One of my favorite ways to find my next book is via podcast. I have pretty varied interests when it comes to my podcast choices in general. When I’m looking for something new to read, however, I am looking for a podcast that meets the following specifications:
The host(s) must not be annoying. Some voices annoy me. Sometimes the host is too serious or too goofy for my taste. I realize that where a host should fall on the scale of calm to entertaining is really a personal preference, but in my case, if I don’t think I’d like to have lunch with you, I certainly don’t want to listen to your podcast.
The discussion must be one I’d love to join. Some podcasts just list books with a quick summary. I really prefer a podcast where there’s a bit more discussion of the merits of a given book or author. Bonus points if I made a mental list of what I’d contribute to the discussion if given the chance.
The recommendations must be for books I would actually read. If I rush over to the computer mid-podcast to request a book at the library because I just don’t want to wait another minute, that’s a sign I’ve found a good match. Bonus points if I’ve done that more than once in a single episode.
After many hours of listening and deleting and just-one-more-episode-in-case-it-gets-better, here are my top 3 (and 1/2) recommendations to try if you’re looking for your next book:
- Get Booked is one of multiple podcasts from the people at Book Riot. (All of which are good. When it comes to recommendations, though, this one is my favorite.) Each week the hosts answer questions from listeners about what books to read given a particular set of preferences. Think, “I just finished _____. What can I read that’s similar?” or “I really love books where the house might be haunted. Here’s what I’ve already read. Have I missed any good ones?” One of the hosts can grate on my nerves a bit, but the discussion, the books recommended, and the balancing effect of the other host are enough to keep me coming back for each new episode.
- Books on the Nightstand is a little less direct book recommendations and a little more a conversation between friends who both work in the publishing industry. They discuss what’s sitting on their nightstands waiting to be read, what they’ve enjoyed recently, and what is happening in the world of books. As of this writing, the podcast is on episode #370, so there are plenty of archives on fascinating (to me) subjects like book clubs for the whole family, illustrated books for adults, and when tv shows diverge from the books that inspired them.
- What Should I Read Next? is my very favorite of the three, but it also the newest on the list. Each episode, Anne Bogel (from Modern Mrs. Darcy fame) interviews a guest and then makes book recommendations based on the interview. I love listening to her interview the guests as they talk about what books they’ve loved and what purpose reading serves their lives. In one episode, she recommended a book that I thought fit the guest’s interests so perfectly that I actually said, “What a great pick!” out loud. Any podcast that can elicit verbal responses from listeners has something great going on.
What about the 1/2? I fell in love with the Bookrageous podcast right about the time they announced they would no longer be producing regular shows. Boo. That said, book recommendations don’t generally spoil with age, so I have been working my way through the substantial show archives with relish.