Binge Mode: Harry Potter

The Ringer’s Binge Mode team returned with a new season and we’re thrilled because they’re taking us back to the greatest franchise ever made (no hyperbole here): the wizarding world of Harry Potter. It’s a deep dive like no other where the hosts tackle a few chapters each episode and the larger themes within them. The movies are also dissected and discussed in relation to the books. The team have just wrapped up Prisoner of Azkaban, so you can easily catch up as they move further. And if you, like one of my colleagues at Gulf News tabloid!, are discovering the joys of reading Harry Potter for the first time (lucky you), this makes for a great companion listen. Happy bingeing!

What Should I Read Next?

If you’ve been stuck in a rut simply because you can’t decide what book to pick up next, What Should I Read Next?, as the name implies, can be super useful. In each episode, host Anne Bogel of the book blog Modern Mrs Darcy interviews a real-life reader about their interests, reading history, and preferences. The conversation leads up to the creation of one perfect recommendation. The latest episode on the show sees Bogel speak with Ian Morgan Cron, a noted Enneagram teacher, psychotherapist, and author, and they chat about how some of their favourite literary characters fit into the framework of the Enneagram personality system (think Hermione Granger, Samwise Gamgee, and Jay Gatsby).

Slate’s Audio Book Club

Want to be part of a book club but can’t make the physical commitment? Slate’s Audio Book Club is your go-to show. Every month, a rotating panel from Slate’s staff come together to discuss, analyse and debate a book, fiction or otherwise. If you’re familiar with Slate’s other podcasts (especially the Culture Gabfest), you’ll know that the staff members are extremely passionate and the discussions tend to get personal and heated. For strong literary opinions and conversations that feel like you’re sitting with a group of your best friends, look no further than the Audio Book Club. Books in the last two years have included Carrie Fisher’s Postcards From the Edge, Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (now also a TV show), Arundhati Roy’s widely polarising Ministry of Utmost Happiness, The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin and most recently, The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst.

Reading Women

Another book-club style podcast, Reading Women goes by a very strict agenda: reclaiming bookshelves to include more women authors: genre no bar. The show features reviews of books about and written by women, as well as author interviews. Their newest episode discusses Julia Child’s celebrated book My Life in France, and Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee.