There are hundreds of podcasts out in the ether these days, with a range of audio quality from one guy in a basement with a computer microphone to company-sponsored full-cast performances. Finding programs to listen to while you’re in the car, going for a jog, or just hanging out at home is largely about trial and error, starting with a topic that interests you and downloading the usually free shows until you find the voices that suit your tastes.
One of the great things about the growth of podcasts as a means of expression is that modern technology can connect people from across the country for a chat, and the content is one hundred percent up to the creators.
Here we’ve compiled a list of some great podcasts that tackle books, authors, publishing, and everything in between.
Books on the Nightstand: Hosts Michael Kindness and Ann Kingman, friends and colleagues at Random House, Inc., cover book news, controversies in the lit world, and aspects of publication such as book jacket development in this half-hour podcast, along with new book recommendations and the occasional call-in show. It has a nice broad scope on literature – including comic books - with crisp recording and lengthy segments.
Dead Authors: A entertainment podcast where deceased writers, from Emily Dickinson to Friederich Nietzche, come for a chat with H.G. Wells (Paul F. Tomkins) via time travel at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Los Angeles. Tomkins recruits many notable comedians to have fun in the present at the expense of the past. This podcast is recorded to spread awareness of 826LA, a non-profit writing and tutoring center for children.
Grammar Girl: The eponymous Grammar Girl doles out the dos and don’ts on this 5 to 10 minute podcast. Given her web site affiliation, she has to spend a little of that time advertising, but it’s worth it to get the information on proper usage that so many of us desperately need in this era of indecipherable abbreviations.
I Should Be Writing: Mur Lafferty covers a wide spectrum of topics on this podcast for ‘wannabe fiction writers,’ which is great because we all know that the books on our shelves have to start somewhere. In addition to the useful tips, the show is a nice insight into the life of a writing student, and all frustrations that entails. Lafferty is personable, honest, and sounds like the sort of person you’d like to chat with over a cup of coffee.
Literary Disco: Discussing everything from Sweet Valley High to A Separate Peace, Rider, Tod, and Julia make a comfortable chat between book-loving friends both hilarious and informative. Switching easily between jokes about bad prose and thought-provoking conversation about why certain books become ubiquitous, this podcast is a can’t miss.
The Moth: This podcast records the unique experience of a few brave people scattered around the country who come forward to tell a story in front of a live audience – in under a minute. The live events center around themes, but anyone can sign up to share. Though not precisely a literary podcast, the truth in storytelling is at the crux of any good book.
Read It and Weep: Chris, Alex, and Ezra discuss terrible books and movies, sparing the public the shame or distress of actually having to read or watch them. They also find a way to make the requisite advertising entertaining.
Sword & Laser: For four years Tom and Veronica have been podcasting about all things sci-fi and fantasy. With so many years under their belt, the show is a finely tuned machine, and has some impressive gets when it comes to author interviews. This one is definitely for the geeks, as topics include video games, tabletop gaming, film and television, as well as genre novels. They now have a bimonthly video blog as well, part of the Geek and Sundry You Tube channel. (http://swordandlaser.geekandsundry.com/)