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Tough love for literature


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Episode 50: 2013 Christmas Spectacular

What’s that under the tree? Is it a very special episode of your favorite literature-adjacent podcast? (Spoiler: it is.) Since last year’s Christmas episode was such a fan favorite, this year we’re back with another supersized, end-of-the-year holiday blowout. We’ve read two books–one a steamy, Christmas-themed romance, the other … some dumb thing by James Patterson. Both of which we’ll dissect for your entertainment. So throw another yule log on the fire, add an extra shot of brandy to your eggnog, and tune out your loved ones by listening to the dulcet tones of your two favorite podcasters as they get increasingly angry about crimes against both Christmas and literature.

First up is a novella, “The Christmas Present,” by New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster, part of a three-novella collection of Christmas-themed romances. It is delightfully odd, the story of a man who trails a woman across several states and attempts to bludgeon her into marrying him. That might sound like the plot of a horror film, but we’re pretty sure it’s meant to be sweet and romantic.

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Next up, we consider James Patterson’s The Christmas Wedding, a book that, frankly, is a crime against humanity. That it took two people to write this book, both of whom are presumably native English speakers (Richard DiLallo gets a co-author credit) is perhaps the strangest thing about this very strange book. The story’s protagonist, a mid-50s widow, has been proposed to by three men, and she’s given each of them a provisional yes: she’ll have a wedding on Christmas, and only on the wedding day will she reveal which man she’ll choose. Like the male lead in Foster’s novella, we’re pretty sure this narcissistic lunatic is meant to be sympathetic, even “adorably quirky.”

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For more on Patterson’s “writing factory,” which neither of us knew all that much about at the time of recording, here’s a not-entirely-unsympathetic article from The Guardian. If you’d like to read more about Lori Foster–who apparently releases six to ten books a year (!)–check out her profile on the Harlequin website.

As always, you can stream the episode right here on our site, or download the file to play on whatever mobile device you prefer. You can also subscribe to the show (for free) in iTunes, or using just about any podcast app (we’re fans of Instacast, but live your life however you want).

Stream:

Download the 2013 Christmas Spectacular (mp3 file)

This is your last week to donate to our end-of-year fund drive and claim your donor gift(s). We’re still a couple hundred bucks short of our overall goal; if we hit that goal we’ll put together a special bonus episode on a book chosen by our listeners. So maybe you’d like to throw a little bit of your Christmas money our way? Visit our support page, where you can see all the details on donor gifts and make a secure donation with Paypal.

And thanks, everyone, for another great year. We’re taking next week off, though if you donated $20 or more to our annual fund drive (it’s not too late!), we’ll send out a link for a special bonus episode on Rush Limbaugh’s YA novel Rush Revere, so you can get your weekly Book Fight fix. For everyone else, we’ll be back in the new year with new episodes.

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