The best book podcasts to listen to in 2023 

Pop in your headphones and tune into the perfect podcast for you in 2023. If you’ve ever explored the world of podcasts, you’ll know that there’s a wealth of book-related content to choose from.  With so much choice, trying to pick a new podcast can feel a little overwhelming. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of our favourites for you to listen to in 2023 so you can get the lowdown on your favourite authors, learn about the publishing industry or discover your next great read.  

Best for the library-goer 

First things first, if you’re not already following our Love Your Library podcast then you’re missing out. Love Your Library is a book lover’s podcast, brought to you by Hampshire Libraries. We interview authors and companies from across the world about books and reading and have fun discussing what we’re reading. From Phillipa Gregory to Rory Cellan-Jones, no matter what you love to read we’ve got something for you.  

Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Android or online.  

Best for a bit of everything  

If you’re looking for podcast that covers book discussions and interviews as well as publishing news, then Books & Boba is the perfect show for you. Hosts Marvin Yueh and Reera Yoo pick a book by an Asian or Asian American author to read and discuss on the podcast every month as well as reporting on book deals, new releases and other bookish news. 

Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or online

Best to enjoy with a cup of tea  

If you’ve ever googled the most beautiful bookshops in the world, then you’ve probably come across Shakespeare and Company. Nestled in the heart of Paris, the shop isn’t just a picturesque place to browse, but since its opening in 1951 has been home to over 30,000 writers, artists, and intellectuals (known as tumbleweeds). These tumbleweeds include prolific authors and poets such as Allen Ginsberg, Anaïs Nin, Ray Bradbury, and Jeanette Winterson. 

So, settle down with a cup of tea and a macaron and connect with a piece of bookish heritage. The weekly Shakespeare and Company: Writers, Books and Paris podcast is hosted by the Literary Director Adam Biles and features conversations with internationally acclaimed authors, recorded live from the bookshop. 

Listen now on Apple Podcasts or online

Best for sleuths  

Bookriot produce a wide range of excellent book related podcasts but if you’re a mystery or thriller fan then Read or Dead is the one for you. The bi-weekly mystery fiction podcast is dedicated to unearthing and discussing mystery and thriller literature. From true crime to fictional mysteries involving games, the show has a wide range of topics for you to uncover. 

Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or online

Best for comic book fans 

Novels aren’t for everyone – and that’s okay. If you’re more interested in reading comics, then The Stack from the team at Comic Book Club is a wonderful podcast pick. The hosts review new releases and the latest news in their weekly episodes. Whether you’re a Marvel, DC, or more of an indie fan, The Stack has you covered.  

Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or online

Best for classics 

For a more classically based podcast, then check out On the Road with Penguin Classics. Each episode, author Henry Eliot travels across Europe to interview novelists and readers alike. From Soho to Lisbon, the podcast focusses on literary locations and classic literature in an entertaining but educational way.  

Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Acast 

Best for a bedtime story 

If you’re looking for new way to experience your old favourites, then the Anne of Green Gables podcast is the place to start. The unabridged book is read by a full cast of talented actors, bringing read L.M. Montgomery’s childhood classic to life.  

Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or online

BBC Sounds also regularly release abridged versions of popular contemporary books. These include darkly funny How to Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie and People Person by the bestselling author, Candice Carty-Williams. 

Listen now on the BBC Sounds website or on their app
 

We’re all ears 

Let us know what your favourite book-related podcasts are on Facebook or Instagram, and sign up to our newsletter so you can hear more from us in 2023. 

How libraries can support your New Year’s resolution

Starting something new doesn’t have to be expensive or require a lot of effort; your local library is full of free resources and services to help you throughout the year. We’ve compiled a handy guide to how libraries can support you in your New Year’s resolutions. No matter how big or small your milestones are, we’ve got you covered.

Woman reading book at library bookshelf

Read more, spend less

Do you want to read more often, but find yourself spending too much money on books that you never get round to reading? Borrow a book from your local library instead. There’s a huge selection of books to browse in the library catalogue, or if you’re into ebooks or audiobooks, download the BorrowBox app. Just log in with your Hampshire Libraries membership details and see the wide variety of books available. Read on your travels and when you’re out and about – the perfect way to start reading more often. And it’s super sustainable too!  

Elderly man using computer in library

Learn something new

We’ve all resolved to learn a new skill at some point. But this can be expensive if you’re buying new equipment or signing up to a course to support your new venture. Many of our Learning in Libraries courses are free and offer a wide range of skills and activities to get stuck into. From seated dance, to learning to sew or computing for beginners, whatever you’re into there’s something for everyone. Or if you fancy learning more independently, read our blog on books for beginners to learn a new skill.  

Group of people knitting and smiling

Join a new group

It can be tricky to make new friends and find clubs or societies in your area. The library is a great place to discover a new group and find people who share your passions. Give back to the local community by volunteering for one of the charity groups or come along to Friendly Fridays at Yateley Library and enjoy some games. Or if you fancy a creative activity, there are knit or craft and natter groups. You can even meet new people from the comfort of your own home with the digital readers book club. Simply head to the events section on our website to find out what’s going on near you.  

Person outside in activewear

Cut down on screen time

We’re all guilty of being consumed by our phones, tablets and TV screens. Seek some inspiration from the library catalogue to spend less time looking at screens and more time exploring the outdoors. Why not try out a new form of exercise or connect with nature at your local park and discover the hidden secrets right on your doorstep? Or entertain yourself on your lunchtime walk and listen along to the Love Your Library podcast.  

Parent and child reading in the library

Share more stories

Sharing stories is a great way to connect with friends and family, through bonding over your favourite twists and turns in tales. Encourage your little ones to read more often by joining the Winter Mini Challenge. Once they’ve finished a book, they can give you their full review so you can find out which stories they enjoy. Or come along to a storytime event and hear your favourite books being read aloud.  

Student sat in cafe with headphones on

Reach new goals

Whether you’ve set a new career or study goal this year, libraries are the perfect quiet spot to concentrate and avoid distractions. Hire a room or study space to get your head down or to learn with a group. Computers are free of charge for all library card holders, and you can log into the free Wi-Fi on your own device. If you’re studying, read our blog on the ways libraries can support students.  

Don’t forget that no matter how big or small your goals are this year, Hampshire Libraries is here to support you. Starting something new in the smallest way is the biggest step to reaching your targets. These aims don’t have to be daunting, stay motivated and focused with a little help from your local library.   

Hampshire Libraries wrapped: the best of 2022

Chandler's Ford library with Jubilee bunting

We’ve loved finding ways to make your 2022 better and brighter. Whether you’ve been using your local library to find ways to save money, join the Gadgeteers in the Summer Reading Challenge, or enjoyed listening to the Love Your Library podcast, we’re glad you’ve joined us for what has been a very busy year. 

We wanted to look back on everything we’ve done together this year, so we’ve created a roundup of our best of 2022 as we look ahead to the New Year. 

Summer Reading Challenge  

Two children enjoying a book during the summer reading challenge

Over the summer, we once again held our annual Summer Reading Challenge. This year the theme was Gadgeteers, a collection of friends who love science and wanted to help your children discover the innovation behind the world around them. It was brilliant hearing about all the books Hampshire’s newest Gadgeteers read this summer, and we’re so pleased that so many children had fun! 

If you enjoyed the Summer Reading Challenge this year, why not join in with the winter mini challenge from The Reading Agency? The Gadgeteers are back to spark your children’s love of reading once again. It finishes on 20 February so sign up now and get stuck in. 

Pride month 

Pride month graphic with volunteer holding LGBTQ+ books and a rainbow flag

For Pride month this year, we invited Ren, a volunteer at Chandler’s Ford Library, to talk to us about the delightful list of queer books we have available at our libraries and share some personal recommendations. Our selection covers a range of books published in the last 40 years, so if you’re looking to diversify your reading then there’s sure to be something for you either as a physical copy or an eBook or audiobook on Borrowbox

Love Your Library podcast 

The Atlas Paradox book cover

It’s been an amazing year for the Love Your Library podcast, from superb interviews with award-winning authors, to expert recommendations from our library teams. 2022 has brought us plot twists, belly laughs, bestsellers and so much more. Take a look at all the episodes from 2022 have a listen!  

Death Positive Libraries 

Death positive libraries graphic for Hampshire Libraries

Libraries are uniquely placed to be a centre for bereavement support as well as a trusted space where conversations about death and dying can take place with caring staff on hand to help. So, in March we launched Death Positive Libraries.

We specially selected a collection of books for adults offering practical information and guidance and created one for children to help initiate conversations about death. These resources and much more are still available in each of our five hubs, so please make use of them and keep the conversation going.  

Cost of living resources

Man in a cafe in a Hampshire Library

As times have become tougher, libraries have supported communities across Hampshire. We put together some helpful resources on the different ways libraries can support you during the cost of living crisis. From learning a new skill to practical resources on budgeting, there’s something for everyone.

That’s a wrap! 

What was your highlight of 2022 and what’re you most looking forward to reading in 2023? Let us know on Facebook or Instagram, and sign up to our newsletter so you can stay up on all your local library’s news in the New Year. 

Have a lovely festive season, and we’ll see you in 2023.  

Author of the Month: Margaret Drabble

Margaret Drabble is our Author of the Month for December.

Dame Margaret Drabble was born in Sheffield in 1939. She attended a Quaker Boarding School in York then studied English Literature at Cambridge.

She is the author of numerous novels, in a long career chronicling British women’s experience throughout the changing stages of their lives.

She was appointed CBE in 1980 and made DBE in 2008. Margaret was also awarded the Golden PEN Award for a Lifetime’s Distinguished Service to Literature in 2011.

Find her collection of work on our catalogue here.

Movember & Men’s Health

November is Men’s Health Awareness Month dedicated to bringing awareness to a wide range of men’s health issues. During Movember, men are encouraged to grow a moustache to raise money for men’s health charities.

Men tend to be more reluctant to seek help or treatment and, statistically, have a shorter life expectancy compared to women. But it need not be that way. Find the full collection on our catalogue. You can also find eBooks and eAudiobooks on a dedicated bookshelf with our free provider, BorrowBox.

See below for six titles, taken from our larger list, offering a wide range of information, advice and inspiration to encourage healthier, happier and longer lives.

How to Survive the End of the World by Aaron Gillies

There are plenty of books out there on how to survive a zombie apocalypse, all-out nuclear war, or Armageddon. But what happens when it feels like the world is ending every single time you wake up? That’s what having anxiety is like – and How to Survive the End of the World is here to help. Or at least make you feel like you’re not so alone.

From helping readers identify the enemy, to safeguarding the vulnerable areas of their lives, Aaron Gillies examines the impact of anxiety, and gives readers some tools to fight back – whether with medication, therapy, CBT, coping techniques or simply with a dark sense of humour.

Feel Better in 5: Your daily plan to kick-start great health by Rangan Chatterjee

It only takes 5 minutes to start changing your life. For good.

Feel Better in 5 is the first daily 5-minute plan that is easy to maintain, easy-to-follow and requires only the smallest amount of willpower.

Top tips include:

* A strength workout that you can do anywhere
* Gut-boosting snacks you can eat on the go
* Yoga moves to relax and stay supple
* Breathing exercises to calm the mind

Drawing on Dr Rangan Chatterjee’s twenty years of experience and real-life case studies from his GP practice, Feel Better in 5 is your daily plan for a happier, healthier you at no extra cost.

Inspire: Life Lessons from the Wilderness by Ben Fogle

Writing during the unprecedented period of the coronavirus pandemic and drawing on a wealth of personal stories, Ben reflects on the significance of nature to all our lives and shows us how we can benefit from living a little more wild.

Drawing on his greatest adventures, he shares what his time spent in the wilderness has taught him about life. Ranging across seas, icecaps, jungles and deserts, Ben’s stories are filled with wonder and struggle, with animals, adventure, wilderness, friendships, unexpected acts of kindness and heroism, and are bursting with inspiration directly from nature. Ben’s epic stories reveal a new side to his adventures and show how everyone can find meaning in the wilderness, even if it’s just outside their front door.

Full of exciting adventures and practical guidance, this primer on positivity is a story about overcoming obstacles, surpassing your expectations and inspiring your journey of adventure.

How to Grow Old: A middle-aged man moaning by John Bishop

Whether he likes it or not, John is getting older. His hair is greying, it’s getting that much harder to stay fit, and the potential to become something of an embarrassment is ever increasing.

But hope is not lost.

How to Grow Old is John’s offering to the world. With sage advice on how to avoid the common pitfalls of age, intimate confessions and spit-your-dentures-out hilarious commentary on his own advancing years, this is his observational comic writing at its very best. If you were concerned about how not to be boring or how to get rid of your should-be-old-enough-to-manage kids, this the book has the answers.

Man Up, Man Down: standing up to suicide by Paul McGregor

What does it do to you when someone you love tries to end their life?

Paul McGregor’s dad tried to kill himself, but survived. He went into hospital, came home, and got better. Or at least that’s what people thought. A few months later, the battle continued. And on the 4th March 2009, Paul’s dad ended his life.

You’re a young man, and your dad has just taken his life. How do you grieve? Tormented by the question of why, you lock it away and man up. You wear a mask to show others you’re coping, but you spend every moment you have alone an emotional wreck. Wishing he was still here. You chase money, status, success all as a way to distract yourself from those feelings. But none of it works. You find yourself feeling like you too, will end your own life.

Man Up, Man Down is Paul’s tale of recovery. Taking off that mask and being able to answer the questions that surrounded his dad’s suicide. If you’ve ever lost somebody to suicide, this book is for you.

Testosterone: The Story of the Hormone that Dominates and Divides Us

Through riveting personal stories and the latest research, Harvard evolutionary biologist Carole Hooven shows how testosterone drives the behaviour of the sexes apart and how understanding the science behind this hormone is empowering for all.

Author of the Month: Hilary Mantel

It’s November, and that means it’s time for a new Author of the Month. This month we are celebrating the late, Hilary Mantel.

Hilary Mantel was an award winning author who won several literary accolades in her lifetime. She was the first female author to win The Booker Prize twice. The Wolf Hall trilogy has sold more than 5 million copies and has been translated into 41 different languages.

Find Mantel’s collection of novels on our catalogue.

Ten ways your local library is supporting students

The autumn term is in full swing, and everyone’s back to school, university or college. While homework, coursework and revision piles up, it can be tricky to study from home if you need access to specific materials or just a space free from distractions.

Hampshire Libraries offer a wide range of free resources for students. From study spaces to a variety of research materials, we’ve got you covered. So here’s a handy list of ways your local library is supporting students.

Free access to computers

Computer at Chandler's Ford library

If you don’t have access to your own computer, don’t worry – there’s free access to computers at Hampshire Libraries for all library card holders. You can even pre-book a library computer online to make sure you’ve got a spot saved for cramming the day before an exam. Our helpful library teams can help you to log onto the system and navigate through the different programmes you need.  

Access to printing

Anyone can print documents at the library from any computer or mobile device, you don’t have to be logged into one of our library computers or be a member of the library. You can print A4 and A3 full colour documents – perfect for coursework and poster printing. Printing and photocopying charges apply.

Study spaces and room hire

Man with headphones on laptop in public area at the library

Libraries are the perfect place to study. Avoid procrastination and pesky distractions in one of our designated study spaces. There are quiet zones throughout our libraries that offer a place to settle into a deep focus for last minute revision. You can even bring your own cold drinks and snacks into the library to refuel throughout your study session. 

You can also hire a room at the library from just £7 to teach a class or host a private study group. These are great areas for group projects and collaborative spaces, to share ideas and work on presentations together. There are over 20 locations to choose from. 

eBooks and audiobooks

Tablet with borrowbox logo resting on bookshelf

There are thousands of eBooks and audiobooks which can be downloaded for free with just a few taps on your smartphone, tablet, eReader or computer. Just download the Borrowbox app or log onto the Borrowbox website to gain access. Catch up on your reading while you’re on your travels or sit back and listen to a new book.   

Free Wi-Fi

Girl with headphones using laptop at Winchester Library

Internet speeds at home leaving a lot to be desired? Broadband dropping out just as you get to the good bit of your study break comfort watch? Stay connected in your local library and get online with free Wi-Fi available at all our branches. Log onto your own laptop, tablet or phone or use one of the public computers to get online. 

Accessibility for all

Hampshire Libraries are welcoming, inclusive spaces for all to enjoy. Our teams receive regular disability awareness and equality training. All our libraries are wheelchair accessible and are either on one floor, or have lifts provided. Most of our libraries have fixed hearing loops in which our staff are trained. All Hampshire Libraries have computers with large print keyboards and tracker ball mice.  

Study resources

Girl reading book in study area at the library

Libraries are full of study resources – from books to magazines, the British Newspaper Archive and a variety of podcasts. You can also access 15 million peer reviewed articles, perfect for project research. There are loads of online research platforms for you to use for your studies.

Activities and entertainment

Take a well-deserved break and recharge with some entertainment at the library. From comedy shows to author talks and theatre productions, check out what’s on at your local branch and extend your study session to include some much-needed leisure time too.

And if you’re a book lover, why not listen to our Love your Library Podcast? Our episodes feature interviews with some of the nation’s best-loved authors, as well as book news, library updates and in-depth discussions with the people behind the bookshelves at our branches. 

Pick up a new skill

Our Learning in Libraries courses are a great way to learn a new skill and to prepare you for life after studying. There are a variety of courses available – from finding the right job to photography and digital skills. Or unwind and destress from your studies with a yoga session – there’s something for everyone.

Group reading sets

Working on a Shakespeare play or To Kill a Mockingbird in your English class? Hampshire Libraries provide sets of books for groups to borrow. There are over 1700 sets available, with a focus on modern fiction, but we also provide some classics and non-fiction works. Make learning more fun by reading along with your friends and discussing your thoughts on the plot and characters.

So whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to study, a place to socialise with your pals or access to free eBooks and audiobooks, we’ve got you covered. Find out more and explore what your local library has to offer over on the Hampshire Libraries website.

Author of the Month: Dorothy Koomson

Our author of the month for October is the brilliant Dorothy Koomson.

Born in 1971, Dorothy Koomson is a bestselling author of adult fiction books with over 2 million books sold. She has earned her title ‘The Queen of the Big Reveal’ with her nail-biting psychological thrillers, which pack an emotionally devastating punch.

Dorothy Koomson has been a strong advocate for Black authors to write the stories they want to tell without compromising their vision.

Try her latest novel ‘My Other Husband’ which critics are calling one of her best yet. This expertly crafted novel is full of twists and turns sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Check out our full catalogue of Dorothy Koomson titles.

Sparking Conversations about Climate Change

Does your child know about climate change?

Do they know what small things they can do to help?

Take part in our climate change worksheet activity. There are tick box questions, spaces to write their thoughts, ideas of how they can do their bit and they can also make a pledge. If they hand in their pledge to the library they will receive a cress seed prize! Just ask at your local, Hampshire library from 26 September – 12 November.

You can find some great reads about Climate Change in our Earth Heroes blog: Are you ready to be an Earth Hero? – Hampshire Library Service (hampshirelibraries.blog).

Author of the Month: Marian Keyes

Early Biography  
Marian Keyes is an Irish author born in 1963, who grew up in and around Dublin as part of a large family. Keyes completed degrees in law and business, moving to London in 1986 to take on an administrative role. However, Keyes began to struggle with alcoholism and depression in her twenties, eventually attempting to take her own life in 1995. Keyes underwent rehabilitation for her alcoholism in Dublin and began working on short stories, based in part on her own experiences. Keyes submitted these stories to the publisher Poolberg Press, with the promise of a novel to follow. The novel she submitted, Watermelon (1995), would become a best seller in Ireland and launch her career as an author. While Keyes has struggled with mental health difficulties for most of her adult life, she has described her writing as a ‘rope across the abyss’ which has given her the strength in times of crisis. Keyes has been sober now for over 25 years and lives with her husband Tony in Dún Laoghaire, Dublin. 

Work and Career  
Keyes’ works are darkly comic but insightful novels, often based on her own experiences. They cover sensitive topics such as mental illness, divorce, substance abuse and domestic violence while maintaining a tact and approachability which makes them instant favourites with readers. While Keyes’ books tackle heavy topics, their tone and narrative are optimistic and uplifting with a happy ending for all your favourite characters. Keyes main series is the Walsh Family novels, where we join the Walsh Sisters as they navigate the ups and downs of modern life. Watermelon (1995) is the First book in the series, while her latest work Again, Rachel (2022) is the most recent addition. Despite being associated with the genre, Keyes has been a strong critic of the term ‘chick-lit’ and its ‘belittling’ and ‘demeaning’ connotations. Equally, Keyes is a strong feminist and has drawn attention to differences in the way that male and female written works are represented and awarded.  

Accolades, Awards and Statistics 

Keyes is the British Book Awards Author of the Year 2022, recognised for her ‘expert storytelling, incredible warmth of heart, and significant contributions to the publishing industry over three decades of writing’. She has sold over 33 million books worldwide and her works have been translated into 36 different languages. Keyes has won ‘Popular Fiction Book of the Year’ at the Irish Book Awards in 2009 and 2017 for This Charming man (2008) and The Break (2017) respectively. Keyes has had multiple best-selling books in the UK and Ireland, where her works routinely top bestsellers lists. 

Marian Keyes – Biography 
Penguin – Where to start reading Marian Keyes’ books 
The Guardian – Marian Keyes: rehab was one of the happiest times of my life 
Twitter – Marian Keyes  
BBC Radio 4 – Desert Island Discs Marian Keyes 
Independent.ie – Author of the Year 
Chatelaine – Keyes on the term chick lit 

Check out our Marian Keyes collection on our catalogue

“Writing about feeling disconnected has enabled me to connect, and that has been the most lovely thing of all.” ~ Marian Keyes