Professional Book Nerds

We're not just book nerds. We're professional book nerds! We are staff librarians who work at OverDrive, the leading app for eBooks and audiobooks from public libraries and schools. It's our job to discuss books all day long so we thought, "Why not share the conversation!" Hear about the best books we've read, get recommendations, and learn about the hottest books coming out that we can't wait to dive into. Every title discussed is available to borrow through public libraries. Get started reading at and subscribe to our podcast today!
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Professional Book Nerds






All Episodes
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Jun 4, 2020

Ep. #450 - On today's episode, Jill and Adam share a list of antiracism books written by black authors. These books are meant to inform and educate readers about the ongoing experience of Black Americans including racial profiling, police brutality, abuse, and more. 

*Note: The titles selected lean more in the adult and young adult levels. If you're looking for titles more appropriate for young children, email us at and we'll provide you additional suggestions.

Books mentioned in this episode:

Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad 

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria by Beverly Daniel Tatum

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

Blackballed by Darryl Pickney

How to be Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi 

They Can't Kill Us All by Wesley Lowery

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange 

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

The Fire This Time collected and edited by Jesmyn Ward

When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors & asha bandele

Jun 1, 2020

Episode #449 - Adam interviews Alex Aster, debut LatinX author of Emblem Island, Curse of the Night Witch. They discuss the joy she experiences of turning the stories she heard growing up into novels, her writing process, her experience as a debut author, and much more. This chat from back in January was a delight and her book is fabulous.

May 25, 2020

On today's episode, Adam sits down with Mikel Jollett to discuss his debut novel, Hollywood Park. Mikel grew up in the infamous Synanon Cult and is now the lead singer of one of Adam's all-time favorite bands The Airborne Toxic Event. They discuss how Mikel crafted his memoir through introspection, research, and magical realism. They also discuss how our brains work through childhood trauma, literary influences, and family. 

May 21, 2020

In today's episode, Jill is joined by her friends Sydney and Tiffany! Along with talking about some of the books they have been reading, they also discuss how difficult it can be to read during the pandemic and what television shows and movies they are watching instead.

Books mentioned in this episode:

Crisis in the Red Zone by Richard Preston

The Hot Zone by Richard Preston

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer

Fifty Shades of Grey series by E.L. James

Good Talk by Mira Jacob

One by One by Ruth Ware

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook by Thomas Perry

A Feast of Ice an Fire by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer

Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg

The Fixed Stars by Molly Wizenberg

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

You Were Born for This by Chani Nicholas

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Locke & Key series by Joe Hill

In the Woods by Tana French

The Likeness by Tana French 

Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman

The Witch Elm by Tana French


May 18, 2020

Today's episode is an interview Jill did at ALA Midwinter with bestselling author Emma Straub. Along with discussing her new book ALL ADULTS HERE, Jill and Emma talk Miss Piggy and Gilmore Girls. 

May 14, 2020

Today’s episode is sponsored by Literati. Use to get 25% off your first two orders


On today's episode, we're doing another round table of book recommendations with Maria and Regis. Before that, though, Maria tells us about her amazing cereal bracket she's doing with her fiance. Maria's Instagram to follow the Golden Bowl: @feszml


Books mentioned in this episode (Recommendations start at 9:00 mark)

Family Meal by Penguin Random House

Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth

Blindness by Jose Saramago

The Winters by Lisa Gabriele

Mumbo Jumbo by Ishmael Reed

The Chris Farley Show Tom Farley, Jr. & Tanner Colby

The Tradition by Jericho Brown

Killing November by Adriana Mather

All the Names They Used for God by Anjali Sachdeva

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

The Ruins by Scott Smith

The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Kill the Farm Boy by Kevin Hearne & Delilah S. Dawson

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde



May 11, 2020

PBN legend Brad Meltzer returns to chat with Adam about his latest book, The Lincoln Conspiracy. They get into how Brad and his family are handling the Stay At Home order, the creative ways they've been entertaining themselves, and a whole bunch of interesting stuff about Abraham Lincoln. There's nothing better than catching up with Brad and the new book is wonderful. 

May 8, 2020

It was written in the stars that someday we'd join forces with the Reading Glasses gals and create the nerdiest book event ever. Here it is. An hour of live book recommendations done over Zoom. If you missed out and would like us to do this again, reach out to us via twitter or email and let us know!

Book requests and our recommendations" 

“I just finished the first book in The Witcher series and I’d love more fantasy short story recommendations.”


Jill - Rogues (Anthology)

Dangerous Women


Adam - Toil and Trouble (Anthology)


“Looking for a read-a-like for Little Women and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine.”


Mallory - Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple


When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey


The Girl Who Slept With God by Val Brelinki


“Looking for recommendations for books about small towns with quirky characters, with a sense of a small community where the characters get all up in each other’s business”

Adam - Cedar Valley by Holly Throsby


Nathan Coulter by Wendell Berry

Mallory - The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend


“Looking for a read-a-like for Bunny by Mona Awad, something weird and creepy but with no violence and or horror.”


Mallory - The Return by Rachel Harrison


Sarah Waters

Sarah Perry

Dare Me by Megan Abbott

Adam - Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero


Jill - The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix


“Looking for queer sci-fi.”


Adam - The Disasters by M.K. England

Once and Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy


Mallory - The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley


“Looking for a book recommendation to get me out of a slump. I love sci fi and fantasy and need something that will really get its claws in me and get me excited and invested right away.”


Adam - The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu


Brea - The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz


Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel


The Test by Sylvain Neuvel

“Can you recommend any novellas? Big books are intimidating and hard to focus on.”

Mallory - The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djeli Clark


Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq


Phantom Twin by Lisa Brown


Brea - Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones


“Looking for recommendations along the lines of Ghost Maps, nonfiction about diseases.”

Brea - The Great Influenza by John M. Barry

New Guinea Tapeworms and Jewish Grandmothers: Tales of Parasites and People by Robert S. Desowitz


“Looking for a good stand alone middle grade novel.”


Adam - Sunnyside Plaza by Scott Simon


Doll Bones by Holly Black


Mallory - Small Spaces by Katherine Arden


 “I really love a teenage girl/young adult detective story. Any recommendations in that realm?


Mallory - Goldie Vance


Jill - The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley


Adam & Brea - A Study in Charllote by Brittany Cavallaro


“Looking for a read-a-like for Seanin McGuire/Mira Grant, historical or modern fantasy, maybe combined with a fairytale.”


Mallory - The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert


Adam - Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi


Brea - A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss


“Looking for diverse mystery recommendations.”


Jill - The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton


Ruth Ware

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz


Mallory - Sarah Waters


“I’ve been into nonfiction comics lately … looking for more.”

Adam - The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui


Brea - My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris

“Looking for a read-a-like for the Wayward Children series, reverse portal fantasy.”


Mallory - Ten Thousands Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow


Brea - The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern


“Looking for nihilistic YA…  desperately want more reads with nihilistic young adults as they go through a crisis of self and get closer to university. ”


Mallory - A.S. King


Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future




Adam - The Rest of Us Just Live by Patrick Ness


“Read-a-like for an adult version of Yoon Ha Lee’s books, looking for a Star Trek vibe.”


Brea - Space Opera by Catherynne Valente


Dark Orbit by Carolyn Ives Gilman


Jill - The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers


“Looking for lush historical horror a la Alma Katsu.”


Mallory - The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters


The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

May 7, 2020

We're still here, in our respective homes, dishing out reading recommendations for all the fellow book nerds of the world. Join us as we bring it back to the beginning of the #SocialDistance reading odyssey by having Andrea and Abbey join us to discuss what they've been reading these some 7 odd weeks. 

Books mentioned in this episode

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Wow, No Thank You. by Samantha Irby

Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker

The Reason You're Alive by Matthew Quick

I Must Say by Martin Short

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Beauty in the Broken Places by Allison Pataki

One by One by Ruth Ware

Point B by Drew Magary

Dear Girls by Ali Wong

May 4, 2020

On today's episode, Adam sits down with Francesca Serritella to discuss her first-ever solo novel The Ghost of Harvard! Francesca has been writing bestselling books for years with her mother, Lisa Scottoline, but this is quite the dark departure from their normal work. It's a mystery and a ghost story and an exploration of mental health all wrapped up into one fantastic story. You're going to love it. 

Apr 27, 2020

On today's episode, Adam interviews Deborah Wiles about her powerful new book Kent State. This quick read looks at the horrific events of May 4th, 1970 on Kent State's campus when the National Guard opened fire on student protestors, killing four and wounding several others. Adam's parents were students at Kent State at the time and were on campus during these events, so this story very much struck home with him. They get into the details that lead up to this awful moment in history as well as the aftermath. This is a must-listen about an event that changed the United States forever and a must-read for history fans everywhere. 

Apr 20, 2020

On today's episode, we Zoom chat with #1 New York Times bestselling author Lauren Myracle! Her new book This Boy is out now and must-read contemporary young adult book. We discuss the strange life we're all living in quarantine, writing teenage characters into her stories while having teenagers herself, and staying productive in a time when it's a bit hard to focus. This is a wonderful conversation for anyone looking for inspiration and motivation. 

Apr 13, 2020

On today's episode, Adam Zoom chats with Louisa Morgan about her new book The Age of Witches. They talk about being a novelist during this time of quarantine, how her career as an opera singer helped her in her character building, Guilded Age New York, and lots more. 

Apr 9, 2020

On today's episode, Adam and Jill are joined by Emma and Maria to share some book picks for another Professional Book Nerds Reading Challenge task. We're sharing some books with unique formats including oral histories, mixed format, unique narrators, diaries, and much more. This was a blast. 

Jill’s Picks

Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski

Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris

The Last One by Alexandra Oliva

Emma’s Picks

The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot

Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple 

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell 

Maria’s Picks

Sadie by Courtney Summers

The Flame by Leonard Cohen

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman

Adam’s Pick’s

Wink, Poppy, Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke 

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Apr 6, 2020

Today's episode is sponsored by Literati. Visit for 25% off your first two orders.

On today's episode, Adam sits down with Joe Pulizzi to discuss his debut novel The Will To Die. Joe is an icon in the world of Marketing and someone we've long known about as the creator of the Content Marketing Institute and Content Marketing World and so getting to sit down with him was an honor. Adam and Joe discuss they're Northeast Ohio roots, connecting content marketing to writing, and his unique background working in funeral homes. This was such a blast to record. 

Recording Note: This was recorded back in February before Covid-19 created a need for social distancing.

Mar 30, 2020

On today's episode, Adam interviews debut author Rachel Harrison about her new book The Return. They talk about her writing horror despite being very afraid of everything. They also break down how relationships and friendships change as we grow older. This chat was so much fun and extremely introspective. 

Help us raise money to find a cure for Leukemia and Lymphoma:

Mar 23, 2020

On today's episode, Adam interviews Emily St. John Mandel about her new book The Glass Hotel. The briefly discuss Station Eleven, her massively popular title based around a pandemic but, as this interview was recorded in January, the current Covid-19 pandemic isn't discussed. They get into why she was fascinated by Ponzi schemes a bunch more. 

Mar 21, 2020

On today's episode, Adam and Jill interview Michael McCreary, comedian and author of Funny, You Don't Look Autistic. Michael's book was chosen as the next Big Library Read title. From March 30th through April 13th you can borrow it on the reading app Libby without any wait lists or holds. 

Be sure to join the global discussion at 

Mar 19, 2020

Today's episode is an interview Jill did with Sharon Cameron about her new book The Light in Hidden Places. This historical fiction novel tells the remarkable story of Stefania Podgórska, who hid several Jews in her Nazi-occupied home. For the interview, Sharon and Jill were joined by Stefania's son, Ed. 

To learn more about the Stefi Foundation visit

Interview was recorded in person at 2020 PLA in Nashville, TN, in February 2020.

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