The 3 bookish podcasts you need

2020 has been the year of the podcast. I have always been a listener, but as my anxiety levels have increased (and… I mean… 2020.) my pod hours have sky rocketed. Truthfully, I probably spend an unhealthy amount of time listening to podcasts, but as vices go, I could have chosen much worse. For the first time, this year I started deliberately seeking out bookish podcasts, so today I thought I’d share three of my favourites.


Literary Friction
Bookish, introspective, whip smart and brimming with exciting recommendations, it’s always a good day when a new episode of Literary Friction lands in my feed. Hosted by Carrie Plitt and Octavia Bright, expect in-depth author interviews and thematic discussions on everything from the necessity of hope, to sisterhood, race, therapy, vanity, social media and so much more. I recommend listening in a hot bath – some sort of bubbles/salts essential – with a towel pillow. Literary Friction is the perfect accompaniment to a lazy, introspective Sunday afternoon.

Dip in: State of the Nation with Olivia Laing. Recorded in 2018 with the release of her novel Crudo, this is a look at the role of the state of the nation novel – those books that capture the Zeitgeist and push us to reflect on the current moment.

City of Voices with Zadie Smith. Honestly I could listen to Zadie Smith talk all day. This episode, a live recording of an interview celebrating the release of Grand Union, Smith’s first short story collection, is all about embracing our inner chaos and turning our backs on the influence of social media (to whatever extent that is still possible).


Book Riot
If you’re into the newsy, gossipy side of the book world then Book Riot, hosted by Jeff O’Neal and Rebecca Joines Schinsky is the show for you. A weekly delve into the latest in the book world, they cover the bookish buzz, scandals and publishing insider info you need to know. As someone always several weeks behind of the goss – at least before I listened to this show – I get a lot of satisfaction being up to date with what’s going on, whether that’s the books making the awards lists, the publishers launching new, exciting imprints or the tell-all essays on whatever latest old science fiction writer turned out to be a perv. I would say I think this show suffers from being slightly too regular (they’re pushing two pods a week at the moment) but you can always skip one when they fall too far into the irrelevant (for example there’s one in my feed right now about The West Wing I don’t feel the need to listen to). Overall though, Jeff and Rebecca’s critical eye to the publishing world and regular dose of bookish excitement is enriching, and has provided me with a much greater insight into the industry than I previously had.

Dip In: Our Favourite Reads of Summer 2020. Who doesn’t like a good recommendations show? As if we don’t already have longer TBRs than we could ever possibly tackle! What I particularly enjoy about Jeff and Rebecca’s recommendations is they don’t necessarily feel the need of pick up every book simply because it’s ‘of the moment’ – there’ll always be a few gems in their lists I’ve never heard of before.

Deals deals deals. A very publishing ‘inside baseball’ type episode, this is a look at the recently announced book deals and pretty much whether or not Jeff and Rebecca think they’re worth the money. Again, if you’re interested in the inner workings of the publishing industry then this conversation will interest you.


The High Low
While technically a news and pop culture show, The High Low, hosted by writers Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton, has a strongly bookish flavour. It’s a show that celebrates writing, and is filled with author interviews, bookish recommendations and links to the best articles and essays Pandora and Dolly have enjoyed that week (something that makes my journalist heart oh-so-happy). As the name implies, The High Low embraces the silly as much as the serious, giving rise to a wide-ranging conversation that one week might centre an absolutely devastating, necessary piece of political writing, and the next might be consumed by an essay on what coronavirus means for the future of the buffet (someone really wrote this, and it was fantastic).

The High Low just aired its final episode (literally heartbreaking), but I think it still deserves its place on this list and I will be going back to listen to my favourite episodes again and again. Dolly and Pandora created a beautiful community of people celebrating things they loved and having challenging conversations with empathy and introspection. It might not be current any more, but it’ll always be relevant.

Dip in: Wiley’s Anti-Semitism, Kiley Reid’s Such A Fun Age & An Author Special With Nesrine Malik. Recorded back in July, the interview with Nesrine Malik (who, if you don’t know please Google all of her work immediately – this piece about cancel culture is a wonderful start point) about resisting cultural myths is vital listening.

Anti-Racism Resources & An Author Special with Candice Brathwaite. At some point I will finally get around to reviewing I Am Not Your Baby Mother, Candice Brathwaite’s utterly mesmerising memoir/ social and political commentary on Black motherhood in the UK. This episode of The High Low was where I first encountered her, and I fell in love immediately. It’s an utterly compelling conversation on the inequalities, joys and frustrations of Black motherhood in the UK, and the groundbreaking work in representation Candice has done in the last few years in the ridiculously white world of the mummy bloggers.

Do you listen to many podcasts? What are some of your favourites? Let me know in comments so I can keeping feeding my obsession

February favourites

I am not feeling a book review today. I’m in a bit of a reading slump to be honest. I thought I’d just wrap the month up early but I haven’t read that much, so instead I am going to do a beauty vlogger-style monthly favourites post.

Because why not?*

*Note: This post does not include even a single beauty product.

TV: Riverdale

riverdale
Netflix.com

I started watching Riverdale about a week ago, and it has since completely taken over my brain. Everyone in that show is so good looking. At 25 I have come to realise I will likely never grow out of enjoying a good teen show. However, it does come with some pitfalls. Like googling Cole Sprouse with one hand over my eyes to check his age to find out whether or not my GINORMOUS HUGE crush was inappropriate.

Finding out he was 25 may have been the best part of my week.

Being an adult is the worst. I can’t tell you the trauma of Googling a famous crush only to find they are significantly younger than you. It’s real. These are the things no one tells you about getting older. You turn into kiiiind of a creep.

Instagram: @tamanegi.qoo.riku

I don’t think this requires any explanation.

Movies: Black Panther

black panther

I mean obviously. I loved everything about this movie. Shuri is my favourite. I love her.

Podcast: Thirst Aid Kit

thirst aid kit
buzzfeed.com

On hiatus currently, but they are back in March. Bim Adewunmi and Nichole Perkins host a podcast all about: thirst. You know, that feeling you get about hot people on TV. If you have ever needed somewhere to go to talk about your pervy feelings (I know I did!), this is the podcast for you. I recommend it to everyone: it is pure joy.  If you’re looking for a starting point but not sure if you want to commit, try the John Cho episode.

Yes, you read that right. They dedicated an entire episode to him.

Bookish thing: Before The Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray

Last week I gushed about how much I loved Before The Devil Breaks You, the third book in Libba Bray’s Diviners series. After I wrote that review, I read the afterword of the book (like a pro, I know #facepalm) and it gave me CHILLS.

Anyway. I have to go watch Riverdale now. I am on season two and no spoilers, but my heart is broken by a certain situation and I don’t think I can resume my normal life until it is resolved.

What are some of your favourites this month? I hate spending time with my thoughts! Tell me what they are so I can avoid my feelings! Also, if I did this again next month would you read it? I enjoyed writing it – as you can see I consume a lot of media.

Podcast of the Month: Call Your Girlfriend

Call Your Girlfriend is a podcast on which Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman – both awesome ladies – discuss pop culture through a feminist lense.

Obviously I would love this.

8.24_teamivanka_podcasts_call_your_gf

Should you have any burning desire to know the history of a certain rapper’s melt down on Twitter the other week… this is the place for you.

If you’re less interested in Kanye and more engaged with news about menstruation, they cover that too. In detail. Moon cup horror stories and all.

If all that weren’t enough, they also provide us with regular shine theory updates. Shine theory, for anyone who doesn’t know by now, is the idea (by which I actually mean obvious truth) that powerful women make the best friends. This is because powerful women lift each other up.

It’s kind of revolutionary when you consider we’ve been socialised to tear each other down our whole lives.

Call Your Girlfriend is a celebration of being a smart lady and having smart lady friends.

As well as the usual shows, they recently started Phone-a-Friend episodes, in which either Aminatou or Ann – you guessed it – call one of their highly accomplished, hilarious and generally friend-jealousy-inducing girlfriends. So far guests have included Tavi Gevinson, Shani Hilton and Stephanie Beatriz, just to mention a few of my favourites. If you don’t know who any of them are, I implore you to Google. They are all wonderful people.

Call Your Girlfriend is the perfect plug for the feminist podcast shaped hole in your life.

Even if that’s something you don’t think you have… you totally do. I would venture to say that the majority of people have a feminist podcast shaped hole in their lives.

Stuff Mom Never Told You

The best podcast Glamour provided me with that week, and one of my favourites to date was Stuff Mom Never Told You, presented by Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin. SMINTY is a podcast for burgeoning feminists everywhere.

Last summer when I went on holiday to Yorkshire with my family, we were having some problems. Specifically, issues with the cottage we had rented for the week. The dog peed on the brand new sofa twenty minutes after we arrived. Not a good start. The shower in the en-suite in my bedroom I had got so excited about did not work. Unfortunately neither did the one in the main bathroom, and when we attempted to use either, this awful moaning wheezing sound would start in the ceiling and reverberate throughout the house for hours. It would be fair to say that nerves were frayed.

But I was determined to have a nice time. I took the Glamour magazine I had brought and saved specifically for reading in this cute cottage and went upstairs to look it over in bed despite what sounded like an aging werewolf throwing a tantrum above me.

In Glamour was an article about podcasts. I had been vaguely aware that podcasts existed, but I pretty much thought they were mostly run by middle aged comedians who felt that the BBC were too restrictive for their genius, so I was surprised by how great the content Glamour described sounded. It may have been timing or it may have been the cottage’s continued attempts to noisily eat itself, but over the course of that holiday I threw myself into the podcasting world with enthusiasm. And I’ve spent a lot of time there since.

sminty

The best podcast Glamour provided me with that week, and one of my favourites to date was Stuff Mom Never Told You, presented by Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin. SMINTY is a podcast for burgeoning feminists everywhere. I have learned so much about the different experiences of women and how feminism fits into wider cultural issues through listening. SMINTY has taught me about subjects I have never even considered, as a feminist or otherwise.

Here are my top five shows to get you started:

5. The Literary Reign of YA Fiction

An interesting look at young adult fiction and the relationship adults have with it. YA is a big topic in feminist writing because of course most of the authors of it are women. This podcast was particularly interesting to me at the time because of the articles written after The Fault In Our Stars got big about how John Green had ‘saved’ young adult fiction. Love TFIOS, but ugh. Seriously.

4. Cosplaying with Gender

Cosplay fascinates me as I know very little about it. In my first year of university there was one night were I attempted to get involved in one of those Dungeons and Dragons-type (see? Terrible!) board games that one of my flatmates was playing with her friends, but it did not go very well and I was never invited to play again.

3. Black Hairstory

This podcast with Lori L. Tharp, author of Hair Story: The Untangling of Black Hair in America utterly fascinated me. Tharp’s discussion begins with the story of how when she first approached her university about writing a thesis on black hair, eyes were rolled because her supervisor couldn’t see her having enough to say. Spoiler alert: she did.

2. Curly Hair Conundrums

I think I’m obsessed with hair. This was one of the first of Cristen and Caroline’s podcasts that I listened to. It looks at the representation of straight VS curly hair and how curly haired women are often represented in television as crazy or evil. Think Elena VS Katherine in early The Vampire Diaries.

1. Fat Bottomed Girls

This podcast looks at the cultural and historical background of our obsession with big bottoms. Large bottoms and race associations are discussed, with a particular look at the really tragic history of Saartje Baartman. It is totally fascinating and gives a lot more insight into why those Kim K pictures could be considered so problematic.