Book Fight!

Tough love for literature

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Fall of Failure Episode 3: Kseniya Melnik, “Strawberry Lipstick,” and Failed Dog Breeds

This week our short story comes from Kseniya Melnik, whose debut collection, Snow in May, came out this spring from Macmillan. The story we chose, “Strawberry Lipstick,” traces the increasingly troubled marriage of a young woman in 1950s Russia.


We’re also continuing our Fall of Failure theme by looking into failed dog breeds, including one, the “turnspit,” that people put into their ovens, because humans are total garbage monsters. We also talk about the Moscow Water Dog, the Hawaiian Poi Dog, and several other breeds that, for one reason or another, either went extinct or never quite lived up to their initial billing.

As always, you can stream the episode right here on our site, or download the mp3 file to listen to whenever you want. You can also visit us in the iTunes store, where you can find back episodes and subscribe (for free) to never miss another installment.

We’re always interested in hearing your thoughts on what we talked about. You can send us an email, tweet at us, or just leave a comment on this here post.


Download Fall of Failures Episode 3 (right-click, save-as)

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Episode 59: Tatyana Tolstaya, The Slynx

A dystopian Russian novel that explores life after a mysterious “blast” has turned back history, leaving a barely-literate population toiling in mind-numbing jobs and trapping rodents for currency. We try to put the book into some context, talk about Tolstaya’s other work, and Tom mulls a new segment that involves him watching terrible daytime television.


Talking points this week include: exclamation points, The View, Chernobyl, when history runs backwards, feminist icons, NBA basketball, rational decision-making, and totalitarian nightmares.

As always, you can stream the episode right here on the site, or visit us in the iTunes store, where you can catch up on our back catalog and subscribe (for free) so you never miss another installment. If you want to help support the show, please click on any of the Powell’s links around our site (including the book cover image above). Anything you buy from Powell’s will throw a little money back our way, at no extra cost to you. Also: We welcome feedback, so feel free to drop us a line, either by email at bookfightpod(at)gmail(dot)com, hit us up on Twitter, or just leave a comment here on the site.

Thanks for listening!


Download Episode 59 (right-click, save-as)