Book Fight

On this week's episode we're answering questions about personal statements for MFA applications, books about religious characters, and why it annoys Tom (but not Mike) when writers retweet people's praise and positive reviews.

Talking points include: Book Fight fan fiction, Bobby Bowden, Tom the Grouch, Texas, dogs eating chocolate, and pork bullets.

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

A book that's less a conventional novel than a working-through of a delightfully absurd premise, plus some satire of American offices and their human resources departments. We're even more full of digressions this week than usual, so, you know, forewarned is forearmed and all. Talking points include: Soup viscosity, proper workshop behavior, sexual politics, glory holes, the ideal material for toilet seats, and sticks. Lots and lots of sticks. For more, check out

Direct download: Ep_39-Helen_DeWitt_Lightning_Rods.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

We talk with author Matthew Salesses about flash fiction, in response to complaints we lodged a while back about that genre. Also we answer listener questions about books we hate, and writing advice we dole out but don't follow. Plus, Mike's still mad about losing the 6th-grade science fair, and Tom still carries a grudge against The Decameron, because of a teacher who gave him the finger. For more, visit us at

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

Our first listener-recommended book, this 1989 novel about a family of traveling carnival freaks was a finalist for the National Book Award. But will it withstand the scrutiny of your persnickity Book Fight hosts? Talking points include: the importance of clarity, Mike's lack of Star Trek knowledge, italics, and Itchy v. Scratchy. For more, visit our site at

Direct download: Ep_38-Katherine_Dunn_Geek_Love.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

What role does academic criticism play for a writer of fiction? Should you outline a novel before starting to write? And how and when should you ask for book blurbs? Bonus knowledge: Mike tells you how to invite the writerly muse into your soul, and Tom finally learns what the word "potluck" means. To ask a question, or for more episodes, visit

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