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Episode 106: Isaac Fitzgerald, “High for the Holidays”

To get you prepared for next week’s Christmas spectacular, we’re whetting your proverbial whistle by discussing a holiday-themed essay from Isaac Fitzgerald. Originally published in December 2013 on Buzzfeed, “High for the Holidays” is about a Christmas trip in which the author scaled Mount Kiliminjaro with his sister and estrangemd father. Though like nearly all good literary essays, this one is about more than its initial subject. It’s less travelogue than it is an exploration of difficult families, about running away from home and when it might be time to finally run back.

In the second half of the show, we share a listener-submitted story of authorial spite, quite possibly the only such story to involve a spiteful acrostic. We’ve also got another holiday-themed installment of Fan Fiction Corner. This time we’re taking a look at the Grinch’s unexpected sexy side.

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.

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 also support the show by shopping at Powell’s: if you click on any of the links around our site, then shop as you normally would, we’ll get a small percentage of every dollar you spend. Perhaps you’d like to revisit the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas in beautiful hardback, then compare it to the very sexy versions we discussed in this week’s episode?

Or, start reading ahead for next week’s Christmas spectacular, during which we’ll be discussing Debbie Macomber’s Christmas Letters, as well as a Mary Higgins Clark production that is quite possibly the worst Christmas book ever written.

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

Stream Episode 106:

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Spring of Spite: Harlan Ellison, “The Three Most Important Things in Life”

This week’s reading is an essay by Harlan Ellison, which you can read for free here. Not that you need to read the essay before listening to the episode, but the option is there if you want it. We were directed to that particular essay by a listener, who said we couldn’t do a season of spite-themed shows without talking about Ellison. In addition to the essay itself, we talk about some of his many personal beefs and lit-world dustups. We also talk about his super-janky website (with apologies to Webmaster Rick, whose rants you can check out here).

For the curious, here’s a video of Ellison’s “performance” at the Hugo Awards that touched off what’s become known as GropeGate.

Also this week: Another lit feud, this one between Vladimir Nabokov and Edmund Wilson, who has one of the scowliest Wikipedia photos of all time. And the stories of successful companies started out of spite.

As always, you can listen to the episode right here on our site, by clicking on the streaming player below. Or you can download the mp3 file. Or visit us in the iTunes store, where you can listen to back episodes and subscribe (for free!) to make sure you never miss another installment. While you’re in iTunes, please take a second to leave us a rating and a review. Both those things help the show move up the charts and ultimately allow us to reach more people.

We’re always happy to hear what you think about the things we discussed on the show. You can email us directly, hit us up on Twitter, or just leave a comment here on the site. Also: As of a few days ago, we’re now on Facebook! So come visit us over there, where we’ll post occasional photos and show notes, and maybe preview upcoming show features.


Download Spring of Spite #4 (right-click, save-as)

Thanks for listening!