Book Fight!

Tough love for literature


Episode 101: James Tate Hill, Academy Gothic

This week’s book was the winner of the Nilsen Prize for a First Novel, sponsored and funded by Southeast Missouri State University. James Tate Hill‘s book is both a detective novel and an academic satire, set at a small private college where the dean has either killed himself or (more likely) been murdered.


We try our best to talk about the book without giving away any plot spoilers. We also talk about the conventions of detective novels, and the vagaries of academic life.

In the second half of the show we’ve got a new installment of Raccoon News, which this week features some historical raccoon news. Plus we pay another visit to the NaNoWriMo forums to answer questions about how college kids talk, what tweens are like, and how to make friends.

As always, we’re happy to hear what you think about the stuff we talked about this week. You can email us directly, hit us up on Twitter, or just leave a comment here on the site. Also: we’re on Facebook, and gradually getting better about posting studio pics and links and such. So come visit us over there, like our page, etc. etc.

You can stream today’s episode by clicking on the little player thingy below, or download the mp3 file to play on your favorite device. Or visit us in the iTunes store, or wherever you normally get your podcasts, where you can download back episodes and subscribe (for free) so that you never miss another weekly installment.

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Episode 31: Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim

Well, we’ve officially been doing this show for a year. And so far it seems like a … success? Let’s go with success. Thanks to all of you for listening, for sharing your feedback, for tweeting/emailing things at us that make us laugh, for donating money to keep us going, and for helping to spread the word to new folks. Seriously, it’s been great.

This week is a Mike pick: Kingsley Amis’s debut novel, Lucky Jim, which he’s taught several times in a class on comedy and literature. Will Tom properly love it? Will Mike have to punch him in the face? Only one way to find out.


Talking points include: British wit, funny hats, possible misogyny, Jenga, Tom’s abs, and ballet. A cornucopia of delights!

As always, you can stream (or download) the episode below, or find us in the iTunes store, where you can subscribe (for free) and never miss another episode. While you’re over at iTunes, how about leaving us a quick review? They help us reach new listeners and make us feel better about ourselves.

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