Book Fight

We welcome guest Asali Solomon, author of the new novel Disgruntled, to talk about Marlon James's 2009 The Book of Night Women. James's novel is about a Jamaican sugar plantation around the turn of the 18th century, and the lives of its enslaved people, particularly Lilith, a young woman who is sent to work in the slavemaster's house after fending off a would-be rapist. Solomon talks about why the novel stands out among neo-slave narratives, and why she considers it "a bad-ass book."

We also talk to Solomon about growing up in, and later returning to, West Philadelphia, and how her home city changed in her absence. 

For more, including links to a lot of what we discussed this week, visit us online at

Once again this week we're sponsored by 21st Century Prose, a new press housed at the University of Michigan that's already released four books, including Matthew Derby's Full Metal Jahcket, and Lauren Foss Goodman's A Heart Beating Hard. Use the code "bookfight" at checkout to get 30% off any order.

Direct download: Ep88-James-NightWomen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Our final installment in the Spring of Spite, and we've got a story that is spiteful in two ways. The story's narrator is almost certainly motivated by spite, and it would seem that Poe himself was drawing on some spiteful feelings when writing it. 

Also this week: Bobby Flay's spiteful divorce, Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski, and why aren't there better contemporary lit feuds? 

For more, including links to this week's story, and other things we talked about, visit us online at

Our sponsor this week is 21st Century Prose. Check out their site, where you can read all their books for free electronically, or order paperback/hardback copies to be delivered. They're doing some really exciting, genre-bursting stuff over there, so don't miss out!

Direct download: Spring6_Poe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Paul Beatty's latest book, The Sellout, has been getting great press, described as a game-changing satire on race in America. We talk about whether the novel lives up to that high praise, and debate how to categorize its humor. We also talk about the audience for satire, and whether satire can truly change a person's perspective.

In the second half of the show we've got another installment of Fan Fiction Corner, in which Mike shares some sexy fanfic he found about President Obama's intimate life.

This week's episode is sponsored by 21st Century Prose, a new book series featuring open-sourced books that challenge traditional genre lines. If you do choose to buy any of their books, in paperback or hardback, use the promo code 'bookfight' for a 30% discount.

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

Direct download: Ep87-Beatty-Sellout.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This week's spiteful story is "A Poetics for Bullies," which Stanley Elkin has described as the best story he ever wrote. In it, Push the Bully comes up against his greatest challenge: a new kid beloved by his classmates and seemingly impervious to Push's efforts to take him down a peg.

We've also got stories this week about Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer, two grown men who did not particularly care for each other!

For more, including links to some of the feud-related stuff we talked about on the show, visit us online at

Direct download: Spring5_Elkin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This week's discussion centers on a genre-bending book by Maggie Nelson, an unconventional memoir and a treatise on perception, pain, love and loss, and the color blue. Bluets came out in 2009 and has become a real touchstone for some writers of both creative nonfiction and poetry. 

We also talk about Tom's recent trip to Italy, his hatred of Romans, and Mike's growing hatred of online user reviews. 

For more, visit us online at

Direct download: Ep86-Nelson-Bluets.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT