Have you ever shown up to a new book club meeting and realized you had seriously misread the vibe? Maybe everyone came with their copies papered in sticky notes and followed an itinerary so meticulous that it accounted for bathroom and snack breaks. Maybe you were dying to discuss the book you had skipped out on dinner plans to finish only to discover that you were the only one in the club who had actually read the dang thing! Maybe everyone else wanted to read alien erotica. Maybe no one else wanted to read alien erotica.
Just as no two books are the same, no two readers are the same. We think that’s worth celebrating.
Podcasts have been booming in recent years, and book podcasts are no exception. Just about everyone loves to broaden their literary horizons (or simply keep entertained) while washing the dishes, walking the dog, or folding the laundry. But some days it feels like there are more book podcasts than there are books—and it can be hard to find the one that fits with your particular reading and listening style. In this curated list, we’ve got the perfect choice for every reader…including you.
For the rabble-rouser: Book Fight!
Between all the blurbs, online reviews, and marketing jargon, it can be tricky to get an honest take on what to read. But in this podcast, the gloves are off. Hosts Mike Ingram and Tom McAllister invite guests from every niche of the literary world—from editors and professors to journalists and writers—to pick a piece of writing to discuss. (Don’t worry, you don’t need to have actually read the piece to indulge in the lively and riotously funny literary debate.) As the show’s name suggests, these conversations often get fiery, but everyone plays fair. Ingram and McAllister, both longtime writers and editors themselves, are first and foremost lovers of books. That love—and expert knowledge— of literature shines through even the most spirited takedowns. Refreshingly candid, intensely thoughtful, and appropriately goofy, this podcast will have you laughing out loud (and maybe even yelling at your iPhone).
For the trendsetter: Book Riot: The Podcast
This weekly show will make you the belle of the book club, keeping you up to date on the hottest new releases, the juiciest literary scandals, and the authors you need to bookmark. On each episode, Book Riot editors offer curated recommendations as well as industry insights (and hilariously hot takes) on the most pressing book drama of our time. Does Obama actually read the books on his reading lists? Why did the Eat, Pray, Love author cancel the publication of her highly anticipated new novel? Is Taylor Swift really writing a memoir? It’s like a happy hour with your buzziest best friends (who just happen to be publishing insiders).
For the superfan: Well-Read Black Girl
If you’ve ever finished a book and needed to know everything about the mind behind the masterpiece, this is the podcast for you. Award-winning writer, community organizer, and beloved bookfluencer Glory Edim hosts “the literary kickback you never knew you needed,” with guests ranging from Anita Hill to Brit Bennett. It takes about 30 seconds of listening to understand why Edim has won her way into the hearts and bookshelves of so many. Infectiously charismatic and incisive, Edim takes listeners on a journey into the making, impact, and influences of their favorite books while also weaving in radical conversations about the state of Black literature, social justice movements, sisterhood, and what it means to be “well-read.” Oprah’s Book Club members will particularly appreciate goosebump-inducing conversations with the authors of An American Marriage, The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois, and Finding Me. Just be sure to have tissues on hand—these conversations go deep!
For the retro reader: Backlisted
Like a fine wine or a vinyl record, so many books get better with age. But with new releases crowding the front windows of bookshops and the feeds of book influencers, many great old books end up buried in the “pre-loved” bin or gathering dust on a library shelf. Cohosts John Mitchinson and Andy Miller want to change that. On each episode, they sit down with literary superstars like Jennifer Egan and Max Porter to shine a light on books they think deserve more attention. There are the books you read—or claimed to have read—in high school (Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, John Irving’s The World According to Garp) as well as titles you have likely never heard of but are unlikely to forget (get ready to become an aficionado of Norwegian fiction). While the books featured may not be found on many modern “must-read” lists, the fast-paced and provocative conversations they spark will convince you that they should be. And there’s no cooler accessory than a vintage paperback!
For the Oprah’s Book Club loyalist: Oprah’s Super Soul’s The Covenant of Water podcast series
This six-part series on Oprah’s very own Super Soul podcast dives deep into Abraham Verghese’s masterful novel (and 101st Oprah’s Book Club pick) The Covenant of Water. Oprah and Verghese unpack each section of the book, answer audience questions, and reflect on how the story fits into larger conversations about belonging, family, and history. Even if you haven’t read the novel yet (what are you waiting for?), this series has something to offer—from insights on the creative process to raw conversations about the limitations of medicine to a breakdown of strong female role models. The bonus: You’ll understand the book—and the world around you— a little differently.
Charley is a Books Editor at Oprah Daily where she writes about authors, writing, and reading. She is also a freelance writer and audio journalist whose work has been featured in the Atlantic, the Los Angeles Review, Agni, and on the Apple News Today podcast. She is currently completing an MFA in creative nonfiction at NYU and working on an essay collection about the intersection of grief, landscape, and urban design.