Book Fight

A few years ago we read a John Barth story collection (On With the Story) that Mike enjoyed and Tom did not. So this week Mike's making Tom read one of Barth's most-loved short stories to see if he can turn him into a fan.

Also: We talk about other artists we took a while to warm up to, and listener-submitted stories of second chances.

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Direct download: Ep137_Summer16_Barth.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

We read Rachel Kushner's National Book Award-nominated second novel and try to figure out what we think about it. Is it a great book? Is it an ok book with the scope and ambition and atmospherics of a great book? Is it ever, actually, possible to say, after reading a book for the first time?

We also talk about the gender-related flap this novel, and some of its criticism, briefly caused, and whether the Great American Novel is a gendered idea.

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Direct download: Ep136_RachelKusher_Flamethrowers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Welcome to the first of our new summer series, in which we revisit work by authors who we've panned in the past. We read a Harlan Ellison essay last spring, and found it lacking, but perhaps we'll be swayed by one of Ellison's best-loved short stories.

Also discussed: How do you know when to give your own work a second chance, and when should you simply give up on a story/essay/book and move on to the next thing? 

Oh, and we also talk about cuckolding raccoons. If you're into that sort of thing.

For more:

Direct download: Ep135_Summer16_Ellison.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

We're joined by writer Sandra Newman (author of, most recently, The Country of Ice Cream Star) to discuss a much-revered and deeply weird sci fi novel by M. John Harrison. We talk to Newman about what she loves (and doesn't) about science fiction, a genre we've tended to be hard on in the past. Will this be the book to win us over?


We also talk to Sandra about her own work, her decision to write her most recent novel in a partly-invented dialect, how writers use Twitter, and all the usual jibber jabber.


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Direct download: Ep134_Harrison_Light.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT