The Momentum Blog

The Best Book-ish Podcasts: Confessions of a Podcast Addict

Posted July 26, 2012 by Anne

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I’m a huge fan of having things beamed directly into my brain, so obviously podcasts are just about my favourite way to pass the time. Well, that and reading books. My favourite podcasts up until now have been largely pop culture-themed – This American Life, Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, all of the Slate podcasts (with the exception of the sports one because what? But if someone wants to make a good argument in favour of it I’m all ears),  WNYC-created Alec Baldwin’s Here’s The Thing and RadioLab, and the always salacious Risk.

I’m even seduced by economics podcasts like Freakonomics, Planet Money and EconTalk. But up until very recently I’d avoided the world of book podcasts. Too much like work, perhaps. But I’ve been listening to a few lately, and am (predictably) addicted. These are my favourites, but I’m sure there are many more that I’m missing. So in the interests of filling up even more of my time, please make your book-ish podcast suggestions in the comments.

The Bookseller UK’s The Naked Book

This podcast does have a tendency to be a little ‘inside baseball’, but if you have any interest in the future of books and reading I highly recommend keeping an eye (ear?) on it. Philip Jones is the host, and he is joined by some of the most interesting people in the UK (and often US) book industry. It’s actually the podcast of a fortnightly radio show that is aired live in the UK, so there is usually input and questions from twitter and forums.

The Creative Penn

Joanna Penn is a thriller author and entrepreneur who has written, published and marketed several books. Her podcast is a must-listen for anyone with writerly aspirations. I listen to it because it gives a different perspective on the publishing industry to the one I’m usually faced with, and great insight into what it is like to be an author. Joanna is completely unaffected, and she is open and honest about her process. I like her interviews because she has no pretensions and covers exactly what I would want to ask of her guests.

The Moth 

While not technically a book podcast, it is story-based, so it totally counts. If you’ve never heard of The Moth, remedy this immediately. They also have a YouTube channel so you can watch the storytellers as well as hear them (but I prefer doing it the old-fashioned podcast-y way).

Selected Shorts

Ditto. Hosted by the excellent Isaiah Scheffer, these are short stories written by some of my favourite writers (including recently Richard Ford, Jennifer Egan and Etgar Keret) and performed by some of the best actors that New York City has to offer.

Books on the Nightstand 

Two publishing types (Random House US employees, but I don’t hold that against them) talking everything book-y. Reviews, events, book creation and authors, they cover it all – and always have the inside word on the next big book to set the literary world abuzz, just before it hits.

Slate’s The Afterword

An in-depth discussion with authors of non-fiction books. Interesting interviews, and the host June Thomas has such a lovely accent that no matter what they’re talking about I’m always fascinated by the conversation.


Some of my favourite twitter personalities feature on this, with Rebecca Schinsky from Bookriot and recently Jon Page from Sydney’s own Pages and Pages Booksellers talking about the books they’re reading, and then delving into larger topics centred around books and reading. Conversational and fun, with great insight and tips about interesting book-ish sites and blogs.

As you might have guessed from the pic of Archer up top, we’re tossing around the idea of doing our own book-ish podcast at Momentum. Stay tuned for more details (ie stay tuned to find out whether I ever figure out what lead to plug in where), and in the meantime let me know which excellent podcasts I’ve missed.

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