If you’re anything like me, reading books is not enough. You also want to read about books, talk about books with everyone you know, and even listen to complete strangers talk about books. I usually use my commuting time to listen to audiobooks, but between them I like to catch up on my favorite bookish podcasts. These are a great way to learn about which books you should read next. Here are some of my favorites.
Simon Savidge from Savidge Reads hosts along with Thomas Otto from Hogglestock and it is my favorite book podcast. It’s just two guys talking about books, but I love how casual it is and how they talk about whatever they’ve been reading. Simon is on some award committees and reads a lot of new and forthcoming books. Thomas, on the other hand, primarily reads classics and other older fiction. This creates a great mix of book recommendations! They also talk about general bookish topics like reading diversely, authors and social media, publishing, characters you’d want to catch up, and whatever other topics they think up. New episodes are available fortnightly.
Michael and Ann both work for Random House and they get super early access to some really great books, which they talk about here on their podcast. Weekly episodes are about a half hour long and they discuss many book-related topics. I just started listening recently but it’s quickly becoming a favorite. At the beginning of the summer they created this book bingo (click refresh for a different card) and I’m hoping they do it again next year. It looks fun!
This podcast is a companion to the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books website. Although it is specifically about romance novels, it covers so much more. Guests have come on to speak about topics such as publishing and ebooks in libraries, and this podcast is where I first heard of Annie Edson Taylor, the first person to survive going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Sassy, fun, and educational! Episodes are about an hour long and are available every Friday.
Just like a regular book club, Slate’s Book Club is a once-a-month discussion about a particular book. Recent titles have included The Martian, Between the World and Me, Go Set a Watchman, Station Eleven, and All the Light We Cannot See. Episodes are 45 minutes or so and are pretty thorough and enjoyable discussions of the book. It’s the next best thing to a real book group!
If story content is what you’re looking for, rather than commentary, you might want to try one of these:
It’s a book now, but first it was a podcast. Narrated by a local newscaster named Cecil in the town of Night Vale, it’s what I could only describe as horror comedy. Night Vale is a fictional town in the Southwest U.S. where every day is paranormal. Newscasts include local happenings, advertisements, and “the weather” which consists of a piece of music by a different independent artist each episode. Storylines emerge slowly over time, so each episode can stand on its own. Very wacky and entertaining.
The Moth has been on the radio for years, but now you can download episodes and listen whenever you want. For the uninitiated, this is a show in which a storyteller is recorded performing before a live audience. These are true stories, powerfully told, and popular for good reason.
I’m also going to mention another favorite podcast, which is Dear Sugar Radio. It’s not actually a book podcast, but it is hosted by two authors. Dear Sugar is an advice show based on a column by the same name from The Rumpus. It’s hosted by Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild, and by Arlington’s own Steve Almond, author of Against Football, who has possibly the most soothing voice in the universe. I want them both to be my parents because they are so wise and helpful, although that’s impossible since they’re barely older than I am.
Do you have any favorite book-related (or even non-book-related) podcasts? Tell us below in the comments!