By: Madeleine Coyne
There is a time and a place to read, and sadly, there are many times and places when reading a physical book is impossible, such as when exercising or driving. However, you can still get your book fix during these times by listening to a podcast about reading or literature! For example, when I lived in New York City, I loved to utilize my subway commutes to read [many] books. Unfortunately, though, my commute would sometimes be so ridiculously crowded that it was nearly impossible to move my limbs, much less hold a book or kindle and read. But in fact, this scenario actually creates the perfect opportunity to listen to a bookish podcast. Similarly, if you have a long drive to work or if you are walking the dog, a podcast on books can easily take the place of reading a book. (For a more complete look at the benefits of podcasting, read this). Take advantage of unreadable times with a “reading podcast!”
Here is a list of some of our favorites!
1. Professional Book Nerds Podcast
This podcast involves a lot of chatting between two librarians, and it often includes an interview with a guest. These hosts talk about recent book releases, what is new in the book world, and their personal favorite reads. They often incorporate pop culture references too, i.e. recommending books based on the movies you like. They give wonderful and personalized book recommendations, and the guest authors have much insight to contribute to the podcast. Furthermore, the show includes lots of fun episodes tailored around current events, such as “Page to screen, Oscars edition,” or “TV shows with book tie-ins.” There is something for every book lover here!
2. What Should I Read Next? With Anne Bogel
This podcast arms you with information to give you everything you need to pick your next read. It includes a considerable number of guest interviews, and each episode focuses on a specific theme, from “The last page can make it or break it” to “The best females in literature” to “Prescribing books for what ails you.” Anne Bogel is the woman behind “Modern Mrs. Darcy,” a favorite blog among avid book lovers, and Anne does not disappoint with her podcast. I find her particularly wonderful because she is a lover of both classic and modern literature. There is variety as well as an abundance of interesting and intelligent content contained in her podcast, and I therefore cannot get enough!
3. Lit Up
This podcast about books and various literary topics offers stimulating discussion between the host and her frequent guest authors, who provide insight into both their own books and other books which they personally love. If you are a special fan of guest interviews with contemporary authors, this is the podcast for you. These guest authors converse about their own works of literature, their personal inspiration, and they often go off on different literary-inspired tangents. Especially appealing for women, this podcast truly is like sitting down and chatting with a group of interesting and literary women. So grab a cup of coffee and get chatting!
4. Books on the Nightstand
Although this podcast officially ended in 2016, there is a wonderful reservoir of almost 400 podcast episodes for this show. Each episode follows the format of two hosts having interesting and smart conversations about new and interesting literature, bookstores, publishing, and other bookish topics. They both work in the publishing industry, and their knowledge shines through their conversations. And even though they are not creating new episodes, the wonderful thing about their content is that it is evergreen, and their book recommendations from years ago still apply today (similar to the Novel Conversations podcast)!
5. The Readers: Book Based Banter
True to its name, there is a lot of banter in this podcast. The two male hosts have conversations about their favorite reads, both new and old, books you can read to escape the craziness in the world, how to find the time to read, and much, much more. The episodes do run on the longer side, often lasting longer than an hour, but if you enjoy their personalities and their recommendations, then you will not find yourself bored. Filled with good advice and witty banter, “The Readers” will undoubtedly inspire you to read more frequently, if nothing else.
6. Dear Mr. Potter
A very niche podcast, this is the podcast of all Harry Potter book fans’ dreams. It takes a very close look at the themes, traditions, and history that helped J. K. Rowling form the world of Hogwarts and Harry Potter. The episodes move in sequential order, starting with the first book and going through the entire series. There are multiple episodes for each book, and each episode is quite lengthy (up to 2 hours long!), but this length is necessary to really delve into the details in the text. Each episode is, essentially, a seminar, and as new episodes are released this year, listeners can tune in real-time and ask questions to the reader. The reader goes through the book carefully, pulling out significant quotes and the background behind certain scenes. It is most beneficial if you read the book at the same pace that the podcast moves, thus gleaning more out of reading each book than you ever imagined possible. However, all of the podcasts are stored in easy-access format if you wish to read the books and listen to the episodes at your own pace. (And even more great news - Storywonk, the creator of this podcast series, also has a podcast show for “Lord of the Rings” nerds titled “There and Back Again,” diving into the text of “The Hobbit” and all three “Lord of the Rings” novels!)
7. The New Yorker Fiction Podcast
This is the perfect podcast for lovers of short stories, both classic and contemporary. Every month, the New Yorker fiction editor reads a short story and has a conversation about it with a different esteemed writer. They talk about what makes it such a good story, the meaning of the story, and discuss other interesting short story elements. It’s like audiobooks for short stories with added content! It’s perfect if you want to physically read but your hands and eyes are tied up and you can only listen!
8. Novel Conversations
Novel Conversations is the perfect podcast for all lovers of classic literature! From the person who has read all of the great classics and wants a refresher on them, to the person who is new to the classics and wants a plot summary before reading, to the person who simply loves hearing about some of the world’s great stories, Novel Conversations is a must-listen for bibliophiles. This podcast is shorter than most of the other podcasts on this list, which makes it more reasonable if you do not have a long time to dedicate to listening to a podcast episode. It gives you the whole story in a condensed version with some added insight, favorite passages, and interesting information about the book or author, all in just about 35-40 minutes. It is basically the audio best friend of Cliffnotes or Sparknotes. You can catch up on the first season now, and the second season will be released this summer!
So, as you can see, there is no real excuse not to stay up to date and connected with all things bookish, even when you are doing an activity which prevents you from physically reading. Be sure to check out these amazing literary podcasts today and find the one which most suits your tastes and personality!