Talking About Reading: Podcasts for Book Lovers

Photo by Johannes Jansson, via Wikimedia Commons

As much as I’m sure you’d all love to, you can’t read books all the time. You can certainly give it a good shot — and we most definitely encourage you to do just that — but there simply aren’t enough reader-friendly hours in the day. What is a bibliophile to do?

If your goal is to remain as immersed as possible in the world of all things literature, podcasts are the way to go. It’s an ever-growing and brave new auditory world, one filled with book recommendations, passionate discussions, and interviews with your favorite authors. Here are a few of our favorites to get you started!

World Book Club
This BBC-produced series is perfect for the bibliophile looking to get invaluable insight on the best the literary world has to offer, straight from the authors themselves. Featuring in-depth interviews as well as audience Q&A’s, “World Book Club” is the perfect venue for hearing your favorite authors discuss their best known works.

Literary Disco
“Literary Disco” features a bi-monthly conversation with writers and book lovers Julia Pistell, Tod Goldberg, and Rider Strong (of “Boy Meets World” fame). It’s an engaging and wide-ranging series covering everything from Pulitzer Prize winners to YA fare. Often the most fascinating episodes center on a guest author choosing a book for the group to read and discuss.

Between the Covers
If you’re interested in really digging into what makes your favorite author tick, “Between the Covers” is likely just the ticket. Host David Naimon is a skilled interviewer who draws remarkable and often candid insight from the authors he speaks. The discussions are in-depth and intense with episodes sometimes stretching quite a bit past the hour mark. Naimon’s three-part interview with sci-fi and fantasy icon Ursula K. Le Guin is particularly fascinating.

The Audio Book Club
If you’re having trouble nailing down a regular book club, give “The Audio Book Club” from Slate a listen. Each episode features a thorough, sometimes delightfully snarky discussion of whatever current book everyone’s talking about (that you’ve likely been meaning to pick up). The rotating panel of guests, largely culled from Slate’s writing staff, keeps the perspectives fresh.

So Many Damn Books
This is another entry in the audio/virtual book club category, but a bit more laid back than “The Audio Book” and with more booze (you’re obviously encouraged to drink along). The series features industry insiders, critics, and authors for lively and entertaining discussions.

Fully Booked
While its likely your To-Read pile is already big enough, “Fully Booked” is nevertheless a great and entertaining resource for discovering new books, finding out what’s worth checking out on the bestseller lists, or introducing you to a new read that may have slipped your radar.

New Yorker: Fiction
If you’ve ever wondered what your favorite author is reading, give the “New Yorker: Fiction” podcast a go. The series is hosted by the fiction editor of The New Yorker, Deborah Treisman, and each episode features an author selecting, reading, and discussing a piece of fiction from the magazine.

Drunk Booksellers
This one is worth checking out for the title alone. Fortunately, the content is up to par as well. “Drunk Booksellers” features an often enlightening, often hilarious discussion of all things literary. It’s like a booze-filled trip to your favorite book store. Doesn’t that sound delightful?

Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
Even if you aren’t particularly a fan of the romance novel genre, “Smart Bitches, Trashy Books” is still a brilliantly entertaining listen. Featuring conversations with writers and episode titles like “Portable Self Care and Evil Space Squirrels,” “The First Year of the Ripped Bodice,” and “The Mysteries of the Hymen,” this really is a podcast worth checking out.

Honorable Mention:

Beaks and Geeks
Full Disclosure: “Beaks and Geeks” — like Signature — is produced by Penguin Random House. This weekly podcast features candid conversations with author covering all facets of the creative process, the inspiration for their novels and books, and interesting tidbits about the lives they lead.