Book Fight!

Tough love for literature


Episode 89: Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, Good Omens

This week’s book is a bit outside our usual reading habits, but it was chosen for us by a donor to the show during our last fund drive. Neither of us had read anything by either Gaiman or Pratchett before, though we were both aware of their reputations, and we knew this book in particular was something of a cult classic. So we gave it a read, and then tried to figure out what it was, exactly, that made it so beloved to so many people.


During the episode we talk about the book’s humor, and whether it’s appropriate for adults. We try to decide if it’s a satire and, if so, what exactly it’s satirizing. We contemplate the possibility we’re both just a couple of grumps. Oh, and we shit on The Goonies a little, too, just for good measure.


Here’s a link to the Tom Robbins episode we mentioned a couple times. Here’s a link to Philip Hoare’s The Sea Inside, and his previous book The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea. Speaking of our recommendations, you can follow Mike on Instagram @mikeingram00.

As always, we’re happy to hear what you think about the stuff we discussed. You can email us directly, hit us up on Twitter, or just leave a comment here on the site. Also: we’re now on Facebook! So come visit us over there, where we are slowly getting better about posting candid studio photos and links to stuff we’ve talked about on the show.

Stream the 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.

Stream the episode:

Download the episode (right-click, save-as)

Thanks for listening!


Episode 42: Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake

Tom picked this week’s book, because he’s thinking about writing some post-apocalyptic fiction and Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake came highly recommended. So, did it meet our expectations? Did it thrill us with its bleak vision of a world where humans have rendered themselves (mostly) extinct?


We also talk about fiction that proceeds from character versus fiction that proceeds from premise, and whether science fiction can ever be capital-L Literature. That discussion was prompted, in part, by this Sven Birkerts review of the novel, which first appeared in the New York Times and which you can read here.

As always, you can stream the episode for free right here on our site, or download the mp3 file. Or visit us in the iTunes store, where you can subscribe and never miss another episode. While you’re there, please consider leaving us a rating and a comment. If you want to further support the show, you can donate a few bucks by clicking on the little piggy bank over there on the right, or buy some books at Powell’s–if you get to their site using one of the links on our site, we’ll get a little portion of every dollar you spend. You’ll also be supporting a great independent bookstore, so win-win!

Finally, if you’re in or near Philadelphia, please consider coming out to the Conversations and Connections Writing Conference on Sept. 28. For only $65, you’ll get a full day of panels and craft sessions, a keynote by J. Robert Lennon, a free boxed-wine happy hour, a subscription to a literary journal of your choice, and a book from one of our participating authors. What more could you ask for? (That is a rhetorical question.)

Thanks for listening to the show. Tell your book-loving friends!

Download Episode 42