Book Fight!

Tough love for literature


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Episode 243: Summer of Spouses, Holiday Reinhorn (and Rainn Wilson)

We’re back with another installment in our Summer of Spouses series. This week we’ve read a short story by Holiday Reinhorn, “Last Seen,” from her 2005 collection, Big Cats. The book was well-reviewed, and Reinhorn has done plenty of other interesting work, but nearly every article about her mentions her famous husband, Rainn Wilson, who you might know as Dwight from The Office. By all accounts the two have a happy and successful partnership; they even started a nonprofit, Lide, which works with at-risk adolescent girls in Haiti. They also own a tiny horse, and a zonkey.

In addition to Reinhorn’s story, we talk about the time we saw her read on someone’s porch in Iowa City, plus speculate wildly about what it must be like to be married to a big TV star. Plus, all our usual nonsense.

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 explore some of the weirder reaches of the literary universe: Amish mysteries, caveman romances, end-times thrillers and more!

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Episode 242: Summer of Spouses, Margaret Millar (and Ross Macdonald)

We’ve got another installment this week in our Summer of Spouses, in which we’ve been reading work by the less-famous partners of well-known authors. Interestingly, early on Margaret Millar’s marriage to Ross Macdonald, whose real name was Kenneth Millar, she was the more famous of the two. Though eventually his reputation would take off, particularly after he created the character of Lew Archer. But she remained a well-respected crime writer in her own right, and is often credited with lending psychological depth to the types of characters who, in lesser writers’ hands, tended to be rather flat and stereotypical.

In the first half of the show, we talk about Millar’s prize-winning 1955 novel, Beast in View. Both of us found things to like in the book, but also some things we grew frustrated with. In the second half of the show, we talk about Millar’s relationship with Macdonald, plus we dig into some more Yahoo Answers! questions about marriage, divorce, and flatulence.

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 explore some of the weirder reaches of the literary universe: Amish mysteries, caveman romances, end-times thrillers and more!

Stream Episode 242:

Download Episode 242 (right-click, save-as)

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Episode 241: Summer of Spouses, John Bayley (and Iris Murdoch)

This week we’re returning to our Summer of Spouses season to discuss John Bayley’s Elegy for Iris, a memoir about his marriage to Iris Murdoch, written while she was suffering from Alzheimer’s. Both of us had heard good things about the book, and were eager to check it out. We’d also read a number of articles about Bayley’s and Murdoch’s sex life–which seems to come up nearly any time someone discusses their marriage–and so were curious about how the book might treat that subject.

In the second half of the show, we talk about the way spouses can support (or not support) their writer spouses, and how having a supportive spouse can make a huge–and often unacknowledged–difference in a writer’s life. This article from The Atlantic (which we discuss briefly) delves into a number of contemporary examples. We also go to Yahoo Answers to see what kinds of problems people need help with in their marriages. This week, those problems include a husband who eats too much quiche, and one who’s a little too into the single mom next door.

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 explore some of the weirder reaches of the literary universe: Amish mysteries, caveman romances, end-times thrillers and more!

Stream Episode 241:

Download Episode 241 (right-click, save-as)

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Episode 183: Spring Fling, Lydia Davis (“Break It Down”)

Hello, listeners! It’s the last week of our spring season, in which we’ve been reading stories about various types of flings. For this final installment, we’re discussing the Lydia Davis story “Break It Down,” from her collection of the same name. In the story, a man tries to calculate the literal cost of a love affair, though that accounting is really just a vehicle for considering the ways even a short-lived relationship–especially a short-lived relationship?–can leave lasting psychic marks.

Here’s a picture of the author, along with a quite lovely cat.

Also this week, we wrap up our discussion of literary affairs by looking at romances between writers that were actually successful. Thanks to this Lit Hub piece, by Emily Temple, for providing us lots of discussion fodder.

We’ve also got a final installment of dating advice for writers, plus some literary quotes that may (or may not) help you get that special someone into the sack.

As always, you can stream the show right here on our site, by clicking on the player below. Or download the mp3 file. Or visit us in the iTunes store, where you can subscribe (for free!) and never miss another installment.

Stream Episode 183:

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