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Episode 73: Mark Binelli, Detroit City Is The Place To Be

We’re joined this week by Gina Myers (poet, reviewer, recent transplant to Philadelphia) to discuss Mark Binelli’s much-praised 2012 book about his home town and America’s favorite allegory. The book is perhaps best described as long-form journalism, though with a fair bit of history, sociology, urban planning and political science thrown into the mix.

Gina, who grew up in nearby Saginaw, Michigan, picked this week’s book, which Mike was happy to read, having just returned from a trip to Detroit this summer. Tom, never having been to the state of Michigan, just had to grudgingly go along.

detroit

You can find out more about Gina, and her two full-length collections of poetry, at her website. You can also follow her on Twitter.

To stream this week’s episode right here on our site, just click on the little player thingy below. You can also visit us in the iTunes store (link below) where you can catch up on back episodes and subscribe (for free) so you never miss another installment.

As always, thanks for listening to the show, and for helping to spread the words to your literature-loving friends. If you’ve got feedback for us, we’re happy to hear it. You can email us, Tweet at us, or just leave a comment here on the site.

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Fall of Failures Episode 5: Kevin Sampsell and Failed Utopias

This week we’re reading Kevin Sampsell‘s essay “I’m Jumping Off the Bridge,” originally published on Salon and featured in last year’s Best American Essays, edited by Cheryl Strayed. We’re also talking about failed utopias, including dangerous cults, geometry-obsessed vegetarians, Shakers, libertarians, and more.

Check out Sampsell’s novel, This Is Between Us, or his memoir, A Common Pornography, at Powell’s. Anything you buy from the Powell’s site will kick back a little money our way.

As always, you can stream the episode right here on our site, by clicking on the little player thingy below. Or download the mp3 file, and do with it what you will. We’re also in the iTunes store, and in just about any of the available podcast apps floating around in the world. If you subscribe, through one of those methods, you’ll never miss another episode.

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We’d love to hear your feedback on what we talked about. You can send us an email, hit us up on Twitter, or just leave a comment right here on this post.


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Episode 72: Ravi Mangla, Understudies

This week’s book is a Tom pick, and was also the runner-up to The Silver Linings Playbook in last year’s donor voting. Ravi Mangla’s Understudies came out earlier this year from San Francisco-based Outpost 19. You can read a brief excerpt on the Outpost 19 website.

Understudies-RMangla-promo
Also: It's November, which must mean it's National Novel Writing Month. This week we dig into the NaNoWriMo forums to see what the participants are struggling with: how to name alligators and horses, gas masks for animals, living in a clock tower, and a world where houses are sort of like computers or something?

You can stream the episode right here on our site, by clicking on the little player thingy below. You can also visit us in the iTunes store (link below) where you can catch up on back episodes and subscribe (for free) so you never miss another installment.

As always, thanks for listening to the show, and helping to spread the words to your literature-loving friends. If you’ve got feedback for us, we’re happy to hear it. You can email us, Tweet at us, or just leave a comment here on the site.

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Fall of Failure Episode 4: Eula Biss and Failed Amusement Parks

This week’s short is a Tom pick, an essay by Eula Biss called “Time and Distance Overcome,” which is about, among other things, early telephone technology, resistance to telephone poles, and the widespread lynching of black men in early-20th century America. We talk about non-linear essays, and whether it’s more interesting or less interesting to know something about the behind-the-scenes construction of a piece.

We also talk this week about failed amusement parks: some that were proposed but never built, like an entire theme park in Indiana that would’ve been devoted to Garfield, and some that probably shouldn’t have been built, all things considered, including a wild-animal safari in New Jersey responsible for at least two deaths, and Dickens World in the UK, which seems like the Saddest Place on Earth.

You can read more about Dickens World here, in a great New York Times Magazine piece by Sam Anderson. Here’s a link to some photos of the creepy (and now demolished) Gulliver’s Kingdom in Japan.

Finally, here’s a Dailymotion mini-documentary about Action Park, featuring comedian Chris Gethard. We would highly recommend you spend the next twelve minutes of your life watching it. That starting image is an actual, non-photoshopped picture of the park’s looping waterslide, in case you thought Mike was making that up.

And in case you missed the link above, you can read the essay here.

As always, you can stream the episode right here on our site, by clicking on the little player thingy below. Or download the mp3 file, and do with it what you will. We’re also in the iTunes store, and in just about any of the available podcast apps floating around in the world. If you subscribe, through one of those methods, you’ll never miss another episode.

Stream:

Download Fall of Failure #4 (right-click, save-as)

Thanks for listening!

We’d love to hear your feedback on what we talked about. You can send us an email, hit us up on Twitter, or just leave a comment right here on this post.


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Fall of Failure Episode 3: Kseniya Melnik, “Strawberry Lipstick,” and Failed Dog Breeds

This week our short story comes from Kseniya Melnik, whose debut collection, Snow in May, came out this spring from Macmillan. The story we chose, “Strawberry Lipstick,” traces the increasingly troubled marriage of a young woman in 1950s Russia.

SnowInMay

We’re also continuing our Fall of Failure theme by looking into failed dog breeds, including one, the “turnspit,” that people put into their ovens, because humans are total garbage monsters. We also talk about the Moscow Water Dog, the Hawaiian Poi Dog, and several other breeds that, for one reason or another, either went extinct or never quite lived up to their initial billing.

As always, you can stream the episode right here on our site, or download the mp3 file to listen to whenever you want. You can also visit us in the iTunes store, where you can find back episodes and subscribe (for free) to never miss another installment.

We’re always interested in hearing your thoughts on what we talked about. You can send us an email, tweet at us, or just leave a comment on this here post.

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Episode 70: William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying

Hey, have you heard of this William Faulkner fellow? Turns out he’s kind of a big deal. If you’ve been waiting to dive in and read (or re-read) Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, now’s the week to do it. Or, just listen to us yap about it for an hour and then you can pretend you’ve read it at various literary parties and state dinners.

AsILayDying

As always, you can stream the episode right here on our site, by clicking on the little player thingy below. Or download the mp3 file and do with it what you will. You can also visit us in the iTunes store, where you can download individual episodes or subscribe (for free!) and never miss another episode.

Our recommendations this week: Check out Lockjaw Magazine, where you can read lots of cool stuff and submit your own work. Also, Michael Garriga’s The Book of Duels.

And while we’ve got your attention, how about buying yourself–and/or your loved ones–a Book Fight t-shirt? They’re quite handsome/sexy, and everyone will know you’re the kind of cool man or lady who both reads books and understands technology.

Thanks, as always, for listening to the show, and helping to spread the words to your literature-loving friends. If you’ve got feedback for us, we’re happy to hear it. You can email us, Tweet at us, or just leave a comment here on the site.

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Download Episode 70 (right-click, save-as)

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