I’ve never gotten into audiobooks. I’m not really the type to choose listening to a story over reading it, with the exception of podcasts. A lot of podcasts, like This American Life, Radiolab, and Serial, to name a few notables, are all about the story. But there’s something so delicious about Ira Glass, and something (at least to me) so snooze-inducing about audiobooks*. So, what do I do in situations where I can’t read, but want to feed my bookish fire? I listen to podcasts ABOUT books! I know, crazy, right? I had no clue such a thing existed until recently, and now I can’t get enough.
*Disclaimer: I am fully expecting that in about two years I will love listening to audiobooks, just as I used to not “get” e-books and now my Kindle is my beloved life partner. So please don’t hassle me when I post my “Best Fave Audiobooks” list in three years.
[Edit, 2018: Yes. Yes, that’s exactly what happened.]
BEST LIT PODCASTS
(AKA a list of mostly all the Lit-related podcasts I listen to in no particular order)
This was my “Wait, they make podcasts for this?” moment. It’s also my favorite. Rita Meade is the host of Dear Book Nerd, and she answers reader-submitted questions every episode, usually with a co-host. I love this podcast because it’s unabashedly about book nerdery. Sure, it’s about books, but this is a podcast meant for people who work with books and/or live for books–with topics ranging from the pressure to read fast, book clubs, and making bookish friends. It’s not about the books themselves as much as the beloved place books have in our lives.
Meade is a librarian, and there was an awesome episode about going to grad school for Library Science. So, yeah, pretty nerdy, but actually also very interesting, informative, and entertaining.
Many of the podcasts on this list are products of Book Riot, so sorry if it seems like I’m just plugging Book Riot really hard. They’re not paying me, but if they want to look at my resume I’m open to the opportunity.
This podcast is like Dear Book Nerd, but it isn’t about bookish advice as much as bookish news. For instance, a recent episode focused on Book Expo America. As someone with a book blog, it’s nice to be able to have something that can sum up any news in the literary world, like awards, new releases, author controversies (I love those), etc. I haven’t been listening to this one long enough to have any favorite episodes, but I am glad I found it, because one of my unofficial goals this year is to keep up a bit more with new releases and the current discussions going on in the literary world.
3. BOOK FIGHT
I have a strange fascination with this one. It’s hosted by two former Iowa MFA graduates who have a lit mag/publishing press called Barrelhouse. I’ve only listened to the Writer’s Ask episodes so far, because I like hearing advice from working writers/editors.
I don’t mean to overgeneralize, but most of the book bloggers I pay attention to are women, and most of the podcasts I mention here are either hosted by women, are cohosted by women, or have a lot of female guests. This podcast is just a total litbro podcast, but in a good way, like if you expected to hear sports radio but instead heard two guy friends talking about the favorite novel they read in high school. If only the world was always like this.
This one is hosted by one of the hosts of the Book Riot podcast, but it’s an interview format. The premise is that each episode focuses on a new person, which could be a writer or blogger or anyone else who has something to say about books. Each episode is an hour long interview about how they came to be the reader they are today. If you’re the kind of person that likes to hear about what kind of books a person read in middle school (I am, duh), this is the perfect podcast for you.
This is a shorter podcast, meant essentially to announce notable new releases each week. I like it a lot because it’s actually very hard to hear and know about new books as they are released. It often takes months for a new release to gain any attention. This podcast makes it a lot easier for me to hear about a new release before other people have, which makes me feel like a better book blogger–I just have to get through my TBR list enough to justify reading brand new releases so I can write about them.
This one is completely different! I’ve mentioned this podcast a few times on this blog already. Basically, each episode features a writer who has been published in The New Yorker, reading a short story of their choosing that has also been published in The New Yorker. What’s so great about this is that 1) you get to hear an excellent short story 2) you get to hear a little about the guest writer’s psyche, because at the end of the episode, the guest writer explains why they chose the story they did. It’s a must-listen for anyone who writes short stories.
That’s about it for my favorites. I listen to a lot of podcasts. It’s actually a problem. I could make a lot of these lists about different topics, like, “Best Comedy Podcasts” or “Best Cat Podcats” or “Best Episodes of the Leonard Lopate Show” or “Why Ira Glass is My Boyfriend.” What can I say, I like people I can’t see speaking directly in my ears. Let me know if you have any podcasts recommendations, book related or otherwise. My current favorite non-book non-Ira Glass related podcasts are Strangers, The Bugle, and Dear Sugar. Podcasts are my life. I don’t even remember what TV looks like…kind of square, right?
I’ll talk to you guys soon–with a review of Olive Kitteridge. It’s about to get sexy in here, finally.