Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Book lovers turn their friendship, passion for reading into podcast

Rong Hua Wang

The story behind the “Girls Reading Books” podcast features spontaneous decisions, lasting friendships and a love for books. United by their common interest, three friends embarked on a journey this August to share their reading experiences with a listening audience.

Hosted by Arianna Martinez, Nina Rodriguez and Grace Smith, “Girls Reading Books” releases bi-weekly episodes in which the girls explore a new book and engage in lively discussion about their interpretations. McCombs graduate student Smith said the trio launched the podcast to stay connected and nurture their friendship.

“We all wanted to read more, and so we were like, ‘I think it would be fun if we made it into a podcast because then we get to see each other once every two weeks,'” Smith said. “We get to talk to each other about something that we read.”

Available on Spotify and Apple Music, the podcast predominately covers popular books, although Smith said the hosts choose any book when it’s their turn.

“Sometimes, we pick books because … (they’re) super popular,” Smith said. “Other times, we pick a book because one of us is getting a ton of TikToks about it … (even if) none of the others have heard of it.”

Anthropology junior Rodriguez said the honesty of their podcast makes them stand out.

“We’re very big on sharing honest opinions on books, even on popular books,” Rodriguez said. “But we also have very different tastes in books, (which) makes (the podcast) funny.”

Anthropology senior Martinez said the podcast supports small businesses when sourcing books.

“I really like going to local bookstores around South Texas (like in) Austin (and) San Antonio,” Martinez said. “Supporting the local community is so important … especially because Barnes & Noble is everywhere.”

Rodriguez said the trio loves building audience connections on social media.

“The most (rewarding part) is getting to connect with other people on Instagram,” Rodriguez said. “We’ve made a few friends (who) give us good information about books, so that’s another good aspect — the little ‘BookTok’ community on Instagram.”

Rodriguez said while the podcast poses a major time commitment, the girls support each other throughout production. 

“My current classes are time-consuming, but Arianna and Grace are flexible and they’re willing to help if I lead an episode (and) if they edit it,” Rodriguez said. “Since we enjoy it, it’s not really a chore —  it’s very fun.”

Martinez said she agrees with Rodriguez, and seeing the podcast as a fun hobby ensures the continuation of “Girls Reading Books.” 

“Having that mindset of ‘This isn’t a job or anything, this is a relaxing, fun thing to do with your friends’ … is really important to create anything that’ll last long,” Martinez said. 

Smith said she hopes listeners can find books they love through their podcast.

“Embrace (reading),” Smith said. “Even the embarrassing books. If you like them, embrace it.”

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About the Contributor
Rong Hua Wang, Senior Comics Illustrator
Rong Hua is a second year student studying Computer Science and Arts and Entertainment Technologies. This is her second semester as the Senior Comics Illustrator; previously, she was an Opinion Illustrator during Fall 2021. Loving all things creative, she enjoys doodling and crocheting in her free time.