by Ruth Wainwright, November 2022

When people ask how I decide which books to stock in The Feminist Bookshop, of the many answers, the one that most often surprises people is, listening to podcasts. There are so many brilliant podcasts out there with incredible people sharing feminist ideas and recommending the books that changed their lives, that for me, they are an absolute staple when it comes to curating our collection.

That said, it has taken a lot of trial and error to find the shows I find particularly engaging and insightful when there is so much out there to choose from. So, I thought I would share with you ten of my current favourites and the books I most recommend to read alongside them.


My favourite pairings

Maintenance Phase

Hands down my absolute favourite podcast. Aubrey Gordon and Michael Hobbes debunk myth after myth in the world of weight loss, "wellness" and similar fields in such an engaging and entertaining way. Personal highlights include episodes on the racist origins of the BMI, the myth of the 'obesity epidemic' and the investigations into Dr Phil.

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What We Don't talk about when we talk about fat

In this book, Aubrey Gordon analyses many of the issues in more detail and shares profoundly moving personal experiences. Arguably one of the most vital books we stock, it contains so much information about topics which are rarely discussed openly and clearly demonstrates how much work there is to do to end harmful stigma and discrimination in our society.

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The Roxanne Gay Agenda

It is hard to overstate how much Roxane Gay has contributed to my thinking around feminism so it's a joy to hear her thoughts on this podcast. She also has a fantastic range of guests many of whom are authors on our shelves. Episodes with Isabel Wilkerson and Randa Jarrar are particular favourites.

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Bad Feminist

I would happily recommend anything written by Roxane Gay whether it be fiction, memoir or essays. Bad Feminist was the first book I read by her and it still holds a very special place in my heart. Reading an essay alongside each podcast is also a great way to pair the two forms.

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The Secret Life of Prisons

The Secret Life of Prisons is a fascinating exploration of life in UK prisons, hosted by the Prison Radio Association. Each episode takes on a theme related to the prison experience and features guests with personal experience of imprisonment. The show highlights many of the problems at every stage of the criminal justice system.

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Brick by Brick

A pairing that works well with this podcast explores arguments for reducing or dismantling the prison industrial complex. There are some great books on prison abolition by American authors including Angela Davis and Mariame Kaba but for the UK perspective my choice would be Brick By Brick written by the abolition charity the Cradle Community.

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Dear Therapists

A wonderful window into the world of therapy - each week Lori and Guy record a one-off session with someone who has come to them with a particular problem. It's so interesting to see how they break down the problem and explore wider issues in the person's life and much of the advice can be useful for the issues we all face everyday.

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Maybe You Should talk to someone

Lori's book is great to read alongside as it tells her own story of becoming a therapist after many years as a journalist and of seeking therapy herself in the aftermath of a break up. It's an illuminating combination of stories from her own therapy sessions interweaved with anecdotes from her interactions with clients.

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Books & Rhymes

For me, this podcast is pure joy. Host Sarah Ozo-Irabor has such an infectious zest for life that it is impossible not to smile when listening. It also has a brilliant format, inviting authors to pair their books with songs or albums that spark the same emotional connection. The conversations that come from this are fascinating and the accompanying playlist are great to listen to afterwards.

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Manchester Happened

The final two episodes of Books & Rhymes feature the incredibly talented Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi. She has written several fantastic books but I have a particular soft spot for Manchester Happened, her short story collection exploring the lives of Ugandans who choose to make England their home.

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On I WEIGH, Jameela Jamil interviews a range of guests including performers, activists and influencers about their experiences and stories with their mental health while sharing her own journey and reflections.

Listen NOw

None of the Above

Many great authors feature on the podcast but one of my favourites has to be Travis Alavanza. Their most recent book None of the Above adopts an engaging, entertainng style, with lots of personal anecdotes, to educate, inform and inspire readers to push boundaries and question the mainstream.

Read NOw

The Come As You Are Podcast

Launched just this week, the Come As You Are podcast is set to become a must listen for fans of sex educator extraordinaire Dr Nagoski. She also hosts the brilliant Feminist Survival Podcast with her sister - another pod I'd definitely recommend. It's a fascinating exploration of topics related to their book Burnout: the secret to unlocking the stress cycle.

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Come As You Are

One of the most popular titles in The Feminist Bookshop collection, Come As You Are is filled with practical advice, handy exercises and plenty of healthy doses of resassurance. It's a terrific read for anyone looking for trauma-informed, sex-positive information and advice.

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Conversations on Faith & Equality

Full disclosure, Becs Dhillon, the lovely host of this podcast is my cousin - so there's more than a little bias on my side with this one. That said, I do think Becs does a wonderful job of asking difficult questions in the kindest possible way and I've learned a lot from the conversations she has on with a range of fascinating guests.

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One of my favourite episodes is the conversation between Becs and Isaac Borquaye (aka Guvna B). He speaks so openly and eloquently about his experiences and the questions he has asked along the way. His book Unspoken is a wonderful way to take a deeper dive deeper into his ideas, especially around masculinity.

Read NOw


In EMPIRE, William Dalrymple and Anita Anand explore how empires rises and fall and how they have shaped the world around us today. The first series looks at the British in India including the East India Company, Independence and Partition. The pair have a lovely dynamic and it's been fascinating to learn about this chapter in history and especially the parallels with the rise of multinationals around the world today.

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Time's Monster

Time's Monster is a compelling exploration of how history is influenced by who gets to tell the story of what happened. Priya Satia shows how British historians not only presented heavily biased interpretations of the major political events of their time but also shaped the contiuation of British colonial policies. It's a great accompaniment not only to the Empire podcast but also to our consumption of media in general today.

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The Guilty Feminist Podcast

Last but by no means least, I have to mention the mother of all feminist podcasts, the Guilty Feminist. The classic refrain from this series "I'm a feminist but..." is continually entertaining and a great reminder that we are all works in progress!

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Guilty Feminist

My perfect pairing for the podcast is of course the creator, Deborah Frances-White's companion publication. A funny, joyful, frank and inspiring book about embracing both feminism and our imperfections, it is such an encouraging read in tough times.

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The Perfect Podcast Pairings

Thank you so much for reading. We would love to hear about your favourite podcasts or any books you would recommend reading alongside in the comments below. Also, scroll down to check out our other blog posts and let us know what you'd like to read about in the coming months!

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