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Bookfight! Podcast by Mike Ingram

Bookfight! Podcast

by Mike Ingram

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Description

Tough love for literature.


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Ep 170: Winter of Wayback, 1866 (Silas Weir Mitchell)


Mon, Mar 20, 2017


We travel back to 1866 to read "The Case of George Dedlow," a story about Civil War amputees (and a seance!) written by Silas Weir Mitchell, the physician who would later become famous for "the rest cure." 

Also this week: debates over reconstruction; the sex lives of mermaids; racist medical practices; conspiracies about Lincoln's assassination; and a man who was sued for $100k by the woman he failed to marry.

For more, including links to further reading, visit us at bookfightpod.com



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Bonus Ep: AWP 2017 with Lyz Lenz


Wed, Mar 15, 2017


We talk to Lyz Lenz (writer and managing editor of The Rumpus) from inside a wind tunnel at AWP 2017 in Washington, D.C. Topics include: New York pizza vs. Chicago pizza, misandry, Little House on the Prairie, religious faith, and how to not be a creep at a literary conference. 



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Ep 169: Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea


Mon, Mar 13, 2017


This week: a good book for a change! Plus a new segment about impenetrable academic writing, and a brief installment of Fan Fiction Corner. What more could you want?

 



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Ep 168: Winter of Wayback, 1961 (Tillie Olsen)


Mon, Mar 06, 2017


This week we've set the time machine for 1961, and we're reading a story by the author and activist Tillie Olsen. We talk about Olsen's career arc and continued reputation, as well as lots of other 1961 news: racist conspiracies, gigolos, and the J.D. Salinger backlash. Plus: what were poets up to in 1961?

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 167-Mary Kubica, Don't You Cry


Mon, Feb 27, 2017


Spoiler alert: this book kinda blows.



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Ep 166-Winter of Wayback, 1877 (Deadwood Dick)


Mon, Feb 20, 2017


We're traveling back in time to 1877 to read a popular, serialized dime-store novel about lots of people shooting guns in the Old West. We talk about the popularity of dime-store novels, and how they correlated to rising literacy rates in the late 19th century. Plus: a story about coal miners being crushed under the boot of Gilded Age capitalism. And all our usual jibber jabber. 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 165-John Connolly, The Book of Lost Things


Mon, Feb 13, 2017


This novel combines elements of familiar fairy tales and mythic narratives to create a world that feels pretty original. It's a dark world, and a pretty sad one, yet the book also has a sense of humor, and a strong sense of play. 

We also talk about raccoons, since that's a thing we do, and we mark the return of a long lost segment that has to do with Tom's pants.



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Ep 164: Winter of Wayback, 1978 (L. H. Sintetos, "Telling the Bees")


Mon, Feb 06, 2017


L.H. Sintetos had a story featured in the 1978 Best American Short Stories anthology and then seemed to disappear from the literary world. Which is especially surprising, given how good the story is. We talk about why we like "Telling the Bees," and we try to figure out what happened to its author. Plus, plenty of other 1978-themed stuff: political turmoil in Philadelphia, serial killers, a Pope conspiracy, an owl man, and GREASE! 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com. 



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Ep 163-Sara Novic, Girl at War


Mon, Jan 30, 2017


Our book this week is about a young woman whose life was ripped apart by the Yugoslav Civil War, which took her parents and turned her, briefly, into a child soldier, before she made it to Philadelphia, where she tried her best to put her past in the past and move on with her life as an American. 

In the second half of the show, it's the triumphant return of Fan Fiction Corner. Ever wonder what kind of fan fiction people are writing about HGTV shows? No? Well, you're going to find out anyway!



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Ep 162-Winter of Wayback, 1988 (Mary LaChapelle)


Mon, Jan 23, 2017


This week we're traveling back to 1988 to read a story by Mary LaChapelle, who that year won a Whiting Award and had her debut story collection praised in a number of publications, including The New York Times. Since then, LaChapelle has published nothing that we could find. We talk about her story "Anna in a Small Town," about a mime and a giant, and cover some other crucial 1988 news, including a Philadelphia garbage barge that went on a world tour, and why ALF was a lot more fun to watch than to work on.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 161-Jennifer Weiner, Good in Bed


Mon, Jan 16, 2017


We've talked about Jennifer Weiner on the show before, usually when she's written (or tweeted) something that's caused a stir in the literary world, or when she and Jonathan Franzen have gotten into one of their famously catty spats. We also read one of her stories back in the Spring of Success. But this is the first time we've dived into one of her novels. She's argued that her work is unfairly pigeonholed, and so we were curious to check it out for ourselves.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 160-Winter of Wayback, 1966 (Philip K. Dick)


Mon, Jan 09, 2017


Our first Winter of Wayback episode for 2017! We're time-traveling back to 1966, a year when the Beatles were bigger than Jesus, the Church of Satan was founded, and Philip K. Dick published the short story that would later be the basis for the movie Total Recall. 



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Ep 159-Christmas Spectacular 2016


Mon, Dec 26, 2016


As is our holiday tradition, we've got two Christmas books this week in a jam-packed, super-sized episode of Book Fight. First we talk about a novel ostensibly about Christmas but really more about punching and shooting and also racism towards Native Americans. In the second half of the show we talk about a sexy Christmas romance novella in which an undercover cop and a fake stripper fall in love (and have SO much sex it's a wonder their privates didn't fall right off). We've also got a very special guest joining us for the second half of the show. We can't tell you who it is, but longtime listeners will be VERY excited.



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Ep 158-Karan Mahajan, The Association of Small Bombs


Mon, Dec 19, 2016


This week, prompted by a book that's been named to a bunch of Best of 2016 lists, we talk about how those lists are constructed, and whether they're a good representation of a given year's literature. We also talk about empathizing with murderous characters, and novels that portray contemporary political events. In the second half of the show, we try out some snacks that were sent to us by a listener in Japan, including some boozy Kit Kats, a drink that looks like watery milk, and some dried and salted fish.

Thanks to this week's sponsor, M.B. Manthe, whose poetry and publishing projects you can learn more about at her site.



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Ep 157-Fall of Food, Jack London ("A Piece of Steak")


Mon, Dec 12, 2016


This week's story is about an aging boxer who just wants one last payday (and a big juicy steak). But first he'll have to use all his wiles to defeat a younger, fitter opponent. We also enjoy a grab bag of snacks that are new to us, including Faygo Red Pop, Chocodiles, and some weird and, frankly, unsettling 7-11 chips.

 



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Ep 156-Lester Bangs, Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung


Mon, Dec 05, 2016


We welcome guest Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib (author of, most recently, The Crown Ain't Worth Much) to talk about the collected writings of music critic Lester Bangs, assembled as a book after Bangs's death. We talk about good music writing versus bad music writing, how to make an argument about things you love and things you hate, how to keep nostalgia in its proper place, and why the NBA is a better ethical choice for sports fans than the NFL. 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com. 



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Bonus: NaNoWriMo 2016


Thu, Dec 01, 2016


I know you probably think we forgot, but we did not forget. Here at the close of November, we're bringing you a special bonus episode for National Novel Writing Month 2016. We take our usual dive into the NaNoWriMo forums to see what the Wrimers are struggling with this year. What kinds of food should the characters eat in your fantasy world? Where do robots go on dates? And much, much more. 



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Ep 155-Fall of Food, "Who Owns Southern Food?"


Mon, Nov 28, 2016


This week we read an essay from The Oxford American co-written by John T. Edge and Tunde Wey, "Who Owns Southern Food?" The piece was inspired, in part, by an article in Eater called "How Gullah Cuisine Transformed Charleston Food," which created a bit of a firestorm in Charleston, sparking debate about the economics of cultural appropriation. 

All of which is a bit afield of what we normally discuss on the show, though it sparked a lot of conversation, and dovetailed with a number of issues we've both been thinking about, as of late, about race and politics.

Oh, and we eat some snacks, since that's our deal lately. Our first-ever homemade snack (cheese grits!), plus Tastykakes, and some Middleswarth chips (the secret ingredient is MSG).



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Ep 154-Han Kang, The Vegetarian (guest Sam Allingham)


Mon, Nov 21, 2016


This week we welcome guest Sam Allingham (author of The Great American Songbook) to discuss the South Korean novel The Vegetarian, which won the Man Booker International Prize. We also talk about Sam's story collection, which recently came out from A Strange Object, and we subject him to our usual tomfoolery. 

As will be obvious within the first few seconds of this episode, we recorded it before the recent presidential election. If you don't want to hear our dumb election jokes, just skip the first minute or so, and then enjoy an election-free discussion with Sam.

Thanks for listening!



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Ep 153-Fall of Food, Canada Special (Alice Munro, "Family Furnishings")


Mon, Nov 14, 2016


A listener sent us a big box of Canadian snacks, so we're devoting this episode to our friendly neighbor to the north. We're talking about an Alice Munro story, "Family Furnishings," and specifically how Munro uses food and eating to characterize family members and the relationships between them. 

In the second half of the show, we dig into those snacks! Ketchup-flavored potato chips. Smarties (of the chocolate variety). Hickory sticks. And some thing called a King Turk that may have scarred us for life.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com. 



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Ep 152-W.P. Kinsella, Shoeless Joe


Mon, Nov 07, 2016


You may know the name Kinsella from the Kevin Costner character Ray Kinsella in Field of Dreams. But it's also the name of the author who wrote the novel, Shoeless Joe, on which that movie was based. Kinsella was born in Canada, and lived most of his life there, though he did a stint at the Iowa Writers Workshop, near where the book is set. He wrote several other novels, and a bunch of short story collections, most of which dealt with either baseball or First Nations people, another passion of his. Kinsella recently passed away, and so it seemed like an appropriate time for us to finally read his most famous book.

For more, you can visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 151-Halloween Spooktacular 2016


Mon, Oct 31, 2016


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"



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Ep 150-Fall of Food Special Episode w/ Guest Sarah Sweeney


Mon, Oct 24, 2016


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.

 



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Ep 149: Fall of Food, Anthony Bourdain ("Don't Eat Before Reading This")


Mon, Oct 17, 2016


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 bookfightpod.com



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Ep 148-Michael Crichton, Jurrasic Park


Mon, Oct 10, 2016


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 bookfightpod.com



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Ep 147-Fall of Food, Stuart Dybek ("Pet Milk")


Mon, Oct 03, 2016


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 bookfightpod.com



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Ep 146: Cormac McCarthy, The Road


Mon, Sep 26, 2016


Have you heard of this Cormac McCarthy fellow? Pretty good writer! Somehow, neither of us had ever read The Road, and we thought it was time to rectify that. Especially since America seems to be getting closer and closer to making its post-apocalyptic hellscape a reality. 

 



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Episode 145: Summer of Second Chances, Matthew Quick ("Do Not Hate Them Very Much")


Mon, Sep 19, 2016


In the first half of this week's show we discuss this 2007 Matthew Quick story, originally published in Agni. Long-time listeners will recall that Tom has occasionally taken issue with Mr. Quick's work, as well as his life and just his all-around "thing." So reading one of his early publications, from a reputable lit journal, seemed like a great opportunity for Tom to open up his heart and give "Q" a second chance.

In the second half of the show we eat a bunch of Pop Tarts and try to figure out which flavor is best. Look, we never promised the podcast would be ONLY about books and writing. 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 144-Javier Marias, A Heart So White


Mon, Sep 12, 2016


This week we're reading the critically celebrated 1992 novel by Javier Marias, a writer we've both been meaning to check out for a while now. We talk about what people expect from novels, unusual/innovative narrative structures, and reading while stoned. In the second half of the show we've got a new installment of Fan Fiction Corner, featuring Alvin & the Chipmunks.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 143-Summer of Second Chances, Sheila Heti ("My Life Is a Joke")


Mon, Sep 05, 2016


Back in Episode 15, we talked about Sheila Heti's novel How Should a Person Be, which neither of us loved. This week we're giving Heti a second chance, reading a recent story of hers from The New Yorker. 

We talk about whether we were too quick to judge her book based on its marketing materials, and what it is we want from fiction. If certain types of novels feel stale, for instance, is the problem with the form itself, or just books that aren't doing enough within that form? Also: Mike shares some lessons learned from spending his summer reading novel manuscripts, and Tom shares some thoughts on snacks.

You can read the Heti story here, via the New Yorker. And for more, you can always visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 142-John McManus, Bitter Milk


Mon, Aug 29, 2016


Tom picked this novel, the author's first (though he'd already published two story collections, the first of which made him the youngest-ever winner of a Whiting Award). Reading the book made Mike question why he's making this podcast in the first place. So: good times!

In the second half of the show, Mike puts Tom on the metaphorical couch to help him figure out why he keeps feeling pulled away from the book project he's supposed to be working on. 

It's a real angsty week in Book Fight World, listeners. Enjoy!



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Ep 141-Summer of Second Chances, Agatha Christie ("Witness for the Prosecution")


Mon, Aug 22, 2016


Agatha Christie is one of the world's best-selling authors of all time, yet when we read her novel And Then There Were None earlier this year, we gave it mixed reviews. So we're giving Christie a second chance, digging into one of her most celebrated short stories, "Witness For the Prosecution" (which you can read for free via that link). 

Tom, in particular, seemed to dislike And Then There Were None, so will this story turn him? Or will Christie fall victim to our famously harsh two-strikes-you're-out rule?

In the second half of the show, we revisit some 90s bands that the internet thinks deserve a second chance, and we talk about another listener-submitted story of second chances. 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 140-Gregoire Bouillier, The Mystery Guest


Mon, Aug 15, 2016


Mike first read this book nearly a decade ago, and decided to revisit it after pulling it randomly from his shelf and reading the inscription inside, which he'd managed to forget. We talk about Bouillier's idea of a "report" as its own genre of literature, and books narrated by eccentric people trapped inside their own heads.

In the second half of the show we've got a quick bit of fanfiction, plus a potential fanfiction writing prompt, if any of our listeners are so inclined.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

And if you're interested in coming to Writer Camp in September, here's the place for more information.



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Ep. 139-Summer of Second Chances, Penelope Lively


Mon, Aug 08, 2016


Back in 105, we were less than thrilled with Penelope Lively's novel Making It Up. This week we're giving her work a second chance by reading a couple short stories from her 1997 collection, The Five Thousand and One Nights. Will we fall in love? Or will Lively fall prey to the Book Fight "two strikes and you're out" rule?

Also this week: Another listener-submitted story of literary second chances, plus Mike has some advice on whether to give your ex a second chance. And Tom talks about the time he got broken up with via Fleetwood Mac lyrics.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 138-Walter Mosley, Devil in a Blue Dress


Mon, Aug 01, 2016


This week's book is Mosley's first Easy Rawlings novel, in which we're introduced to a war vet in 1948 Los Angeles. We talk about the qualities that make for a good detective novel, and why Rawlings has become such an enduring character. In the second half of the show: the return of Fan Fiction Corner, and boy is it a doozy.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep. 137-Summer of Second Chances, John Barth ("Lost in the Funhouse")


Mon, Jul 25, 2016


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.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 136-Rachel Kushner, The Flamethrowers


Mon, Jul 18, 2016


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.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 135-Summer of Second Chances, Harlan Ellison ("I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream")


Mon, Jul 11, 2016


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: bookfightpod.com



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Ep 134-M. John Harrison, Light (with Sandra Newman)


Mon, Jul 04, 2016


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.

 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 133: Spring of Success, Jennifer Weiner ("Tour of Duty")


Mon, Jun 27, 2016


We wrap up our Spring of Success series by checking out the first published story of Jennifer Weiner, which appeared in a 1992 issue of Seventeen Magazine. We talk about Weiner's path to success, her 10-point advice to aspiring novelists, and her much-publicized beef with Jonathan Franzen.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 132-Kanan Makiya, The Rope


Mon, Jun 20, 2016


Kanan Makiya is probably best known for his 1989 book, Republic of Fear, a nonfictional account of Iraq under Saddam Hussein. He's also known as one of the key Iraqi agitators for the U.S. invasion, arguing to America's political elite that Hussein's regime needed to be toppled. It was Makiya, in fact, who told White House officials that the U.S. would be greeted with "flowers and sweets" by the Iraqi people.

That prediction turned out to be wildly inaccurate. Now, a decade after Saddam Hussein's execution, Makiya has written a novel that serves as an examination of what went so terribly wrong.

We talk about whether a book can succeed if it's trying to advance a particular political argument. Or is that project doomed from the start, as many of us learned in creative writing classes? Plus: Mike takes a deep dive into the life of a prolific Amazon reviewer.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

 



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Ep 132-Spring of Success, Jonathan Franzen ("Facts")


Mon, Jun 13, 2016


Welcome to the Franzone! This week we're reading the first published story of celebrated author Jonathan Franzen, which was featured in a 1987 issue of Fiction International. We also talk about Franzen's path to success: his early ambitions, his writing habits, and his self-conscious pivoting toward a different kind of fictional project. We also talk about why so many people seem to hate on Franzen, and whether the criticisms are deserved. 

For more, check us out online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 130-John Knowles, A Separate Peace


Mon, Jun 06, 2016


One of us read this famous WWII coming-of-age novel in high school, while the other is encountering it for the first time. Will it hold up to adult scrutiny? Should today's high school students still be forced to read it? And are the two main characters totally gay for each other?

Answers to these and other pressing questions on this week's Book Fight!

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 129-Spring of Success, Elizabeth Gilbert ("Pilgrims")


Mon, May 30, 2016


This week we read Elizabeth Gilbert's debut story, "Pilgrims." It was originally published in Esquire. We did not care for it.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 128-Jennifer Egan, The Goon Squad (guest Josh Fruhlinger)


Mon, May 23, 2016


We welcome special guest Josh Fruhlinger, proprietor of the popular and long-running blog The Comics Cumudgeon, as well as the author of a recent novel, The Enthusiast, to discuss Jennifer Egan's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Goon Squad.

We also talk to Josh about the successful Kickstarter he ran to fund his own book, building an online audience, his enthusiasm for trains, and Mary Worth's love life.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 127-Spring of Success, Donald Ray Pollock ("Bactine")


Mon, May 16, 2016


An unconventional literary success story this week, as we talk about Donald Ray Pollock's 2008 debut story collection, KNOCKEMSTIFF, which he wrote after quitting his job at a paper mill and giving himself five years to "make it" as a writer.

We also talk about the proliferation of "20 under 40"-style listicles in the literary world, and why we're so obsessed with youth.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com.  



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Bonus Episode: Matthew Vollmer


Thu, May 12, 2016


A special mid-week treat for you, Book Fight fans. Tom was recently in Blacksburg, Virginia, for a conference at Virginia Tech, and sat down with Matthew Vollmer, author of Inscriptions for Headstones and Future Missionaries of America. They talked about publishing, teaching, and how to make time for your own work while leading a busy life.



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Ep 126: Gary K. Wolf, Who Censored Roger Rabbit?


Mon, May 09, 2016


We welcome guest Jen A. Miller (Running: A Love Story) who helps us unpack the 1981 novel that served as inspiration for the famous film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? The book is quite different than the movie: darker, for one thing, and also featuring both a magical genie and some questionable opinions about Persians.

In the second half of the show, we talk to Jen about street harassment, peeing while running, MySpace, and "whore pants."

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

 



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Ep 125-Spring of Success, Amy Hempel ("In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried")


Mon, May 02, 2016


Amy Hempel's first published story was a breakout success, and has gone on to be one of the most anthologized stories of the last few decades. We talk about her path to success, and why this story has resonated. We also discuss some of the mid-to-late 80s backlash to minimalist fiction, which Hempel got caught up in.

In the second half of the show we talk about people who had early career success in writing and the arts, and how (or whether) they followed it up.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com.  



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Ep 124-Don DeLillo, Zero K


Mon, Apr 25, 2016


We talk about DeLillo's forthcoming novel--a meditation on death, love, language and the permanence/impermanence of objects. If that sounds kinda heavy ... well, it is a DeLillo novel. In the second half of the show, we talk about a recent essay from The Walrus called "I Don't Care About Your Life: Why Critics Need To Stop Getting Personal n Their Essays," by Jason Guriel.

 

As always, visit us online for more: bookfightpod.com



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Ep 123-Spring of Success, Jhumpa Lahiri ("A Temporary Matter")


Mon, Apr 18, 2016


Our second installment in the Spring of Success has us considering the breakthrough of Jhumpa Lahiri, who had two stories in The New Yorker within a few months of each other, then a story collection, and then a Pulitzer Prize. How did it happen? What was it that set her stories apart? 

We also talk about musicians and artists who supposedly sold their souls to the devil to earn their success. And whiney white guys who think they're at a publishing disadvantage these days.

For more, including links to some of the things we talked about this week, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 122-Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None


Mon, Apr 11, 2016


One of the most popular mystery novels by one of the world's best-selling mystery novelists. Also: weirdly racist? In America, the title of this Christie novel has always been And Then There Were None. But in Great Britain, the original title featured the n-word. No, we're not making that up. 

This week also features the triumphant return of Fan Fiction Corner, including some very sexy Marco Rubio stories.

For more, check us out online at bookfightpod.com

Thanks for listening!



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AWP Extra: Elisa Gabbert


Thu, Apr 07, 2016


In this free bonus episode, we meet up with poet and essayist Elisa Gabbert on the floor of the AWP conference in Los Angeles. We talk with her about what kind of poetry goes over well at bars, navigating the overwhelming AWP bookfair, her advice column for Electric Literature and whether being an SEO expert and content marketer is a good gig for a poet. 

 



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Ep 121-Spring of Success, Wells Tower ("The Brown Coast")


Mon, Apr 04, 2016


Welcome to the Spring of Success! During these seasonal episodes we'll be reading writers' breakthrough stories or essays and talking about how they achieved success. We'll also talk about various aspects of artistic success. This week we're talking about Wells Tower, who broke through with the story collection Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned. Also: people who didn't find success until after their death, and why we're so obsessed with those stories.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

Thanks for listening!



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Ep 120-CS Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe


Mon, Mar 28, 2016


This week we're reading the first novel in C.S. Lewis's beloved Narnia series, which Mike loved as a child and somehow Tom missed out on entirely. Will the book hold up to the scrutiny of two skeptical, sometimes cynical adults? Will the Christian elements feel too heavy handed? Or will Mike and Tom find themselves filled with earnest, childlike wonder? Only one way to find out!

For more visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep119-Winter of Wayback, 1975 (Harry Crews)


Mon, Mar 21, 2016


It's the last week for our Winter of Wayback episodes this year, and we're investigating 1975. We've got a Harry Crews essay from Playboy about a day spent with some local grits in Johnson City, Tennessee. Plus the beginnings of the men's rights movement, Philadelphia's mayor giving the press the silent treatment, and the inventor of the Pet Rock. 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com. 

And if you're going to be AWP, come by the Barrelhouse table and say hello!



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Ep 118-Joseph Mitchell, Joe Gould's Secret


Mon, Mar 14, 2016


This week's book is actually two New Yorker profiles of a famous bohemian, writer, poet and all-around Greenwich Village eccentric. Mitchell first wrote about Gould in 1942, then wrote a much longer follow-up in the early 60's about his further dealings with Gould and his growing suspicion that the long book Gould had been working on for years didn't, in fact, exist.

We debate the ethical dimensions of the writer-subject relationship, and whether Mitchell was fair in his treatment of Gould, who clearly suffered from mental illness. We've also got an installment of South Philly News, about an aggrieved parent in a hipster coffee shop. 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 117-Winter of Wayback, 1935 (John Dickson Carr)


Mon, Mar 07, 2016


We've zoomed back in time to 1935, a year in which Philly politics got ugly, and monkeys ran wild on the streets of New York City. It was also the "golden age of detective fiction," so we read two stories by John Dickson Carr, considered a master of the form, particularly what's known as "locked room mysteries." 

For more, check us out online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 116-Lillian Ross, Picture (w/ guest Jason Fagone)


Mon, Feb 29, 2016


Guest Jason Fagone (Horseman of the Esophagus) picked Lillian Ross's famous work of embedded Hollywood journalism, PICTURE, for which the writer followed along as John Huston tried to bring Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage to the silver screen. We talk about the lessons writers and other creators can take from the book, and why it was such a formative reading experience for Jason. Plus: Philadelphia politics, the Wing Bowl, and what it takes to make it as a freelancer.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 115-Winter of Wayback 1958 (Alfred Chester)


Mon, Feb 22, 2016


On this week's episode we're discussing Alfred Chester, whose life took enough bizarre twists and turns to inspire this 2008 Blake Bailey-penned profile in Vice. We also take a deep dive into the music of 1958, including the first breakthrough girl group and lots of goofy novelty songs. Who wears short shorts, indeed?

For more, including pictures and videos of what we talked about on today's episode, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 114: Chris Bachelder, Abbott Awaits (with guest Andrew Brininstool)


Mon, Feb 15, 2016


Join us as we talk earnestness versus cynicism, Philly vs. Dallas, and owning a Himalayan salt block versus maintaining your dignity! We're joined by Andrew Brininstool, author of Crude Sketches Done in Quick Succession (Queens Ferry Press), to talk about Chris Bachelder's episodic novel about an assistant professor, his young child, and his daily struggles with himself and the world around him. 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 113-Winter of Wayback, 1883 (Sarah Orne Jewett)


Mon, Feb 08, 2016


This week we're zooming back in time to 1883, where we read a story by Sarah Orne Jewett, noted chronicler of New England life, and discuss so many other things: art theft, drinking the water of the Schuylkill, and the time one of Mike's ancestors maybe committed a murder. 

For more, including links to some of what we talked about this week, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Episode 112: Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl


Mon, Feb 01, 2016


This week we're talking about the blockbuster thriller Gone Girl, and whether it's a feminist masterpiece or a men's rights activist's wet dream (or both? or neither?). 

For more, including links and videos about some of the stuff we talked about in this week's episode (raccoon news! Ray Pruitt!) visit us online at bookfightpod.com.

Thanks for listening!



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Ep 111-Winter of Wayback 1922


Mon, Jan 25, 2016


We're time-traveling back to 1922, where we check out an early edition of Best American Short Stories, including a story by Ring Lardner and another that, in a review of the collection, was called "possibly the worst short story ever written." We've also got a variety of news items from 1922: monkey dinners, idle wives, a tugboat tragedy, the Wannamaker organ, the still-unsolved murder of William Desmond Taylor, and much much more!

Visit us online for more, including links to some of the stuff we talked about in the episode: bookfightpod.com



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Ep 110-Sarah Shotland, Junkette


Mon, Jan 18, 2016


This week we're talking about Sarah Shotland's 2014 novel Junkette, about a young woman trying to escape both heroin addiction and a seriously codependent relationship--maybe two codependent relationships, actually: one with her boyfriend and one with the city of New Orleans. We talk about what makes writing feel honest, and how good writers are like tour guides to places you've never been. In the second half of the show, Mike tries out a new, South Philly-centric segment, and Tom talks about lit journals with pedantic submission guidelines. 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 109-Winter of Wayback, 1914 (The Smart Set)


Mon, Jan 11, 2016


Back by popular demand, we're embarking on another Winter of Wayback, in which we pick a year, then read a story or essay from that year and research a variety of literary and non-literary happenings going on at the time. This week: 1914! We check out back issues of The Smart Set, a lit mag that aimed to reach high-minded New Yorkers (and those who wanted to emulate them). We also go down a couple of internet wormholes researching forgotten authors, including a mentee of Theodore Dreiser's who was later institutionalized, and a Baltimore writer who was sued for libel and once attacked someone with a tennis racket. Literature!

For more, as always, you can visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 108-Elizabeth Hardwick, Sleepless Nights


Mon, Jan 04, 2016


Welcome to the new year, Book Fighters! This week we're talking about an Elizabeth Hardwick book that is something of a cult classic, though at least one of us is decidedly not in the cult. Also: Idle chit chat! Rate My Professor chili peppers! Spills! Thrills! Hoverboards! 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep107-2015 Christmas Spectacular


Mon, Dec 21, 2015


It's the most wonderful time of the year! A time for gathering with family, drinking lots of egg nog, and reading some absurdly terrible Christmas-themed books. First up this year is Christmas Letters, a delightful little romp from Debbie Macomber about a woman who finds love in the last place she thought to look (her own apartment building). Then there's The Christmas Thief, co-written by the mother-daughter team of Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark, about a Bernie Madoff type who hides diamonds in a tree and the merry band of self-satisfied lottery winners who manage to bring him to justice.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com

 



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Ep 106-Isaac Fitzgerald, High for the Holidays


Mon, Dec 14, 2015


In celebration of the holidays, this week we're talking about an Isaac Fitzgerald essay, originally published by Buzzfeed in 2013, about a Christmas trip in which he scaled Mount Kilimnjaro with his estranged family. In the second half of the show, we discuss a listener-submitted story of authorial spite, plus a new installment of Fan Fiction Corner in which we explore the Grinch's sexuality.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 105-Penelope Lively, Making It Up


Mon, Dec 07, 2015


Penelope Lively has written more than thirty books, and Tom picked this one, for some reason. The novel purports to explore the line between fiction and nonfiction, but it does so in a way neither of us found particularly interesting. We talk about what separates a "novel" from a purposeless series of writing exercises. 

In the second half of the show, we delve into the world of Christmas-themed fan fiction, with stories about the characters from Love, Actually, Law and Order: SVU and Veronica Mars.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 104-Elspeth Davie, "The Night of the Funny Hats"


Mon, Nov 30, 2015


This week we're discussing the title story of Scottish writer Elspeth Davie's 1980 story collection. Though her story collections were well-reviewed, Davie is far from a household name. We talk about what separates literary writers who are remembered from those who aren't, and whether the writers themselves have any control over their own legacies. 

Also, as it's the end of National Novel Writing Month, we take one final dive into the NaNoWriMo forums, where we make a shocking discovery that might just blow the lid off one of the biggest writing-related conspiracies of all time. 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 103: Renata Adler, Speedboat


Mon, Nov 23, 2015


A long episode about a short book: it's the Book Fight way! In the first half of the episode we try to figure out Adler's 1976 novel, which has been cited as a touchstone by many writers, including David Shields and David Foster Wallace. In the second half of the show we talk about Adler's famous takedown of movie critic Pauline Kael, and consider a recent case of an author stalking someone who gave his book a negative customer review. Plus we take another dive into the NaNoWriMo forums to see what the intrepid NaNo-ers are struggling with here at the midpoint of their month-long journey. 

For more, including a link to Adler's piece on Kael, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 102-Lyz Lenz, "Swinging with Absalom"


Mon, Nov 16, 2015


For today's episode we read this essay from The Toast, about the author's trip to Jerusalem, her religious parents, and the rift in her family following her sister's sexual assault. 

We've also got more from the NaNoWriMo forums, plus hot takes on Baby Hitler!

For more, as always, you can visit us online at bookfightpod.com.  



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Ep 101-James Tate Hill, Academy Gothic


Mon, Nov 09, 2015


This week's book is both a detective story and an academic satire. We talk about the genre conventions of noir novels, and some of the more frustrating and ridiculous aspects of academia. In the second half the show we've got a new installment of Raccoon News that includes some historical raccoon news, plus more questions from the NaNoWriMo forums.

For more, you can visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 100: Dennis Lehane, "Before Gwen"


Mon, Nov 02, 2015


This week we talk about a story by the crime writer Dennis Lehane (author of Gone Baby Gone, Mystic River, and lots of other stuff). We also dip back into the NaNoWriMo forums to offer our advice on character names, bayou witch doctors, and whatever in the world a "Nano jar" is. 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 99-Karl Ove Knausgaard, A Time for Everything


Mon, Oct 26, 2015


Everyone's been talking about Karl Ove Knausgaard's six-volume series of autobiographical novels, My Struggle. But we're reading the doorstop of a novel that won him acclaim in his home country before he turned his lens on his own life.

A Time for Everything is part historical novel, part Biblical reinterpretation, part faux-theological study of the long evolution of angels. It's a book that's pretty tough to pin down. But we'll try!

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com.   



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Ep 98: Road Trip Special


Mon, Oct 19, 2015


This week we're hitting the road, recording while driving to the Barrelhouse-sponsored Conversations and Connections writers' conference in Pittsburgh. To make our conversation thematically appropriate we chose an essay by Paul Theroux called "Taking the Great American Roadtrip."

We talk about what separates interesting travel writing from boring travel writing, our varying tastes for long drives, and why central Pennsylvania is both a beautiful and frightening place. 

You can read Mike's piece about driving cross-country here. We're not saying it's better than Paul Theroux, but maybe it's better than Paul Theroux?

For more, as always, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 97: Jeff Sharlet, "#Nightshift: Excerpts from an Instagram Essay"


Mon, Oct 12, 2015


We discuss Jeff Sharlet's Instagram essay, created with the hashtag #Nightshift and later featured on Longreads (you can check it out here). We also talk more generally about the possibilities of using social media for storytelling. In the second half of the show we answer a listener question about cover letters and, in preparation for National Novel Writing Month, we visit the NaNoWriMo forums to see how we should be prepping for next month's fun. 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 96-Emily Carroll, Through the Woods


Mon, Oct 05, 2015


This week we've got a pair of guests, Kelly Phillips and Claire Folkman, editors of Dirty Diamonds: An All-Girl Comics Anthology, and recent winners of a Philly Geek Award. They've chosen Emily Carroll's Through the Woods for us to read, and they try to teach us how to approach comic stories. We talk about the relationship between text and image, ambiguous endings and spooky stories.

In the second half of the show we talk to Claire and Kelly about their work with Dirty Diamonds, their own comics, crying at pop concerts and the enduring legacy of Weird Al.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com.  



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Ep 95-Elissa Washuta, "Consumption"


Mon, Sep 28, 2015


This week's reading is an essay about college binge drinking from a recent issue of Okey-Panky. We contemplate what an un-themed season of Book Fight might look like, plus Tom talks about his recent arguments with his publisher over the title of his book.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 94: Elfriede Jelinek, Greed


Mon, Sep 21, 2015


This week's book was a donor pick, and man it sure was weird. Jelinek won the Nobel Prize just before this novel came out, though the award was not without controversy (one committee member actually resigned his post in protest). We try to make sense of the book's structure and prose, as well as its views on male sexuality. Then we talk about fan fiction for a while, since that's kind of our thing. 

For more, check us out online at bookfightpod.com



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Summer of Love: Frederick Barthelme, "Shopgirls"


Mon, Sep 14, 2015


Summer is coming to an end, and so is our Summer of Love feature. Join us for one final lap in the pool as we discuss this second-person story about how you're a real creep who should maybe stop treating women like objects.

Also this week: hot takes on Kim Davis and the Duke freshman who won't read Fun Home because of boobies. 

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com.



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Ep 93-Rachel B Glaser, Paulina and Fran


Mon, Sep 07, 2015


We welcome special guest Helen McClory this week, who traveled all the way from Scottland to make us discuss the new novel by Rachel B. Glaser, Paulina & Fran, about an art-school social circle revolving around a woman perhaps most charitably described as "difficult." McClory tells us why she loves problem characters, and books that explore relationships between women. She also talks about her school days in Scottland, her obsession with monsters--and with weird American food--and we ask her questions about her recent American tour in support of her book, On the Edges of Vision, from Queen's Ferry Press.

As always, you can find more, including links to things we talked about on the show, at our website, bookfightpod.com



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Summer of Love: Charles D'Ambrosio, "Drummond and Son"


Mon, Aug 31, 2015


This week's story is one of Tom's favorites, which he teaches often as an antidote to his usual depressing fare. Though it's debatable whether D'Ambrosio's story of a man caring for his psychologically troubled son is really a happy one? We talk about whether "reading as a writer" ruins your understanding of what non-writers might want to read. We also talk about some of history's (and pop culture's) worst dads. And we take a question from a listener about whether the way a person falls in love changes over time.

For more, as always, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep 92-Marguerite Duras, The Lover


Mon, Aug 24, 2015


Duras wrote this short, 110-page novel late in her career, in 1984, claiming it was "purely autobiographical," which created a bit of a scandal in certain corners, since the plot revolves around an affair a 15-year-old girl carries on with a 27-year-old man in what was then French Indochina. 

We talk about the perhaps unconventional power dynamics of that romantic relationship, Duras's mother and brothers, who also feature heavily in the book, and short novels more generally. We also see if we can make heads or tails of some grad-school questions about this book, and Tom's got another installment of Raccoon News.

For more, as always, you can visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Summer of Love: Lorrie Moore, "How to be an Other Woman"


Mon, Aug 17, 2015


This week we revisit a story about adultery from Lorrie Moore's debut story collection, Self-Help. We talk about Moore's strengths as a story writer, the relative ethics of adultery, and why we both use Moore's work in our classes. 

Also this week: we answer a question from a listener about their upcoming nuptials, and we learn about whether pets can, in fact, love their owners.

For more, as always, you can visit us online at bookfightpod.com.  



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Ep 91-Neil Stephenson, Snow Crash


Mon, Aug 10, 2015


Tom tries to get Mike to enjoy some science fiction, and Mike says: no, thank you. We discuss predictions of the future, annoying robots, 90s slang, and information overload. Also this week, a new edition of Fan Fiction Corner, featuring a very sexy story set in the Nintendo universe. 

For more, including links to things we talked about in the show, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Summer of Love: David Sedaris, "I Like Guys"


Mon, Aug 03, 2015


Ths week we're discussing the David Sedaris story, "I Like Guys," from his book Naked. You can listen to an audio recording of Sedaris reading the story here, via This American Life. We also talk about America's favorite TV couples, and how much bickering in a relationship is too much. Plus a new theme song, and advice for children!

For more, visit us online at bookfight.com



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Ep 90-Sarah Hepola, Blackout: Remembering The Things I Drank To Forget


Mon, Jul 27, 2015


On this week's episode things get real: after reading Sarah Hepola's recent memoir we're prompted to discuss our own drinking habits, and whether we should be concerned about them.

We also talk about the book itself, which recounts Hepola's own arc of addiction and eventual recovery, focusing on her frequent blackouts, which often had her attempting to reconstruct an evening's potentially embarrassing events the next morning. Hepola also considers the gendered nature of addiction narratives, and how being a drinking woman might be different from being a drinking man.

For more, as always, you can visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Summer of Love: George Saunders, "The Barber's Unhappiness"


Mon, Jul 20, 2015


This week we're discussing George Saunders, generous humor vs mean-spirited humor, computer and online dating, and top wedding songs. Also, Tom talks about a lady he dated who isn't his wife! And Mike talks about whether love is or is not for the birds.



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Ep 89-Gaiman and Pratchett, Good Omens


Mon, Jul 13, 2015


This 1990 book is something of a cult classic, one many people first read in their teenage years, though neither of us ever did. So we're reading it now, for the first time, and trying to figure out why it's so beloved by its many, many fans. We talk about the book's humor, and whether it's suitable for adults. We try to figure out whether it's a satire and, if so, what exactly it's satirizing. We probably alienate some of our fans. Oh, and we s**t on Goonies a little, too, just for good measure.

For more, including a link to send us hate-mail, check us out online at bookfightpod.com



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Summer of Love: Allan Gurganus, "Minor Heroism"


Mon, Jul 06, 2015


This week we're kicking off our new seasonal feature, the Summer of Love, with what is supposedly the first story with gay characters to appear in the New Yorker (in 1974). The story was also the first story publication for Allan Gurganus, who is perhaps best known as the author of the novel Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All.

We talk about the story's interesting point-of-view shifts, and how it handles a difficult father-son relationship. In light of the recent Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, we also talk about the rather seismic shifts that have occurred in our lifetimes on issues of gay rights and gay acceptance. Also, we test our podcast-partner relationship by taking a quiz penned by Dr. Phil.

For more, check us out online at bookfightpod.com. Thanks for listening!



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Ep 88-Marlon James, The Book of Night Women


Mon, Jun 29, 2015


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 bookfightpod.com

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.



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Spring of Spite: Edgar Allan Poe, "The Cask of Amontillado"


Mon, Jun 22, 2015


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 bookfightpod.com

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!



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Ep 87-Paul Beatty, The Sellout


Mon, Jun 15, 2015


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 bookfightpod.com



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Spring of Spite: Stanley Elkin


Mon, Jun 08, 2015


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 bookfightpod.com



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Ep 86-Maggie Nelson, Bluets


Mon, Jun 01, 2015


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 bookfightpod.com.



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Spring of Spite: Harlan Ellison


Mon, May 25, 2015


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.

For more, visit us online at bookfightpod.com



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Ep.85-Donald Antrim, Elect Mr Robinson For a Better World


Mon, May 18, 2015


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 bookfightpod.com



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Spring of Spite: Thomas Bernhard, My Prizes


Mon, May 11, 2015


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 bookfightpod.com



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