From YouTubers Hannah Witton, Lucy Moon and Leena Norms, “Banging Book Club” is the witty and honest book club podcast about all things sex and gender. “Banging Book Club” is a discussion between three longtime friends and collaborators, stating, “Basically, we’re the baddest bitches in the sex book genre and we want to take you along for the ride.”
“Banging Book Club” started as a monthly podcast, which quickly turned into a bimonthly podcast, with minisodes relating to the monthly book. Minisodes usually involve a guest, or the three friends watch and discuss the movie adaptation of a book they read. Special minisodes to look out for include a live quiz show and the not-so-mini “Our Boyfriends’ Review Man Up,” where the hosts have their partners read and discuss the book instead of themselves.
Where “Banging Book Club” excels is in its inclusivity of content. The books read by Witton, Moon and Norms cover every end of the spectrum. Some books are fiction, some are nonfiction. Some books are adult, some are young adult. Over the podcast’s three-year life span, discussions cover topics affecting people of all genders, races, sexual orientations and abilities. They read books with exceptional examples of healthy relationships, like “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” and they read books which are often regarded as problematic, like “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.”
Since Witton, Moon and Norms already had an existing and dedicated audience, they were able to successfully make “Banging Book Club” interactive and community-based from the start. The show has a coinciding Goodreads group with three rules: be respectful, use trigger warnings and have a banging good time. When the show was still running, listeners connected with one another in the group and voted on which books they wanted Witton, Moon and Norms to read next. When episodes of the podcast went live, they also posted brief, accompanying videos — a sort of trailer for the episode and an opportunity for listeners who haven’t read the book yet to get a sneak peek, spoiler-free.
To Binge or Not to Binge?
Each episode of “Banging Book Club” is fun and effortless. The friendship between the three women is obvious and the podcast is an enjoyable bit of extra content for dedicated fans of Witton, Moon or Norms. They each bring different talents and passions to the podcast and the way their personalities complement each other makes for exciting and interesting conversations about sex and gender. Anyone who is already a fan of one or all of these women will easily fall in love with “Banging Book Club.”
The only problem with “Banging Book Club” was its unreliable posting schedule and its ultimate end. Witton, Moon and Norms are understandably busy with other projects and commitments, but it was disappointing to fall so hard for a podcast, only to have it fizzle out. In 2018, they announced they needed to take a step back from the podcast. They would still make episodes, just not consistently. Only a couple of episodes were released after that announcement before they decided to end the podcast altogether.
The best episode, based on book choice, is season three episode one, where the three discuss “The Power” by Naomi Alderman. Spoilers, in most cases, don’t bother me, so I usually listened to the podcast first and then decided if I wanted to read the book or not. The second this episode was over, I had placed “The Power” on hold at the library and devoured it in a day. Even if you don’t end up listening to “Banging Book Club,” definitely give “The Power” a read.
The best episode based on the discussion is “Sex, Dating and Disabilities.” In season two, the three read “A Quiet Kind Of Thunder” by Sara Barnard, a book about the relationship between Steffi, a selective mute, and Rhys, a new boy at school who is deaf. For the relating minisode, they invited Emily Rose Yates, an accessibility consultant who uses a wheelchair, and Jennie Williams, founder of Enhance the UK, on the show to discuss sex and disabilities. The conversation is natural and fascinating, focusing on a group and topic that is not discussed often.
“Friday Night In,” “Sexplanations,” “The Hannah Witton Show,” “Make Out With Him,” “The Sunday Social” and “I’m Not Being Funny But-”
Triggers vary from episode to episode depending on the book, but in general, the topics of sex, sexual assault and gender-based violence come up often. The podcasters take trigger warnings seriously and mention all possible triggers at the top of each episode.
4 out of 5
“Banging Book Club”
Available to stream virtually wherever you can listen to podcasts
48 episodes, 30 to 60 minutes each