Book-related Podcasts – Part 1

It’s official; I’m getting old. I spend all of my child-free ‘car time’ listening to people talk now rather than sing. I discovered podcasts about 3 months ago when I was searching for material for a presentation I had to do for work. Since then, I have found so many great ones related to books that I feel I must share…

If you haven’t discovered podcasts for yourself yet, go and download the podcast app NOW – it’s free, and then visit the store. I am now a podcast-addict; I love being able to pick things I actually want to listen to, rather than potentially having to listen to an awful lot of stuff I don’t, which is what frequently happens when I turn on the radio. Every evening I download another 4 or 5 episodes (by wifi!) to listen to the following day. Perfect.

So, I have dabbled in a LOT of podcasts over the last few months but will restrict myself to my overall favourite in this post, which is the British BookD podcast with Tanya Brennand-Roper.



The official BookD (pronounced ‘booked’) podcast intro is:

Welcome to BookD, the podcast that brings you the stories behind your favourite books. Created by Audio Editors, BookD offers a fascinating perspective into the world of publishing. In our fortnightly programs, you can listen to authors discuss the inspiration behind their books, and hear the story of how these books were transformed from a concept to finished print and audio products. Tune in every other week for conversations with the stars of literature, art, film, music, science and politics. BookD isn’t: boring, monotonous or a sleep aid. And it isn’t like any podcast you’ve heard before. For ideas, discussion, inspiration, humour and culture, you’re BookD.

The subject of the first BookD podcast was Charles Cummings, the thriller author. Since then, there have been another 57 episodes broadcast and each one lasts somewhere between 20 and 45 minutes. BookD is a part of the HarperCollins publishing group, so all the authors you will hear from are HarperCollins published. This has in no way proven to be a bad thing from my point of view. An AWFUL lot of the most recent books I have read and which are now lining my shelves waiting to be read are thanks to this gem of a podcast. My favourite episodes include:

Simon Toyne, who wrote Sanctus which you all know how I feel about by now – and if you don’t, why haven’t you read my post from 8th July? He is the subject of more than one episode – double the pleasure.

David Walliams, who also appears more than once and who I am beginning to think of as the modern-day Roald Dahl. Why? Well, read one of his books for starters and you’ll see what I mean. Secondly, Quentin Blake has illustrated some of his work and thirdly, he is reading the new BFG audio – see pic below. What more proof do you need?

Walliams as the BFG

I bought and read Walliams’ Mr Stink as a result of hearing a clip of the audiobook on this podcast read by both him and Matt Lucas (of Little Britain fame). I actually laughed out loud and my daughters now have it on CD. His other work includes Gangsta Granny, Ratburger, Billionaire Boy and The Boy in a Dress – all of which I absolutely WILL be reading.

Simon Tolkein, the most famous Tolkein’s Grandson talks about his fiction writing (and a little about his Grandfather too). I bought and read his first Courtroom drama Final Witness and enjoyed it.

Elizabeth McGovern, who plays Lady Cora in Downton Abbey talks to Tanya here about reading the audiobook version, as well as her sideline in singing. I love all things Downton.

Sir Derek Jacobi, one of my idols of the big screen, talks to Tanya about various acting roles he has had in his HUGE career, as well as his love of reading audiobooks. He has the BEST voice for audio in my humble opinion and is THE voice of Sherlock Holmes.

Cecilia Ahern, again appears in more than one episode as she is an incredibly prolific writer. This is an example of where I have previously been ‘dubious’ about an author or their genre (usually thanks to something pink and flowery on the covers), only to be bowled over by them as a person enough to give them a try. Cecilia is an absolute poppet whose journey into writing and discipline as a writer is truly inspiring. I read PS I Love You – her first novel, a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. I’ve now bought her second, Where Rainbow’s End.

Lindsey Kelk, whose story is very similar to that above. I hadn’t heard of Lindsey before listening to her on this podcast and I probably wouldn’t have picked one of her books off the shelf beforehand. I am now reading her first novel – I Heart New York. I tweeted a quotation from this recently (see below) and was lucky enough to get a reply from the author herself. Shame she seems to have forgotten she wrote the line! The book is hilarious – definitely one I’ll review when I’ve finished it.

Twitter Lindsey

Simon Callow, of Four Weddings and a Funeral Fame but oh, so much more. Such an accomplished man. I loved him before listening to the podcast but I now have a copy of Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World waiting for me. A book about a great man, by a great man.

Jim Broadbent, yet another great man who I will now always remember as Professor Slughorn from Harry Potter. And that is no way meant to do him a disservice. I LOVE Harry Potter.


Camilla Lackberg, another new find for me. Tipped to be ‘The Swedish Agatha Christie’. For those of you that know me personally, that was enough for me to check her out and I now own a copy of The Drowning.

And finally…

Lucy Clarke, who wrote the subject of my first book review for this blog. CHECK IT OUT.

There were loads of other episodes I enjoyed. In fact I can’t think of a single one I didn’t. I am now subscribed to the podcast and get as excited as a small child when I see that there is a new episode to listen to.

Do it. You know you want to.


2 thoughts on “Book-related Podcasts – Part 1

  1. I’ve never listened to one, but I shall. For me Derek Jacobi will forever be the voice of Cadfael, and all that marvelous medieval mystery.

    I agree with you on what you said before; that listening to an author talk about their work can sometimes push you in their direction – a good example for me would be listening to an interview with China Mielville on Radio 4.

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