Book Fight!

Tough love for literature


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Episode 401: Kristin Keane

We’re joined by Kristin Keane, author of An Encyclopedia of Bending Time, to discuss A Ghost in the Throat, a genre-crossing memoir by Irish writer Doireann Ní Ghríofa. We talk about strategies for incorporating research into creative nonfiction, what counts as “text” beyond traditional words on a page, and some of the challenges Kristin faced when she decided to structure her own memoir as an encyclopedia. Plus: Quantum Leap, foot massagers, and none of us understands what the metaverse is.

You can read an excerpt of Kristin’s book here, via the Washington Post.

If you like the show, and would like more of it, we’re releasing two bonus episodes a month to our Patreon subscribers, for only $5: https://www.patreon.com/BookFight

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Episode 400: Becky Barnard and Dave Housley

It’s our 400th episode! Which, to be honest, we didn’t realize when we were recording this, because we’re bad at math. But that doesn’t make it any less exciting! And we inadvertently planned a pretty special one to mark the milestone: we’re joined by Becky Barnard and Dave Housley, Barrelhouse editors and authors of the new YA novel The Greys, to discuss one of the craziest movie novelizations of all time: E.T., The Extraterrestrial, by William Kotzwinkle. It’s the adorable little alien character you know and love, except super horny?

If you like the show, and would like more of it, we’re releasing two bonus episodes a month to our Patreon subscribers, for only $5: https://www.patreon.com/BookFight

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Episode 399: Elena Passarello & Justin St. Germain

Two guests this week, as we’re joined by the co-hosts of the literary nonfiction podcast I’ll Find Myself When I’m Dead. Though Elena and Justin are also quite accomplished nonfiction authors in their own right. Justin St. Germain is the author of the memoir Son of a Gun, and more recently a book-length essay about Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. Elena Passarello is the author of the essay collections Let Me Clear My Throat and Animals Strike Curious Poses.

The book they chose for us to read is a collection by Donald Hall, former U.S. poet laureate, called Essays After Eighty. We talk about the occasional essay as a form, what makes an essay an essay–as opposed to a random assortment of thoughts–and lots, lots more.

If you like the show, and would like more of it, we’re releasing two bonus episodes a month to our Patreon subscribers, for only $5: https://www.patreon.com/BookFight

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Episode 398: Michelle Hart

We’re joined by Michelle Hart, author of the novel We Do What We Do in the Dark and a former editor for Oprah Daily. For our reading this week, Michelle chose a short story by Leopoldine Core, “Hog for Sorrow,” about a young sex worker with complicated feelings towards one of her clients and toward one of her coworkers.

If you like the show, and would like more of it, we’re releasing two bonus episodes a month to our Patreon subscribers, for only $5: https://www.patreon.com/BookFight

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Episode 397: Dan Brady

Our guest this week is longtime Barrelhouse poetry editor Dan Brady, whose most recent book, Subtexts, uses some interesting constraints to create erasures and layerings of language. His pick for us was another book of poems created through an innovative process: White Bull, by Elizabeth Hughey. The poems in Hughey’s book are all assembled from the words of Bull Connor, Birmingham, Alabama’s famous segregationist public safety commissioner.

If you like the show, and would like more of it, we’re releasing two bonus episodes a month to our Patreon subscribers, for only $5: https://www.patreon.com/BookFight

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Episode 396: Laura McGrath

Our guest this week is Laura McGrath, an assistant professor of English at Temple University, where she teaches literary criticism and contemporary literature–including a class about best sellers. It’s in that context that she chose our book, Valley of the Dolls, the 1966 camp classic by Jacqueline Susann. We talk about the book as both a novel and a cultural phenomenon, and what McGrath’s students make of it all these years later.

If you like the show, and would like more of it, we’re releasing two bonus episodes a month to our Patreon subscribers, for only $5: https://www.patreon.com/BookFight

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Episode 395: Inga Saffron

Our guest this week is Inga Saffron, Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer. We talk about Jane Jacobs’ groundbreaking work in urban studies, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, and how it’s weathered the test of time since its publication in the 1960s. We also talk about the past and future of journalism, Inga’s work as a foreign correspondent in Russia, and lots of other stuff.

If you like the show, and would like more of it, we’re releasing two bonus episodes a month to our Patreon subscribers, for only $5: https://www.patreon.com/BookFight

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Episode 394: Danielle Evans

Our guest this week is Danielle Evans (The Office of Historical Corrections), who chose the 1929 Harlem Renaissance novel Plum Bun, in part because she’s lately been particularly interested in narratives about passing. We talk about how Jessie Redmon Fauset’s novel compares to other passing narratives, how Danielle’s students respond to the book, and

If you like the show, and would like more of it, we’re releasing two bonus episodes a month to our Patreon subscribers, for only $5: https://www.patreon.com/BookFight

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Episode 393: Mike Meginnis

Our guest this week is Mike Meginnis (Drowning Practice, Fat Man and Little Boy). He joins us to discuss a playful genre-bending novel by Megan Milks, Margaret and the Mystery of the Missing Body. We also talk about Mike’s relationship to genre, the similarities between genre and gender categories, and why he rarely cries.

You can find Milks’ novel here: https://www.feministpress.org/books-a-m/margaret-and-the-mystery-of-the-missing-body

And find out more about Mike and his work here: https://www.mikemeginnis.com/

If you like the show, and would like more of it, we’re releasing two bonus episodes a month to our Patreon subscribers, for only $5: https://www.patreon.com/BookFight

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Episode 392: Dave Housley

This week we’re joined by Dave Housley to talk office novels! Dave’s most recent book, The Other Ones, is about an office that wins the lottery–or, more specifically, it’s about the people in that office who chose not to play. We also discuss Christian Tebordo’s most recent novel, The Apology, which is also set in an office and involves some Clorox-related warfare.

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 has forced us to read books by Tucker Max, Danielle Steel, Sean Penn, and–most recently–a kid who claimed that he went to heaven.

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