Book Fight!

Tough love for literature

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Episode 43: Emily Gould, And the Heart Says Whatever

This week is a Mike Pick, a 2010 essay collection/memoir that spawned all manner of online hate, though said hate seemed to have less to do with the essays in the book and more to do with the book’s mere existence, or maybe the existence of its author, Emily Gould, a former Gawker editor who scored a New York Times Magazine cover article about her willingness to write online about her own life, and some of the blowback that caused.


We talk some more about our expectations for nonfiction. Are we meant to learn things? Or is it enough for someone to honestly represent their life on the page? We also talk about online haters, underage sex, exposing oneself in writing, and how to filter out the interesting from the uninteresting when writing about your own life.

If you’re a fan of the show, please consider throwing us a few bucks by clicking on the piggybank over there in the right-hand column. You can also support the show by supporting our sponsor, Powell’s Books: if you use any of the links around our site (including the cover image above) to get to their site, they’ll donate a portion of every dollar you spend to our show. Win win!

Feel free to sound off in the comments, or click on the ‘Fight Back’ tab above to send us email. You can also follow us on Twitter, or come to Philadelphia and surreptitiously follow us around, writing comments on little notecards and slipping them into our pants pockets while we’re on a crowded subway train.

As always, you can stream the episode below, or download the mp3 file, or visit us in the iTunes store, where you can subscribe and never miss another episode. Thanks for listening!


Download Episode 43


Episode 24: 2012 Holiday Special

It’s our first holiday season as podcasters, and our first holiday special! This week, we put aside our usual reading, do our best to shelve our cynicism, and dive headfirst into The Christmas Spirit, with John Grisham and Glenn Beck as our spirit guides. That’s right: we’ve got two books for you in this jam-packed episode, Grisham’s Skipping Christmas (source material for the Tim Allen movie Christmas With the Kranks) and Glenn Beck’s The Christmas Sweater (source material for a simulcast stage show that IMDB users have awarded 1.9 out of 10 stars). Will we deem these books New Holiday Classics? Or will we throw them into the backs of our closets with all the lousy Christmas gifts we’ve gotten from well-meaning relatives over the years?



Talking points include: terrible neighbors, Millenials, entitlement culture, white people problems, Lifetime Christmas movies, Jack Chick tracts, and missile parades.

As always, you can stream the episode right here on our site, or download the mp3 file below. You can also find us in the iTunes store, where you can download single episodes or subscribe (for free). While you’re there, do us a solid and leave a rating and a comment, which will help us reach a larger audience.

Thanks again for all your support this year as we’ve figured out how this podcasting thing works. And thanks for your generous donations these last few weeks–we’ve ordered new audio equipment, and should have it set up and ready to go in the new year. Speaking of the new year, we’ll be off next week (the 24th) but will be back on the 31st with a brand new episode. Until then: happy holidays!

Click to stream:

Download Episode 24: Christmas Special (right-click, save as)