A weekly podcast about books, writing, reading, and raccoons. Hosted by Mike Ingram and Tom McAllister, editors at Barrelhouse Magazine and authors of fiction and creative nonfiction. Winner of a 2015 Philadelphia Geek Award for Best Streaming Media Project. You don't need to read the books to enjoy the show!
Ep387: Christian Tebordo
1:09:46We're joined by Christian Tebordo, author of several books and director of the MFA program at Roosevelt University in Chicago. We talk about how current students respond to ambiguity in stories, how small presses have evolved over the last several years, and why The Apology might be the most earnest book Tebordo will ever write.
Ep 386: Kory Stamper
1:20:57We're joined by Kory Stamper, professional lexicographer and author of the book Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries, who chose a modern retelling of Beowulf for us to read. We consider how the epic poem translates to the contemporary American suburbs, and also why Beowulf has been so enduring in the first place. We also talk to Kory about her former job at Merriam-Webster's dictionary, the politics of language, and why we're right to roll our eyes at people who correct our grammar. You can learn more about Kory's book here: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/530504/word-by-word-by-kory-stamper/ You can find Kory on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/korystamper If you like our podcast, and would like to get access to two bonus episodes a month--including our ongoing hunt for the worst book of all time--please consider joining our Patreon, for just $5/month: https://www.patreon.com/BookFight
Ep 385: Elisa Gabbert
1:18:49We're joined by Elisa Gabbert (The Unreality of Memory) to discuss Benjamin Labatut's When We Cease to Understand the World, a book that is mostly nonfiction--about scientists whose discoveries pushed them in the direction of madness--with some fictional flourishes. We talk about genre distinctions, reading works in translation, and why fall is the best season. We also rope Elisa into helping us answer a couple questions from the NaNoWriMo forums about naming cars and what life is like under the sea. You can find Elisa on Twitter @egabbert. Or check out her website, which features links to her work: http://www.elisagabbert.com/ You can also read the poems she referenced in her answer to "what reading experience has mostly recently made you cry." The Mark Leidner poem is here: https://sixthfinch.com/leidner4.html. And the Ezra Pound poem is here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47692/the-river-merchants-wife-a-letter-56d22853677f9. Finally: if you like the show, please consider subscribing to our Patreon, where $5 a month gets you access to two monthly bonus episodes, plus our entire back catalog: https://www.patreon.com/BookFight Thanks for listening!
Ep 384: Katherine Hill
1:13:04It's been a minute since we had Katherine Hill on the show, but long-time listeners may remember her multiple past appearances, including one in which we discussed Judy Blume's Forever and another in which Mike failed to finish the very long book that Katherine picked. But now she's back, and we're delving into one of her recent favorites, The Copenhagen Trilogy by Tove Ditlevson, a three-part memoir that was recently released in a single hardback edition, to much buzz on the literary internet. We talk about the book's blunt, unsentimental style, and why critics are so keen on putting it into the category of "autofiction." We also rope Katherine into taking a trip with us to the National Novel Writing Month forums, where we try to help writers with their world-building and character naming. You can learn more about Katherine--and her books!--on her website, here: https://www.katherine-hill.com/ If you like the show, for just $5 you can get access to two bonus episodes a month, plus our entire archive: https://www.patreon.com/BookFight For more information about the upcoming one-day Barrelhouse conference (online!), or to register, check out https://www.writersconnectconference.com/
Ep 383: A.R. Moxon
1:22:57This week, we're joined by the writer Andrew Moxon (author of the novel The Revisionaries), who read Michael Ondaatje's In the Skin of a Lion as an undergrad and wanted to see if it would hold up some twenty years later. We talk about our respective relationships with historical fiction, as well as what it's like--for Andrew, at least--to gain more than 30,000 Twitter followers in a single day. You can check out Moxon's book here: https://www.amazon.com/Revisionaries-Moxon/dp/1612197981 And if you like our podcast, and would like more of it in your life, consider subscribing to our Patreon. For $5 a month you get two monthly bonus episodes, including our ongoing Hunt for the Worst Book of All Time. You can also sleep well at night knowing that you help support the regular episodes, which are free to listen to but definitely not free to produce: https://www.patreon.com/BookFight Thanks for listening! And if you like the show, tell a friend!
Ep 382: Dan McQuade
1:34:01This week, we're joined by Dan McQuade (Defector Media) to discuss humor columnist Dave Barry's debut novel, Big Trouble. Both Dan and Mike were big fans of Dave Barry's humor writing as teens, while Tom apparently skipped right over his newspaper column each week on his way to The Family Circus and Heathcliff. We talk about how difficult it can be to maintain a consistent tone in a "wacky" novel, as well as the ill-fated movie version of the book, which had the bad fortune of having a September 2001 release date as well as a climactic scene featuring a bomb on a plane. We also talk to Dan about Defector Media, the worker-owned company he's been writing for since the collapse, via venture capital shitheads, of Deadspin. Check out Defector Media here, and subscribe to support independent journalism: https://defector.com/ And if you like our show, consider subscribing to our Patreon, which gets you two bonus episodes each month for a mere $5: https://www.patreon.com/BookFight
Ep 381: Ben Winters
1:20:22This week, we're joined by Ben Winters (Golden State, The Quiet Boy) to discuss a Stanley Fish book about how to write great sentences. We talk about our love-hate relationships with craft books, why our first drafts are such a mess, and the false dichotomy of "language" vs "plot" when attempting to categorize writers. We also chat with Ben about his unusual writing career, which began with being hired to write the novel Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters for Quirk Books. You can find out more about Ben on his website: https://benhwinters.com/ If you like our podcast, and would like to get more of it, check out our Patreon, where $5 gets you two bonus episodes a month: https://www.patreon.com/BookFight
Ep 380: Lily Dancyger
1:03:59This week, Lilly Dancyger (Negative Space) joins us to discuss an essay about creepy men and harassment by Melissa Febos, "Intrusions." We talk about what makes this essay stand out in a crowded field of personal essays, and what writers of creative nonfiction can learn from it, particularly the way it operates in multiple modes that allows the author to approach her subject from a variety of angles. We also talk to Lilly about teaching creative nonfiction, why editing personal essays started to give her "trauma fatigue," and how to balance your desire for "exposure" with your desire for being able to pay your rent. If you like the show, please consider subscribing to our Patreon--for $5 a month, you'll get access to two monthly bonus episodes, plus our entire back catalog of bonus material: https://www.patreon.com/BookFight
Ep 379: Adam O'Fallon Price
1:08:21This week, novelist Adam O'Fallon Price (The Hotel Neversink) joins us to discuss a strange, short novel by Muriel Spark called The Driver's Seat, in which a woman travels to the south of Italy to find someone who will murder her. We talk about the book's detached, somewhat cold point of view, its narrative leaps into the future tense, and just what to make of its odd cast of characters. We also talk to Adam about his relationship to the mystery genre, how his agent talked him out of writing a linked story collection, and why he left his music career to make a life as a writer instead. If you like the show, check out our Patreon, where a measly $5 gets you access to two monthly bonus episodes and archived content: https://www.patreon.com/BookFight
Ep 378: Emily Adrian
1:06:31This week, Emily Adrian (The Second Season) joins us to discuss a book she'd never read, Frederick Exley's 1968 "fictional memoir" A Fan's Notes. The book mirrors Exley's own experiences with mental health facilities, as well as his lifelong obsession with the New York Giants' star Frank Gifford. We consider how the book has held up over time, and whether we can--or should--get past its pretty rampant misogyny. We also talk about Emily's new novel, about a trailblazing female sportscaster, and why certain men can't seem to believe she understands basketball. Plus: how to write well about sports, and the important differences between a lectern and a podium. If you like the show, and would like to have more of it in your life, you can subscribe to our Patreon for $5 a month and get access to our entire catalog of bonus episodes, including our new Hunt for the Worst Book of All Time, which has forced us to read books by Tucker Max, Danielle Steel, Sean Penn, and--most recently--Morrissey.