Finding the next book–It’s a never-ending hunt for avid readers. Stored in the super-charged brains of librarians and independent bookshop owners is loads of up-to-date information, ripe and ready for the picking. Sadly, most of us don’t have 24-7 access to one of those lovely people. (Half your luck if you do!)
Book podcasts fit the bill if you’re looking for a steady stream of book recommendations. I listen to (free) book podcasts between my (not free) audio books. With the audio files loaded on my smartphone via the Downcast app, I can follow along while I’m out for my walk or driving around on errands. iTunes offers a huge variety of podcasts as well.
Not all book podcasts are created equally.
Some focus on high-brow literary commentary, while others fall into the category of fandom. (Into fandom? I can recommend the adorable vlog, Bella and Books.)
Below are five super book podcasts for readers. I listen to all five regularly but I never miss an episode of the the first two.
I’ve listened to Ann Kingsman and Michael Kindness talk about books and publishing for years. There’s a lot to love about this podcast
- They focus on recommendations rather than reviews. No snarky book slamming here. It’s all upbeat and insightful.
- They work in the world of publishing and reveal interesting behind-the-scenes titbits.
- They comment on an impressive variety of books—including new releases, best-sellers, and even the books that normally don’t get a mention on these shows—graphic novels, audio books, and kidlit.
- They’re on GoodReads so you can enjoy the fun on more than one platform.
- Best of all, the program’s recording quality is top-notch, and the show is family-friendly (no dodgy topics or gratuitous swearing).
While not technically about books, this podcast appeals to lovers of good narrative. Produced by the loveable and acclaimed radio producer Ira Glass, This American Life offers a weekly show created to a theme and chock-a-block full of ripping tales and thought-provoking content. How they manage to create such high quality shows week after week on a public radio budget is beyond me.
Nancy may well be the only librarian with an action figure created in her honour. She once started a program called “If All Seattle Read the Same Book” that was taken up in cities across the US. Her rock-star status gives her connections with A-list authors, so check out the archives of Book Lust to see if your favourite author is there. (I can recommend the interview with John Irving).
Here’s a great way to learn about foreign books you might want to read. The usual format is Q & A in front of a live audience. This one falls at the erudite end of the spectrum without being too stuffy.
These guys are young and hip, so they cover books in a fresh way with an emphasis on technology and innovation. Their slick accompanying website gives you a good idea of the flavour and scope.
Creative Commons Image Credit: lovely book! by Tim Geer