Book Fight!

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Episode 204: Ann Beattie, “The Women of this World”

This year, listeners, we’ve decided to give you a mini-season themed around the holidays. We’re starting with Thanksgiving, and this Ann Beattie story, “The Women of this World,” first published in November 2000 in The New Yorker. Mike really loved Ann Beattie’s stories, back when he was in college and first taking creative writing classes, so he was curious to see if her work would still work on him in the same ways.

In the second half of the episode, we dive back into the NaNoWriMo forums, to see what kind of help this year’s crop of writers is looking for.

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 in just about any app you might use to listen to podcasts.

If you like the show, you can subscribe to our Patreon, which helps offset our costs and allows us to keep doing the podcast each week. In exchange for $5, you’ll also get access to a monthly bonus episode, Book Fight After Dark, in which we discuss the wide world of romance novels.

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Episode 203: Tom Williams, Don’t Start Me Talkin’

This week we’re discussing our final novel of the Fall of Frauds, a book about two “authentic” bluesmen who turn out to be not quite what they seem. The music is real enough, but they’ve adopted the kinds of personas they assume their (mostly white) audiences want: uneducated, boozy, physically ailing black men from the deep south who speak in homespun slang, when they deign to speak at all. Don’t Start Me Talkin is Tom Willams’ second book, published in 2014 by Curbside Splendor.

Also this week: It’s November, which means it’s NaNoWriMo, which means it’s time for us to dive into the NaNoWriMo forums, where participants are looking for advice on everything from what to name their characters to how to depict the Wars of the Roses, but with talking rats.

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 in just about any app you might use to listen to podcasts.

If you like the show, you can subscribe to our Patreon, which helps offset our costs and allows us to keep doing the podcast each week. In exchange for $5, you’ll also get access to a monthly bonus episode, Book Fight After Dark, in which we discuss the wide world of romance novels.

Stream Episode 203:

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Episode 202: Live from the Temple Library!

This week we’ve got something a bit different for you: a live episode we recorded recently at Temple University’s Paley Library. We were joined by local writers Jason Rekulak and p.e. garcia for a discussion of literary community, balancing the work of writing with the need to make a living, and pieces of advice we would’ve given to our college-aged selves. The format for this episode is a bit different than usual, since we were trying to make the program as useful as possible for an audience of college creative-writing students. But we think there’s plenty here that writers and editors of any age (and experience level) can enjoy, and learn from.

Jason is the author of the recently published novel The Impossible Fortress (Simon and Schuster). You can visit his website to play the game we talked about (briefly) during our discussion. Jason is also the head editor for Philadelphia’s Quirk Books.

p.e. garcia is a poet originally from Arkansas and now living in Philadelphia. You can learn more about them, and read some of their work, on their website. Philip is also an editor-at-large for The Rumpus.

As always, you can stream this week’s episode right here on our site, or download the mp3 file. You can also find us in the iTunes store, or in just about any app you might use to listen to podcasts.

If you like the show, you can subscribe to our Patreon, which helps offset our costs and allows us to keep doing the podcast each week. In exchange for $5, you’ll also get access to a monthly bonus episode, Book Fight After Dark, in which we discuss the wide world of romance novels.

Stream Episode 201:

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Episode 201: Fall of Frauds, Jorge Luis Borges (“Tom Castro, the Implausible Imposter)

This week we’re back with another fraud-themed story, this one from an upstart indie author named Jorge Luis Borges. Probably you haven’t heard about him. He’s pretty obscure. Anyway, early in his career he wrote this whole collection of stories based on real-life criminals. The story we read, “Tom Castro, the Implausible Imposter,” was published (in English) in Harper’s, so you can find it that way, if you have access to their digital archives. Otherwise you can just take our word for it that it’s a perfectly fine story.

Here’s a picture of the author with a cat.

Also this week, we talk about various Halloween-themed hoaxes, including razors in candy, and a BBC television production about a haunted house that apparently caused PTSD symptoms in a number of viewers, and was even partly responsible for a death.

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 in just about any app you might use to listen to podcasts.

If you like the show, you can subscribe to our Patreon, which helps offset our costs and allows us to keep doing the podcast each week. In exchange for $5, you’ll also get access to a monthly bonus episode, Book Fight After Dark, in which we discuss the wide world of romance novels.

Stream Episode 201:

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Episode 200: Fall of Frauds, Martin Suter, The Last Weynfeldt

This week we’re back with another fraud-themed novel, this one from best-selling Swiss author Martin Suter. His fourteenth novel, The Last Weynfeldt, is about art forgery, femme fatales, and what it’s like to be wildly rich (spoiler alert: it’s mostly pretty good, though sometimes it’s kind of sad).

Also this week, we talk about the ins and outs of art forgery, including the case of Wolfgang Beltracchi, considered to be one of the most prolific art forgers of all time. You can read more about Beltracchi in this fascinating piece from Vanity Fair.

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 in just about any app you might use to listen to podcasts.

If you like the show, you can subscribe to our Patreon, which helps offset our costs and allows us to keep doing the podcast each week. In exchange for $5, you’ll also get access to a monthly bonus episode, Book Fight After Dark, in which we discuss the wide world of romance novels.

Stream Episode 200:

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Episode 199: Fall of Frauds, Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley

This week we’re discussing our first novel of the Fall of Frauds, and it’s pretty much the standard-bearer of the form. When we mentioned on Facebook and Twitter that we were looking for fraud-themed stuff to read, Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley was by far the most suggested title.

Some of you, no doubt, know the story only from its 1999 movie adaptation starring Matt Damon, Jude Law, and Gwyneth “Goop” Paltrow. A fine film, for sure, but it’s definitely worth reading the book, too. Even if you’re familiar with the basic plot, there’s plenty in the novel to hold your interest, and keep you guessing.

Also this week, we talk about how to fake your own death! Or, more accurately, how NOT to fake your own death, since the only examples one can find, of course, are of people who were eventually found out. Still: useful tips! Don’t ever say we’re not providing our listeners with a valuable service.

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 in just about any app you might use to listen to podcasts.

If you like the show, you can subscribe to our Patreon, which helps offset our costs and allows us to keep doing the podcast each week. In exchange for $5, you’ll also get access to a monthly bonus episode, Book Fight After Dark, in which we discuss the wide world of romance novels.

Stream Episode 199:

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Episode 198: Fall of Frauds, Carmen Machado (“Help Me Follow My Sister Into the Land of the Dead”)

This week we continue our Fall of Fraud theme by examining a story that is, like the Michael Martone story we discussed a couple weeks ago, something of a “fraudulent artifact.” In “Help Me Follow My Sister into the Land of the Dead,” Carmen Machado tells a fictional story in the form of a Kickstarter campaign, even adding stretch goals and updates and user comments. As we talk about on the episode, the resulting story is much more than just a gimmicky experiment in form; Machado actually uses the form to tell a compelling story.

Also this week, we continue our exploration of literary frauds with the story of Albania’s second-most popular author, who turned out not to be Albanian at all. Plus: people who fake illnesses online, and the people who have made it their mission to out them.

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 in just about any app you might use to listen to podcasts.

If you like the show, you can subscribe to our Patreon, which helps offset our costs and allows us to keep doing the podcast each week. In exchange for $5, you’ll also get access to a monthly bonus episode, Book Fight After Dark, in which we discuss the wide world of romance novels.

Stream Episode 198:

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Thanks for listening!