I have been an awfully bad Weekly Geeker this year but as someone who is subscribed to about 40 podcasts (I was reviewing them long before I was reviewing books) I felt I should have something to say about this week’s topic which is to provide links to or reviews of podcasts, especially book related ones.
All but one of my favourite book podcasts are all radio shows that I wouldn’t be able to listen to if it weren’t for the magic of podcasting:
- Radio National in Australia produces The Book Show every weekday and the format is wide-ranging. Some days the entire show will feature an interview with a single author while at other times there will be multiple books discussed. There are also book readings and interesting segments like Off The Shelf where famous Australians talk about their favourite books.
- The BBC Five Live Books Podcast is a weekly show hosted by Simon Mayo which airs on Thursday afternoons UK time and is released via podcast later the same day. The format involves having the authors of two new release books on the show plus 2-3 reviewers who have read the book and there is a 10-15 minute discussion about each book which includes some plot synopsis and review comments. The show discusses a wide variety of books including from literary fiction to most of the popular genres (though I’ve never heard them discuss a horror book).
- The BBC is also responsible for the World Book Club which is aired once a month (except during the English summer) and involves an interview with a single author about a single one of their books (normally their first). It’s normally recorded with a live audience who can ask questions and it’s also possible to email questions prior to the show or ask by telephone during the show. These shows tend to be with authors of literary rather than genre fiction although several crime fiction authors, including Sara Paretsky and Patricia Cornwell, have appeared in the past.
- Not entirely book related (and not a radio show) but an excellent podcast for those who write is Grammar Girl (or to give it its full name Grammar Girl’s Quick & Dirty Tips for Better Writing). Even if you’re not a grammar junky you’ll get something from the show which is short, informative and well produced. Host Mignon Fogarty is American but always includes tips for users of both British and American English where there are significant differences.
The rest of my podcast aggregator is filled with non-book related podcasts on subjects like technology, politics, news, movies, TV and music. Among my favourites are
- Coverville which is a music podcast release 2-3 times per week and plays cover songs. Most episodes have some kind of theme, for example covers of one artist or band’s songs, and there are listener request shows too. I would never have thought there’d be enough cover songs to keep me interested for long but the show has been running for over 600 episodes now and it’s consistently introducing me to new artists and interesting music. Last week’s Sesame Street Cover songs episode (to celebrate the 40th birthday of the famous TV show) was a treat.
- Car Pool which is a video podcast hosted by Robert Llewellyn (yes the one who played Kryten on Red Dwarf). Each week he does an interview in his car of someone interesting. Guests can be film or TV stars, comedians, technology experts and, increasingly, scientists and environmentalists. Past guests have included Jo Brand, Stephen Fry, Chelsea Sexton and a swag of others. I always learn something and/or laugh out loud.
- The Daily Giz Wiz is a tech gadget show released each weekday. It’s among the 20 or so shows hosted by Leo Laporte (who runs an internet-based broadcast network focused on technology) and Dick DeBartolo and each day they highlight and review a gadget. I don’t really listen for the tech-y stuff (although I have found some great gadgets via the show) because the show is plain funny. DeBartolo writes for Mad Magazine and has written for TV game shows and comedy shows and he brings the quirky sense of humour to the show.
Hopefully there’s something among all that for you to check out and I look forward to seeing what other podcasts fellow Weekly Geekers have to share.