Listening to Literature Lite

A few years ago, I attended the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, where an indie publisher dubbed the 21st century “The Golden Age of Publishing.” From the Big Five to indie and university presses, to print-on-demand and self-publishing platforms, there are more ways than ever for writers to get their words in print while ebooks and audiobooks offer alternate ways for readers to consume titles. Abibliophobia may become a thing of the past, but a new subsect of bibliophobia could be on the rise. What do we do with our fear of too many books? To help with my biblio-anxiety, I often tune into literary podcasts to help me discern TLDR from TBR.

Celebrity Book Club with Chelsea Devantez

In addition to being hilarious, comedian and host Chelsea Devantez is thoughtful and thorough in her explication of the (mostly female) memoirs she discusses with equally delightful guests. Each episode wraps with the Bookdel Test, Devantez’s clever riff on the Bechdel Test, in which host and guest reflect on whether an author shared their truth and if the book elevates readers’ lives.

From the Front Porch

Do you pine to visit Kathleen Kelly’s The Shop Around the Corner? Enter Annie B. Jones, owner of The Bookshelf in Thomasville, Georgia, and host of this podcast featuring author interviews, book discussions, live literary event recordings, and bits of life from a literary small town.

Read Appalachia

I was a big fan of the long-running Reading Women series, so when Kendra Winchester began teasing her new podcast venture, I couldn’t wait to listen. Read Appalachia not only celebrates Appalachian literature, it educates outsiders about the region — particularly its complexities and diversity, which have been omitted from the national conversation of late.

The Antidote

This podcast, hosted by TV writers/producers Amy Aniobi and Grace Edwards, isn’t exclusively a book podcast, but the best friends often interview authors on their show as they bring levity to the “dumpster fire” of a world we feel we’re living in these days. “Getting Booksmart with Phoebe Robinson” is a great episode to begin with.

The Slowdown

Major Jackson is the third poet to host this (sound)byte-sized program established by former U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith. Each episode opens with a brief narrative and reflection that establishes context for the day’s poem, read by Jackson. This podcast is a great way to inject a little poetry into your day while also learning about established and emerging voices in the genre. 

The Stacks

Can you make a career out of reading and talking about books? Yes, you can. That’s exactly what host Traci Thomas has done with The Stacks, which features Thomas in lively conversations with guest authors of new(ish) titles. There’s also a book club episode each month.