Book Fight!

Tough love for literature


Episode 151: Halloween Spooktacular 2016

In celebration of Halloween, we’re talking this week about two spooky stories: Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” (read for free here) and Joe Hill’s “Abraham’s Sons” (read for free here). The former is a classic of the genre, though somehow Mike had never read it before, and didn’t even really know what it was about. The latter is a newer story, from a collection that’s received much praise from fans of literary fiction and people who like being scared.

We talk about what scares us–in stories, and also in life. We also talk about what makes a good horror story, and whether the really memorable ones always feel somehow old-fashioned and archetypal.

It’s still the Fall of Food, so we also devote some time in the second half of the episode to a discussion of Halloween candy. What are the best candies? The worst? And what’s the deal with those weird candies that seem to only exist on Halloween? Mary Janes, Sixlets: we’re looking in your direction here.

As always, we’re happy to hear your feedback. Did we get Halloween candy wrong? Do you have opinions about the stories we talked about? Do you want to give us your own All-Time Desert Island Top 5 list of candy bars? You can email us, hit us up on Twitter or Facebook, or just leave a comment here on the site.

You can stream this week’s show right here on our site, or download the mp3 file. Or check us out in the iTunes store–or in basically any of the available podcast apps–where you can always download back episodes and subscribe (for free) so you’ll never miss a new weekly installment.

Thanks for listening!

Stream Episode 151:

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Episode 96: Emily Carroll, Through the Woods

This week on the show we’ve got a pair of guests, Kelly Phillips and Claire Folkman, editors of Dirty Diamonds: An All-Girl Comics Anthology, and recent winners of a Philly Geek Award. They’ve chosen Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods for us to read, and they try to teach us how to approach comic stories. We talk about the relationship between text and image, ambiguous endings and spooky stories.


In the second half of the show we talk to Claire and Kelly about their work with Dirty Diamonds, their own comics, crying at pop concerts and the enduring legacy of Weird Al.

You can follow Claire on Tumblr. You can check out Kelly’s work, including her Weird Al work, on her own website. You can learn more about pizza beer at this site: it’s so good it deserves a wine glass!IMG_5867

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.

Thanks for listening! And if you like the show, tell your friends!


Download Episode 96 (right-click, save-as)