Book Fight!

Tough love for literature


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Episode 182: Carolyn Nowak, Diana’s Electric Tongue (w/ special guests Claire Folkman and Kelly Phillips)

This week we welcome back fan favorites Claire Folkman and Kelly Phillips, comic artists and publishers of the Dirty Diamonds anthology series, which is about to put out its eighth collection of comics by female artists, this time on the theme of sex. The Kickstarter for the anthology is running through the end of the month, so go chip in some money and get a copy of the beautiful book when it comes out.

Claire and Kelly picked our book this week, which is a comic by Carolyn Nowak called Diana’s Electric Tongue. It’s about a woman who mail-order’s a robot companion, on the heels of a rough breakup with a minor celebrity.

Topics of conversation include: personalized book inscriptions; things about comics you only notice on a second or third read; running a small press; working with your friends without driving each other crazy; and why Tom has never taken Mike for a panzarotti.

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

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Episode 181: Spring Fling, Samuel Delany (“Ash Wednesday”)

This week we’re discussing a new essay by Samuel Delany, about a trip the author took to New York to hang out with an over-50s sex club. That might sound glib, but the essay is actually a really interesting, non-sensationalistic look at the life of an aging man who considers himself a sex radical. You can read the essay here. You can also read a companion interview conducted by Junot Diaz here.

Here’s a picture of a young Delany reading his work and looking sexy as all hell.

This week we’ve also got another story of authorial sexy times. Plus: Should you date or not date someone based on their taste in books?

As always, you can stream the episode right here on our site, or download the mp3 file. You can also find us in the iTunes store, or wherever you download your podcasts. Subscribe, and never miss another installment!

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Episode 180: Marcy Dermansky, The Red Car

This week’s book is a brand new novel by Marcy Dermansky, about a woman who heads to San Francisco for the funeral of her former boss and, once there, begins to realize she might want to change her life. We talk about the book’s deadpan humor, its unique voice, and whether we’re cool or not cool with ghost cars in literature.

In the second half of the show, Mike gets sad about Twitter, the state of the world, and dummies.

As always, you can stream the podcast right here, by clicking on the player below, or download the mp3 file. You can also find us in the iTunes store, or wherever you normally get your podcasts. Subscribe, and you’ll never miss another installment.

We mentioned our new Patreon this week: if you’d like to donate to the show, you can do so at this link. For a mere $5 a month, you’ll receive a special monthly bonus episode we’re calling Book Fight: After Dark! It will be very exciting, and probably sexy.

Thanks for listening to the show! And if you have book-loving friends who like to put things into their ears, please send them our way.

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Episode 179: Spring Fling, Anton Chekhov (“The Lady With the Dog”)

This week we’re continuing our “spring fling” theme by discussing one of the most famous stories about an affair: Anton Chekhov’s “Lady With the Dog.” Is the main character redeemed by love, or is he just a selfish jerk? Should unhappily married people seek solace in the warm embrace of another? And what about the dog? What’s the dog up to?

Here’s a photo of the author, who is probably contemplating a bus ride to pound town.

We also talk this week about the many loves of Robert Lowell, and the time he appropriated his ex-wife’s letters for his own book of poetry. For more on Lowell, check out this piece from the New Republic by Michelle Dean.

In the second half of the episode, we take a trip to Yahoo Answers, to see what burning questions people have about cheating. Spoiler alert: people are the worst.

As always, you can stream the show right here on our site, or download the mp3 file to play on any device. Or, visit us in the iTunes store, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Episode 178: Kiese Laymon, Long Division

This week we welcome special guest andre carrington, professor at Drexel University and author of the book Speculative Blackness: The Future of Race in Science Fiction. Andre chose our reading, Long Division, a novel by Kiese Laymon that involves time travel, overlapping narratives and some rather complex metafiction.

We talk about the book’s complicated plot, and whether it’s a strength or a weakness of the novel. We also talk about genre lines, how we draw them, and whether it’s even worth drawing them. In the second half of the show, we talk to andre about his work, race in science fiction, fan fiction, and writing for academic versus non-academic audiences.

As always, you can stream the show right here on our site, by clicking on the player below. You can also download the mp3 file, and play it on your preferred device. Or check us out in the iTunes store, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Long Division


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Episode 177: Spring Fling, William Trevor (“A Bit on the Side”)

This week we’re talking about a William Trevor story, “A Bit on the Side,” which traces the final moments of an affair. The story comes from his collection of the same name, first published in 2005.

We also discuss the curious case of Alexander Maksik, whose debut novel, You Deserve Nothing, was perhaps based on his own illicit affair with a 17-year-old student while he was teaching in Paris. The novel earned rave reviews, and this piece of reporting by Jezebel, which included interviews with former students of Maksik’s, didn’t seem to get much traction in the literary world.

Plus: literary gossip! Dating advice! And much, much more.

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

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Episode 176: Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven (w/ Dave Housley)

We welcome special guest Dave Housley, founding editor of Barrelhouse Magazine, and author of several books, most recently the short story collection Massive Cleansing Fire. Dave chose this week’s book, the best-selling post-apocalyptic Station Eleven.

In the second half of the show, Dave reads a bit of fanfiction, and the less said about that the better.

As always, you can stream the episode right here on our site, or you can download the mp3 file. Or check us out in the iTunes store, where you can subscribe (for free!) and never miss another installment.

We’ve also joined Patreon, if you’d like to support the show. We’ll be recording bonus episodes that will only be available to listeners who kick in $5 a month–a pretty great bargain, considering that all our regular episodes (4 a month!) are free.

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