Podcast Recommendations: KCRW’s Bookworm

Summer’s approaching and you may be looking for some new podcasts or online radio shows to listen to as you exercise, relax, or travel. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be recommending some stand-out podcasts for students.

Today’s recommendation is Bookworm, which broadcasts out of the LA-based public radio station KCRW. All of the program’s episodes are accessible online, with an archive going as far back as the 1990s.

Bookworm has a simple premise: each episode, host Michael Silverblatt has a conversation with an author. What sets Bookworm apart from other interview programs is the depth of understanding that Silverblatt brings to these conversations and the obvious diligence with which he prepares for each guest.

There’s no script, no list of questions like, “Which three famous people would you like to have dinner with?” Instead, Silverblatt makes observations that show not only that he’s read each book he discusses, but also that he’s engaged imaginatively with those books as fully as he can.

This act of careful attention prompts Silverblatt’s guests to respond with equally perceptive observations about their books, about the creative process, and about life more generally—in other words, the interview becomes a real conversation between two people. The results are often moving, sometimes funny, and always insightful.

The show is a valuable resource for anyone who loves to read and will also serve you well if you anticipate taking any literature classes in college, whether as a major subject or to fulfill core curriculum requirements.

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