Book Fight!

Tough love for literature


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Episode 97: Jeff Sharlet, “#Nightshift”

This week we’re checking out something a little different, an Instagram “essay” created by the journalist Jeff Sharlet. After joining the social media site, Sharlet started taking portraits of people and writing brief narratives about their lives. Several of these profiles were later collected and reprinted in two parts by Longreads.

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In the second half of the show, we discuss Tom’s penchant for arguing with idiots on the internet, and offer some advice to a listener who keeps getting encouraging rejections on a story, Also, in preparation for National Novel Writing Month (which starts November 1), we visit the NaNoWriMo forums to see what we should be doing to get ready for the competition.

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 stream today’s episode by clicking on the little player thingy below, or download the mp3 file to play on your favorite device. Or visit us in the iTunes store, or wherever you normally get your podcasts, where you can download back episodes and subscribe (for free) so that you never miss another weekly installment.

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Writers Ask #3: No Lifeguard on Duty

Some podcasts might take the week off for Labor Day, and while we’re not ones to cast aspersions on anyone’s motives or work ethic: fuck those guys. Here at Book Fight, we know your problems don’t take a holiday, so our solutions don’t, either.

On this week’s episode, we tackle questions about cover letters, stilted dialogue, and what to do if you don’t like your friend’s book. Plus: Tom shares a story about getting assaulted in his sleep with a sack full of doorknobs. Continue reading


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Sometimes we do other things!

Here is a link to an essay one of us wrote called Suggestions for a Better Life, at Word Riot.

And here is a link to a short story the other of us wrote called Fantasies, at Monkeybicycle.

Finally, here is a picture of a super-sweet vehicle one of us saw today in South Philly. If you give us money, maybe we can buy it, and fill it with books and candy, and drive it across this great land spreading the gospel of literature (and candy) to children and adults alike.