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March 26, 2019

3/6/2019 1:38:00 PM
The Book Bird Book Talk and Chatter: Podcasts for Literature Lovers
By Betsy Bird

It’s no secret that podcasts are now the radio of the 21st century. Even if you don’t know someone who actually runs one, then you may subscribe to a couple on the sly. My phone’s podcast app is regularly filled with episodes I should check out, even as others fade from my mind. If you love books and like hearing people talk about them, consider the following bookish shows to add to your feed:

“The Librarian Is In” – This is the official podcast of New York Public Library and, in all truth and honesty, one of the hosts is Jefferson Market Branch Manager, Frank Collerius. He’s joined by fellow librarian Gwen Glazer, and together they tackle everything from bookstores and Broadway to curation and Christine Baranski.

“Go Your Own YA” – When searching for a podcast, go local. Carey and Marie’s Chicago-based podcast about young adult novels past is a hoot and a holler. Remember Lois Duncan, Libba Bray, and Howl’s Moving Castle? Then this show is for you.

“The Secrets of Story” – And speaking of local, you can’t get much localer than Evanston itself. My husband Matt runs this podcast with YA author James Kennedy. With each episode you can hear them eviscerate one another over the bones of storytelling and writing with surgical precision. It also includes some very good advice on why your favorite books and films work as well as they do.

“Grimm, Grimmer, Grimmest” – Let’s not forget that kids love a good podcast too. And who better to inculcate them into that world than middle grade author, Newbery Honor winner, and former teacher Adam Gidwitz? In this kicky little show Gidwitz takes some of the Brothers Grimm's strangest stories, then casts them and reads them to real kids with real reaction. The result is fun, funny, and deeply odd.

“An Unexpected Podcast: Talkin’ Tolkien” – Who doesn’t love a hobbit or two? As the podcast itself says, “We invite you to join us in an adventure as Ezra and Lane delve deep into Middle Earth. Each fortnight we will gather for a book re-read, show speculation, and much more!”

“Pop Culture Happy Hour” – While this isn’t technically a book podcast, NPR’s show keeps you updated on everything happening in pop culture, and that includes literature. Find their book-related shows for some particularly keen insights.

Stuff You Missed in History Class – This history podcast covers every possible topic, including books and authors. Check out recent episodes about Alexandre Dumas, Gertrude Stein, the first comic book, Walt Whitman, and more.

Fuse 8 n’ Kate – Two sisters take on classic picture books and try to figure out if they are “classics or crrrrap!” And one of those sisters is me.

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