Book Fight

This one was a Mike pick, a book he first read as a teenager living in Charleston, South Carolina, only a few miles from The Citadel, which may or may not bear some resemblance to The Institute, the military school at the center of this novel. Join us for a discussion of hazing, the Southern aristocracy, superfluous romantic entaglements, the whitest basketball game ever played, and lots and lots of adjectives.

Direct download: Ep_17-Pat_Conroy_The_Lords_of_Discipline.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This week Tom tells you why National Novel Writing Month is terrible for humanity. Plus: what books are best for killing bugs, and how much money can a novelist expect to make? Also, the latest missive in our ongoing feud with the literary journal Hobart.

Got a question for us? Email us at, or hit us up on Twitter, @Book_Fight.

Direct download: Writers_Ask_NaNoWriMoNoNo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Mike and Tom reminisce (and gossip) about their time at the Iowa Writers Workshop and their memories of Frank Conroy, the larger-than-life writer and teacher at the center of Tom Grimes' memoir.

Direct download: Ep_16-Tom_Grimes_Mentor.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Terrible cover letters, faint praise, and what it's like to get beaten by a sack full of doorknobs. It's our third installment of Writers Ask, where we solve all your problems, writing and otherwise. Get into it! If you want to ask a question, hit us up on Twitter @Book_Fight.

Direct download: Writers_Ask_3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

We welcome back our first repeat guest, fan favorite Katherine Hill, to discuss this "novel from life." Opinions are strong on this one. Talking points include: source material for novels, the need for writers to have non-writer friends, and Tom's weird love for the TV show Frasier. Plus the debut of our new and improved intro music!

Direct download: Ep_15-Sheila_Heti_How_Should_a_Person_Be.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

In the second installment of Writers Ask, Tom and Mike tell you how to recommend books to your non-literary friends, and how to deal with relatives who think they know what you should write about. Special bonus: Lightning round!

Direct download: Writers_Ask__Cousin_Joey.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Sometimes the angriest books are also the funniest. Join us for a discussion of race and comedy, tokenism, Bill Cosby, and Donovan McNabb. Also: Tom is forced to revise his previous all-out ban on puns.

Direct download: Ep_14-Percival_Everett_Erasure.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Tom hates metafiction. Mike tries to get him to love it, or at least appreciate it, using John Barth's 1996 collection On With the Story, linked stories that play a number of narrative games and call attention to how stories work, and how we expect them to work. We also talk about about the false dichotomy of sad stories vs happy stories, and why Tom's students want him to cheer the hell up.

Direct download: Ep_13-John_Barth_On_With_the_Story.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

SGJ blurs the lines between novel and memoir in his ninth book, an investigation of a mysterious cotton fire in his hometown of Greenwood, Texas, which left several lives permanently damaged in its wake. Topics discussed include: fact vs. fiction, tornado preparedness, the bleak landscape of West Texas, and Superhero Dave Eggers' ability to take flight fueled only by the power of whimsy.

Direct download: Ep_12-Steven_Graham_Jones.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:28am EDT

Road trip! We head to State College to talk with writer and editor Dave Housley about a book he recommended to us: Laura van den Berg's debut story collection, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us (Dzanc Books 2009). Topics include: book blurbs, dialogue, "lit fiction" as genre, George Saunders, monsters, Dockers vs dockers, Kristen Schaal, Heidi Montag, and ear fetishes. For more, visit our website at, or follow us on Twitter @Book_Fight.

Direct download: Ep_11-Laura_van_den_Berg_and_Dave_Housley.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:27pm EDT