Book Fight

We're back with another book episode, this one about the 1982 National Book Award winner for best debut novel. We talk about "quiet" novels, prickly female protagonists, portrayals of parental anxiety, and the relativity of literary celebrity. We've also got blurbs for a couple more donors to our annual fund drive, which you can contribute to here, if you're so inclined.

You can read more, and get links to all the stuff we talked about this week, at our website

Direct download: Ep77_Dew_SophieDale.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Astute listeners might note that we're supposed to have a book episode this week. Unfortunately, we lost that episode in a technical snafu. Fortunately, we already had the next Winter of Wayback episode ready to go! This week we're reading a story from 1982, the year of Tom's birth. The story, "Dancing Ducks and Talking Anus," appeared in the 1982 Best American Short Stories anthology, selected by John Gardner, but its author, James Ferry, was basically never heard from again. Until a fan of his tracked down his brother, and then shared the story with us.

We're also talking about the Commodore 64, the 1982 World's Fair, the Tylenol murders, and "Lawnchair Larry," whose ultimately tragic life makes Mike get a little choked up at the end of the episode.

If you want to donate to our fundraising effort, here's the link to our Indiegogo page, including details of this year's donor giveaways.

We've also got lots of bonus material on our website this week,, including a video of Philly dudes circa 1982, news coverage of "Lawnchair Larry," and links to all sorts of other stuff. 

Direct download: WinterEp2_1982.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

We're kicking off our next seasonal series, the Winter of Wayback, in which we'll read a prize story or essay from a given year and talk about that year's pop culture--movies, music, books, weird news, whatever might help provide some context for the story (or just entertain our listeners, and ourselves). This week we're traveling back to 1977, the year of Mike's birth, to read a story by Ella Leffland called "Last Courtesies" (winner of the 1977 O'Henry Award). 

For more, visit us online at

Direct download: WinterEp1_1977.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

We're joined by guest Annie Liontas (Let Me Explain You) to discussJames Baldwin's 1974 novel, which is narrated by a young woman whose fiancee has been wrongfully accused of rape. We also talk about Annie's new book, her love for Asbury Park, and why teens named Chad may or may not like James Baldwin's work.

For more, visit us online at

Direct download: Ep_76-Baldwin_Beale_Street.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT