BOOK CLUB: Local literary community served by regional author podcast

Hannah Larrew

By Hannah Larrew 

(Top image: Cathy Pickens, author of "Charleston Mysteries: Ghostly Haunts in the Holy City," with Charlotte Readers Podcast host Landis Wade.) 

When reality turned into quarantining for an unspecified amount of time, there was only one thing I knew for certain: I needed to order a lot of books. More time at home means more reading, right? Yes.

My trusted source for book recommendations has become literary podcasts, as I really enjoy the raw deep-dive into both the books and the authors behind them. Most recently, I’ve been listening toCharlotte Readers Podcast,a show recorded in Charlotte, North Carolina, that covers regional authors and their writing.

Host Landis Wade is a recovering trial lawyer and an author himself, who has a knack for making each episode feel like it’s being recorded in your living room and you’re part of the conversation.

This is a picture of Landis Wade wearing headphones and sitting in a recording studio. He has white hair and there is a white background.

Wade, pictured above, has welcomed an array of guests to the show, including award-winning mystery writerCathy Pickens,who joined Wade onepisode 11 of season 2to discuss her book,"Charleston Mysteries: Ghostly Haunts in the Holy City" (The History Press).It shares chilling stories about several ghost-inhabited areas of Charleston, and as a resident and big-time fan of true crime this was the episode that hooked me. I’ve since read two of Pickens’ books while quarantined and poked around a few haunted hot spots downtown. 

Did it go well? That's a story for another time. 

"With stories, we can struggle alongside and pull for our heroes to find success in their journeys and find joy when they prevail. We can laugh and cry and find meaning in words crafted by authors."

I caught up with Wade over a virtual cup of coffee to talk all things storytelling and the role it plays as we navigate this unusual time of social distancing.

“Stories have a way of connecting us emotionally with the broader world and with ourselves. They also can provide a much-needed escape from reality. In these uncertain times, I hope that listening to authors talk about and read their stories can serve as uplifting moments, offering ways to travel well beyond the borders of our cramped existences. With stories, we can struggle alongside and pull for our heroes to find success in their journeys and find joy when they prevail. We can laugh and cry and find meaning in words crafted by authors. The diversion won’t solve the problems we face, nor end the Pandemic, but it just might help us keep putting one foot in front of the other,” says Wade.

The podcast recently celebrated its 100th episode by interviewingCraig Johnson,author of the Walt Longmire mysteries thatNetflixadapted into their hit series,"Longmire."Wade and Johnson have a wildly entertaining conversation allowing listeners the chance to hear from a literary legend about all things writing, film adaptations, and fun facts about being on set at Netflix. Highly recommend.

Johnson spoke with me from his ranch in Ucross, Wyoming, population 25, while I sheltered in place in Charlotte. It was social distancing at its best,” Wade shares.

Charlotte Readers Podcast recently kicked off their sixth season and released the full lineup of upcoming authors, which can be foundhere.Hour-long episodes are released weekly on Tuesdays, with shorter 25-minute episodes coming out each Friday as a part of the show’sUnder the Coversseries.

You can find me in the coziest room in my house with tea (or wine) listening to each one.