Books that Started as Podcasts
By Crystal Hicks, Adult Services Librarian
You may have heard of podcasts and how they’re taking the world by storm. For the uninitiated, think of them like talk radio, but with myriad options that you can curate according to your tastes. I’d dabbled in podcasts, but my own interest in them wasn’t sparked until I picked up the book Tiny Beautiful Things, a compendium of advice columns Cheryl Strayed wrote for the column “Dear Sugar.” Soon afterward, I learned that Strayed was continuing her advice-giving tenure on the podcast Dear Sugars, and I promptly began listening to hours of podcasts. Podcast interest piqued, I’ve now learned that, while podcasts come in all shapes and flavors, so do books related to those podcasts. Allow me to take you on a brief tour of some of the many realms podcasts, and their associated books, explore.
In the world of podcasts, none is as famous as Serial, a podcast whose first season investigated the murder of Hae Min Lee. Just about everyone I know who listens to podcasts was riveted by the slow unfurling of the story and the question of whether or not Adnan Syed is guilty of killing his ex-girlfriend. For listeners who’d like to explore the story further, they can check out Adnan’s Story by Rabia Chaudry. Chaudry, a family friend of Adnan Syed, has long believed in his evidence and compiled this book as a definitive case for his innocence, partially driven by the need to expand on the story being told by Serial.
For those interested in the historical events that have inspired folklore or stuck with our cultural consciousness, give Lore a listen. An engrossing nonfiction podcast, Lore’s episodes range from the potential origins of werewolves to more concrete events, like the murders committed by the Bloody Benders in Kansas. The library has two books that supplement the stories told in the podcast: The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures and The World of Lore: Wicked Mortals. If you’d like something to read that’ll give you goosebumps and make you afraid to go to bed, these are a great reading choice and include much content not covered in the podcast.
WTF with Marc Maron is an enthusiastically-praised podcast with a simple premise: just two people having a conversation. In each episode, Marc Maron invites a comedian or celebrity into his garage (which serves as his studio) and they talk. Just “having a conversation” may sound boring, but the podcast goes in many interesting, intensely personal directions. If you, like me, are intimidated by the high episode count (over 875 and counting!), Maron’s book Waiting for the Punch may be for you. This book collects the best of his conversations into chapters based on topics like growing up, relationships, addiction, and mental health. Reading the snippets of interviews with the many, many people Maron has interviewed may give you a starting point for approaching his podcast, and, at the very least, it’ll give you some wonderful reading.
Tim Ferriss’s podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, is another all-rounder where he interviews highly successful individuals to figure out how average people can use these experiences to enhance their lives. After years of working on his podcast, Ferriss sat down to compile the highlights of his interviews into the ultimate advice book, and Tools of Titans is the result. The interviews are divided into sections (Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise) and presented as fragments, so you can browse through the book until you find something relatable to you. Even though this book looks intimidating with 673 pages, its construction is simple and intuitive, making it a great resource for finding quick inspiration to pull you out of a rut or get you pointed in a new direction.
There are, of course, many other podcasts and related books out there, with subjects ranging all the way from esoteric nonfiction topics to telling original fiction narratives. Even if your favorite podcast doesn’t have a book out, I’m sure we can find you a similar book you’d like, so please stop by the Reference Desk and tell us about what you’ve been listening to.
While you’re stopping in, make sure to celebrate Library Card Month with us! We’re currently holding a bookmark contest, and submissions are due on September 28 by 5 PM. Winners will have their bookmarks printed out and distributed throughout the library. You can also make sure all your friends have a library card and share the gift of free books, movies, storytimes, and classes with everyone you know.