My Picks of the Pods – Books Edition

I am a podcast addict.

I tend to have a podcast going for most of the day. I think it started when Pat was at work, the kids were at school, and it was just Alice and I at home. And, let’s face it, Alice is not the best conversationalist. It started with one or two, and then a few more, and now I have…(let me count)…53 podcasts. That includes the one I added today, but not the ones I will add tomorrow.

I listen to podcasts centered around several topics: Books, French Language (I’m trying to resurrect my high school knowledge), Health and Fitness, History, News, and True Crime. However, I’m not at all averse to adding new categories if a podcast comes along that doesn’t fit into these categories.

Today, however, I want to talk about book podcasts. Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you all about all the book podcasts in my feed, especially as this is my largest bucket. But I am going to highlight 5 standouts (plus a few more) that all scratch a specific itch.

Book Riot – The Podcast

If you aren’t aware of Book Riot, are you even a reader? Okay, that was harsh…but Book Riot is sort of the behemoth on the block. They have several podcasts, but this is their flagship show. Unlike the rest of the book podcasts, this one is really about book news. Twice a year they do a recommendation episode and then they have some special episodes, but this isn’t really a show that is going to make your TBR explode. However, for readers, it is all the news you need to know. As an added bonus, you will be treated to the best of the best show titles (my current favorite: A Pinata of Lies).

Currently Reading

There are a number of book podcasts that follow the format of two friends chatting about books–and I quite like this. I love to chat about what I’m reading with my friends so this is sort of an extension of that. Because I enjoy so many of these podcasts–and I have so many in my podcatcher–it was difficult to choose which one I would feature. I ultimately opted to go with Currently Reading. I enjoy the back and forth the chit chat between Kaytee and Meredith, the regular and most commonly featured hosts, and my tastes tend to fall in line with their suggestions. This podcast has also built a strong and active community and, if you choose to become a patron, there is a plethora of goodies and additional content.

I can’t not mention a few of my other favorites: Professional Book Nerds, From the Front Porch, The Westmoreland Podcast, and a special shout out to Book Talk, Etc–which just hit the airwaves. I recently listened to the first episode and thoroughly enjoyed it!

Read or Dead

In addition to the “big” podcast, Book Riot has a number of recommendation and genre-specific podcasts. While my advice here is to go for the genres you like, I feel like Read or Dead deserves a place on this list. Mysteries are my current go-to genre and I’ve gotten some of my best recommendations from this podcast. It releases every two weeks, which is a schedule I wish more podcasts would adapt…it makes my podcatcher a little less stuffed!

Reading Glasses

This is probably the quirkiest of the podcasts listed here, but that is what makes it so special. Instead of being focused on books, this one is all about the reading life. On any episode, you could get an author interview, a bookmark review, a discussion on the best snacks to munch on while reading, and an”advice column.” As I said, I listen to many, many podcasts and there is not another one like Reading Glasses out there.

Strong Sense of Place

I do appreciate a well-focused podcast and this is a great example. This is sort of a hybrid travel and book podcast, and it was sort of a balm during the quarantine when, while I could read more, I couldn’t actually go anywhere. Each episode, David and Melissa will highlight a place (which could be an actual place, like Vietnam, or a more vague place, like trains) and will describe and discuss the place and then recommend several books that bring the subject to life. Right now, I’m listening to a book I heard about from them (Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue), which brings me right back to Dublin…during the Spanish Flu epidemic (because apparently COVID-19 wasn’t enough). If you like to travel and/or appreciate descriptive books, this would be a good fit.

I listen to more bookish podcasts than I could discuss here, but I’m always open to new ones. What are some of your faves?

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About Melinda