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The To Read List Podcast

Arts & Culture Podcasts

Most people have books on their shelves they’ve been meaning to read. Bailey has 125. With this podcast, she and her friends set out to finish their ever-growing To Read Lists.

Most people have books on their shelves they’ve been meaning to read. Bailey has 125. With this podcast, she and her friends set out to finish their ever-growing To Read Lists.


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Most people have books on their shelves they’ve been meaning to read. Bailey has 125. With this podcast, she and her friends set out to finish their ever-growing To Read Lists.




My Best Friend's Shelter

UNSHELTERED by Barbara Kingsolver MY BEST FRIEND’S EXORCISM by Grady Hendrix In our 59th Episode, Bailey reads Grady Hendrix’s MY BEST FRIEND’S EXORCISM and Andrew tackles Barbara Kingsolver’s UNSHELTERED. We have a frank discussion about the importance of inclusive language, come up with a lot of nicknames, and explore the virtues of surprising someone with your “shame.” What else? Hard to say – who knows what horrors lurk in the Pine Barrens…


The Signature of All Giants

THE BURIED GIANT by Kazuo Ishiguro THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS by Elizabeth Gilbert Join us in Post-Arthurian England as we review Ishiguro's atmospheric fantasy THE BURIED GIANT. Then head to nineteenth century Philadelphia to study moss and spiritual longing with Gilbert's THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS. Plus, we debate the morals of second-hand puzzle buying, if Arthur counts as a knight of the round table, and how dragons take their pasta.


Frankly My Father

FRANKLY IN LOVE by David Yoon DREAMS OF MY FATHER by Barack Obama This week on the pod Andrew dives into the YA romance FRANKLY IN LOVE by David Yoon and Bailey tackles a book that languishes on many a to-read-list: DREAMS OF MY FATHER by cultural nobody Barack Obama. Additionally, Bailey reveals some troubling Instagram habits, Toby gives us an inside view of working at Trader Joe’s, and we all discuss the possibility of pivoting the podcast to focus more on Counting Crows content. Plus,...


The Attic Next Time

THE FIRE NEXT TIME by James Baldwin FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC by V.C. Andrews In THE FIRE NEXT TIME, Baldwin expertly composes two essays about race and the American experience. In FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC, Andrews spins the illicit tale of teens imprisoned with their hot, hot siblings. Some say these books have nothing in common. This week, the hosts of The To Read List will prove that... those people are probably right. Plus, a dramatic reading! Content Warning: Rape, incest, abuse (thanks,...


The No. 1 Story of My Life

PIMP: THE STORY OF MY LIFE by Iceberg Slim THE NO. 1 LADIES’ DETECTIVE AGENCY by Alexander McCall Smith The crew discusses two very different books, Iceberg Slim’s PIMP, an influential first-hand account of a lawless life and Alexander McCall Smith’s THE NO. 1 LADIES’ DETECTIVE AGENCY, a cozy mystery series that is a perennial favorite of book clubs. Plus we discuss what qualifies as a life-hack, an idea for a new Veggietales character, and Andrew makes a game that is too hard but still...


Children of the Rose

CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE by Tomi Adeyemi THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco This week, Toby tries out Y.A. fantasy with the African mythology-inspired bestseller CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE. After debating the feasibility of expandable bo staffs, Bailey hangs with murderous monks in THE NAME OF THE ROSE. Plus, the gang makes up patron saints, pretends to understand semiotics, and laments the horror of waterlogged books.


Girl, Woman, Thin Air

GIRL, WOMAN, OTHER by Bernadine Evaristo INTO THIN AIR by Jon Krakauer Join us this week on the pod as Andrew reviews the recent Man Booker Prize winning GIRL, WOMAN, OTHER, by Bernadine Evaristo, and Bailey tackles the monumental bestseller of the late 90s INTO THIN AIR by Jon Krakauer. We also discuss the relative merits of marginalia, debate a less-effective title for Girl, Woman, Other, contract a case of summit fever, and agree that in a not very real way, we all want to climb...


The Second Annual Bookend Awards!

The To Read List crew reflects back on 2020, a year that was certainly... a year. We go through our reading stats, award best book and cutest protagonist, and test our retention skills. Piranesi!


I, Difficult

I, ROBOT by Isaac Asimov DIFFICULT WOMEN by Roxane Gay On this week’s episode, Toby gets acquainted with one of the seminal works of one of his favorite genres with Isaac Asimov’s I, ROBOT – while Bailey checks out a different style of book by an author she admires in Roxane Gay’s DIFFICULT WOMEN. Plus Bailey decks the halls with bookish spirit, Toby fawns over a fantasy novel, and Andrew starts a fake university.



THUNDERSTRUCK by Erik Larson LAKEWOOD by Megan Giddings To celebrate our 50th episode (!), Andrew and the guys go full dad-mode and fanboy over Erik Larson. Then, Bailey takes a creepy trip into the problematic world of human experimentation with Megan Giddings' LAKEWOOD. Finally, we all take the highway to Ypsilanti for a very special AC/DC-themed game.


The Julia We Became

THE CITY WE BECAME by N.K. Jemisin JULIE AND JULIA by Julie Powell On the pod this week we break down fantasy heavyweight N.K. Jemisin’s THE CITY WE BECAME and reach back into the blogosphere for Julie Powell’s JULIE AND JULIA. We also discuss the current puzzle scarcity crisis, reveal a series of troubling Staten Island impressions, and end up at a day at the ballpark. Plus, stick around through the credits to hear several more Thunderstruck sing-alongs than would be deemed...


Ghost Luster

GHOST by Jason Reynolds LUSTER by Raven Leilani This week, Andrew reviews Raven Leilani's fresh and visceral LUSTER while Bailey dives into middle-grade favorite GHOST by Jason Reynolds. We share tales of track team failures, haunted RVs, and, of course, plenty of shame!


Piranesi Extravaganza!

PIRANESI by Susanna Clarke. Susanna Clarke is back with a brand-new world for us to explore! After wowing Bailey and Toby with her debut novel (followed by a 16 year gap), will this live up to one of our hosts’ all time favorites? Also, we try to escape a trivia maze, discuss which books Maggie the baby likes, and lament the return of Toby’s greatest temptation - free street books. WARNING: This episode contains Piranesi spoilers. We are very clear when we move into our spoiler section,...


The Tales Of Mole

THE ADRIAN MOLE DIARIES by Sue Townsend TALES by Amiri Baraka In this week's episode, the crew takes on two firebrands from different sides of the Atlantic--Sue Townsend and Amiri Baraka--who wrote two wildly different books--THE ADRIAN MOLES DIARIES and TALES. They discuss their roller coaster lives all without spoiling anything. On top of that Bailey and Toby take a trip down the embarrassing memory lane of personal diaries. And of course MORE SHAME!


My Sister, the Witch

MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER by Oyinkan Braithwaite WITCHES ABROAD by Terry Pratchett This week Toby fantasysplains the Discworld series to a skeptical Bailey, Bailey gushes about 2018’s #1 subway read (according to Andrew), and we all ponder the significance of the number of famous authors who worked in the energy engineering industry prior to publishing fame. Plus, Bailey cements her new catchphrase, Dillon gives a mini-review of Bailey’s book, and Andrew makes a SHOCKING last-second...


Wolf is for Witching

WOLF HALL by Hilary Mantel WHITE IS FOR WITCHING by Helen Oyeyemi Bailey and Dillon are back and ready to dig deep into English history! First, Andrew contemplates how many Thomases is too many in Hilary Mantel's WOLF HALL. Then, Bailey visits a racist haunted house in WHITE IS FOR WITCHING, a gothic coming of age story. If that's not enough, the hosts come up with drag names for Tudor monarchs and share their first real shame of quarantine.


A Brief History of Seven Trees

THE BARON IN THE TREES by Italo Calvino A BRIEF HISTORY OF SEVEN KILLINGS by Marlon James This week we dive into THE BARON IN THE TREES by Italo Calvino and A BRIEF HISTORY OF SEVEN KILLINGS by Marlon James. We ask important questions like - Will Andrew like a book that Toby has abandoned? Will Toby like this novel as much as the other Calvino he's read? And, What stops does the surrealism train make? Also, Toby tries to survive a bachelor party in the deep woods...


The Proposal Girls

THE PROPOSAL by Jasmine Guillory THE GIRLS by Emma Cline This week we're joined by Gillian Durkee (our theme composer and Andrew's fiancée) as we discuss the Jasmine Guillory's romance novel THE PROPOSAL and the bookstagram smash hit THE GIRLS by Emma Cline. We also ponder genres we should read more of, flesh out the details of a possible Weddingverse, and hatch plans for some proposals of our own!


The Immortal Underground

THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD - by Colson Whitehead THE IMMORTALISTS - by Chloe Benjamin The week we have special guest host Camille Knox on to discuss the award-winning novel THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead and THE IMMORTALISTS by Chloe Benjamin. Which of these contemporary novels is more to our liking? We also discuss revisiting ratings on Goodreads, our levels of olive enthusiasm, and Homeward Bound... a lot.


Trust My Mind

TRUST EXERCISE by Susan Choi MIND OF MY MIND by Octavia E. Butler This week Talia Bolnick of The Hatchery Press joins us as we review TRUST EXERCISE by SUSAN CHOI, a form-bending novel about teens in an exclusive drama school and MIND OF MY MIND by OCTAVIA E. BUTLER, the story of a young telepath in 1970s Los Angeles struggling against the man who created her. We also debate the value of engaging with difficult stories, whether or not you can judge a book by earlier installments in a...