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8 Books Recommended on (Other) Podcasts Perfect for the Unabridged Podcast Reading Challenge


Photos of books and podcasting with text 8 Books Recommended on (Other) Podcasts Perfect for the Unabridged Podcast Reading Challenge

by Jen Moyers (@jen.loves.books)


One of my favorite categories in this year's Unabridged Podcast Reading Challenge is "Book Recommended on a Podcast." Now, our thought when we chose this category was—I imagine this is obvious?—that followers would choose books that we recommended, and, of course, I still hope that's true. But, as an avid podcast listener, I can't help but share some books that I've read because of some other, favorite podcasts.


Henry Hoke's Open Throat (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)

Full disclosure: I eventually read this one because of this year's Tournament of Books, but I put it on my list because of the So Many Damned Books podcast. The setup for most episodes, including this one, is that an author speaks about their book, and then talks with host Christopher about another book that the author has recommended. This discussion with Hoke, author of Open Throat, a novel-in-verse narrated by a mountain lion living underneath the Hollywood sign immediately caught my attention. (Spoiler alert: this is our Book Club pick for next month, AND it is perfect for another Reading Challenge category, "Book with an Unusual Point of View.") I loved the way Hoke talked about his desire to experiment with the mountain lion's voice and some of the storytelling decisions he navigated while writing this unique book.


Alice Winn's In Memoriam (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)

I first heard about this book—one of my favorites in 2023—from Annie B. Jones on From the Front Porch. She absolutely raved about this one, and she spoke about it more than once. (The episode I linked reveals her top reads of 2023.) I talked about In Memoriam on our Patreon awards episode, and I also reviewed it on the blog.


Helene Hanff's 84, Charing Cross Road (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)

I've recommended this one on the pod before, as a pairing for one of our holiday reads, but I first heard about it from Modern Mrs. Darcy herself, Anne Bogel. This is a favorite mention on her podcast, a fantastic recommendation that fits so many readers with so many different preferences. It's an epistolary novel about books and about friendship and about the lovely connections we can build with people who are very far away.


Ada Calhoun's Also a Poet: Frank O'Hara, My Father, and Me (Bookshop.org)

I learned about this book from Roxanne Coady of the Just the Right Book podcast. In the episode, Roxanne interviews Ada Calhoun, author of Why We Can't Sleep (another five-star read!), wrestles, about Also a Poet: Frank O'Hara, My Father, and Me, which focuses on her difficult relationship with her father. Peter Schjeldahl, famous as an art critic, was also a poet who admired Frank O'Hara greatly. He had been working on a biography of his idol, recording hours and hours of interviews with those who knew O'Hara, until the poet's sister ended the project. Now, forty years later, Calhoun is determined to succeed where her father failed. This is a story of her attempts and also of the relationship she has with her father, one that is often distant and competitive and careless but one that is, of course, at the center of her life and identity, too. It's an honest book and a moving one. I loved watching the way art and literature lay at the center of both of their lives and of their relationship, while it also can be the source of some distance.


Michael Lewis's The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)

I learned about this fascinating account of Amos Tversky and Danny Kahneman's friendship and work together to create behavioral economics on Freakonmics in one of their book club episodes. This one featured Michael Lewis, author of The Undoing Project and Moneyball and The Big Short, talking about the ideas that drew him to learn more about Tversky and Kahneman. The latter recently died, so Freakonomics re-ran the episode and is planning a longer retrospective episode.


Erika Krouse's Tell Me Everything: The Story of a Private Investigation (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)

Knox and Jamie's Green Lights are a consistent source of recommendations to close out every episode of The Popcast, and their feature on this book led me to pick it up immediately. Erika Krouse was in the midst of the gig economy when she was hired, unexpectedly, into a job as a private investigator. She had always had "one of those faces" that invited complete strangers to share their life histories with her. When an attorney shares his in a grocery store and then is mystified as to why he unloaded, he suspects that there may be a talent he can make use of. This is a powerful nonfiction book—I highly recommend the audio, narrated by Gabra Zackman—that confronts a number of power structures at the heart of college football, the legal system, and Krouse's own family.


Linda Holmes's Evvie Drake Starts Over (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm) and Flying Solo (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)

This recommendation is cheating a little bit because I don't know if these books have specifically been mentioned on Pop Culture Happy Hour, but, since Holmes is one of the hosts of the podcast and also the author of two fabulous books, I couldn't resist including them. Both of these romances are super smart and incredibly witty, featuring Holmes's witty perspective and unique takes on relationships. (Also, the audiobooks are narrated by Julia Whelan!)


(A note to our readers: click on the hashtags above to see our other blog posts with the same hashtag.)


Interested in what else we're reading? Check out our Featured Books page.


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