Book Fight

Week two in our Spring of Spite, and we're reading a delightfully odd Flannery O'Connor story called "Enoch and the Gorilla," about a man who is very excited to insult a famous ape. Though things don't turn out how he planned!

We also talk about spiteful wills and obituaries, spiteful paleontologists who basically made careers out of hating each other, and the long-running feud between H.G. Wells and Henry James.

Note: This version of the episode fixes an audio issue around minute 46 in the previously published file.

For more, visit us online at

Direct download: Spring2015_Ep2_fixed.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:52am EDT

This week's book is an unconventional memoir: in 300 short, numbered sections, Waldie investigates the origins of his hometown, a suburb outside of Los Angeles considered the Levittown of Southern California, as well as his own life there and the lives of his parents. We talk about the book's unusual construction, and how it creates connections and meaning through surprising juxtapositions. Also this week: the triumphant return of Fan Fiction Corner!

For more, visit us online at

Direct download: Ep83-Waldie.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Welcome to your first installment in the Spring of Spite! This week we're reading a Richard Yates story, "Oh Joseph, I'm So Tired," which paints a pretty rough portrait of the author's mother and her failed attempts at artistic (and social) relevance. We also talk about the science of spite, and the phenomeon of "spite houses" and "spite fences." Finally, Tom gives Mike a spite-related quiz, though several of the questions are obviously flawed and not accurate measures of actual spitefulness, which is just objective fact rather than a reflection of which of us writes these weekly episode descriptions. Enjoy!

For more, including a link to several of the things we talked about in today's episode, visit us online at

Direct download: Spring2015_Ep1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This week is a Tom pick, by a writer who is Mexico's greatest novelist, if the blurb on the front cover is true. The novel--Herrera's only, so far, to be translated into English--follows a young woman named Makina as she crosses the border into the United States in search of her brother. We talk about the book's attempt to thread the needle between realism and fabulism, as well as one of its translator's more difficult decisions.

In the second half of the show, we've got a long-awaited update on Cousin Joey, as well as a new segment called Cargo Sweatpants Watch, in which Mike tries to triangulate what it means, culturally, that Tom owns a pair of cargo sweatpants. 

You can check out Herrera's book from Powell's, by clicking this link.

And as always, you can learn more about the show, and see links to some of the stuff we talked about this week, by visiting us at our website,

Direct download: Ep82-Herrera.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT