Book Fight

This week we're reading an essay by Harlan Ellison called "The Three Most Important Things in Life," which was suggested to us by a listener who said we couldn't talk about spite without talking about Ellison. We talk about whether we buy the essay's details, whether Ellison is self-aware as a narrator, and whether it's a good or bad idea to tell dirty jokes on your first day at a new job. We also discuss some of Ellison's own spiteful behavior, and his super-janky website

Plus: another author feud, this one between Nabokov and Edmund Wilson, and a couple stories of companies that exist only because of spite.

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Direct download: Spring4_Ellison.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This week is another donor pick, Donald Antrim's first novel, which presents a kind of dystopic view of an American suburb, one where people build moats around their houses and a town mayor is drawn and quartered. We talk about the limits of irony, and whether this book, published in the mid-90s, should be considered prescient.

We've also got another installment of Fan Fiction Corner, this one featuring a couple surprising pairings. 

For more, as always, you can visit us online at

Direct download: Ep85-Antrim_ElectMrRobinson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

For this installment of the Spring of Spite we read a few selections from Bernhard's collection MY PRIZES, which includes essays about his experiences with prize ceremonies and some speeches he delivered at those ceremonies. There's plenty of Bernhardian spite to go around: for other writers, for his home country of Austria, for the idea of literary prizes in the first place.

We've also got stories this week about some neighbors who took their spite to the next level, as well as another literary feud, this one between Theodore Dreiser and Sinclair Lewis.

For more, visit our website at

Direct download: Spring3_Bernhard.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This week we're reading (part of) this famous work of natural history from the early 19th century. Alexander von Humboldt traveled extensively in Latin America and recorded all sorts of stuff: geology, plant life, animal life, interactions with the natives, water temperatures, and speculation abou tcontinental drift. The book, a donor pick from our winter fundraising, is sort of a departure from our normal reading, but we're always happy to try new things outside our normal comfort zones.

Also this week, another installment of Raccoon News, including a dispatch from our neighbors to the north, and a new segment: James Patterson Novel Or Eric Stoltz Movie From the 90s?

For more, visit us online at

Direct download: Ep84-VonHumboldt.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT