Book Fight

This week, we're continuing our Winter of Wayback trip to 1968 by reading a story, "Boys and Girls," from Alice Munro's first story collection. We revisit arguments about Munro's stories from our grad school years, and consider the unique structure of her stories, which often rely less on plot trajectory than on a kind of synthesis, looking at a character's life from a variety of angles. Plus: a new game, Munro or No!

You can read the story here: http://www.giuliotortello.it/shortstories/boys_and_girls.pdf

If you like the show, you can subscribe to our Patreon for just $5 and get access to our entire vault of bonus episodes: https://www.patreon.com/BookFight

 

Direct download: Ep365_Wayback68_Munro.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

This week we're continuing our Winter of Wayback season, in which we've been reading books, stories and essays from 1968, a year that parallels our current moment in a number of ways. Writer Lyz Lenz (God Land, Belabored) joins us to discuss a writer she admires from that era: Ellen Willis, who began her career as a music journalist but did some of her most important work on misogyny within the progressive movement.

Also discussed: internet hate, why men love The Maltese Falcon, and the harassment Lyz has gotten in the wake of her recent profile of famous tweet thread guy Seth Abramson.

You can read Lyz's profile of Abramson here: https://www.cjr.org/special_report/seth-abramson-twitter.php

You can learn more about Lyz, read more of her writing, and subscribe to her Substack here: https://lyzlenz.com/

If you like our podcast, and would like more of it in your life, subscribe to our Patreon for regular bonus episodes: https://www.patreon.com/BookFight

 

 

Direct download: Ep364_Wayback_Willis_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

This week we're continuing our trip through 1968 by checking out the very first issue of a literary journal that still exists, and has published lots of famous writers: The South Carolina Review. The debut issue includes an essay on race relations in South Carolina, by an esteemed journalist, as well as a short story by Max Steele, who had one of the best names in the literary game.

Also this week: 1968 was a big year for children's lit and YA. The National Book Awards started a category for children's lit, and publishers began to invest in books that offered more realistic portraits of teen life.

If you like the show, and would like to have more of it in your life, you can subscribe to our Patreon for $5 a month and get access to our entire catalog of bonus episodes, including our new Hunt for the Worst Book of All Time, which so far has included Ethan Frome, The Christmas Shoes, and Tucker Max's I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell.

Direct download: Ep363_Wayback_SCReview.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

This week we're discussing the debut novel by N. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1968. The book had an interesting road to publication, and the prize seemed to take both the author and his publishing house by surprise. We look at how people were writing about the novel in 1968, and discover that--surprise, surprise--white people were kinda racist about Native American culture! Even in praising Momaday's book, they couldn't help but drag out lots of stereotypical tropes about American Indians.

Also this week: critics worry (in 1968) that the memoir will kill the novel.

If you like the show, please consider subscribing to our Patreon, which will net you regular bonus episodes, including our ongoing Hunt for the Worst Book of All Time: https://www.patreon.com/BookFight

 

Direct download: Ep362_1968_Momaday_-_2721_9.41_PM.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

This week we're discussing a famous Pauline Kael essay about the movie "Bonnie and Clyde," which The New Republic refused to run, and which then accidentally launched her long, storied career at The New Yorker. Kael argued that the movie, which had been panned by many critics, was more interesting than people were giving it credit for, and that the negative reviews actually said something about the current cultural moment.

We also discuss the recent Harper's special section on "life after Trump," and what "the Trump novel" might look like.

If you like the show, and would like to have more of it in your life, you can subscribe to our Patreon for $5 a month and get access to our entire catalog of bonus episodes, including our new Hunt for the Worst Book of All Time, which so far has included Ethan Frome, The Christmas Shoes, and Tucker Max's I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell.

Direct download: Ep360_1968_Kael.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:30am EST

This week we're discussing a 1968 Elizabeth Hardwick essay about the Memphis funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr. The piece attempts to take the measure of both black and white Memphis after MLK's assassination, and notes tensions within the Civil Rights movement that in certain ways echo arguments within progressive movements today. We also dive into some 1968 debates about whether fiction was up to the task of representing an increasingly fractured, absurdist reality. Plus: women's magazines pull back on publishing short stories, drying up an important market for writers.

If you like the show, and would like to have more of it in your life, you can subscribe to our Patreon for $5 a month and get access to our entire catalog of bonus episodes, including our new Hunt for the Worst Book of All Time, which so far has included Ethan Frome, The Christmas Shoes, and Tucker Max's I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell.

Elizabeth Hardwick on MLK: https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1968/05/09/the-apotheosis-of-martin-luther-king/

Tobi Haslett (in Harper's) on Elizabeth Hardwick: https://harpers.org/archive/2017/12/the-cost-of-living/3/

Our Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/BookFight

 

Direct download: Ep360_1968_Week3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

When Playboy Magazine accepted an Ursula LeGuin story in 1968, the editors had only one request for the young author: could they use the byline U.K. LeGuin, so Playboy's readers didn't know the story was written by a woman? This week we discuss the story, and the circumstances of its publication. Plus: what were creative writing grad programs like in 1968? We take a peek at the Iowa Writers Workshop, thanks to a lengthy feature story from The Chicago Tribune, which features beer bars, Kurt Vonnegut, and a woman who the author of the piece chooses to describe, unfortunately, as "stacked."

If you like the show, check us out on Patreon, where $5 gets you lots of bonus content, including our ongoing Hunt for the Worst Book in the World: https://www.patreon.com/BookFight

 

Direct download: Ep359_1968_Week2_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Welcome to our Winter of Wayback season! This year we're diving into 1968, a year that, like our current moment, has often been described as an inflection point in American politics. What we'd like to know: What was the world of literature like that year? Please join us, over the next several weeks, as we try to find out. This week: Tom Wolfe on surfers, slackers, and the culture of parentally-funded hippies.

Direct download: Ep358_1968_WeekOne_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Happy New Year, book friends! We're giving you access to this bonus episode from November, which kicked off our new series: The Hunt for the Worst Book of All Time. For the first edition we re-read Ethan Frome, a novel that is still being foisted upon America's high school students, for some reason.

If you like this episode, and would like to hear future editions of The Hunt for the Worst Book of All Time, you can subscribe to our Patreon for just $5 a month. That also helps to support the show more generally, as we continue to bring you free weekly episodes.

Subscribe here: https://www.patreon.com/BookFight

Thanks for listening! And we hope 2021 has been good to you so far.

Direct download: Bonus_EthanFrome_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

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