I am old school when it comes to book reviews, author interviews and literary discussions. I prefer reading to watching or listening. Mainly this is due to time constraints. I can read most articles in just a few minutes whereas audio and visual content demands a much longer time commitment. I prefer to devote that extended time to reading books.
Last year my favourite book prize, the Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses, announced that it was starting a podcast. I was dismayed. Then, when I read of the books, participants and discussions being featured I grew curious.
The episodes released varied in length but required that a significant block of time be made available. To listen I had to find a space within my day. The obvious place, where I would benefit from a distraction, was the gym. After presenting my cost-benefit analysis, my husband kindly gifted me a set of headphones. Many fruitless attempts to download episodes to my phone for offline listening later (I don’t use Apple products or have internet access at the gym) I found a means of carrying audio content with me (I use Castbox, available for android).
Listening to podcasts while cycling nowhere or working out on a cross trainer has proved effective at taking my mind off how tiring and tiresome these activities can be. I quickly worked my way through each of the Republic of Consciousness podcasts and sought out alternatives to supplement the time I have available each week. I now have a backlog of interesting book discussions to listen to, thereby working both my heart and mind.
The Republic of Consciousness Podcast for Small Presses
“The Republic of Consciousness Podcast comes out about 3 times a month. It’ll be a bit different each time, but expect interviews, readings, and some regular features, such as our Book of the Month.”
Why Why Why: The Books Podcast
“We ask writers why they wrote the book they wrote, editors why they published the book, and readers why they picked up the book and read it.”
I realise that I am probably late to the party but I am enjoying these audio broadcasts given that they fill a time slot when reading would be difficult. It goes to show that trying new things can sometimes be worthwhile.
Updated, May 2019
I am still listening to and enjoying the above podcasts during my visits to the gym. The RofC hasn’t quite managed to produce fresh output three times a month but each new episode it does put out is worth listening to. I have also been listening to the following that you may wish to check out.
The Comma Press Podcast: from the team behind the Manchester based publisher
“Series One focuses on our best-selling Protest: Stories of Resistance anthology, and episodes will feature the author and their historical consultant from the collection, alongside a third guest who will be connected to the cause or movement, either directly, or in a more contemporary way, and will be hosted by a Comma editor.”
Unsound Methods: A literary fiction podcast
“We want to share conversations about the nitty gritty of writing fiction and explore what makes fiction ‘real’.”
The Slightly Foxed Podcast: the independent-minded book review magazine
“Think of it as an audio version of the magazine, full of interesting bookishness, interviews and discussion – all set around our kitchen table, here in Hoxton Square.”