Book Fight

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

Join your Book Fight hosts as they seek out a possible Messiah in the badlands of North Dakota. Will they choose to follow him into the wilderness? Will they rebuke him? Only one way to find out...

Direct download: Ep_10--Tommy_Zurhellen_Nazareth_North_Dakota.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:07pm EDT

Stephen King's 4000-page Dark Tower series begins with a sentence that came to him as a 19-year-old: "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed." We're reading (rereading, in Mike's case) the first book in the series, The Gungslinger. Revised significantly by King two decades after its publication, hailed by his fans as the opening salvo of a magnum opus, the book has been as widely read as any King ever wrote. But will it weather the harsh desert-sun glare of the Book Fighters' critical eyes? Or will it wither under the strains of this terrible, terrible metaphor? For more info: Do it!

Direct download: Ep_9-Stephen_King_The_Dark_Tower_Book_One.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:43am EDT

We welcome another guest into the Book Fight Basement, our friend and fellow Temple faculty member Brad Windhauser, to talk about The Art of Fielding, a book which has garnered a ton of praise but which we're not sure is worthy of such critical handjobbery.

Direct download: Ep_8-Chad_Harbach_The_Art_of_Fielding.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:01pm EDT

We welcome our second guest into the Book Fight basement: Jason Lewis, who last year published his first novel, The Fourteenth Colony. More importantly for our purposes, Jason has now read A Farewell to Arms six times. He's got some thoughts about it! Plenty of which Tom and Mike take issue with, especially when it comes to the book's female lead. You can check out Jason's writing--and his music--at

Direct download: Ep_7-Hemmingway_A_Farewell_to_Arms.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:07pm EDT

Tom and Mike dig into their first story collection of the podcast, Lauren Groff's 2009 book Delicate Edible Birds. Topics include: the potential anxiety of reading work by your contemporaries, and why story collections are such a tough sell on the reading public.

Direct download: Ep_6-Lauren_Groff_Delicate_Edible_Birds.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:36am EDT

Tom and Mike dig into a book the New York Times named as one of the top five novels of 2011, in which an academic with his career on the rocks travels to Antarctica to (among other things) unlock the mysteries behind Edgar Allen Poe's sole novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. Discussing the book leads to a larger conversation about why we read, and what we want from fiction.

Direct download: Ep_5-Mat_Johnson_Pym.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:14pm EDT

Tom and Mike welcome their first guest to the Book Fight basement to help them revisit Judy Blume's YA novel Forever. Topics include: sex ed, awkward teenage romance, and the relative merits of naming one's genitalia.

Direct download: Episode_4-Judy_Blume_Forever.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00pm EDT

Mike and Tom try to figure out what separates this novel from the thousands of others that traffic in bleak, amoral human landscapes. Tom shares a story about his 14-year-old self he’s never told anyone, including his wife. Mike admits that, as a young person, he romanticized a certain dark worldview that seems kind of silly, even embarrassing, to his 35-year-old self. And they both agree that this novel is a pretty good argument in favor of continuing to fund Planned Parenthood.

Direct download: Episode_3-Joan_Didion_Play_It_As_It_Lays.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:22pm EDT