Book Fight!

Tough love for literature

Bonus Episode 2015 – The People’s Choice


[UPDATED 4/9: the poll has been updated, eliminating one book option, not so much because it had been hijacked by a small group of people–we encourage multiple votes, and people championing a book– but because their motivation for voting for that book seemed particularly mean-spirited. Empress Theresa is off the list; the book doesn’t look great, but it’s a self-published book by an unknown writer and we have no interest in joining an extended online bullying campaign against him. We don’t think our fans would enjoy an episode devoted to that kind of meanness, and we, frankly, wouldn’t feel good about recording it.]

Because we hit our fundraising goal this year, we’ve promised to record a special bonus episode, based on a book of your choice. Last year, given the choice between exposing us to some compelling indie literature, you chosen instead to cruelly subject Tom to facing his demons and re-reading a book best described as the airport hot dog of literature.

This year, your choices (based on nominations by listeners) are extensive and varied. The list includes canonical novels, famous YA books about scarred wizards, recent bestselling literary novels, small press story collections, comics, a book about sexy vampires (not the one you’re thinking of), and what appears to be a semen cookbook. This is the sort of list that makes us proud to be your dumb podcast of choice. It’s hard to even tell which ones we should be rooting for (or against).

Because of the size of this list, we may end up running the poll in 2 rounds. Unless there’s an obvious runaway juggernaut in this round, we’ll pick the top contenders based on your votes and then have a runoff next week.

This poll will be open for one week. Check the list carefully and then cast your vote. And then go take a nap – you’ve earned it.


10 thoughts on “Bonus Episode 2015 – The People’s Choice

  1. Pingback: Episode 82: Yuri Herrera, Signs Preceding the End of the World | Book Fight!

  2. If you guys read Empress Theresa and give it a review I will even buy the books and gift it to each.

    Go Empress Theresa!!!!!


  4. Okay, lemme fill you in on one detail that you seem to have forgotten. Norman Boutin, the writer of Empress Theresa, attacks and harasses everybody who gives him negative reviews. In other words, you’re refusing to criticize a man who attacks people for having the “wrong” opinions. His harassment and attacks definitely count as bullying.

    It’s hard for me to believe that you’d approve of that kind of behaviour, so I’m guessing you didn’t know about it, or thought that somebody else attacked him first. That’s not true. The harsh criticism Boutin gets online is because of the way he harasses reviewers, and I have never seen his critics use a harsher tone than he used first. Maybe you got a different view by going to his website, where he tells a skewed version of events which completely leaves out his horrible actions.

    I wish you’d at leat make SOME sort of mention of his horrible behaviour. As it is now, you seem to either approve of his harassment of reviewers, or — more likely — not know about it.

  5. Our Empress was robbed. Bring back the Empress. We want the Empress. I am genuinely convinced it is a good book and have arguing as such with people about the book. I tricked the book’s haters into voting for it so they can eat it when you give it a good review. See here:

  6. Jim, the problem is this: I don’t care about any of that at all.

    I’ve skimmed some of the stuff online and the Amazon threads. To be honest, it just makes me sad all around. Nobody involved in any of it comes off well – Boutin seems delusional, and the people who insist on jabbing at him constantly over the period of 6+ months seem petty and bizarrely fixated on… what? Proving that this bad book is bad? Congratulations, you win.

    He’s an obscure author who wrote a book that nobody is ever going to read seriously; it would be incredibly easy to just never pay any attention to him or think about him in your life again.

    More importantly, it would have made for a bad episode of this show. We’ve got no problem skewering terrible books when they’re also hugely successful or written by people with great reputations, but this is a whole different category, and it would have existed not for our regular listeners but rather to please a dozen people who would never listen again anyway.

  7. It would have made for a bad episode? Okay, that’s a motivation I can respect. Fair enough.

    Problem is, you say that “Nobody involved in any of it comes off well,” and yeah, I can respect that too, but in that case, why did you write a post where only one side is criticised?

    As it is now, you’re basically saying “These guys on Amazon did something bad to Norman Boutin. I’ll mention that in my post. Norman Boutin did lots of bad stuff to these guys on Amazon, but I won’t say a word about that in my post.” You don’t have to care about the conflict, but if you really don’t care then act acccordingly and don’t write a post that supports one side and crticizes the other.

    If you write about an online conflict, and you direct all criticism against one side of it, then you have gotten involved in the conflict. If you don’t want to do that, then criticize both sides or none. But don’t take sides and then claim to be neutral.

  8. This is where I get off this train, Jim. If you’re looking for a journalist to give a fair and balanced take on all angles of your extraordinarily low-stakes internet fight, then you’re in the wrong place. We’re not covering the book, and we’re also never going to waste time talking about this topic again.

  9. Book Fight, fair enough, but Norman Boutin has been insulting you guys. This is Norman Boutin on Book Fight and Mike Ingram, specifically:

    “An example of this BookFight guy’s writing can be seen on his blog

    Read his writing.
    Can you find anything interesting?

    A writer who can’t write a single line that will interest anybody is a poor writer.
    This of course is why he has this BookFight website ( besides the income from advertising ).

    The home page alone tells you what the site is about. They’ve already decided ahead of time to slam the book. This is how third rate critics get attention.
    It’s just adolescent bullying.
    I doubt the New York Times bestseller list compilers will ever take note of this website.”

  10. Since you said we can champion a book, here’s a link to my review of an amazing and beautifully written (and short!) debut novel called ANCIENT OCEANS OF CENTRAL KENTUCKY, by David Connerley Nahm, which I nominated for this poll. It was published in 2014 by Two Dollar Radio, and it deserves many more readers.

    As always, Tom and Mike, thank you for bringing Book Fight! to all of us. 🙂
    (And anyone who says bad stuff about you guys are dumb asses and should simply be ignored.)

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