10 Best Podcasts about Books: Your Treat for International Podcast Day

listening to podcasts about books in 2020

Raise your hand if you like listening to podcasts while doing all kinds of stuff: washing the dishes, walking your dog, commuting, cleaning. This week we can officially celebrate your passion — it is International Podcast Day! Isn’t it the best occasion to refresh your library and pick some new great shows for the coming academic year? We have already prepared an extensive list of podcasts about history, philosophy, and self-help topics. Hurry up to check these fantastic shows. Today it’s time for something extraordinary: BooksRun made for you a selection of 10 fabulous podcasts about books to treat a book-lover and a podcast-geek in you! 

These podcasts about books are for devoted literature fans out there, and the chosen shows will suit anybody who wants to know more about books. Are you up for discussing recent Nobel laureates and Booker Prize winners, listening to the most renowned authors of our time, or learning the characters’ mechanics behind antique dramas? These literary podcasts cover these topics and much more. As a true book-lover, you understand that it’s not enough just to read books; you need to talk and think about them, and podcasts are a great help!

Since podcasts are an ongoing crush of our generation, there are already tons of top-notch literary podcasts in 2020. Here, we’ve picked several shows that offer you the foundations of literary criticism, a bird-eye view on the history of literature, a close-reading of the most renowned novels, and the best of the current book market. One podcast will even teach you another essential knowledge — how to make signature cocktails while discussing the contemporary literary scene. Well, you can also use some of those podcasts as a preparation for your literature or creative writing classes at college! Not surprisingly, these shows are often provided by renowned publishers or literary journals; but don’t stop exploring other captivating custom-made podcasts. Let’s dive in.

The Penguin podcast

This signature orange cover is not for books only — the Penguin publisher has a literary podcast! In this show, its current host Nihal Arthanayake interviews the most prominent authors of our times. Suppose you want to listen to Bill Bryson, Jonathan Safran Foer, or Zadie Smith. In that case, the Penguin podcast is your best companion. The Penguin even got Noam Chomsky to discuss his Optimism over Despair! These interviews mostly concern books and the writing process — what does inspiration feel like? What is the most productive writing routine? How should one handle success? Authors are eager to discuss these intimate writing-related questions, and it feels like you can glimpse at what’s happening behind the author’s scene.

The Guardian Books podcast 

Well, it was one of the most outstanding literary podcasts. Although now the Guardian Books launched a new series (called Innermost) instead of their weekly literary journeys, the old shows are still available for you to enjoy. In each episode of about half-an-hour length, you listen to an erudite conversation between the show’s hosts and a guest author, but it’s hard to predict what the interview will be about! Writing tips, astronomy, handling self-isolation, translating the ultimate Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, and so on. Everybody can find their literary gem!

The New Yorker: Fiction  

An invigorating concept is at work in this literary podcast! Writers read other author’s texts from the New Yorker’s archives. Then they discuss its plot, literary devices, and evoked feelings and thoughts with the host Deborah Treisman, the New Yorker fiction editor. It’s an audiobook and an interview in the same show! 

There is a lovely pair to this New Yorker’s podcast called The Writer’s Voice. You got to hear authors reading their own stories published in the New Yorker — it’s a rare pleasure to listen to an authorial performance! However, you won’t hear much of a discussion based on the piece just read, although you’re often full of questions and bewilderment when the story is over. So if you want something more conversational and educating, join the Fiction podcast fan club. 

The Great Books

This literary podcast is an educating journey through the most influential texts of the world, from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Faubert’s Madame Bovary to Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. Run by the National Review, Professor John J. Miller discusses the greatest masterpieces with journalists and academics. On paper, it sounds like a university lecture, but it’s nothing alike. It is essentially edutaining and witty but also a perfect way to replenish your reading list. There are more episodes available at the National Review website

The History of Literature 

If The Great Books podcast is hosted by an academic and invited literature experts from the most established universities, this podcast is run by book enthusiasts (just like us). Author and literature expert Jacke Wilson creates this show about the most important works and themes in literature. This literary podcast’s best feature is its global approach: Jacke gathers all the pearls of the world literature, also outside of the established canon, mixing old Egyptian stories, Shakespeare, Chinese fables, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and forgotten female writers in one pot. In the end, The History of Literature is an ideal pick for a bibliophile who wants a fresh, erudite, and often personal perspective on literature.

literary podcasts for the international podcast day
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The TLS Podcast: Freedom, Books, Flowers & the Moon 

“With freedom, flowers, books, and the moon, who could not be perfectly happy?” Inspired by this Oscar Wilde’s prompt, this podcast has started, run by the Times Literary Supplement. In these c. 40-minute episodes, you won’t get much of flowers and the moon, but the number of books discussed combined with the freedom of experimenting with unexpected topics and expressing varied opinions will make any bookworm happy. The hosts Stig Abell and Thea Lenarduzzi discuss classic and contemporary literature in witty conversations with guests — authors, academics, and critics.

So Many Damn Books

I can relate to the title for sure. But on the bright side — however many you have, books are never enough, and the same goes about intelligent conversations about books. So Many Damn Books is just about that — hosts Christopher and Drew chat with authors about literature and writing while drinking themed cocktails. This literary podcast is the most entertaining way to stay up to date with the world of literature and drinks (you can find all the recipes on this page).

AudioShelf

Here is something for audiobookworms! This novel way of accessing books has got quite a following in recent years. Finally, we got space to discuss recent audio-hits, our listening experiences, and production trends. Brad and Britney review recent audiobooks — not only the book itself but the production as well — and invite authors for a chat. Sometimes, they dive into more technical topics or bring in movie adaptations. You should follow AudioShelf for a refreshing view on literature. 

The Bookstore

If you think that reading is a social thing, and you’ve always wanted to join a book club, start listening to this literary podcast. It functions exactly like a book club when a chosen book is discussed weekly by all the participants. The difference is that the hosts Becca and Corinne make sure they actually read the book. Here you can check the schedule to get ready for the next episode! It’s a very captivating format that helps you to figure out what to read next and refreshes your busy mind with friendly book-related chatter.

The Slowdown

Pulitzer Prize-winner Tracy K. Smith reads a poem of her choice — that’s pretty much about it. Each episode doesn’t take more than five minutes, and Tracy’s captivating voice reading poetry works like magic (or a fluffy comforting sweater). This podcast has the potential to become your inspirational moment of the day.

a microphone ready for recording a podcast
Vintage photo created by frimufilms – www.freepik.com

Vigorous debates over literature, interviews with renowned writers, talks on well-known novels, poetry readings — this list has different kinds of podcasts about books to fit everyone’s needs. Whatever show you pick for yourself, BooksRun hopes it brightens up your commute, daily chores, or any other podcast listening routine. In any case, you will expand your knowledge about books and the literary world, and the question of “what to read next” and “what to listen to next” won’t pop up for the next few months. And don’t forget that you can easily buy any book on BooksRun! Celebrate with us by listening to the best podcasts about books!