Book Fight!

Tough love for literature


Episode 159: Christmas Spectacular 2016

Hello, Book Fight listeners! We’ve made it through another year, if barely. As a reward, let’s all enjoy this super-sized holiday episode. Two books! A very special surprise guest! An above-average amount of bickering! Plus some discussion–perhaps fueled by end-of-year exhaustion–about whether this dumb show should continue to exist. Enjoy!

Our first book, despite the word “Christmas” appearing in the title, turned out to be less a holiday book than a shooting-and-punching-everyone-but-especially-Native-Americans book. There was so much shooting and punching! And enough offensive descriptions of Indians that readers will be rooting for the “renegades” to just kill all the book’s terrible white people.


Look, there’s no reason for you to read this book. Instead, listen to us try to explain its overstuffed cast of characters and stupid, idiot plot.

For the show’s second act, we’re joined by a very special surprise guest. We can’t say who it is. But we CAN say that longtime listeners will be very, very excited.

Our second book was a Christmas romance, which was at least sort of fun to read.It involves a Christmas-themed strip club, an undercover cop, true love, and SO MUCH FUCKING. An undercover cop visits a strip club as part of an investigation, meets a hot accountant who’s pretending to be a stripper, and sparks fly! (By “sparks,” we mean “bodily fluids” and by “fly” we mean pass in and out of various bodily orifices).



As always, you can stream the episode here on our site, by clicking the player thingy below. Or download the mp3 file. You can also visit us in the iTunes store, where you can download back episodes and subscribe (for free!) so you’ll never miss another installment.

We’ll be taking next week off, but donors will soon receive a special bonus episode. So, if you can’t handle a week without Book Fight, there’s still time to donate (click the piggy bank over there on the right) and get all three of the 2016 bonus episodes.

Stream Episode 159:

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Thanks for listening!

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Episode 107: The 2015 Christmas Spectacular

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! A time for family, and togetherness, but once you’re tired of family and togetherness, pour yourself a little egg nog, and listen to our discussion of two absurd Christmas books! It’s an annual tradition here at Book Fight Headquarters. Each of us picks a schmaltzy holiday book, and we decide whether it should go into the Christmas Canon or be shot out of a Christmas cannon. Ok, that last part is made up, but it’s basically what we do.

First up this year is a little gem by feel-good romance novelist Debbie Macomber, whose books seek to uplift her readers “with stories of connection and hope.” According to the FAQ on her website, living with men (her husband and sons) taught her “how men think … or don’t think.” Dr. Wynne Jeffries, one of the main characters of Christmas Letters, would mostly fall into the latter camp. On the one hand, he’s a celebrated child psychiatrist with a best-selling book about child-rearing, but on the other hand he’s a big dumb idiot who is more than willing to sell all his beliefs down the river in exchange for some light makeout action. Katherine, meanwhile, better known as “K.O.,” is a 28-year-old college student who owns a condo in a doorman building, dresses like a 50-year-old lady, and also enjoys makeout sessions that never lead to sex.

“These two sound like a match made in heaven,” you might be thinking right now. “What could possibly go wrong?”

The answer: Very little!


Our second Christmas book is a team effort from mother-daughter combo Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark, both respected rich authors in their own rights. It took both their unique talents to pull together this bizarre tale of a Bernie Madoff type who hides a flask of diamonds in a tree for some reason, and the ragtag bunch of self-satisfied millionaires who eventually bring him to justice in the Vermont woods.


We hope that your holiday season also ends with you finding a flask filled with diamonds. Or at least with bourbon! And thanks for spending another year with us. We’ll be taking next week off, but we’ll be back in the New Year with a brand new episode. Also starting in January we’ll be bringing back, by popular demand, our Winter of Wayback series, in which we pick a year, read a prize-winning story or essay published in that year, and then try our best to put that story into context with the year’s other pop cultural goings-on.

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 also support the show by shopping at Powell’s: if you click on any of the links around our site, including the book covers above, then shop as you normally would, we’ll get a small percentage of every dollar you spend.

To stream this week’s episode, just click on the little player below. Or download the mp3 file. Or you can visit us in the iTunes store, where you can always download back episodes and subscribe (for free!) to make sure you always get future installments.

Thanks for listening! Happy holidays!


Download Episode 107 (right-click, save-as)


Episode 75: 2014 Holiday Spectacular

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except for a supernatural bounty hunter who just showed up unannounced in some lady’s kitchen. Also some firemen with wacky names and six-pack abs.

It’s late December, and you know what that means: time for the annual Book Fight Holiday Spectacular*, during which we take a break from our usual reading and celebrate the season by reading ridiculous books. It would be pretty tough to top last year’s offerings, which included a James Patterson novel that is perhaps the worst book ever written in (a close approximation of) the English language. Though the first of this year’s picks–Janet Evanovich’s Visions of Sugar Plums–seems determined to give Patterson a run for his (ill-deserved) money.


Adding insult to injury, the cover promises a bad-ass Santa, but the book features exactly zero bad-ass Santas.

Next up, after last year’s bizarre Christmas-themed romance novel, we took a suggestion from a listener and checked out It’s A Wonderful Fireman, a novel by USA Today best-selling author Jennifer Bernard.


The title makes (a little) more sense once you realize the book is (sort of) a retelling of It’s A Wonderful Life. Also, one of us is kind of in love with this book, and might be making plans to read more in the Bachelor Firemen series.

As always, you can stream the episode right here on our site, or download the mp3 file and do with it what you will. You can also visit us in the iTunes store, where you can (and should!) subscribe, so you’ll get each week’s episode automatically.

If you like this holiday episode, you’ll want to check back soon for the details of our annual fund drive. One of this year’s donor gifts will be a series of special bonus episodes in which we review holiday-specific books (e.g. Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Arbor Day).

Also, if you’re interested in reading Barrelhouse’s Ghosts of Christmas Future series (which Tom describes early in the episode), you can find all the stories and poems here.

Finally, we always welcome your feedback on what we talked about on the show. You can email us, hit us up on Twitter, or just leave a comment here on the episode post. Thanks for listening! And if you like the show, come on back next week, and tell your book-loving friends.


Download 2014 Holiday Spectacular (right-click, save-as)

*In the first year of the podcast, we referred to this episode as a Holiday Special. Last year we referred to it as a Christmas Spectacular. This year, I guess we’re splitting the difference?


Episode 24: 2012 Holiday Special

It’s our first holiday season as podcasters, and our first holiday special! This week, we put aside our usual reading, do our best to shelve our cynicism, and dive headfirst into The Christmas Spirit, with John Grisham and Glenn Beck as our spirit guides. That’s right: we’ve got two books for you in this jam-packed episode, Grisham’s Skipping Christmas (source material for the Tim Allen movie Christmas With the Kranks) and Glenn Beck’s The Christmas Sweater (source material for a simulcast stage show that IMDB users have awarded 1.9 out of 10 stars). Will we deem these books New Holiday Classics? Or will we throw them into the backs of our closets with all the lousy Christmas gifts we’ve gotten from well-meaning relatives over the years?



Talking points include: terrible neighbors, Millenials, entitlement culture, white people problems, Lifetime Christmas movies, Jack Chick tracts, and missile parades.

As always, you can stream the episode right here on our site, or download the mp3 file below. You can also find us in the iTunes store, where you can download single episodes or subscribe (for free). While you’re there, do us a solid and leave a rating and a comment, which will help us reach a larger audience.

Thanks again for all your support this year as we’ve figured out how this podcasting thing works. And thanks for your generous donations these last few weeks–we’ve ordered new audio equipment, and should have it set up and ready to go in the new year. Speaking of the new year, we’ll be off next week (the 24th) but will be back on the 31st with a brand new episode. Until then: happy holidays!

Click to stream:

Download Episode 24: Christmas Special (right-click, save as)