Bookish Podcasts

I wrote a post a little over a year ago in which I discussed some of my favorite literary podcasts, and I thought I would do a little update of that post, since I’ve found some new ones lately that I like. I’m still listening to Radio Open Source, and to the occasional author interviews on The Leonard Lopate Show and (less often) The Brian Lehrer Show and Fresh Air. But I’ve added to those The Bat Segundo Show, which is devoted solely to author interviews and in-depth discussion of books. Also, I’ve recently discovered Other People, which is author interviews conducted by novelist Brad Listi. While Bat Segundo is all about digging into the details of the books, Other People often doesn’t get to the book at all; I’ll sometimes get to the end of an interview and have no idea what the book is about. But I like it anyway because I learn a lot about the author and the conversations are amusing, and, more often than not, I finish the show wanting to read the book. The first time I listened to the podcast I was surprised to hear the host monologue about his personal life for 10 minutes or so, and I thought, wait, why do I care about you? Get to the interview! Shut up about yourself! But by the time I listened to the podcast again, I’d begun to like the opening monologue, and now I make a point of listening to it. These things grow on you.

And more recently I’ve discovered a bunch of other podcasts, some of which I’m still figuring out whether I really like or not. There’s Books on the Nightstand, which offers book recommendations from its two hosts, as well as news about the book world and issues related to reading and publishing. I like the concept of this podcast, although I haven’t figured out how much my reading tastes coincide with theirs. There’s also The Readers, which is done by two British guys who chat about books they like and host a summer book club. Again, I’m not sure how much my reading taste overlaps with theirs, and sometimes their show is a bit too giggly for my taste, but still, it can be interesting and fun.

There’s also the New York Times Book Review Podcast, which is basically supplemental material to the book review with author interviews and discussions of the best seller list. And there’s the Bookrageous Podcast with more book chat, and the BBC World Book Club with author interviews.

I’m a little afraid to ask if there are others you recommend because I have so much to listen to already, but … are there?


Filed under Books

14 responses to “Bookish Podcasts

  1. Oh my goodness. I was planning blog about podcasts soon (possibly this Sunday). The only book-oriented ones I listen to are Books on the Nightstand and The Readers. I have the same issue as you with Books on the Nightstand, although I enjoy the newsy bits. When it comes to The Readers, I know that my tastes align sufficiently with Simon’s because I read his blog, but I know what you mean about the giggliness. If I’m in the right mood, it’s great fun, and if I’m in the wrong mood, it’s less so.

    My other podcasts, which I may have shared last year, are The Moth, Radiolab (love!), This American Life, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, and On the Media. I’m not entirely sure I want more book podcasts because I sometimes feel book overload and enjoy listening to other kinds of things, but if the podcast were book-oriented but sufficiently different from what I get through blogs and Twitter, that might be fun.


  2. Podcasts must be on everyone’s mind at the moment as I recently posted about some new (non-bookish) discoveries to me and Kelly at The Written World also posted about them!

    I think you have probably piqued my interest more than I can do yours. I also love listening to This American Life and I quite like listening to Books and Authors from the BBC as well as The Next Chapter from CBC (as in Canada Broadcasting). A lot of the other ones that I listen to are more genre related.

    There are quite a few that tend towards giggly for me. Sometimes I don’t mind but other days it is annoying. Bookrageous does that for me quite often.


  3. Cassie

    I listen to bookish podcasts at the gym – love love love the last five you mention, but I’ll have to try out the rest. It’s just another way for me to be bookish. I’m pretty sure books have successfully taken over my life now that I’ve admitted that in the public sphere.


  4. Fay

    Michael Silverblatt’s Bookworm podcast on KCRW in Santa Monica. He has the most interesting guests and is a sensitive reader and probing interviewer.


  5. Try CBC Books–terrific site. I wish I had more time for more reading and listening!


  6. buriedinprint

    I’ll be adding a few of these to my listening roster: thanks! One that I haven’t seen mentioned specifically here, yet, is Eleanor Wachtel’s “Writers and Company” via CBC Books. It’s a cross between “The Next Chapter” (also wonderful) and the BBC World Book Club, IMO. Enjoy all your listening!


  7. Teresa — I enjoyed your post on podcasts! I see what you mean about book news. The podcasts I like best are ones where the personalities are interesting: in most cases, it’s the interactions in an interview that I like, and to me that does provide something different from what’s available on blogs/twitter. I hadn’t realized what “Wait, Wait” would be available on a podcast; I really like that show when I catch it on the radio!

    Marg — thanks for the podcasts you mentioned! I like This American Life as well, and need to investigate the others you mention. How interesting that lots of people are posting about podcasts all at once!

    Cassie — books have definitely taken over my life! Great idea to listen to podcasts at the gym; I would think that would make a workout more enjoyable.

    Fay — thanks very much for the link! I’ll definitely investigate.

    Lilian — thank you! I will definitely investigate.

    Buriedinprint — thank you for your recommendation! And enjoy your podcasts as well 🙂


  8. dennisporetsky

    Thank you for such an informative post regarding literature pod casts. I look forward to sampling some of the examples you’ve mentioned in the near future. I’ve never connected the two. I am very excited to give it a try though!


  9. I generally stay clear of podcasts because I could so easily be sucked in and I have no idea where I will find the time to fit them in. Oh, but you tempt me!


  10. I’m with Stefanie on this one – I love podcasts and listened to a ton of programs when I was still living in the US and had a commute. But now that I work from home, I never seem to have “space” in the day to add a podcast. I try to listen to Bat Segundo when I get a chance, but it isn’t often enough. I’ve been hearing good things about Other People as well – so will most likely check it out at some point. (Sometimes a little commute wouldn’t be so bad!)


  11. Dennis — I hope you enjoy! Very glad to help 🙂

    Stefanie — it’s not a bad idea to stay away from them entirely … I have a commute that gives me some time, and I also listen while doing housework, although I hardly ever do housework, so it’s not a lot of time. But podcasts are good company while folding laundry!

    Michelle — without a commute, I would probably give them up, and in the summer when I’m not commuting, I won’t listen to many. I agree that there are good sides to having a commute! Although the bad sides outweigh the good, I think …


  12. Well, podcasts are pretty new to me in general, but I guess I will take this perfectly timed opportunity to self-promote: I’m a new guest-host at Critical Wit Podcast, which covers science, literature and the arts (so, you may not be interested in *all* the episodes). The most recent post is my first interview, of Erin Blakemore, author of The Heroine’s Bookshelf. I’ll be doing more interviews, but there are plenty of other bookish ones up there as well, if you want to take a look!


  13. Alex in Leeds

    Hi, it’s lovely to see someone list the ones they listen to. 🙂

    I listen to most of those (I’m based in the UK but love Books on the Nightstand) and there’s a site here in the UK called Adventures with Words ( which just started podcasting. The two presenters are great and manage to keep it on the right side of banter. So far there’s two episodes available on the site.

    Sorry for adding to your habit. 😉


  14. Pingback: Bookish podcasts | Of Books and Bicycles

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