Book Fight!

Tough love for literature


Episode 56: Anthony Powell, A Question of Upbringing

We’re joined by musician and novelist Wesley Stace (who you may also know as John Wesley Harding) to discuss the first novel in Anthony Powell’s 12-book cycle A Dance to the Music of Time. Once Mike finishes geeking out about meeting one of his favorite musicians——before recording the episode, Mike pulled his copy of Why We Fight off the shelf, and discovered he’d worn it out so much in his teens that his CD player wouldn’t even recognize the disc——we get down to discussing the book, and why Stace loves it so much.


In our second segment, we talk with Stace about his insistence that his first novel be published under his real name, and why people are so skeptical of musicians and actors who decide to write novels. We also talk about why there aren’t more good novels about rock music, Stace’s newest book, Wonderkid, his NPR variety show Cabinet of Wonders, the Wiggles, cricket, apple pie beds, James Bond, and Mr. Bean.

Stace’s most recent album is Self Titled, which we would enthusiastically recommend. The music featured in the episode (possibly to Stace’s consternation) all comes from his 1992 album, Why We Fight, which meant a lot to Mike as a teenager and which he thoroughly enjoyed revisiting (after buying a new copy to replace the worn-out one).

As always, you can stream the episode right here on our site, or check us out in the iTunes store, where you can subscribe (for free!) and never miss another episode. We also welcome your feedback on what we discussed: You can email us, or hit us up on Twitter.


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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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