Dear Dear Book Nerd

Last night, I listened to the third episode in Rita Meade's (@ScrewyDecimal) charming Dear Book Nerd podcast, "A Matter of (Book) Taste." The podcast began as a column, but it works well as a podcast. The premise is that readers send in their book etiquette or bookish questions to librarian Rita Meade for advice. Questions in the past have included what to do if your significant other won't read the book you gave them, dealing with non-reading families, and how to "force" oneself into reading literary fiction, among many others. In the podcast, many of the questions revolve around the self-imposed dilemma of reading what one wants to read versus reading the kind of books that one thinks one* ought to read.

Reading is the important thing. Don't
let others judge you for your books.
Meade and her co-hosts have been exhorting people to ignore the question of should. I agree. Reading books you think you should will kill a love of reading faster than a rampaging horde of Twilight fans trying to talk you into loving sparkly vampires (unless you're into that sort of thing).

I don't know if this theme of Read What Thou Wilt is intentional or not. It doesn't really matter. It's a great message. Of course, we'll never get past the question. No matter how much I might agree with Read What Thou Wilt, I'll press myself and others to read outside their comfort zone because it's good for you, like broccoli.

The other thing that continues to fascinate me about the whole Dear Book Nerd concept is the issue of reader etiquette. While the act of reading may be a solitary pursuit, being a reader is social. We want to talk about books and share our passion for print with others. But there is no rule book. Emily Post neglected to cover our weird little world. Thankfully, we now have Rita Meade.

Over the past few weeks, encouraged by Dear Book Nerd, I've been seeking out more bookish podcasts. Now I listen to the BookRiot podcast and Unprintable from LitReactor. It probably speaks to my own geeky bookishness that I enjoy these podcasts so much, especially BookRiot and Dear Book Nerd. The hosts are unabashed about questioning methodology like good librarians and academics and parsing the meaning behind people's word choice. Remarkably, none of these series take themselves too seriously. Podcasts like these could become unbearably pretentious. So far, so good.


* Apologies for all the "ones." I've been in literary Britain for the last two books I've read. I was in Iceland for the book before those two, but it was translated by a Brit.


  1. I'm a bit of a bookish podcast junkie, and I'm loving all of the ones you listed. If you haven't listened to Books on the Nightstand or LiteraryDisco, definitely give them a shot (especially the latter if you're looking for something that has serious conversations without being too pretentious!).

  2. Thank you, Shannon! My ulterior motive for this post was, hopefully, getting recommendations for more podcasts.


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