I have many interests that aren’t just related to books, she says on a site dedicated to all things books. But seriously, as much as it is comforting to have a thing you love to always come to, I am always very much wanting to expand. And I’ve always found that creating a bridge between a thing you know/love into a thing that may be new to you is a great way to try things out and stretch the curious mind.
It is easy for me to discover new bookish podcasts: most just end up crossing my path without me even searching them out because I work with books all day and am part of communities filled with book lovers. It’s how the hilarious podcast If Books Could Kill found its way into my ears. And even if this was not the case a quick search for “bookish podcasts” would certainly return plenty of results. But what if you’d like to find some non-bookish podcasts (put the pitch forks down) but don’t know where to start? It can be easier to go into a non-bookish podcast via a bookish episode. It gives you the comfort you know while introducing you to new hosts and format.
Finding just a bookish episode though can be difficult sometimes so I found you eight bookish podcast episodes on eight non-bookish podcasts that offer very different listening experiences.
The podcast: Into It: A Vulture Podcast with Sam Sanders is a weekly pop culture podcast focused on film, TV, music and whatever pop culture nonsense currently has everyone talking. The episodes start with a fun game of “Are you into it or not?” where Sanders presents some things that have recently happened and the guest(s) opine on how they feel about it.
This bookish episode: Chelsea Devantez is a comedian who has a bookish podcast, Celebrity Book Club, and came to talk to Sanders about the hit memoir by Jennette McCurdy, I’m Glad My Mom Died. She also talks about Matthew Perry’s memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, and why celebrity memoirs have been impactful in her life.
The podcast: Alicia Menendez, an MSNBC host and author of The Likeability Trap: How to Break Free and Succeed as You Are, is the host of Latina to Latina where she talks to fellow Latinas about their lives, successes, and all the things that come with being Latina in the U.S.
This bookish episode: Menendez talks to Ada Limón who is our current U.S. Poet Laureate. Limón talks about her upbringing, her parents, how the death of her stepmother propelled her to live the life she wanted, what it’s like to exist when people want you to only fit/perform in a very specific box they created for you, and she reads one of her poems. Limón also tells a hilarious story about her father and the theft of hubcaps as a lesson to a xenophobic person.
The podcast: Sarah Marshall and guest hosts look at history on You’re Wrong About and find an event/person that was wrongly cast at the time to talk about.
This bookish episode: This is a completely bonkers story from the ’70s, that ties in a recent book that looks at the bonkers story and satanic panic and so many things. Carmen Maria Machado, a fantastic author, joins Marshall in this three-part episode (there’s so much to talk about!) to discuss the 1970s YA book Go Ask Alice, which was a published diary about a drug addicted teen. Except now there is a book, Unmask Alice, that dives into the author of that book and whether that book, and another, were ever even real. In the third podcast episode the author of Unmask Alice joins Marshall and Machado to talk about this truly bananapants story.
The podcast: Three friends — Saeed Jones, Zach Stafford, and Sam Sanders — started Vibe Check to get together once a week to talk about the big things going on in the news and culture, while checking in with each other and themselves. It’s filled with heart, warmth, and humor.
This bookish episode: Before they get to talking about the Emmys and Queen Elizabeth II’s death, Saeed Jones talks about his book tour and reads a poem from his latest collection Alive At The End Of The World. Which, is just the best title.
The podcast: On Normal Gossip, Kelsey McKinney, along with guests, brings you anonymous gossip and stories from people you’ll never know so you can play the game “Is real life stranger/funnier than fiction?”
This bookish episode: The hilarious author Samantha Irby joins McKinney to talk about her relationship with gossip (stress!). And then McKinney tells Irby the story about two teens everyone tried to pair together who go off to college separately and return back home, one confessing she’s a lesbian to make people stop trying to pair her off with her friend and the other trying to convince his college girlfriend to please move to his hometown with him. And that’s all I’m going to give you so you can enjoy hearing the story on your own.
The podcast: On 5-4 Peter, Michael, and Rhiannon chat weekly about how politics shape laws and how much they feel the Supreme Court sucks.
This bookish episode: The hosts (re)watched The Pelican Brief adaptation, a ’90s film based on John Grisham’s same titled legal thriller. It stars Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, and Stanley Tucci as a Middle Eastern assassin (problematic much?). They hilariously get into what works and doesn’t for the film, talking about how the Supreme Court is never used as a focus in political films (there will be a political thriller TV show based on Stacey Abrams political thriller focused on the Supreme Court!). You get nostalgia if you watched it in the ’90s and a funny review of an adaptation.
The podcast: As the title implies, Pop Culture Happy Hour dives into the buzziest pop culture (books, games, film, TV, music…) five times a week. The short segments (15–30 minutes) are brought to you by journalists Linda Holmes, Glen Weldon, Stephen Thompson, and Aisha Harris, along with guests that are in the pop culture know.
This bookish episode: Aisha Harris takes a look at the 1985 film adaptation of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, which was directed by Steven Spielberg. The focus is on how the film was received differently by different viewers.
How to Be a Better Human: How to have curious conversations in dangerously divided times (w/ Mónica Guzmán)
The podcast: How to Be a Better Human is a TED Audio Collective podcast hosted weekly by Chris Duffy. Duffy talks to guests to share insight on how to be a better person and how to show up for other people.
This bookish episode: Duffy chats with Mónica Guzmán, author of I Never Thought of It That Way. As the daughter of Mexican immigrants who vote for anti-immigrant politicians, she created an organization, Braver Angels, dedicated to political depolarization. Guzmán talks about how it’s important to understand and talk to those we think are our enemies to better understand each other.