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Tough love for literature


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Episode 213: Winter of Wayback, 1952!

This week we’re delving into 1952, with a story by Hisaye Yamamoto, who published a handful of well-received stories in the 1950s, but wrote rather sparingly in the decades that followed, in part because of the labor of raising a family. But she did continue to write, and in 1988 published a collection, Seventeen Syllables & Other Stories, which pulled together stories she’d written over nearly 40 years.

In addition to Yamamoto’s story, we talk about panty raids, which were apparently taking America’s colleges by storm in 1952. Plus the Nevada nuclear tests, and how Las Vegas used the atomic bomb as a way to market itself to tourists.

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.

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Episode 212: Winter of Wayback, 1951!

It’s the second week of our annual Winter of Wayback, and we’re diving into 1951! We’ve got a story from Harris Downey, who isn’t a household name these days but was quite the rising literary star in the early 50s. We also talk about several other important 1951 developments, including the New Jersey Turnpike, corrupt boxing promoters, fast food, and Billy Joel’s busted TV.

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 212:

Download Episode 212 (right-click, save-as)

Thanks for listening!


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Episode 211: Winter of Wayback, 1950!

This week we’re kicking off another Winter of Wayback season, but this year with a new wrinkle: instead of visiting randomly selected years each week, we’ve chosen a decade–the 1950s–and will spend the winter working through it one year at a time. What does that mean, in practice? Each week we’ll read either a book, a story, or an essay we’ve selected from that year. We’ll also talk about other literary and cultural goings-on from that year, to help put the selected reading into a broader context.

Some weeks the readings will be things you’ve likely heard of; other weeks they’ll be deeper cuts. This first week (1950) we chose a popular story, J.D. Salinger’s “For Esme … With Love and Squalor.” We also talked about McCarthyism and the Hollywood blacklist, new food innovations of 1950, and various other important goings-on from the year.

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 211:

Download Episode 211 (right-click, save-as)

Thanks for listening!