Podcasts & How They Can Enhance Your Reading Life


When I discovered the Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon community last year, I quickly realized how extensive the online reading community has become. I saw blogs, big and small, as well as its reach on Twitter & Facebook, and also discovered bookish social media beyond Goodreads, like Litsy. Another favorite part of the bookish community I discovered was Book Riot, a rather large blog that pretty much everyone seems to know. It was as I was discovering all of this that I also rediscovered my love for listening to podcasts. My commute is long, and I really like to have something to occupy my mind beyond music most days. As I was renewing my love for podcasts such as This American Life and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me!, I discovered something through Book Riot that I hadn’t thought of before…and that was bookish podcasts!

I love listening to bookish podcasts because they have expanded my reading world. I’ve discovered lots of recommendations for books I may not have heard of otherwise. I’ve found discussions of books I’ve read and listened to others say things I don’t always agree with. I’ve learned a lot more about the publishing industry and found someone else who finally agrees that e-book pricing is criminal most of the time. I’ve also recently struck gold with the podcast that is Reading Rainbow for adults. Most of the bookish podcasts I listen to come from Book Riot, but I’ve also stumbled upon a few others that I want to listen to, or listen to from time to time. These get me through my week, and help me feel a connection to reading and books and other book nerds, particularly when I’m having a busy week and not getting a ton of reading time in myself.

I also listen to non-bookish podcasts, many of which (though not all) come from NPR. I feel that these other podcasts also enhance my reading life, even if they aren’t about books. These other podcasts give me information about the world that I may not have ever read in a book because I don’t read a lot of nonfiction. They give me topics that I want to learn more about, and help me read more nonfiction sometimes. They also enhance my understanding of topics I have read about. All of this happens from the comfort of my own car, where I’m always learning something, whether about books or the world. I also listen to podcasts when working out, and they’re great company for cleaning.

So those are many of the reasons I think podcasts enhance my reading life. For the rest of the post, I’m going to provide some information & descriptions about the podcasts I subscribe to (of which there are many). I hope you find something intriguing to check out!

Note: each podcast title links to the ITunes listing for the podcast, but most (if not all) are also available on Stitcher, if you use that instead. I’ve also linked to host’s social media (mainly Twitter) if I could.

Bookish Podcasts

  • All the Books (Book Riot)a recommendation show about new releases. Both Rebecca & Liberty have their own literary wheelhouses, both of which are a little different from mine at time, but I always pick up a recommendation or 2, and usually one outside of my wheelhouse. Very entertaining & helpful! Hosted weekly on Tuesdays by Rebecca Schinsky  and Liberty Hardy.
  • Get Booked (Book Riot)–a weekly show that takes reader questions and provides personalized reading recommendations. The range of questions on this show is extremely interesting, and I always find wildly different book recs. Perfect for broadening my reading horizons! Hosted by Amanda Nelson and Jenn Northington.
  • Book Riot Podcast–a weekly show released on Mondays that discusses publishing news and other bookish news.  When I first started listening, I wasn’t sure about this one (I mean…publishing news doesn’t sound super interesting), but I fell in love when Jeff started ranting about e-book pricing relative to pricing for real books. There’s always something interesting here, and usually some uplifting things, too. Hosted by Rebecca Schinsky and Jeff O’Neal.
  • SFF Yeah! (Book Riot)–a bi-weekly podcast all about science fiction and fantasy. There’s a different theme and recommendations on the theme each episode. I loved the first 2 episodes a lot, but these are definitely my genres. Hosted by Sharifah Williams & Jenn Northington.
  • Read or Dead (Book Riot)–a new bi-weekly podcast all about mysteries, suspense, and thrillers. This isn’t my usual genre, but the episode about the differences between mysteries, suspense, and thrillers definitely hooked me. I’ve also been expanding my reading by reading more thrillers/mysteries lately, so this will be a big help. Hosted by Rincey Abraham and Katie McLain.
  • LeVar Burton Reads–This is Reading Rainbow for adults y’all. LeVar Burton picks a piece of short fiction every week & reads it to you. He also tells you why he likes the story. I’m in the middle of a two-parter right now, and his voice is so delightful. It’s like mini-audiobook Christmas. Definitely worth a listen.
  • The Reading Women–I admittedly haven’t listened to this one yet. It comes out twice a month and discusses books written by women. I’m going to remember to subscribe to it today, but I’ve heard very good things! (link is to the Twitter page)
  • Annotated (Book Riot)–Another Book Riot podcast, but I just can’t help myself. This one is also new & will be released bi-weekly. Jeff O’Neal, creator, described it as This American Life for books, and that seems a pretty accurate description after the first episode. These episodes are only about 25-30 minutes in length. The first one is about 1984 and how it was written (and why it’s so popular again!).
  •  Shelfie–This one is great for YA readers. Each episode the hosts review a different YA book. There will be spoilers, so for me, I tend to pick and choose episodes for books I’ve already read. (link is to Twitter account)


Non-Bookish Podcasts I Love

  • Yo! Is This Racist?–this podcast tackles topical issues in the worlds of racism and prejudice, but also manages to be fairly hilarious. It’s opened my eyes to my own biases as well. A typical episode involves a topic for discussion amongst host Andrew Ti and his guest(s) of the day and then responses to audience questions about whether different situations are racist. Definitely worth a listen if racism and privilege are topics you read or think about.
  • Ask Me Another–this is a game show podcast from NPR that uses a lot of pop culture references and word play. Each episode typically features a celebrity guest as well as contestants selected from the audience. Great fun, especially if you like word play, pop culture, music, and puzzles. Hosted by Ophira Eisenberg.
  • This American Life–another gem from NPR. This show is hosted by Ira Glass and has a different theme each week. The show then tells 2-3 stories related to the theme that are usually unique and interesting. I’ve listened to everything from discussions about tension between school boards and the community to a recent episode about magic.
  • Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me!–another gameshow from NPR that is pretty much how I get my news these days. All of the games and questions are focused on current events, both mainstream and odd. Three comedians/personalities compete against each other for the most points and bragging rights, and call-in audience members compete for the prize to get the voice of the previous announcer Karl Castle on their voicemail. I laugh hysterically while learning news and I like it. Hosted by Peter Sagal.
  • The Mash-up Americans–I started downloading this one after one of the hosts was a guest on Yo! Is This Racist? I admit I haven’t gotten around to listening to it yet, but it’s billed as a guide to hyphenated America. It’s hosted by Amy S. Choi and Rebecca Lehrer.
  • TED Radio Hour–this is pretty much what it sounds like. There are different themes each week and clips of TED talks & further discussion with those giving the TED talks around the theme. Similar to This American Life. Hosted by Guy Raz.
  • TED Talks–this is just audio replays of TED talks. Most are about 15 minutes long. I don’t always keep up with them online, so I enjoy this. Never sure what will pop up or what it will be about.

Okay, so there’s my 2 cents about podcasts. If you don’t listen to them, I hope you’ll give 1 or 2 of these a try. If you already listen to podcasts, but haven’t listened to these, then maybe you’ve found something new to try. Hit me with your podcast recommendations, too! I’m always willing to try new ones!


3 thoughts on “Podcasts & How They Can Enhance Your Reading Life

  1. I looooooove podcasts. I’m kind of addicted. There’s a bookish one and a non-bookish one I’d recommend for you.
    Bookish: What Should I Read Next?
    It’s a conversation between the host and her guest about the books they love and one book they don’t love, and then Anne, the host, suggests three books she think the guest will like based on their choices.

    Non-bookish: Code Switch from NPR
    It’s about all kinds of topics involving race and identity in America, and it’s really well done, as all NPR podcasts are. The two hosts are terrific, and it’s usually about 20-30 minutes long. I only started listening to this a few months ago but it’s quickly become one of my favorites.

    I need to try the Levar Burton one! I know I’d enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

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