If I set up a podcast themed display, I would put the following books…
Books based on Podcasts:
This graphic novel—The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins—covers the first six episodes of the Balance arc of the podcast The Adventure Zone (created by the McElroy brothers and their dad as they play a tabletop role playing game loosely based on Dungeons & Dragons).
You get to join “Taako the elf wizard, Merle the dwarf cleric, and Magnus the human warrior for an adventure they are poorly equipped to handle AT BEST, guided (“guided”) by their snarky DM, in a graphic novel that, like the smash-hit podcast it’s based on, will tickle your funny bone, tug your heartstrings, and probably pants you if you give it half a chance.” 1
The Adventure Zone: Murder on the Rockport Limited! covers episodes 10-16 of the Balance arc of the podcast The Adventure Zone.
In this, you “we rejoin hero-adjacent sort-of-comrades-in-arms Taako, Magnus, and Merle on a wild careen through a D&D railroad murder mystery. This installment has a little of everything: a genius child detective, an axe-wielding professional wrestler, a surly wizard, cursed magical artifacts, and a pair of meat monsters.” 2
In this, our “boys have gone full-time at the Bureau of Balance, and their next assignment is a real thorny one: apprehending The Raven, a master thief who’s tapped into the power of a Grand Relic to ransack the city of Goldcliff. Local life-saver Lieutenant Hurley pulls them out of the woods, only to throw them headlong into the world of battle wagon racing, Goldcliff’s favorite high-stakes low-legality sport and The Raven’s chosen battlefield. Will the boys and Hurley be able to reclaim the Relic and pull The Raven back from the brink, or will they get lost in the weeds?” 3
In this, “a desperate call for help interrupts holiday celebrations at the Bureau of Balance, and sends Taako, Magnus and Merle on a high-stakes mission to find and Reclaim a fourth deadly relic: a powerful transmutation stone, hidden somewhere in the depths of a floating arcane laboratory that’s home to the Doctors Maureen and Lucas Miller. An unknown menace has seized control of the stone, and is using it to transform the lab into a virulent pink crystal that spreads to everything it touches.
It’s only a matter of time before this sparkling disaster crash-lands, but in order to find the stone and save the whole planet from being King Midased, our heroes will have to fight their way through a gauntlet of rowdy robots and crystal golems, decide whether they can trust the evasive Lucas Miller, and solve the mystery of what—or who—has put them all in peril, before there’s no world left to save.” 4
Alice Isn’t Dead: A Novel is based on the podcast Alice Isn’t Dead, which is about “a truck driver searching across America for the wife she had long assumed was dead. In the course of her search, she will encounter not-quite-human serial murderers, towns literally lost in time, and a conspiracy that goes way beyond one missing woman.” 5
This book is the podcast, but in a book format.
Everybody should know Critical Role, a well-known and popular Dungeons & Dragons podcast created by voice actors.
They have a graphic novel called Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins. “The band of adventurers known as Vox Machina will save the world. Eventually. But even they have to start somewhere.
Six would-be heroes on seemingly different jobs find their paths intertwined as they investigate shady business in the swamp town of Stilben. They’ll need to put their heads– and weapons–together to figure out what’s going on…and keep from being killed in the process. Even then, whether or not they can overcome what truly lurks at the bottom of the town’s travails remains to be seen!” 6
Critical Role features a wide range of characters, and one of them is Jester Lavorre, a thiefling cleric an a member of the Might Nein.
This graphic novel explores her history and the events that led to her eventually joining the Mighty Nein!
The Infinite Noise is based on the Bright Sessions podcast—a science fiction podcast about a group of therapy patients with supernatural abilities with each episode focusing on a single character in a therapy session.
The book itself focuses on an entirely different character (not featured in the podcast)—Caleb who starts experiencing mood swings that are out of the ordinary for a teenager which actually turns out to be enhanced abilities. His extreme empathic abilities allow him to feel everybody’s emotions, and it gets complicated when he meets Adam, one of his classmates.
The book itself is set in the same world, but focuses on a new character named K, who has been obsessed with finding a way into the ancient game of Rabbits and finds themselves in a conspiracy to fix the games or the whole world would be at stake.
Welcome to Night Vale—the best weird of the weird podcasts out there.
The podcast follows the “the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events.”8
Forget about Cecil (the narrator of the podcast). The book focuses on Night Vale pawn shop owner Jackie Fierro, who “is determined to uncover the mystery of King City and the man in the tan jacket,” and Night Vale PTA treasurer Diane Crayton, who seeks to reconnect with her moody shape shifter son. For these characters, King City will lead them on the same path.
More Night Vale! More characters! More strange and ominous vibes.
It Devours explores more characters—specifically Nilanjana Sikdar, a top scientist living in Night Vale, where her own fact and logic beliefs are put into question when she’s asked to investigate mysterious rumblings in the desert wasteland outside of town and gets caught up with the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God.
You want to hear about the ominous faceless old woman who secret lives in your house? Well, look no further than The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home!
In the Night Vale world, readers get to learn about how the Faceless Old Woman came to be—what things she has gone though and how she ended in Night Vale—through flashbacks.
Within the Wires is a dramatic anthology podcast in which each season focuses on a standalone story through found audio from an alternate universe with different narrators and timelines.
You Feel It Just Below the Ribs is within the same world of the podcast, but is “a fictional autobiography in an alternate twentieth century that chronicles one woman’s unusual life, including the price she pays to survive and the cost her choices hold for the society she is trying to save.”9
The world is full of beautiful yet overlooked architecture and design. When do people look up (or down) and marvel at the beauty right in front of their eyes? That building you pass by every day to work, the fire escape that sits outside your window, there are stories behind those.
Both the podcast 99% Invisible and the book The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design aim to do that by shedding light on the buildings, streets, sidewalks, and anything architectural and design through stories that have been thoroughly researched.
Two friends, Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, started a podcast called Call Your Girlfriend for long-distance besties everywhere, discussing menstrual cycles to workplace drama to pop culture. Relatable topics every women deals with on a daily basis. Nothing’s off limits.
Now their book, Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close is partly a memoir, chronicling their own friendship and how deconstructing how friendships work and how one nurtures them.
Haven’t you ever wonder about the stories of people who have been incarcerated in prison? Especially considering the amount of people who are locked up in the United States than any other nation in the world. What do they deal with in prison? How do they cope?
Both Ear Hustle (the podcast) and This Is Ear Hustle: Unflinching Stories of Everyday Prison Life the book tells stories of the “daily realities of life inside prison shared by those living it, and stories from the outside, post-incarceration.”10
“How do I create a podcast that people will listen it?” This is a question that the McElroy brothers Justin, Travis, and Griffin could come across on their podcast, My Brother, My Brother and Me—a comedy advice podcast for the “modern era.”
For those interested in podcasting, the McElroy brothers use their expertise—having been in the podcasting industry for the past decade—to write Everybody Has a Podcast (Except You), which walks you through how to create a successful podcast.
Read the book, live by the book.
That’s what comedian Jolenta Greenberg and culture critic Kristen Meinzer did for By the Book podcast, where they read different self-help books and live through the advice in it, figuring out which would be the most helpful. And in How to Be Fine, they share their experiences and what they learned when they followed those advices in the self-help books they read.
Do you ever get morbidly curious about serial killers or creepy hauntings that send you down a true crime rabbit hole?
For all those true crime fans who love reading dark stuff about murders and cults and hauntings and the like, The Last Podcast on the Left delve into those subjects and many more, and The Last Book on the Left goes more in depth on notorious serial killers.
Where did wendigos and vampires come from? What about the red-eyed Jersey Devil? Who created these folklores? And why are we so fascinated with these “beasts and bogeymen”?
The podcast Lore “is an exploration of the dark, real-life historical tales at the root of our common fears and superstitions,” and the book itself explores one aspect—specifically Monsters that go bumping in the night—of those tales that are told.11
For all those who want to read stories about “risk, courage, and facing the unknown,” The Moth presents All These Wonders is that book for you.
Featuring voices like Hasan Minhaj, John Turturro, and Tig Notaro, readers “will encounter: an astronomer gazing at the surface of Pluto for the first time, an Afghan refugee learning how much her father sacrificed to save their family, a hip-hop star coming to terms with being a “one-hit wonder,” a young female spy risking everything as part of Churchill’s “secret army” during World War II, and more.”12
What do you get when you put a former US president and a music legend together for a podcast? You get Renegades: Born in the USA.
Renegades: Born in the USA is a “series of conversations between President Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen about their lives, music, and enduring love of America—despite all its challenges.” Their book expands more on their podcast with photographs and exclusive bonus content in their intimate discussion.13
Have you ever been curious about the Black Plague or how uranium is used for medicine? Or maybe you want to know more about phrenology or about the weird phenomenon known as “Sweating Sickness”? Sawbones—both the podcast and the book—is that book.
“Join Justin and Dr. Sydnee McElroy on a marital tour of misguided medicine as they discuss the weird, gross, and sometimes downright dangerous ways we tried to solve our medical woes through the ages.”14
Hollywood is full of glam and wonder, but it’s also full of secrets, drama, and scandal—all the juicy stories that anybody would drink up in a heartbeat. And that’s what you get in both You Must Remember This podcast and Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes’s Hollywood, exploring the known and forgotten histories coming out of Old Hollywood.
On one hand, you get My Favorite Murder, a true crime comedy podcast that discusses different true crime stories, and on the other, you get Stay Sexy Don’t Get Murdered, which isn’t about telling those true crime stories; it’s more about Karen and Georgia reflecting on their lives and their podcast and the issues that had shaped everything they experience and created.
The Thrilling Adventure Hour was a masterpiece of an adventure anthology podcast “in the tradition of old-time radio serials, brought to you by a carnival of Hollywood and comic’s finest.” It is full of fabulous segments like Spark Nevada (a space western about “an Earth man sent to protect the Red Planet from the universe’s robot outlaws, alien invaders and other galactic threats”) and Beyond Belief (about a pair of fast-talking married mediums who are the “toast of the upper crust”).15
For all those history buffs out there, you get to learn about American history in the Dollop podcast through the lens of “comedian Dave Anthony reading unknown stories from American history to fellow comedian Gareth Reynolds who usually has no knowledge of the topic that will be discussed, with the two commenting on and reacting to the stories.”16
The United States of Absurdity explores more stories from American history like the 10-Cent Beer Night to the Kentucky Meat Shower.
Books with a Podcast in it:
What type of podcast is in this? A Serial-like podcast called The Girls, focused on a missing girl who’s sister had been murdered in a small town.
What is this book about? Essentially two stories that intertwine—one about Sadie, who finds her sister dead and tries to avenge her sister’s death after the cops botched the investigation, and the other is West McCray—a radio personality—working on the Girls podcast after hearing about Sadie’s story.
What type of podcast is in this? A true crime podcast called Missing Zoe podcast.
What is this book about? I Killed Zoe Spanos focuses on two characters—Anna Cicconi, a newcomer to the town who bears a resemblance to Zoe Spanos, who’d been missing since New Year’s Eve, and becomes prime suspect when Zoe is found dead, and Martina Green, a teen host of the podcast, tries to uncover whether Anna Cicconi is guilty.
What type of podcast is in this? Another true crime podcast called We Can Be Heroes—one of the character’s perspective is written in the podcast format.
What is this book about? Alternating between four characters—each written in different format like in regular prose, in verse, and podcast-like script form—We Can Be Heroes tells the story of how these characters cope with their mutual friend’s death via vengeance to make sure their friend isn’t forgotten.
What type of podcast is in this? A relationship podcast called Woohoo Woman Podcast.
What is this book about? Seventeen year old Noah is having a tough time—being cut from the baseball team and being friend-zoned by the girl he likes. His best friend Walt introduces him to his cousin, a relationship guru, and the Woohoo Woman Podcast to inspire him to get the girl. Walt convinces Noah that writing love letters is the best way to communicate Noah’s feelings for the girl he likes.
What type of podcast is in this? This book features two podcasts—the first called Artists in Love and the second called Objects of Destruction, a relationship podcast investigating whether love actually exists at all.
What is this book about? It follows “a Memphis teen on a quest to uncover the secrets of love reveals new truths about herself.”18
What type of podcast is in this? A Youtube dystopian fictional podcast called Universe City.
What is this book about? Obsessed with the Universe City podcast, Frances Janvier gets a message from Radio Silence, the creator of the podcast, if she wanted to collaborate. Thus begins a friendship where the pair work together, until Radio Silence’s identity is revealed, and now what?
What type of podcast is in this? A social justice podcast by middle schoolers called Dress Coded.
What is this book about? An eighth grader “starts a podcast to protest the unfair dress code enforcement at her middle school and sparks a rebellion.”19
What type of podcast is in this? A storytelling podcast called Ana’s Brown Girl Rambles that Hana Khan runs anonymously.
What is this book about? Set in two competing halal restaurants, Hana Khan “turns to her anonymously-hosted podcast, and her lively and long-lasting relationship with one of her listeners, for advice.” It’s very much You’ve Got Mail vibes.
What type of podcast is in this? A Serial-like podcast called Reconsidered.
What is this book about? A “mega-hit podcast that reopens a murder case—and threatens to unravel the carefully constructed life of the victim’s daughter.”20
What type of podcast is in this? A Serial-like podcast called Six Stories.
What is this book about? Investigative journalist Scott King examining a 1997 case of a teenager named Tom Jeffries who was found at an Outward Bound center and trying to find out what really happen.