Book Fight

This week we continue our "spring fling" theme by discussing one of the most famous stories about affairs: Chekhov's "The Lady with the Dog." We also talk about Robert Lowell's romantic life, and the time he took his ex's letters and straight-up appropriated them for his poems. In the second half of the show, we do a deep dive into Yahoo Answers to see what kinds of affair-related questions people have (spoiler alert: people are the worst).

Direct download: Ep179_Spring17_Chekhov.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

We welcome special guest Ande Carrington (author of Speculative Blackness: The Future of Race in Science Fiction) to discuss a novel by Kiese Laymon, Long Division. We also talk to Andre about his work, race in science fiction, academic vs. non-academic writing, and lots more. 

Direct download: Ep178_LongDivision.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:18am EDT

This week we're talking about a short story that traces the end of a long-running affair. Plus literary gossip, dating advice, and more!


Direct download: Ep_177_Spring17_Trevor.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

We welcome special guest Dave Housley (Barrelhouse founding editor and author of several books, most recently Massive Cleansing Fire, a story collection). Dave chose this week's book, the bestselling Station Eleven, a book that posits a life after a flu pandemic has killed more than 99% of the human population. Dave also brought with him some interesting fan fiction that he reads in the episode's second half.

For more, you can visit us online at

If you'd like to support the show, we've recently joined Patreon, where for $5 a month you can get access to a monthly bonus episode we're calling Book Fight After Dark. So check that out, too!

Direct download: Ep176_StationEleven.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Look, these episodes can't all be winners. Sometimes we're tired, and easily distracted, and for some reason we talk about onions a lot? But this week's book--a collection of graphic short stories by Adrian Tomine--is definitely worth checking out.

Direct download: Ep175-Tomine.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This week we're discussing an A.M. Homes story about an adolescent boy who starts "dating" his sister's Barbie. Also, we revisit the time Robert Olen Butler went viral for the wrong reasons (losing his wife to Ted Turner), we remember HBO's Real Sex, and Mike gives some dating advice, this time on "ghosting."

For more, visit us online at

Direct download: Ep174_Spring17_Barbie.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This week kicks off another special seasonal series: Spring Fling! We'll be reading stories about romance, sex, and affairs of the heart. This week we discuss Mary Gaitskill's story, "The Secretary," which some people may know as the source material for Secretary, the 2002 Maggie Gyllenhaal / James Spader film. But while some of the fundamental DNA is the same, the story and the resulting film are actually quite different.

We've also got stories this week of H.G. Wells's sexual proclivities, as well as an exploration of the science behind springtime lust. Plus a new feature in which we give you dating advice.

Thanks for listening! 

Direct download: Ep173_Spring17_Gaitskill.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This week we're talking about the new George Saunders book, Lincoln in the Bardo, about a bunch of spooky ghosts who hang out in a graveyard with Abraham Lincoln's son. Also: Cheers fan fiction. Get excited, listeners!

Direct download: Ep172_LincolnBardo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:12am EDT

Hey, listeners! Due to a death in Tom's family, there's no new episode this week. But we're reposting this one from the archives (first released in April 2013) in which Tom's old college roommate joined us for a discussion of Ernest Cline's Ready Player One. We hope you enjoy it! And we'll be back with a new joint next Monday.

As always, thanks for listening!

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

We welcome special guest Lauren Grodstein (author of, most recently, the novel Our Short History) to discuss a 1959 novel that's become something of a cult classic, one which never earned its author widespread acclaim but which is consistently mentioned as a favorite by other writers.

We also talk about Lauren's new book, her love of plot, and how she manages to get so much writing done while being a working mother.

For more, visit us online at

Thanks for listening!

Direct download: Ep171_EvanConnell_MrsBridge.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT