There are great bookish podcasts starting all the time—but I also constantly find myself discovering older ones I hadn’t known existed. I asked my fellow Book Rioters what podcasts they’ve discovered this year and would recommend to you.
Reading the End (since 2013)
I knew Gin and Whiskey Jenny from their website Reading the End. This podcasts features the two women talking about the books they’re reading, recent themes that occur at various times of the year, and annual events or pet peeves. One event that I enjoy hearing about is the “Hatening,” where both Gin and Whiskey Jenny decide to choose books that they will probably dislike and then form opinions about them. Their October discussion on the Twilight gender swap novel is quite remarkable, and it makes a person’s hair stand on one end to realize that they are completely right about how switching the genders in Twilight doesn’t take away the problematic material. Definitely listen, and try not to cry at their reread of Watership Down.
Writer’s Bone (since 2014)
Daniel Ford and Sean Tuohy host this weekly podcast where they (usually) interview one writer and talk writing, pop culture, and all things bookish. I got turned onto Writer’s Bone by the author David Joy (The Line That Held Us), who’s been a longtime and vocal supporter of the show. A good place to start is the episode with Friday Black author Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah.
Harry Potter and the Sacred Text (since 2016)
This podcast launched in 2016, but I just discovered it earlier this year. The premise is this: two Harvard Divinity School graduates read Harry Potter chapter by chapter, discussing it as if it were a sacred text. The result is a bit like English class, a bit like church, and a bit like book club. I consider Harry Potter the mythology of my generation, a set of stories that connect me with a diverse community of people who share many of the same values but differ broadly in backgrounds and religious beliefs. For that reason, I love having the opportunity to engage deeply with these texts, examining the themes and considering their universal application. So far I’ve listened through seasons 1 and 2 (which cover the first two books), but the podcast is midway through Order of the Phoenix.
#FallsonLove (since 2017)
Hosted by author Nicole Falls, the #FallsonLove podcast features conversations with indie romance authors. I discovered this podcast earlier this year and quickly subscribed. Nicole brings her signature wit and charm and makes each episode worth the listen. Discover new authors, find out why they chose to write romance, and a few fun facts when you subscribe to this podcast.
Oh no! Lit Class (since 2017)
Full disclosure, I know one of the hosts from grad school. And Megan was as funny and brilliant then as she is now! Each episode explores a work, a theme or a writer and each is educational but still hilarious. Try them out in any of their Oscar Wilde discussions for a good first time.
Everything Trying to Kill You (since 2017)
What started out as a podcast about horror movies has since branched out and has become a podcast about EVERYTHING trying to kill you, including many episodes about spooky books! Some of my favorites are the two minisodes where they read and react to stories from everyone’s childhood favorite, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. In addition to being incredibly funny, these women are super smart and offer three very different perspectives on every text they discuss. If you don’t believe me, just check out their episode about Dracula, which is both hilarious and taught me things about vampires and gothic fiction.
Annotated (since 2017)
I’m going self-referential—this is a Book Riot podcast, but it is also one of my favorites and I only got into the backlog this year. Jeff and Rebecca dive into cool bookish stuff, using scripts and tons of good research so it feels like listening to NPR (in the best way!). I love cozy conversational podcasts, but I also love that I can listen to Annotated with my kids, send it to my mom and grandma, and talk over deep bookish history and figures with my husband. “The World’s Most Glamorous Librarian” about Bella De Costa Green is one of my favorite episodes, shining a light on a rocking librarian I had never heard of.
#BookSquadGoals (since 2017)
My friend (and fellow Book Riot contributor!) co-founded this podcast. It’s essentially a book club, but with very smart women leading the critique. They also talk about various elements of popular culture, and there’s a blog that complements it. They also take listener feedback, which is really cool! I loved the episode on Annihilation, and of course I also recommend the episode about The Book of Speculation because they invited me to be a guest!
Novel Predictions (since 2018)
If you’ve ever tried to predict what was going to happen next in a book and been spectacularly wrong, this is the podcast you’ve been waiting for. Each month these two friends—with very different tastes in books—take turns picking a book that one has read and the other hasn’t. They read the first few chapters, make predictions, and then finish the book and re-evaluate those predictions and the book as a whole (in a separate episode). It’s as fun to listen to as you’d imagine—especially when they discuss books you’ve already read so you can laugh along as whichever host picked the book tries not to react to the other’s wildly wrong (or right) predictions. There are only a few episodes out so far, but they’re so entertaining. Definitely a great pick for people looking for a fun bookish podcast with lots of laughs alongside the analysis.
Launch (since 2018)
For the bookish, there is nothing more magical and mysterious than the journey from the seed of an idea to a hardcover sitting in your hands. In Launch, middle grade author John August walks us through the entire process. The part I love about this podcast is how real-time it all feels. We get to watch as he has an idea in a hotel room on a rainy night. We experience with him the unexpected calls from a literary agent who wants to represent him and a publisher deciding that his book is perfect for their stable. We listen as he interviews the men on the line as the book is manufactured. We sit in classrooms with him as he does readings and has conversations with children about how the book impacted them. And August, with his previous experience as a screenwriter, takes listeners on this trip in a way that feels like we’ve physically been by his side through the entire wild ride.
Need more? Try these:
What’s your favourite podcast discovery of the year?