Serious readers tend to be voracious by nature: we are always on the hunt for our next literary fix, whether or not we already have a whole stack of books waiting to be read. The other thing about avid readers is we love to talk about books — the things they’ve taught us, characters we’ve fallen in love with, or plot twists that blew us away. Sometimes it can be hard to find other people who share the same interests, but fret not: the internet is here to save the day. We’ve sorted through the hundreds of podcasts dedicated to book nerds and narrowed it down to the 12 you should absolutely check out.
NPR’s Book of the Day
This one is great for those who want to get right down to brass tacks: What is good, and can I read it now? With a 15-minute run time, NPR keeps it short and simple, and the hosts are great about featuring a wide range of genres and topics. You won’t get the in-depth author interviews or literary analysis you might from other podcasts, but you’ll be able to start curating a fantastic list of books that you want to read next.
The New York Times Book Review
The New York Times has been a trusted book review source for a long time, and their podcast is basically the audio version of what you might get from the Sunday paper. Produced weekly, an episode usually includes author interviews with well-recognized names, as well as the latest reviews. The best part, though, is the last 10 minutes of the show when that week’s presenters discuss what they are currently reading and whether they recommend it. The podcast started in 2006, and you can visit any episode in their archives so this is a bountiful source of reliable suggestions.
You know those books that you hear people talking about, and you think, “Oh, I’ve been meaning to read that!” This podcast is dedicated to all those titles you’ve been meaning to read. That means that the hosts Andrew Cunningham and Craig Getting discuss everything from children’s literature to classics and steamy bestsellers. Unlike many book podcasts that only feature things in a positive light, this one also tackles works that maybe haven’t stood up to real criticism or the test of time. The banter is top-notch, and becoming a fan of the show will definitely find you reaching for your library card.
What Should I Read Next?
This is a great podcast for the really voracious readers who are constantly on the hunt for their next literary fix. Every week Anne Bogel of the popular blog The Modern Mrs. Darcy interviews a reader about the books they’ve loved, hated, or felt kinda meh about. Then, she makes recommendations on what that person should try reading next. All of this is done with the objective of helping you find your next book.
LeVar Burton Reads
If you helped raise any millennials, you probably remember LeVar Burton as the guy who hosted Reading Rainbow, the delightful children’s program that encouraged a love for reading. This podcast is basically the grown-up version of that show, and you definitely don’t have to be a millennial to enjoy it. Burton picks various short fiction works and reads them — which is his forte, really — with richly produced background music and sounds. The program is usually a little less than an hour long, and is a wonderful way to spend some time immersed in stories that you may not have picked up on your own volition.
Adam Vitcavage hosts this delightful podcast that is dedicated to putting the spotlight on brand-new authors and their debut work. The show usually covers topics such as an author’s writing habits, why they wrote what they did, and what inspires them. With a run time of just under 30 minutes, it’s the perfect introduction to worthwhile works that you might not discover otherwise.
Little Atoms started as a radio show in 2005, but has since emerged as a podcast that covers writers of all genres, encompassing literature, science, art, and politics. The episodes are highly variable and incredibly diverse, so you get interviews with big names as well as authors that more mainstream outlets don’t get to cover. This is a great podcast to follow to keep a finger on the pulse of indie press, as well as to find new books to read with titles that will probably impress other hip bibliophiles.
If you’ve ever hidden a chick-lit book within the covers of a more publicly acceptable tome for fear of being judged, this podcast is for you. The host, journalist and author Caroline O’Donoghue, argues that chick-lit (or books written for and specifically marketed towards women) is an unfairly maligned genre that deserves a respected place in popular culture. O’Donoghue hosts other woman authors and together they chat about their favorite chick-lit books, feminism, and how wrong it is that entertainment that is distinctly feminine is thus somehow shame-inducing.
Audiobooks are the greatest gift to man since the development of electricity. They allow you to skip the labor of reading and inject it fully formed directly into your brain. They also let you “read” while you’re in the car or gardening or walking or … The best audiobooks are like plays conducted in the dark, with acclaimed voice actors and well-produced sound stages that bring stories to life. This podcast is dedicated to audiobooks and the hosts, Britney and Brad, are just as giddy about it as we are. They review new releases, interview hot authors and narrators, and discuss industry news as only old friends can — honestly and hilariously.
Freedom, Books, Flowers,
and the Moon
We got sucked in by the title — a reference to Oscar Wilde’s quote: “With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?” — and stayed for the lively discussion. Brought to you by the London Times Literary Supplement, each episode debates the values of everything from the classics to the surprising literary qualities of Reddit.
So Many Damn Books
This podcast combines two of our favorite pastimes: reading, and drinking fancy cocktails. Each episode features a well-known author discussing reading, literature, and publishing, all while drinking a themed cocktail crafted specifically for that particular guest. It’s one of the most fun book-themed podcasts out there right now, and is perfect for those evenings when you don’t feel like getting dressed but also wish you could be having nerdy conversations with close friends.
Hosts Andrew Miller and John Mitchinson have made it their mission to read lesser-known books by well-known authors, and then proclaim the works’ virtues so that more people can discover them. They call it “giving new life to old books,” and we’re thankful for all their hard work. Backlisted is one of the most popular book-casts available, with a wide following who swear by their recommendations, so be sure to give them a listen if you’re ever in a reading rut.