Book Fight (general)

We answer questions about writers who don't read, the best jobs for writers, and why literature isn't a commodity. Also: naps! And why Tom lives like an old person.

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

We talk about Portis's picaresque road novel (his first), why we appreciate humor in books, and why it's so hard to do comedy well. Also: another installment of Judge a Book By Its Cover.

Direct download: Ep_26-Charles_Portis_Norwood.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

How to stand out from the crowd when applying for MFA programs, what's wrong with citing Pushcart Prize nominations in your cover letter, and how to find decent books at a Barnes and Noble.

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

A Dalkey translation of Serbian writer Svetislav Basara's novel basically landed in Tom's lap, so we figured we might as well read it. And it's crazy in all the best ways. Talking points include: white slave merchants, surrealism, literature as a black box, comedy as rapid-fire truth telling, and The Silver Linings Playbook.

Direct download: Ep_25-Svetislav_Basara_Chinese_Letter.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EST

We tackle questions about Duotrope's recent decision to charge for its services, how to give a good literary reading, and whether it's okay to drink while writing.

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

It's the most wonderful time of the year! This week we put aside our usual reading schedule and tackled two Christmas-themed novels: John Grisham's 'Skipping Christmas' (source material for the Tim Allen movie 'Christmas with the Kranks') and Glenn Beck's 'The Christmas Sweater' (source material for a 'live movie event' that earned 1.9 out of 10 stars on IMDB). Will we deem them New Holiday Classics? Or will we consign them to the dustbin of Christmas history, along with our old pogs and parachute pants and cassingles? Only one way to find out!

Direct download: Ep_24-Christmas_Special.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

This week's a Mike pick: George Singleton's new story collection, which is set in small-town South Carolina and populated by men who use their intelligence toward questionable ends. Plus a monkey, and lots of dogs. We also bring back our Judge A Book By Its Cover feature, take a couple potshots at Tucker Max, and read blurbs for a few more supporters of our fund drive. The episode is spnsored by Cobalt; you can get their new print issue for 1/2 price at the following link:

Direct download: Ep_23-George_Singleton_Stray_Decorum.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Special guest Paul Lisicky (Unbuilt Projects, Lawnboy, Famous Builder) helps us get a handle on one of his favorite novels, and discusses his own relationship to structure and linearity. And his love of Lil' Wayne.

Direct download: Ep_22-Jane_Bowles_Two_Serious_Ladies.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

This week we tackle questions about personalized rejections, gifts for writers, and how to overcome writers' block. Fair warning: We recorded this after eating a Thanksgiving meal with Tom's relatives, and we're a little punchier than usual. Talking points include: pajamas, Mark Twain, diapers that look like jeans, and why you should consider donating a few bucks to help us upgrade our audio equipment. This week's episode is sponsored by Participants, the new story collection from Andrew Keating. You can learn more about the book, and pre-order it, at

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

We welcome special guest Owen King (We're All In This Together, Double Feature) to discuss Thomas Bernhard's novel about a Wittgenstein-like character who builds a cone in the woods for his sister.

Direct download: Ep_21-Thomas_Bernhard_Correction.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST