Book Fight!

Tough love for literature


Episode 63: Michael W. Clune, White Out

We welcome a special guest, Leslie Jamison (author of The Empathy Exams) to discuss Clune’s memoir of heroin addiction. While a graduate student in literature at Johns Hopkins University, Clune was also a daily heroin user, a life he chronicles in dreamy, often beautiful prose. We also talk about addiction memoirs more generally, Jamison’s approach to essay-writing, pie shakes, Iowa City, and Haley Joel Osment.


As always, you can stream the episode right here on our site, or download the mp3 file. Or find us in the iTunes store, where you can catch up on previous installments and subscribe (for free!) to never miss another one. We welcome your feedback on what we talked about. You can email us, hit us up on Twitter, or just leave a comment here on the site.

If you’d like to support the show, you can donate by clicking on the little piggy back on the right (in exchange for your donation, we’ll write you a blurb and read it on the show). You can also support us by supporting our sponsor, Powell’s Books. Just click on any of the Powell’s links around our page–including the cover image of Clune’s book, above–and anything you buy from the Powell’s store will send a little money back our way.

Thanks for listening!

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Episode 41: Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

Just a little light summer reading: Joan Didion’s 2005 memoir about grief and illness and loss. We talk about what distinguishes good nonfiction from bad, whether rich people are allowed to have problems, and gendered expectations for memoirs.


Hey, if you’re in the Philadelphia area, check out our fall writers’ conference on Saturday, Sept. 28. A full day of craft sessions and panels, plus a keynote address by J. Robert Lennon. At $65 ($55 for students) it’s a great bargain. Get more info, and register, here.

Get more info on Mike’s recommendation here, and more on Tom’s here.

As always, you can stream the episode here on the site, download the mp3 file, or check us out in the iTunes store, where you can subscribe and never miss another episode. Thanks for listening!


Download Episode 41