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<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/shutterstock_69601408.jpg”>As an avid reader, I rarely purchase or read books without checking out the reviews of what other readers have said. Great reviews can not only help you determine if particular books are worth your time to read, they can also help you get more out your reading. Great book reviews can be like a mini book club between you and the reviewers.
There are many online social networking online book review sites, but there are equally useful podcasts that include formal presentations and discussions. Nearly all of these podcasts and television shows include a wide variety of authors and genres of books. Plus if your reading time is limited, these shows are great resources to keep up with the latest book releases and literary news.
Booktv focuses only on non-fiction books, not novels or poetry. It features authors from across the political spectrum and it regularly covers book fairs, such as the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.
New York Times Book Review Podcasts
Perhaps the longest established book reviewing resource in the US is a weekly Book Review magazine insert of the New York Times. There’s now also a podcast version, entitled Book Review, hosted by the magazine editor, Sam Tanenhaus.
The podcast features fiction and non-fiction authors, and recent shows have included discussions about the recently released Mark Twain autobiography, interviews with authors Jennifer Egan and Siddhartha Mukherjee, and best selling author Jonathan Franzen, author of Freedom.
Fireside Book Chat
Fireside Book Chat is a well done podcast program featuring books chosen and reviewed by teens.
The podcast is a classroom project that includes discussions of mystery, non-fiction, poetry, sports, and fantasy books. Fireside Chat is aptly named because the show is based on an on-mic chat students have with their teacher about the books they’re reading. Students summarize and evaluate their selected books and share passages that interest them. Recent books reviewed include Jose Canseco’s Juiced: Wild Times, Micheal Lewis’s The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, and Richard Preston’s The Hot Zone.
Science Fiction Book Review Podcast
For lovers of science fiction, check out Luke Burrage’s podcast, Science Fiction Book Review.
Luke”˜s current reviews include both contemporary and classic science fiction books such George Orwell’s 1984, Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, and Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. Luke primarily provides his personal views and insight of the books he reads. His connected blog site goes back to early 2008.
Slate’s Audio Book Club
Listeners can read the book club selection and then listen to the discussions. All the podcast episodes are archived and recent selections include Lydia Davis’s translation of Madame Bovary, Remainder, by Tom McCarthy, and The Imperfectionists, by Tom Rachman. The critics are very honest and upfront in their views. If you’re a serious reader, you’ll really like this podcast.
Barnes & Noble Meet the Writers
The nationwide bookseller, Barnes & Noble, hosts a regular podcast featuring interviews of contemporary authors, including the 2010 Newbery medal winner Rebecca Stead, author of When You Reach Me, bestselling author Steve Bertrand, author of The Imperial Cruise, and Sarah Vowell, author of numerous best sellers, including Assassination Vacation.
The world-renowned Seattle librarian, Nancy Pearl hosts monthly conversations with authors, as well as discussions about the craft of writing. Her show is entitled Book Lust.
Her recent guests have included National Book Award winner, Professor Charles Johnson, about his latest novel, The Surrendered, and children’s books illustrator, Paul O. Zelinsky.
While most of us serious book readers would rather spend our time reading books than reading online book reviews, these shows are useful for keeping up to date on the latest published books and gaining some useful literary insight. If you know of any other useful book podcasts, please share them with us and our readers.
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