Keeping Up With The Penguins

Reviews For The Would-Be Booklover

8 Great Book Podcasts For Book Lovers

Well, after my memory lapse earlier this week (where I couldn’t remember which of the book podcasts I listen to recommended a great book to me), I got to thinking: why not just shout out a whole bunch of great book podcasts all at once? I’m a podcast junkie (in fact, that’s why I almost never get around to listening to audiobooks, no time!), and given my general area of interest, most of my favourite podcasts are bookish in nature. So, here’s a round up of all the best podcasts for book lovers…

8 Great Book Podcasts for Book Lovers - Text Overlaid on Image of Headphones - Keeping Up With The Penguins

One Great Book

One Great Book - Podcast Logo

Most people know Anne Bogel best for her What Should I Read Next? bookish matchmaking podcast, or her long-running Modern Mrs Darcy blog (both are fabulous, by the way!). But her newest book podcast is actually my favourite: One Great Book. In it, she digs through her reading archives and dusts off the hidden gems, those back-list books you might have missed while you were reading. These are short, bite-sized episodes, perfect to squeeze in when you’re after a reading recommendation but you don’t have a lot of time.

Best book recommendation: There have been a few (and more coming every season!), but I never would have picked up Rules Of Civility by Amor Towles without Anne’s recommendation.

Sydney Writers’ Festival

Sydney Writers' Festival - Podcast Logo

I’m an annual volunteer at the Sydney Writers’ Festival, so maybe I’m biased, but this has to be one of the best podcasts for book lovers who can’t always make it to large-scale inner-city literary events in person (I mean, no one can this year, but you get my drift). Volunteering means I can’t always attend events I’d like to see myself, but I go home happy, knowing that in a few weeks or months a recording of the session will be uploaded to the podcast feed. I swear, it’s just like being there! (Except better, because you can save your favourites to listen to over and over again, and rewind if you miss something.) I’m so grateful that the SWF crew goes to so much effort to provide such high-quality recordings – for free!

Best book recommendations: Definitely too many to list, but the first one that comes to mind is Her Body And Other Parties, which I picked up after listening to Carmen Maria Machado’s Curiosity Lecture on Law & Order: SVU.

Harry Potter And The Sacred Text

Harry Potter And The Sacred Text - Podcast Logo

Harry Potter And The Sacred Text is a great book podcast, but maybe not in the way that you’re expecting. As the title suggests, Vanessa and Casper are reading their way through the Harry Potter books chronologically (one chapter per episode), treating them as a sacred text. This means drawing life lessons, inspiration, hard truths, and new insights from the Harry Potter stories – the way we would religious texts, or other sacred writings. This book podcast has had more impact on my non-bookish life than any other, and it’s a must-listen if you’re searching for something on which you can meditate for a while.

Best book recommendation: Well, given the premise, it’s pretty obvious… but I’ve got to say, I’ve got a whole new appreciation for Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, having heard Vanessa’s read of Professor Umbridge.


Annotated - Podcast Logo

Annotated is produced by the experts at Book Riot, so you know they know their stuff! This one is more of an in-depth look at book history and phenomena: The Babysitter’s Club, for example, or the crisis that caused the 2018 Nobel Prize for Literature to be completely cancelled. No matter what the subject of any given episode, I always pick up fascinating trivia! All of the Book Riot book podcasts are great, but this one is the cream of the crop in my opinion.

Best book recommendation: again, not strictly a recommendation, but their episode on the publication history of Ulysses by James Joyce was super-helpful when I was putting together my own review!

Talking Words

Talking Words - Podcast Logo

Another potential bias alert: I was lucky enough to study with the host of Talking Words at university, and Better Read Than Dead (the bookshop that has taken the leap into producing book podcasts) is one of my favourite local haunts. That said, Olivia has managed to secure an ongoing series of interviews with truly fascinating authors right across the spectrum – memoirists, activists, award-winning fiction writers, and more. I love hearing them delve into the nitty-gritty of their subjects and the writing process.

Best book recommendation: hands down Tyson Yunkaporta’s Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save The World!

Chat 10 Looks 3

Chat 10 Looks 3 - Podcast Logo

Alright, we’re briefly veering away from strictly-bookish territory. I can’t honestly call Chat 10 Looks 3 one of the best book podcasts… BUT it is definitely one of the best podcasts for book lovers! Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb talk about everything under the sun – music, movies, podcasts, cooking – but their book recommendations are the reason I tune in. Seriously, they’ve never recommended me a dud, not one! And while I subscribe for the book chat, I definitely hang around for the banter; nothing cheers me up more than hearing Crabb and Sales calling one another out on “smug bundts” (the Chatters out there understand).

Best book recommendation: Technically, they talked about She Said after I’d already read (and lovedlovedloved) it, so I’m going to go with Fleishman Is In Trouble by Taffy Brodessa-Akner. But seriously, whatever they recommend is pretty much guaranteed to be a winner for me.

The To-Read List

I’m almost a little embarrassed about how much I love The To-Read List. I’m worried Bailey, Toby, and Andrew are going to think I’m lovingly-online-stalking them (I’m not, I swear… much). And it’s not just that I totally relate to the goal of the show (to read all of the 125 144 153 unread books on Bailey’s bookshelves). It’s the quirky episode titles, the trivia games, the dubstep remix of the show’s theme song for mini-episodes, the attempts to get Bailey’s husband to read the final installment of the Harry Potter series… Every time I listen, it’s like a wonderful little reminder of the joy of reading and the delight of talking about books with friends and family. This is the My Dad Wrote A Porno of book podcasts.

Best book recommendation: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – I was always hesitant, but I figured if Bailey could get through it in two weeks and take from it as much as she did, I could too!

The Garret

The Garret - Podcast Logo

Let’s be honest: most readers (if not all) harbour a secret desire to write their own books. Right? That’s where The Garret shines among podcasts for book lovers. To quote the show’s subtitle, it’s “interviews by writers, for writers”. Name any of the greats of Australian literature – Charlotte Wood, Christos Tsiolkas, Melissa Lucashenko – and you can be sure they’ve sat down with Astrid Edwards and shared incredibly personal and illuminating stories about their writing and their lives. The Garret is always fascinating, always inspiring, and a true pillar of the Aussie literary landscape.

Best book recommendation: The Garret is where I discovered J.P. Pomare, and I was so struck by his interview that I ran out and bought Call Me Evie right away!

Know of any more great book podcasts? Got your own list of podcasts for book lovers? Drop your suggestions in the comments below! (And, a friendly reminder: always rate, review, and subscribe to book podcasts you love – it really does help them out!)


  1. Is it uncool to shout-out my own?! It is my favorite, after all 😉

    Strong Sense of Place is a podcast and web site to armchair travel and books with vivid settings, that really transport you to a particular time and place.

    In each episode of our podcast, we explore one destination through the pages of five books we love. Our podcasts are released every other Monday, and each season, we get curious about 12 different destinations around the world.

    So far, we’ve recommended dozens of books set in Prague, Japan, Mexico, the Sea, Morocco, Russia, Restaurants, Cuba, Scotland, Sweden, Chicago, and the Circus.

    • ShereeKUWTP

      May 11, 2020 at 4:58 PM

      Not uncool at all, VERY cool!! I love that premise!! Subscribing immediately, of course, thank you! 😍 Happy (bookish) travels!

    • Melissa – I was fortunate enough to discover your podcast just as you were starting out and haven’t missed an episode! Wonderful content and I savor all your extra posts. Carol in the USA

      • Thanks so much, Carol! I’m really glad you found us, and I’m very happy that you’re enjoying our armchair travel adventures. Let us know if you have a place you REALLY want us to cover in Season Two. We still have a few destination slots to fill, and we’re open to suggestions.

  2. I just started reading your blog and love it. I especially second your thoughts about listening to audio books (hard!) and the greater love for podcasts. This is a great list for me and one I would add to it is Tea or Books. Two 30-something British academics discuss mostly British books and authors.

    • ShereeKUWTP

      May 11, 2020 at 4:59 PM

      Ah, yes, of course! I’ve been following Simon over at Stuck In A Book for ages. A perfect addition to this list!

      • Thank you for mentioning us, Carol!

        And I love Chat 10 Looks 3 so much. I’d never heard of the people presenting, but an Australian friend recommended it. There’s a similar dynamic in the Fortunately podcast, though more chit chat and not quite as much culture.

  3. Thank you so much for the shout out, Sheree! I LOVE that you think we’re the MDWAP of book podcasts… hope we can live up to the honor. <3

    • ShereeKUWTP

      May 16, 2020 at 6:33 PM

      You definitely do, Bailey 😉 Thank YOU for dropping by my little blog! Books, books, books!

  4. Ok you have now done serious damage to my iPod with all these recommendations. I love trying new podcasts so have added three from your list. Have you tried Backlisted? Its a podcast where a bunch of people sit around the kitchen table and discuss one old book that they think has been overlooked. By old I don’t mean ancient – just many decades ago

    • ShereeKUWTP

      May 16, 2020 at 6:36 PM

      Ha! I love to fill a library, any library 😉 I feel like I might have subscribed to Backlisted at some point, it definitely rings a bell… I’ll have to scroll back through my own extensive catalogue and find it! Thank you!

  5. I hope it is ok to mention my podcast for consideration next time you write a podcast roundup! I interview authors about their new books and chat all things book-related. I would love for you to check it out! Thanks so much!

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