Podcasts are multiplying like rabbits these days, and, luckily for us, bookish podcasts are no exception! I’ve listened to a lot of great episodes this year, as well as launching my own show, and I wondered what my fellow contributors had enjoyed on the metaphorical airwaves, so I’ve gathered some of their recommendations for the best bookish podcast episodes here.
LeVar Burton Reads: What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah
The very existence of LeVar Burton Reads is a treasure to humanity. Just when it is so sorely needed. His soothing voice, his excellent short story selections, his instruction in each episode to take a deep breath before he begins to wade into the world the author has created. Having Burton read to you instantly brings you back to your childhood, to the days of library story hours and Reading Rainbow. This particular episode was a favorite for me simply because the story was so engaging and interesting. I’m not generally a lover of short stories, but having them read to me by LeVar Burton is an act of self-care I can hardly express.
Reading the End: Forgotten Children’s Books and Watership Down
I really wish that this podcast had more love. Gin Jenny and Whiskey Jenny talk about their current and later reads. In this episode, they reminisce on old children’s books, and then dive into the nightmare fuel of Watership Down, a novel about rabbits fighting for survival. Both Jennys are in near tears by the end as they recount how brave the rabbits are, in battling a tyrant and risking their lives to save their brethren.
Nancy: There Are No Gay Wizards
Nancy has been an incredibly important podcast for me this year. Tobin Low and Kathy Tu host this show about all sorts of things LGBTQ+, with an extra level of relatability that I had never encountered before, being a fellow Asian-American. In this episode, the show’s producer, Matt Collette, explores the various relationships people of the LGBTQ+ community have with the Harry Potter series (and the universe beyond), including what some think about Rowling’s claims that Dumbledore is gay.
88 Cups of Tea: Holly Black: Navigating the World of Contemporary Fantasy and Finding Your Community
I never miss an episode of this amazing podcast where host Yin Chang interviews people working in creative industries, with an emphasis on YA authors. This episode with Holly Black was by far my favorite of the year. One reason is that Holly’s advice inspired me to prioritize my writing and building a writing community more. Another reason is that Yin opened up to Holly about her own writing struggles more than ever before—something I found incredibly relatable. Furthermore, I was thrilled to learn more about how Holly begins building the magical fantasy worlds from her books, like The Spiderwick Chronicles and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. As a YA junkie, I’m sure this is an episode I’ll be re-listening to soon.
Reading Glasses: Sexy, Naked Books and Book Cover Discussion! and Creative Director Lauren Panepinto
This podcast makes me regularly laugh out loud and smile from pure joy. This particular episode hit upon something I’m super passionate about: book covers (case in point: my Book Riot post about Hunting for British Covers). Their discussion about the importance of them in drawing in readers, but also how they can quickly become unimportant to avid e-readers was nuanced and eloquent. The interview on this episode also shows how great they are at striking up conversations with a bunch of different bookish people. In this case, a creative director for a Orbit Publishing who had some fantastic insights on how book covers are created and some great book recommendations that have already been added to my TBR.
This podcast. You guys. This podcast. I started listening last winter and blew through the first two years of backlog in a few weeks. Hannah McGregor and Marcelle Kosman host the show, deconstructing the Harry Potter books and movies through methods of in-depth reading analysis. They re-examine the books in such a loving way, connecting themes across characters and stories, finding new and deeper angles. With segments like: “Granger Danger” and “Jew Watch,” McGregor and Kosman also bring a rich and assertive voice of intersectional feminism to Harry Potter. I can’t reread my favorites too often (I have a brain that remembers stories very well, especially when I start rereading). This podcast has given me a whole new appreciation for J.K. Rowling’s genius and I feel like I’ve reread the books despite not having reread. Oh, also, the sound effects are hilarious and when I grow up I now want to be a queer Canadian* academic. (*I’m not Canadian.)
How about you? What have some of your own favourite bookish podcast episodes been this year?