Book Fight

This week we're discussing a recently published story from The New Yorker by Curtis Sittenfeld, author of a number of books, including Prep and An American Wife. In "Show Don't Tell," Sittenfeld turns her attentions to a fictionalized version of the Iowa Writers Workshop, and the anxious first-year students who are awaiting decisions on their funding for the next year. 

Since both of your Book Fight hosts are Workshop grads, we take a little stroll down memory lane and compare our own experiences with those of the story's characters. Though we also attempt to consider the story on its own merits, and we wonder whether it's one that people outside the writing world would find compelling. 

Also: another installment of Millennial M0m3nt. What American industry are the young people killing this week?

Direct download: Ep190_Summer17_Sittenfeld.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This week we're continuing our Summer of Selfies theme by discussing confessional essays, including one by Tom Chiarella, a long-time writer and editor for Esquire. In an essay called "My Education," he detailed the sexual abuse he experienced at the hand of a Catholic-school teacher, while also wrestling with his own ambivalence about the benefits of writing such an essay. Americans, Chiarella says, feel the need to talk about their traumas, but is that always necessary, or even desirable?

Direct download: Ep189_Summer17_Chiarella.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This week, as part of our "Summer of Selfies," we discuss the latest book from Pam Houston, a work of fiction that borrows heavily from the author's life and even names its protagonist Pam. We talk about the line between fiction and memoir, and some of the more interesting ways to blur that line. We also discuss some of the difficulties of autobiographical writing, like how to know when your own experiences will be interesting to others. In the second half of the show, we talk about James Frey, who was Houston's student, and how much literary license we're willing to give memoir writers.

Direct download: Ep188_Houston_ContentsShifted.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This week we're discussing Hunter S. Thompson's famous essay on the Kentucky Derby, which many people credit as the starting point for his gonzo style of journalism. Neither of us had read the piece before, and we realized that a lot of our impressions of Thompson were based on his legend, more so than on the work itself. Also this week: raccoon selfies, tourists who pay to take pictures with docile (and likely mistreated) tigers and elephants, and why there are so many car selfies on dating sites. 

Direct download: Ep187_Summer17_Thompson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

We're kicking off a new season for Book Fight, with a slight change in programming. This week marks the first episode of the Summer of Selfies, in which we'll be discussing some of the best--and worst--autobiographical writing.

Up first: an essay for The New Yorker by Jia Tolentino, in which she argues that the heyday of a particular kind of personal essay is over.

Direct download: Ep186_Summer17_Tolentino.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This is a free preview of our first Book Fight After Dark episode. The full version is available to monthly subscribers, via our Patreon page. For $5 a month, you'll get monthly bonus episodes like this one, plus the satisfaction of supporting a podcast you love (or at least like?). 

If you've already subscribed, there's no need to listen to this brief preview--just go enjoy the full episode over on Patreon. And we'll be back on Monday with another regular (free) episode.

Thanks for listening! And for supporting the show.

Direct download: BFAfterDark1_Teaser.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:30pm EDT

This week we seek to settle an age-old debate: do you read the foreward first, or wait until you've read the book? Also: Nazis, animal cruelty, impotence, and classic Czech literature.

Thanks for listening! 

Direct download: Ep185_Hrabal_Trains.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

We talk about the latest graphic novel by Daniel Clowes. Also we talk about Garfield fan fiction. You're welcome.


Direct download: Ep184_ClowesPatience.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

It's the last week of our spring season, in which we've been discussing stories about different kinds of flings. For this final installment, we're discussing the Lydia Davis story "Break It Down," about a man who's attempting to calculate the literal cost of a short-lived affair. Though his accounting is really just a different way to explore the ways a relationship can leave lasting marks.

Also this week: Writers who had successful romantic relationships. The benefits and drawbacks to dating a writer. And what literary quotes are most likely to get someone into bed? 

Thanks for listening!

Direct download: Ep183_Spring17_Davis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This week we welcome back fan favorites Kelly Phillips and Claire Folkman, the duo behind Dirty Diamonds, an all-girl comic anthology. They're currently working on their 8th book, Sex. They picked our book this week, a comic by Carolyn Nowak (Girl Town, Radishes) about a woman who orders a robot companion and then tells him her secrets. 

We talk about Diana's Electric Tongue, comic inspiration, running a small-press publishing company, working with your friends, Weird Al, the line between sex-themed writing and smut, and why Tom has never taken Mike for a panzarotti. 

For more, check us out online, find us on Twitter or Facebook, and subscribe to the show in iTunes.

Thanks for listening!

Direct download: Ep182_DirtyDiamondsReprise.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT