Friday, December 10, 2010

Book Podcasts

Those who are savvier than I might already be familiar with all of these podcasts, but with my new (longer) commute, I've started experimenting with bookish and literary podcasts.  Here are a few that I'm enjoying; I'd love to hear your thoughts about these and any favorites I haven't discovered yet!

What's Old is New is a newer podcast, but they already have the oomph of a great format -- revisiting classics -- with engaging hosts -- Jen of Devourer of Books and Nicole of Linus's Blanket -- and amazing guests.  Their debut podcast looked at Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and featured the engaging Joanne Rendell.  The feel of this podcast is a better-than-most book discussion group, which only makes me wish it were a real-life book discussion group so I could join and bask in the awesomeness.  I'm really excited about future podcasts with these two!

The Moth podcast comes from some of the performances that happen on the Moth Mainstage.  Essentially, they're 20-40 minute monologues from a variety of storytellers, and the whole series is made of double awesome.  The original premise of The Moth came from a writer's desire to recreate the ambiance of sitting on a porch telling stories with his friends, and that sense really comes across in each podcast -- if you had friends as interesting and funny and articulate as the Moth storytellers.

Podcastle is paranormal and fantasy short stories written by established and up-and-coming writers, read by fantastic voice actors.  They're creepy and chilling and funny and very, very entertaining.

The New Yorker Fiction podcasts are a double-whammy of bookishness.  Authors -- like this month's Jennifer Egan -- pick a story previously published in the New Yorker and discuss it briefly before reading it.  I like listening to this podcast because authors aren't always the best at reading things but so far, I haven't come across a truly awful reading.  Awkward, yes, but it's kind of endearing; and hearing them explain why they chose the story they did makes up for it.

On my to-listen-to list is Underground Lit Society and Books on the Nightstand; I've downloaded the most recent episodes but haven't had a chance to listen to them yet.  Any others I should add to my list?

Edited to add: The Guardian fiction podcast (which is new to me) just revealed upcoming episodes of authors-reading-other-authors and it looks good!  Philip Pullman doing Chekhov, Margaret Drabble doing Katherine Mansfield, Jeanette Winterson doing Italo Calvino, Ali Smith doing Grace Paley, the list goes on and on.  Delish!


  1. Thanks for mentioning What's Old is New! I can give big thumbs up to Underground Lit Society and Books on the Nightstand, too. Those are two of my favorites.

  2. awesome. i gonna check these out. i was listening to only two podcasts, but stopped last year - pottercast and the lost podast with jay and jack. can't hear them too well on the bus commute.