My Top 6 bookish podcasts

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Double Love podcast

Double Love

  • hosted by Anna Carey and Karyn Moynihan
  • a HeadStuff podcast

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you know that Sweet Valley was my biggest book series obsession back in grade- and middle-school — mainly the Kids and Twins spinoffs, but I did read a few of the original SVH volumes back in the day.  So, my nostalgic senses tingling, I decided to check out the first episode of Double Love.

And it was High-LARIOUS.  Anna and Karyn are so fun and snarky, and don’t let these books get away with anything.  Problematic body image messages?  They’re on it!  Well-meaning-but-in-serious-need-of-boundaries teachers?  You’re on notice!  Waaay too many hot clam specials (not a euphemism, unfortunately)?  You’d better believe Karyn’s going to call you out!

Anna and Karyn give listeners a play-by-play of each SVH book, from the front cover art to the end-of-story tagline, so I feel like I’m getting a crash-course on all the books I missed back in the day.  And honestly, it’s so much more fun listening to their snarky summaries than actually reading these melodramatic soap operas myself.

I maaay have also binged a bunch of the SVH TV episodes on YouTube, but that’s another story.

Warning:  There is occasional swearing in the show, so it might not be the best for car rides with children.

Favorite episode:  “Happy Birthday to Us!”
Episode #27 (Aug 10, 2018)

In which Anna and Karyn celebrate their first year of podcasting with a review of all the amazing lessons they’ve learned from the SVH books so far.  Like, if you’re a blond-haired, blue-eyed, size-six beach goddess, all your evil schemes will be instantly forgiven by the next book…but if you were ever overweight at any point in your life, that’s all anyone is going to remember about you.

Now, I may be a taaad biased toward this episode because I, Neri, GET A SHOUT OUT BY ANNA AND KARYN!!!  Have a listen and see if you can find me!

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Singing Bones

Singing Bones

  • hosted by Claire Testoni
  • a Dark Myths Collective podcast

Claire Testoni discusses both well-known and lesser-known fairy tales, exploring their original versions across different cultures as well as more modern pop culture iterations.  From “Beauty and the Beast” and animal bridegroom tales, to “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” and tales of humans entering the Faerie realm, to “The Wild Swans” and other swan transformation tales, to the life stories of tale collectors like the German Grimms and the Norwegian Asbjørnsen and Moe, Claire leaves no singing bone left unturned.

And her voice is so soft and soothing, it’s like you’re really sitting around a hearth at night, listening to an experienced storyteller.

I also highly recommend reading her blog while you wait for new episodes.  There are only two posts so far, but both are fascinating — especially the one on LGBTQI fairy tales. She also posts links to the stories discussed in each episode on her main website.

Favorite episode:  “The Little Mermaid,” parts 1 and 2
Episodes #12 (Jul 21, 2016) and #13 (Aug 8, 2016)

In which Claire dives into mermaid tales from around the world — from the Syrian fertility goddess Atargatis to modern-day Real Life Mermaid performers.  Part 1 also features an interview with playwright Finn O’Branagáin, whose play “Selkie” explores gender politics, cultural assimilation, and sexual ownership.

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The Baby-Sitters Club Club

  • hosted by Jack Shepherd and Tanner Greenring
  • a HeadGum podcast

Two thirty-something guys ride the nostalgia train all the way back to Stonybrook, Connecticut and partake in its abundance of baby-sitting-related adventures.  Jack is already familiar with these books, while Tanner is experiencing them for the first time.  And let me tell you, these are some srsly impressive works of literature — gothic novels, corporate espionage thrillers, Freudian Game of Thrones intrigues…Stonybrook has it all!

I’ve technically only listened to five episodes so far, but I can already tell I’m going to be bingeing this show for a while.  Even the ad-reads in the middle of each episode are funny.

Also, just a reminder that Claudia is wearing a bra now, and the way she talks about boys, it’s as though they were just invented.

Warning:  There is quite a bit of swearing and explicit content in this show, so I definitely wouldn’t recommend listening to it with kids in the car.

Favorite episode:  “Sorting Hat: The Baby-Sitters Club”
Episode #35 of The Real Weird Sisters podcast (Oct 7, 2016)

This is actually a cross-over episode on the Real Weird Sisters podcast (see below).  Jack and Tanner join Potterheads Martha and Alice to explain why Stacey is such a Slytherin, and that Jackie Rodowski is actually a time-traveler who only seems like a klutz because time runs faster for him than for everyone else.

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Real Weird Sisters

The Real Weird Sisters

  • hosted by Alice Asleson and Martha Krebill

Martha and Alice are srs bsns Potterheads.  They’ve each been on the news for their Potter-related shenanigans.

Their podcast covers one chapter per episode (they’re up to chapter 26 of Order of the Phoenix now), exploring details I hadn’t noticed before, like the fact that the Muggle weatherman who announces the strange celestial happenings in Chapter 1 of Sorcerer’s Stone is named Jim McGuffin.  A MacGuffin is a plot device that serves as a turning point in the story, usually an object that initiates the character’s adventure.  I wonder, what exactly is the MacGuffin in this case?  Is it the shooting stars over Kent?  Is it the lightning bolt scar?

Spoiler ahead!  Skip down to Favorite Episode if you’ve been living under a rock (jk! Welcome to The Greatest Fandom!)


I bet it’s the scar!  The scar is the ultimate MacGuffin of the series!  The scar is one of the seven horcruxes Harry and Dumbledore have to find and destroy throughout the series, and the destruction of the horcruxes is the pre-requisite for achieving the ultimate goal of the defeating Voldemort.  I think I just blew my own mind.


Favorite episode:  “Sorting Hat:  The Baby-Sitters Club”
Episode #35 (Oct. 7, 2016)

Martha and Alice sort our favorite babysitters with Jack and Tanner of The Babysitters Club Club (see above).

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Hey YA

Hey YA!

  • hosted by Kelly Jensen and Eric Smith
  • a BookRiot podcast

Kelly and Eric explore the YA sphere in general, from the year’s best books to nostalgic reads to YA-centric bookstores to hot pterodactyls playing baseball.  It took me a little while to get used to the format of this show (and by “a little while,” I mean about a day), which is more unscripted than my other favorite shows.  Unlike the other shows, Hey YA dips into multiple topics per episode, whereas the other shows each focus on one main book or chapter.

Once I got used to it, though, I really enjoyed Eric and Kelly’s insights, and found myself adding more and more books to my TBR pile.  Look out for a possible Postcards review of The November Girl this Fall.

I also appreciate that they provide honest reviews even of the books published by their sponsors — Eric and Kelly readily admit when something doesn’t work for them, as well as what they totally love.

Favorite episode:  “The YA Reading Sandwich”
Episode #17 (May 2, 2018)

In which Eric and Kelly discuss indie bookstores that have the best YA sections, YA thrillers of the past few years, and the best books to read for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month.  The bookstore plugs were my favorite part, and have definitely inspired me to take a road trip to Chicago’s Women and Children First, with its amazing Queer YA section, and Wild Rumpus Books in Minneapolis, with its live animal family that includes such characters as Walter Dean the cat and Neil DeGrasse Tyson the chicken.

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  • hosted by Darach Ó Séaghdha
  • a HeadStuff podcast

Another HeadStuff podcast in which Darach and his team explore the amazing Irish language, busting myths and taking names.  Topics range from Medieval misconceptions to feminist surnames to Irish language bookshops to the recent creation of a Queer Dictionary.   Did you know that Irish and Celtic are not actually the same thing?  Or that traditional Irish last names indicate whether a woman is married or single?  Or that New Zealand’s prime minister named her new daughter with a nod to both Maori and Irish cultures?

Favorite episode:  “Happily Emher After – Women of the Táin”
Episode #38 (May 18, 2018)

Darach and his team promote the prominent women of Irish literature and folklore, from Cuchulainn’s wife Emher to warrior queen Maeve.  They also knock Yeats down a few pegs for his portrayal of Emher, who is much more badass and witty than he gives her credit for.

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What about you, Postcardians?  Do you have any favorite bookish podcasts to recommend?  What does your favorite road trip playlist consist of?  Did you know Belle & Sebastian actually do a lot of bookish shout-outs in their songs?  I may do a future post on that, in fact…


1/100th of an Altairian dollar for your thoughts?

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