This is a pop-in post, fellow lovers of all things bookish! In my constant search for the next great literary podcast I recently discovered Book Fight! hosted by Mike Ingram and Tom McAllister – who I swear must be twins separated at birth. Take a look at the evidence: both men are from Philadelphia (a welcome change from the NYC-centric world of lit we’ve all become accustomed to); both are editors at Barrelhouse magazine and professors at Temple University. They’re also both writers. It’s like they were destined to host a podcast together. Which brings us to the premise of the show:
The Book Fight podcast is, in a nutshell, writers talking about books. Books we love. Books we hate. Books that inspire us, baffle us, infuriate us. These are the conversations writers have at the bar, which is to say they’re both unflinchiningly honest and open to tangents, misdirection, general silliness.
Each episode starts with a particular book, chosen either by one of us (Tom or Mike) or by our guest, though you don’t need to read the books to enjoy the show. We promise not to spoil anything too serious, plot-wise, and the books themselves generally serve as jumping-off points for larger discussions about writing and reading: craft issues, the ins and outs of publishing, the contemporary lit scene, such as it is.
Episode 18 featured a discussion with author Stewart O’Nan about Theodore Weesner’s disturbing 1980’s novel The True Detective. I won’t give anything away about the book itself, but the show was a great mix of honest criticism, goofy stories and advice on writing. A look through past episodes shows more of the same. The two hosts have a strong commitment to good writing. Which means BookFight! features a lot of discussions on older books. I’ve been downloading past shows and find they’re fresh and topical and everything I want to listen to on my morning commute. So I recommend checking BookFight! out.
On a less violent note – ALTA, The American Literary Translators Association had their annual conference in Rochester, NY last weekend. I couldn’t attend, but the Translationista has a great write-up of the panel sponsored by the PEN Translation Committee and about a project they’ve been putting together to make life easier for reviewers and bloggers who aren’t feeling qualified to discuss the translator’s contribution to a translated text. It’s interesting stuff.