If there’s one thing we know here at TCK Publishing, it’s the value of a good book.
Reading’s one of the all-time great hobbies: it’s fun, it’s relaxing, and it’s good for your mind and body. Not only can books teach us about ourselves and about the world, but they can boost your memory, make you more empathetic, and even decrease your chances of developing degenerative brain disorders.
But here’s the sad truth: you can’t read all the time.
Believe me, I’ve tried. Here’s a hot tip: when the electric company shuts your lights off, it’s time to put the book down and get off your tuchas.
But for those tragic times you absolutely cannot have a book in your hand—your morning commute, while you’re cooking dinner, or even while you’re writing your own stories—podcasts can keep you connected to the world of literature and immerse you in the reading community like nothing else can.
15 Podcasts for Book Lovers
In the past, we’ve given our recommendations for meditation podcasts and podcasts for writers. Now it’s time to count off some of our all-time favorite podcasts dedicated specifically to the bookworms of the world.
So whether you’re looking to hear fellow book lovers discuss your favorite novels and authors, find a new book to scratch that reading itch, or just wind down after a long day to a soothing live reading of a great story, this list has something you’ll love.
Let’s dig in!
You can’t beat this for a premise: in order to get better at their jobs, four librarians purposefully read books they hate, then discuss them on this highly entertaining podcast.
On the first and third Tuesday of every month, the hosts pick a few randomly selected books to talk about from a list of genres they usually avoid, from family sagas to YA dystopias to experimental fiction—all in the name of forcibly expanding their personal tastes to become better librarians.
If you like mocking so-bad-they’re-good movies—or just enjoy the misery of others—this podcast might be right up your alley.
The Hosts: Anna Ferri, Meghan Whyte, Matthew Murray, and one guest
2. Book Fight!
If you’re looking for something with a slightly more irreverent edge, Book Fight! has your fix. Both of the podcast’s hosts are writing professors, and each episode offers an approximation of the conversations writers have in bars—arguments, tangents, swearing, and general silliness included.
The podcast won an award for Best Streaming Media at the Philly Geek Awards in 2015, and its showrunners are also very conscientious about guiding newcomers around their site, offering several different jumping-off points for those who don’t want to start at the first episode.
The Hosts: Mike Ingram and Todd McAllister
Although this podcast has regrettably shut down production, Books on the Nightstand is still one of the best book review podcasts out there. The two hosts bring great book reviews and recommendations to the table every episode, as well as unique behind-the-scenes dirt on the world of books, bookstores, and publishing. If you don’t mind listening to back episodes of a podcast, Books on the Nightstand makes for a cozy evening of book talk.
The Hosts: Michael Kindness and Ann Kingman
4. Read to Lead
Former radio personality Jeff Brown leads this more career-minded podcast. With an eye towards advancing leadership skills and personal growth through consistent, intentional reading, Brown chats with a new business book author each week; his guests have included John Maxwell, Liz Wiseman, Dan Miller, and Daniel Pink.
The Read to Lead Podcast has been ranked a Top 10 Business podcast and a Top 3 Career podcast on iTunes, and has twice been nominated for Best Business Podcast on the platform.
The Host: Jeff Brown
Three celebrity best friends who happen to be ginormous bookworms chat cross-country about the stories they love. What’s not to enjoy?
The three hosts read just about everything—from YA to essays to articles to plays—and talk about them every episode. Sometimes they interview authors. Sometimes the authors interview them. Sometimes rants and silly games break out.
The Hosts: Julia Pistell, Tod Goldberg, and Rider Strong
Hosted by David Niamon, this podcast has some serious star power. Featuring interviews and live readings from both established figures and up-and-comers in the literary world, the podcast covers fiction, nonfiction, and narrative poetry. Past guests include Ursula K. Le Guin, Maggie Nelson, and Roxanne Gay.
The podcast comes from the literary radio show of the same name broadcast in Portland, Oregon.
The Host: David Niamon
7. Fully Booked
For real “insider dirt” on the book industry, go to the experts: on the Fully Booked podcast, the editors at Kirkus Reviews give you the inside scoop on new books, interview your favorite authors, give you behind-the-scenes insights on the publishing world, and tell you whether the books on bestseller lists are actually worth your time.
The podcast has hosted personalities like Joe Hill, Matthew Weiner, and Gabrielle Zevin.
The Hosts: Clay Smith and Megan Labrise
Looking for something on the more terrifying end of the totem? This award-winning, critically acclaimed podcast explores horror fiction—and the terrifying true stories that inform today’s scariest books. Lore delves deep into the shadowy side of history, dredging up the “creatures, people, and places of our wildest nightmares.”
Oh, and it’s also now an Amazon exclusive TV series.
The podcast is also extraordinarily well-produced, with excellent mood music by Chad Lawson.
The Host: Aaron Mahnke
Remember how great Reading Rainbow was? Of course you do. And wouldn’t it be great if host Levar Burton had a show like that, but for adults? Of course it would be.
Well, ask and ye shall receive, because Levar Burton Reads is the best new read-aloud podcast in the past few years.
Levar Burton, of Roots, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Reading Rainbow fame, is a huge bookworm—as one might expect—and each week, he picks a new piece of short fiction to read and discuss on this podcast. Burton is a skilled narrator, and the unique voices and cadences he gives to the characters in each story makes Levar Burton Reads a wonderful listening experience.
The Host: Levar Burton
10. Two Book Minimum
The icon for this left-of-silly podcast sets the mood: a cartoon face with two huge tomes crammed in its mouth.
Dan Wilbur, creator of Better Book Titles, hosts this extraordinarily goofy podcast with two guests each episode. The guests are always one comedian and one author, and while their conversations about literature and publishing start serious, they quickly devolve into primo wacky hijinks.
The Host: Dan Wilbur
11. The Rabbit Room
For Christian book lovers and readers interested in theology, The Rabbit Room podcast acts as an extension of The Rabbit Room website, focusing primarily on Christian writers, artists, and musicians. The name comes from the name of the back room of the pub where the Oxford Inklings (C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams, among other Christian writers) would meet to discuss their stories.
The podcast itself, hosted by author/singer-songwriter Andrew Peterson, features music, reviews, interviews, and live readings.
The Host: Andrew Peterson
Listen on the website.
12. Lexicon Valley
Maybe this Slate Magazine-produced podcast isn’t about books, but it’s sure to get your inner word nerd stoked to read. Each episode, the hosts tackle a different sticky linguistic concept, including funky pronunciations, unusual spellings, and a frank discussion of the f-word.
If you’re a writer looking to expand your vocabulary or just get a better grasp of the English language and how it works, this is the podcast for you.
The Host: John McWhorter
13. Dear Book Nerd
This bi-weekly podcast features librarian Rita Meade talking to guests and friends from the world of books, be they authors, booksellers, publishers, or even fellow librarians. The host and her guests work together to answer readers’ burning book-related questions, challenges, and dilemmas; these discussions include advice over handling “reader’s guilt,” reading strong female characters, and decorating your house when you’ve got too many books.
The Host: Rita Meade
14. The Poetry Gods
The Poetry Gods are three poets/verse lovers on a mission to “show you how not to be wack in 2016 and beyond.” This project was created as a response to self-serious, over-academic poetry analysis on other podcasts—the podcast focuses on the joyful and often absurd world of poetry, and never takes itself too seriously.
Each episode includes an interview with an up-and-coming poet, riffing on current events, and a brief poetry reading.
The Hosts: Aziza Barnes, Jon Sands, and José Olivarez
This podcast gives you exactly what it says on the label: if you’re looking to expand your to-be-read pile to cosmic proportions, this is the programming you’ve been waiting for.
Each week, popular book blogger Anne Bogel invites her guest to bring in three books they love, one they loathe, and one they’ve been reading that week. Then, based on that information, she makes her personal recommendation to the guest and her listeners.
The Host: Anne Bogel
Do you have a favorite bookworm-centric podcast? Give us your recommendations in the comments below.
And if you’re looking for more reading recommendations or tips, you’re not far away: