Podcasts Open Your Mind to New Worlds

Podcasts - the  perfect combination of entertainment, information, and opinion in a small package. There are short podcasts for quick trips, quirky and hilarious podcasts for blowing off steam, and more serious podcasts for when I want to learn something new. A few of the podcasts I subscribe to have even formed online communities. Instead of muttering to myself as I listened, I could communicate my thoughts with others listening to the same content, as well as the podcasters themselves, which enriched the experience. 

History, politics, books and reading, libraries, theology, true crime, self-help, exercise - you name the topic, there’s bound to be a podcast that covers it. Plus, many podcasters are also authors. I have found the podcasts after reading their books or found their books after listening to a podcast. Here’s a sampling of the author/podcasters that I enjoy. 

The first podcast that I went back and listened to the whole backlist - it was THAT good - was What Should I Read Next, by Anne Bogel. In each episode, Anne asks her guests about three books they love, one book they hate, and what they are reading lately. Then, she shares three titles that they should read next. With people from various geographical regions and walks of life and a wide range of tastes, you will have a tottering “to be read” pile in no time flat. Anne’s book, I'd Rather Be Reading, can also help you add zing to your reading life. 

Another podcast I enjoy is Before Breakfast. Laura Vanderkam is the author of Off the Clock, a great time management book. Before Breakfast is short and covers a productivity tip every weekday. Quick and easy, I find myself popping this up on my podcast app when I only have a few minutes to listen.

Gretchen Rubin has long been a favorite author of mine. The Happiness Project was her first book and still has a special place in my heart, but my favorite is her book on habits, Better Than Before. Her podcast, Happier, with her sister Elizabeth Craft, covers the various things that can perk you up and bring a bit more happiness to your life. Who doesn’t need more happiness?

StarTalk, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, delves into various scientific topics in a way I can understand. After listening to Dr. deGrasse Tyson and the other hosts, the world of science is opened up to me a little more. His book, Astrophysics for People in A Hurry, is a great introduction to star science for the general reader in bite-sized reading chunks. 

If you’d like to get into podcasts for the first time or find some new ones to listen to while at home, here are some recommendations:

CRRL My Librarian: Podcasters and Authors

Laura Vanderkam helps readers make the most of their time and learn to stretch what time they have in order to live the lives they most desire.


Collected advice columns by the wildly popular internet advice guru, Dear Sugar. Strayed answers questions about a wide variety of subjects, using bits of her own story, to give the reader a wise, beautifully written book about life's many moments.


In her first book, Rubin talks about the year she chose to try something new each month to boost the happiness in her life to the next level. Inspiring and fun. Read by the author.


Roxane Gay tells the story of gaining weight as a response to a terrible event and how she learned to be comfortable with the body she has. An honest, difficult, rewarding memoir. Read by the author.


Michael Hyatt guides readers in setting priorities and cutting out the non-essentials in their lives in order to manage their time and energy better. By helping readers to focus on what's most important, Hyatt shows how they can reach higher in their life journeys than ever before.


Elizabeth Gilbert shares her experience and wisdom about how to live a creative life, including both practical and inspirational habits and attitudes. Read by the author.


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