and try to figure out which flavor is best. Look, we never promised the podcast would be ONLY about books and writing. 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep145_Summer16_Quick.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

This week we're reading the critically celebrated 1992 novel by Javier Marias, a writer we've both been meaning to check out for a while now. We talk about what people expect from novels, unusual/innovative narrative structures, and reading while stoned. In the second half of the show we've got a new installment of Fan Fiction Corner, featuring Alvin & the Chipmunks.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep144_Marias_HeartSoWhite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Back in Episode 15, we talked about Sheila Heti's novel How Should a Person Be, which neither of us loved. This week we're giving Heti a second chance, reading a recent story of hers from The New Yorker. 

We talk about whether we were too quick to judge her book based on its marketing materials, and what it is we want from fiction. If certain types of novels feel stale, for instance, is the problem with the form itself, or just books that aren't doing enough within that form? Also: Mike shares some lessons learned from spending his summer reading novel manuscripts, and Tom shares some thoughts on snacks.

You can read the Heti story here, via the New Yorker. And for more, you can always visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep143_Summer16_Heti.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Tom picked this novel, the author's first (though he'd already published two story collections, the first of which made him the youngest-ever winner of a Whiting Award). Reading the book made Mike question why he's making this podcast in the first place. So: good times!

In the second half of the show, Mike puts Tom on the metaphorical couch to help him figure out why he keeps feeling pulled away from the book project he's supposed to be working on. 

It's a real angsty week in Book Fight World, listeners. Enjoy!

Direct download: Ep142_McManus_BitterMilk.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Agatha Christie is one of the world's best-selling authors of all time, yet when we read her novel And Then There Were None earlier this year, we gave it mixed reviews. So we're giving Christie a second chance, digging into one of her most celebrated short stories, "Witness For the Prosecution" (which you can read for free via that link). 

Tom, in particular, seemed to dislike And Then There Were None, so will this story turn him? Or will Christie fall victim to our famously harsh two-strikes-you're-out rule?

In the second half of the show, we revisit some 90s bands that the internet thinks deserve a second chance, and we talk about another listener-submitted story of second chances. 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep141_Summer16_AgathaChristie.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Mike first read this book nearly a decade ago, and decided to revisit it after pulling it randomly from his shelf and reading the inscription inside, which he'd managed to forget. We talk about Bouillier's idea of a "report" as its own genre of literature, and books narrated by eccentric people trapped inside their own heads.

In the second half of the show we've got a quick bit of fanfiction, plus a potential fanfiction writing prompt, if any of our listeners are so inclined.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

And if you're interested in coming to Writer Camp in September, here's the place for more information.

Direct download: Ep140_Bouillier_Mystery_Guest.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Back in 105, we were less than thrilled with Penelope Lively's novel Making It Up. This week we're giving her work a second chance by reading a couple short stories from her 1997 collection, The Five Thousand and One Nights. Will we fall in love? Or will Lively fall prey to the Book Fight "two strikes and you're out" rule?

Also this week: Another listener-submitted story of literary second chances, plus Mike has some advice on whether to give your ex a second chance. And Tom talks about the time he got broken up with via Fleetwood Mac lyrics.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep139_Summer16_Lively.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

This week's book is Mosley's first Easy Rawlings novel, in which we're introduced to a war vet in 1948 Los Angeles. We talk about the qualities that make for a good detective novel, and why Rawlings has become such an enduring character. In the second half of the show: the return of Fan Fiction Corner, and boy is it a doozy.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep138_WalterMosley.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

A few years ago we read a John Barth story collection (On With the Story) that Mike enjoyed and Tom did not. So this week Mike's making Tom read one of Barth's most-loved short stories to see if he can turn him into a fan.

Also: We talk about other artists we took a while to warm up to, and listener-submitted stories of second chances.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep137_Summer16_Barth.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

We read Rachel Kushner's National Book Award-nominated second novel and try to figure out what we think about it. Is it a great book? Is it an ok book with the scope and ambition and atmospherics of a great book? Is it ever, actually, possible to say, after reading a book for the first time?

We also talk about the gender-related flap this novel, and some of its criticism, briefly caused, and whether the Great American Novel is a gendered idea.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep136_RachelKusher_Flamethrowers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Welcome to the first of our new summer series, in which we revisit work by authors who we've panned in the past. We read a Harlan Ellison essay last spring, and found it lacking, but perhaps we'll be swayed by one of Ellison's best-loved short stories.

Also discussed: How do you know when to give your own work a second chance, and when should you simply give up on a story/essay/book and move on to the next thing? 

Oh, and we also talk about cuckolding raccoons. If you're into that sort of thing.

For more: bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep135_Summer16_Ellison.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

We're joined by writer Sandra Newman (author of, most recently, The Country of Ice Cream Star) to discuss a much-revered and deeply weird sci fi novel by M. John Harrison. We talk to Newman about what she loves (and doesn't) about science fiction, a genre we've tended to be hard on in the past. Will this be the book to win us over?

 

We also talk to Sandra about her own work, her decision to write her most recent novel in a partly-invented dialect, how writers use Twitter, and all the usual jibber jabber.

 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep134_Harrison_Light.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

We wrap up our Spring of Success series by checking out the first published story of Jennifer Weiner, which appeared in a 1992 issue of Seventeen Magazine. We talk about Weiner's path to success, her 10-point advice to aspiring novelists, and her much-publicized beef with Jonathan Franzen.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep133_Spring16_Weiner.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Kanan Makiya is probably best known for his 1989 book, Republic of Fear, a nonfictional account of Iraq under Saddam Hussein. He's also known as one of the key Iraqi agitators for the U.S. invasion, arguing to America's political elite that Hussein's regime needed to be toppled. It was Makiya, in fact, who told White House officials that the U.S. would be greeted with "flowers and sweets" by the Iraqi people.

That prediction turned out to be wildly inaccurate. Now, a decade after Saddam Hussein's execution, Makiya has written a novel that serves as an examination of what went so terribly wrong.

We talk about whether a book can succeed if it's trying to advance a particular political argument. Or is that project doomed from the start, as many of us learned in creative writing classes? Plus: Mike takes a deep dive into the life of a prolific Amazon reviewer.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

 

Direct download: Ep132_Makiya_TheRope.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Welcome to the Franzone! This week we're reading the first published story of celebrated author Jonathan Franzen, which was featured in a 1987 issue of Fiction International. We also talk about Franzen's path to success: his early ambitions, his writing habits, and his self-conscious pivoting toward a different kind of fictional project. We also talk about why so many people seem to hate on Franzen, and whether the criticisms are deserved. 

For more, check us out online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep131_Spring16_Franzen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

One of us read this famous WWII coming-of-age novel in high school, while the other is encountering it for the first time. Will it hold up to adult scrutiny? Should today's high school students still be forced to read it? And are the two main characters totally gay for each other?

Answers to these and other pressing questions on this week's Book Fight!

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep130_ASeparatePeace.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

This week we read Elizabeth Gilbert's debut story, "Pilgrims." It was originally published in Esquire. We did not care for it.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep129_Spring16_ElizabethGilbert.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

We welcome special guest Josh Fruhlinger, proprietor of the popular and long-running blog The Comics Cumudgeon, as well as the author of a recent novel, The Enthusiast, to discuss Jennifer Egan's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Goon Squad.

We also talk to Josh about the successful Kickstarter he ran to fund his own book, building an online audience, his enthusiasm for trains, and Mary Worth's love life.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep128_Egan_GoonSquad.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

An unconventional literary success story this week, as we talk about Donald Ray Pollock's 2008 debut story collection, KNOCKEMSTIFF, which he wrote after quitting his job at a paper mill and giving himself five years to "make it" as a writer.

We also talk about the proliferation of "20 under 40"-style listicles in the literary world, and why we're so obsessed with youth.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com.  

Direct download: Ep127_Spring17_Pollock.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

A special mid-week treat for you, Book Fight fans. Tom was recently in Blacksburg, Virginia, for a conference at Virginia Tech, and sat down with Matthew Vollmer, author of Inscriptions for Headstones and Future Missionaries of America. They talked about publishing, teaching, and how to make time for your own work while leading a busy life.

Direct download: Extra_Vollmer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:51pm EST

We welcome guest Jen A. Miller (Running: A Love Story) who helps us unpack the 1981 novel that served as inspiration for the famous film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? The book is quite different than the movie: darker, for one thing, and also featuring both a magical genie and some questionable opinions about Persians.

In the second half of the show, we talk to Jen about street harassment, peeing while running, MySpace, and "whore pants."

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

 

Direct download: Ep126_RogerRabbit.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Amy Hempel's first published story was a breakout success, and has gone on to be one of the most anthologized stories of the last few decades. We talk about her path to success, and why this story has resonated. We also discuss some of the mid-to-late 80s backlash to minimalist fiction, which Hempel got caught up in.

In the second half of the show we talk about people who had early career success in writing and the arts, and how (or whether) they followed it up.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com.  

Direct download: Spring16_Hempel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

We talk about DeLillo's forthcoming novel--a meditation on death, love, language and the permanence/impermanence of objects. If that sounds kinda heavy ... well, it is a DeLillo novel. In the second half of the show, we talk about a recent essay from The Walrus called "I Don't Care About Your Life: Why Critics Need To Stop Getting Personal n Their Essays," by Jason Guriel.

 

As always, visit us online for more: bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep124_DonDelilo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Our second installment in the Spring of Success has us considering the breakthrough of Jhumpa Lahiri, who had two stories in The New Yorker within a few months of each other, then a story collection, and then a Pulitzer Prize. How did it happen? What was it that set her stories apart? 

We also talk about musicians and artists who supposedly sold their souls to the devil to earn their success. And whiney white guys who think they're at a publishing disadvantage these days.

For more, including links to some of the things we talked about this week, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep123_Spring16_Lahiri.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

One of the most popular mystery novels by one of the world's best-selling mystery novelists. Also: weirdly racist? In America, the title of this Christie novel has always been And Then There Were None. But in Great Britain, the original title featured the n-word. No, we're not making that up. 

This week also features the triumphant return of Fan Fiction Corner, including some very sexy Marco Rubio stories.

For more, check us out online at bookfightpod.com

Thanks for listening!

Direct download: Ep122_AgathaChristie.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

In this free bonus episode, we meet up with poet and essayist Elisa Gabbert on the floor of the AWP conference in Los Angeles. We talk with her about what kind of poetry goes over well at bars, navigating the overwhelming AWP bookfair, her advice column for Electric Literature and whether being an SEO expert and content marketer is a good gig for a poet. 

 

Direct download: AWP16_ElisaGabbert.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:55pm EST

Welcome to the Spring of Success! During these seasonal episodes we'll be reading writers' breakthrough stories or essays and talking about how they achieved success. We'll also talk about various aspects of artistic success. This week we're talking about Wells Tower, who broke through with the story collection Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned. Also: people who didn't find success until after their death, and why we're so obsessed with those stories.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Thanks for listening!

Direct download: Ep121_Spring17_Tower.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

This week we're reading the first novel in C.S. Lewis's beloved Narnia series, which Mike loved as a child and somehow Tom missed out on entirely. Will the book hold up to the scrutiny of two skeptical, sometimes cynical adults? Will the Christian elements feel too heavy handed? Or will Mike and Tom find themselves filled with earnest, childlike wonder? Only one way to find out!

For more visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep120_CSLewis_LionWitchWardrobe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

It's the last week for our Winter of Wayback episodes this year, and we're investigating 1975. We've got a Harry Crews essay from Playboy about a day spent with some local grits in Johnson City, Tennessee. Plus the beginnings of the men's rights movement, Philadelphia's mayor giving the press the silent treatment, and the inventor of the Pet Rock. 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com. 

And if you're going to be AWP, come by the Barrelhouse table and say hello!

Direct download: Ep119_Wayback_1975.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

This week's book is actually two New Yorker profiles of a famous bohemian, writer, poet and all-around Greenwich Village eccentric. Mitchell first wrote about Gould in 1942, then wrote a much longer follow-up in the early 60's about his further dealings with Gould and his growing suspicion that the long book Gould had been working on for years didn't, in fact, exist.

We debate the ethical dimensions of the writer-subject relationship, and whether Mitchell was fair in his treatment of Gould, who clearly suffered from mental illness. We've also got an installment of South Philly News, about an aggrieved parent in a hipster coffee shop. 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep118_Mitchell_JoeGould.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

We've zoomed back in time to 1935, a year in which Philly politics got ugly, and monkeys ran wild on the streets of New York City. It was also the "golden age of detective fiction," so we read two stories by John Dickson Carr, considered a master of the form, particularly what's known as "locked room mysteries." 

For more, check us out online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep117_Wayback_1935.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Guest Jason Fagone (Horseman of the Esophagus) picked Lillian Ross's famous work of embedded Hollywood journalism, PICTURE, for which the writer followed along as John Huston tried to bring Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage to the silver screen. We talk about the lessons writers and other creators can take from the book, and why it was such a formative reading experience for Jason. Plus: Philadelphia politics, the Wing Bowl, and what it takes to make it as a freelancer.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep116_Ross_Picture_Fagone.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

On this week's episode we're discussing Alfred Chester, whose life took enough bizarre twists and turns to inspire this 2008 Blake Bailey-penned profile in Vice. We also take a deep dive into the music of 1958, including the first breakthrough girl group and lots of goofy novelty songs. Who wears short shorts, indeed?

For more, including pictures and videos of what we talked about on today's episode, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep115_Wayback_1958.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Join us as we talk earnestness versus cynicism, Philly vs. Dallas, and owning a Himalayan salt block versus maintaining your dignity! We're joined by Andrew Brininstool, author of Crude Sketches Done in Quick Succession (Queens Ferry Press), to talk about Chris Bachelder's episodic novel about an assistant professor, his young child, and his daily struggles with himself and the world around him. 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep114_Bachelder_Abbot.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

This week we're zooming back in time to 1883, where we read a story by Sarah Orne Jewett, noted chronicler of New England life, and discuss so many other things: art theft, drinking the water of the Schuylkill, and the time one of Mike's ancestors maybe committed a murder. 

For more, including links to some of what we talked about this week, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep113_Wayback_1883.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

This week we're talking about the blockbuster thriller Gone Girl, and whether it's a feminist masterpiece or a men's rights activist's wet dream (or both? or neither?). 

For more, including links and videos about some of the stuff we talked about in this week's episode (raccoon news! Ray Pruitt!) visit us online at bookfightpod.com.

Thanks for listening!

Direct download: Ep112_Flynn_GoneGirl.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

We're time-traveling back to 1922, where we check out an early edition of Best American Short Stories, including a story by Ring Lardner and another that, in a review of the collection, was called "possibly the worst short story ever written." We've also got a variety of news items from 1922: monkey dinners, idle wives, a tugboat tragedy, the Wannamaker organ, the still-unsolved murder of William Desmond Taylor, and much much more!

Visit us online for more, including links to some of the stuff we talked about in the episode: bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep111_Wayback_1922.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

This week we're talking about Sarah Shotland's 2014 novel Junkette, about a young woman trying to escape both heroin addiction and a seriously codependent relationship--maybe two codependent relationships, actually: one with her boyfriend and one with the city of New Orleans. We talk about what makes writing feel honest, and how good writers are like tour guides to places you've never been. In the second half of the show, Mike tries out a new, South Philly-centric segment, and Tom talks about lit journals with pedantic submission guidelines. 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep110_SarahShotland_Junkette.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Back by popular demand, we're embarking on another Winter of Wayback, in which we pick a year, then read a story or essay from that year and research a variety of literary and non-literary happenings going on at the time. This week: 1914! We check out back issues of The Smart Set, a lit mag that aimed to reach high-minded New Yorkers (and those who wanted to emulate them). We also go down a couple of internet wormholes researching forgotten authors, including a mentee of Theodore Dreiser's who was later institutionalized, and a Baltimore writer who was sued for libel and once attacked someone with a tennis racket. Literature!

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

Direct download: Ep109_Wayback_1914.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Welcome to the new year, Book Fighters! This week we're talking about an Elizabeth Hardwick book that is something of a cult classic, though at least one of us is decidedly not in the cult. Also: Idle chit chat! Rate My Professor chili peppers! Spills! Thrills! Hoverboards! 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Direct download: Ep108_Hardwick.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

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