It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a nerd in possession of a mobile device is in wont of a good podcast. And for such nerds, it is the best of times.
Let's get our definitions clear. This category is specifically about book reviews and readings. We'll save podcasts about authors and writing for another day.
This is a category that is close to my heart, (somewhere in the costomediastinal recess). As you may know, Americans are not eligible for the Man Booker Prize, which is why I haven't been short-listed. That and I haven't had a novel published. Yet!
In anticipation of my future literary success, I kept close tabs on my soon-to-be enemies, er, colleagues. In fact, book podcasts were my gateway drug into the seedy world of online audiophilia. It all started with the Washington Post Book World podcast. My interest in the subject outlived that winsome lass, sadly. But as gateway drugs always do, I moved on to New York Times Book Review and Selected Shorts and Libravox and Books on the Nightstand and Book Lust and and and...
What can I say? They're all great. Choosing the one essential podcast for this category, that's about as hard a task as man hath ever undertaken since the Deluge. "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."
Essential Listening: Books - The New Yorker Fiction Podcast
If any publication knows fiction, it's the New Yorker. Name an author and there's a sporting chance that they got their break in its hallowed pages. And it is this hallowed history that makes the podcast essential. The setup: an author who's been published in the New Yorker selects another writer's story from the archives to read aloud, followed by a discussion with fiction editor Deborah Treisman. Freakin' fantastic. My personal favorite (another Herculean task, picking that) is The Colonel Says I Love You by Sergei Dovlatov.