Book Fight

We're talking about two super-spooky short stories for Halloween this year: Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" and Joe Hill's "Abraham's Boys." We talk about what scares us, and the qualities that make for a good horror story.

It also continues to be the Fall of Food, so this week we're talking Halloween candy. Best treats? Worst treats? And what's up with those candies that seem to exist only on Halloween? Plus: we each rank our top five candy bars, which will no doubt be contentious. 

Further reading:

Shirley Jackson, "The Lottery"

Joe Hill, "Abraham's Boys"

Direct download: Ep151_2016_Halloween_Spooktacular.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This week we've got a special Fall of Food episode with guest Sarah Sweeney, who chose an essay for us to read: an Esquire profile of acclaimed chef Ferran Adria, written by Michael Paterniti. We talk about the line between interestingly descriptive food writing and absurd, overblown food writing. We also talk about the culture of the celebrity chef, and whether it's gone too far. 

In the second half of the show, we eat a traditional Mexican snack prepared by Sarah, who just got back from an extended stay in Oaxaca. She also makes us a hibiscus drink, and then forces some booze on us. Good times! Plus we get her take on North Carolina barbecue, and probe why her mother wouldn't let there be any white, creamy foods in the house.

You can order a copy of Sarah's book from the Barrelhouse store--use code POPTART for a 10% discount for Book Fight listeners.


Direct download: Ep150_SarahSweeney.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:21am EDT

This week we're discussing an Anthony Bourdain essay that became part of his breakout book, Kitchen Confidential, plus we talk about our very different experiences working in food service, and we eat a couple of weird, unconventionally flavored snacks. 

For more, visit us online at

Direct download: Ep149_Fall16_Bourdain.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This week we welcome special guest Jim Miller to talk about one of his favorite books, Michael Crichton's 1990 bestseller Jurassic Park. We discuss dinosaur knowledge, books we loved as children, and Crichton's supposed dickishness. 

We also talk to Jim about his work as a cartographer, his appearance in Sports Illustrated, and his development of various apps, including one that teaches kids how to draw dinosaurs.

For more, visit us online at

Direct download: Ep148_JurrasicPark.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Do you like food? Do you eat it several times a day in order to survive? Then you will love our new seasonal theme! This fall we'll be reading stories and essays in which food plays a major role. We'll also be talking about a variety of food-related things. This week: What foods are we nostalgic for? What foods make us think of our childhoods? Each of us also brought in a nostalgic snack for a quick taste test.

For more, visit us online at

Direct download: Ep147_Fall16_Dybek.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT