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Tough love for literature

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Episode 307: Christmas 2019!

It’s that special time of year again, folks. When your beloved Book Fight hosts take a break from all the very serious literary talk and dive into a sometimes-cheesy, sometimes-infuriating, always-entertaining Christmas book. In past years we’ve read books by Debbie Macomber, Janet Evanovich, and even Glenn Beck. This year we’re checking out a book by the “queen of the beach read,” Elin Hilderbrand, who a few years ago branched out with a series of books set around the holidays.

For this episode, we read the first of Hilderbrand’s winter books, which introduced us to the Quinn family. Kelley Quinn owns an inn on Nantucket that he might have to sell. His second wife, Mitzi, has been carrying on an affair with the man who dresses up as Santa Claus at the inn’s annual holiday party. His oldest son, Patrick, might be headed to prison for insider trading. His daughter Ava is feeling lukewarm about her boyfriend, and his middle son Nathaniel is about to propose to a hot French lady. Oh, and his youngest son might be dead in Afghanistan.

We’ll be taking our usual end-of-year hiatus next week, BUT we’ll have a special bonus episode for our Patreon subscribers. We read a second, much more ridiculous holiday book, about knitting vampires, and we can’t wait to tell you all about it. To get that episode, and our other bonus content–including monthly episodes of Book Fight After Dark, and episodes in our advice series, Reading the Room–all you have to do is chip in $5 a month, which helps support the show and keeps our regular episodes free.

As always, you can stream the show right here on our site, or download the mp3 file to listen to later. Or check us out in Apple podcasts, where you can subscribe (for free!) and catch up on older episodes. We’re also available on Spotify, Stitcher, or just about any other podcast app. If for some reason you can’t find us in your favorite app, please reach out and let us know!

Thanks for listening!

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Episode 208: 2017 Christmas Spectacular

It’s that time of year again, Book Fight family: time to throw a couple logs on the fire, pour yourself some eggnog, and listen to us make our way through another terrible Christmas-themed book. This time it’s from the Thomas Kinkade collection. Did you know that the Painter of Light was also the Writer of Light? Or, more likely, that the Painter of Light had enough money lying around that he could pay some poor writer to bring his cheesy paintings to life?

Honestly, some paintings were just made to be commemorative plates.

The specific Kinkade book we read was the fifth novel in “his” Cape Light series, called A Christmas Promise. It basically follows the plot of the Michael J. Fox movie Doc Hollywood, but … more Christian.

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, please consider subscribing 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 208:

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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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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!


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