Hey there everyone, I'm sorry for this post coming a little later than usual. After some technical difficulties I lost most of my content and had to completely re-write the post. Lesson learned: write your editorials in an off-line program first, Becca.
Okay, now back to it. This morning I am bringing you my top 10 favorite bookish podcasts. I only just really got into podcasts in the last 5 months or so and I almost immediately became obsessed. One day I’ll have to bring you my list of my overall devoted favorites, but today they’re all literary just for our bibliophilic enjoyment.
Before I get started I want to share with you all that next week there will be a special newsletter and freebie sent out to email subscribers to celebrate Back to School so I hope you’ll all sign up to enjoy the extra little dose of me in your life! Now here we go…
Ladies and gents, if you never look at (or more correctly, listen to) another podcast, this has got to be the single one you choose. Presented and led by Harriet Gilbert, this monthly series is a brilliant resource for anyone who loves literature. The website itself provides curated selections of the archive (Holiday Reading, Crime Fiction, Dysfunctional Families, etc) as well as the full archives. The episodes consist of amazing authors coming before the host and a live audience to read from (what?!) discuss their most famous works. Questions are asked from listeners and the audience and then answered candidly. Authors have ranged from Charlotte Bronte, Elizabeth Gilbert, J.D. Salinger, and Jhumpa Lahiri – you just can’t go wrong with this gift of a podcast.
Another spectacular podcast, presented by Claire Armistead and Richard Lea, this series provides interviews with authors but also goes into discussions on themes of modern literature and even seemingly simple questions like “What makes a book great?” The podcast covering Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace is particularly spectacular even for the thousands of us who still stand quivering in fear before the million-word long tome almost helplessly murmuring, “one day…” You can’t go wrong with this comforting and wonderful offering.
Oh this podcast. This amazing, lovely resource. I want to explain that when I say resource I don’t mean that you’ll only look to this from some kind of professional or academic stance, but that it’s a place where even in the midst of profound enjoyment you’ll find yourself learning a lot of information. Librarians, Literature teachers and professors, and the average bibliophile will all find plenty to get out of this. Michael Silverblatt’s voice is at once beautiful and catches the ear in a way few ever do. For me, he is the male version of NPR’s Diane Rehm (I could write for years solely on my love for that woman). Authors are interviewed and discussions filled with insight are recorded covering a vast landscape of modern literature. Joyce Carol Oates, Don DeLillo, Salman Rushdie, and Sandra Cisneros are only a small smattering of the brilliance that has been recorded thus far.
Presented by Book Riot, the wonderful Rita Meade and various special guests bring a bi-weekly series answering questions sent in by listeners. Answering questions about “life, love, & literature,” this podcast is caring and incredibly sweet as a kind of safe place to discuss issues but also to learn tips and helpful ideas for bookish issues. Subjects ranging from book blogging, reader’s advisories (a great episode for librarians), cosplay, and the ever present book nerd’s question: Are you buying too many books? This podcast is like simply making new friends to discuss the events in your life and you’ll fall in love with Meade’s soothing voice as much as I did, I’m sure.
Also known as Slate ABC, this is the book club for me. I don’t hide the fact that I’m a fantastically slow reader, so book clubs have always presented a problem of a rather quick deadline. Taking part in a book club podcast is a brilliant solution. I can peruse the archive feed and choose a book, read it on my own time, and then return to listen to the book club discussion. So far I have listened to the episodes on The Martian, Go Set a Watchman, and The Magician’s Land (among others) – all of which are recent reads for me – and the episodes are a great dialogue to finish or even revisit a text months later. I’d highly recommend adding their episodes to reads that you have in common or even choosing your next book based off of a text they’ve covered.
The format of these two weekly podcasts are very similar so I’ve combined them into one entry. The New Yorker: Fiction podcast provides listeners with a chance to hear wonderful authors read the works of others. Jonathan Franzen reading David Means, Aleksandar Hemon reading Vladimir Nabokov, and more – this is a wonderful experience to tap into. The Author’s Voice, similarly, is a new podcast which began only in March of this year and provides listeners with authors reading their own works. Short stories from Ian McEwan, Zadie Smith, T. C. Boyle, and more are waiting for your enjoyment.
Another weekly podcast and hosted by Aaron Lammer, Max Linsky, and Evan Ratliff, this series focuses on nonfiction writers. Be still my heart! I adore reading nonfiction and finding yet another avenue to learn something throughout my life. Education never dies, guys. Malcolm Gladwell, Elizabeth Gilbert (she’s a goddess and deserves every mention she has and ever will receive on this site, don’t judge me), Ta-Nehisi Coates, Lena Dunham, and more have all come on the show to talk about how their works come about. How they found their voice, the substance of various works – Longform is just wonderful.
This entry again technically covers 2 podcasts but I’m counting them as 1. Recorded live in front of a studio audience at the Peter Sharp Theater in New York City and – this is fun – actually broadcast on over 150 radio stations, this 31 year running reading series is one of the top podcasts available on iTunes. Each episode provides a few stories ranging throughout literature coming together over a specific theme for each week’s performance. The stories are performed by amazing actors from all walks of theatre and dramatic backgrounds. Stephen Lang reads a short story by Stephen King, Cynthia Nixon reads stories about strange relationships, and more. Now the all new sister podcast offers the performances deemed ‘Too Hot for Radio,’ offering stories that weren’t available to the masses before due to language or content. This will definitely be a new favorite that I look forward to following as the archives continue to grow.
10. Literary Disco
Finally, and by no mean is this less of a favorite for me, I come to a podcast presented by Julia Pistell, Tod Goldberg, & the Rider Strong. Ladies and gents, by Rider Strong I mean the man who was one of my very first childhood celebrity crushes by playing Shawn in Boy Meets World – Rider, if you’re reading this by some random happenstance that has about the same probability of happening as my becoming a Pulitzer winning author – I’m sorry for blowing up your spot, but dear God the childhood me adored you and the adult me is brought to the brink of fan-girling listening to how brilliant and well-read you are. Back to the issue at hand, this podcast is amazing. They play games, they discuss books of almost every genre in existence, they invite authors on the show as well as a myriad of other wonderful guests. You just can’t go wrong with this amazing dose of bookish fun. From The Fault in Our Stars to The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes to Huck Finn – it’s less serious than some of my other favorites but just an amazing gem.
So there we are! 10 podcasts with all-total hundreds (possibly thousands?) of episodes available for your obsessive binging. Enjoy and have an amazing weekend!