May 11, 2013

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The other night at dinner, I asked some people which podcasts they listen to. The conversation went something like this:

“What are podcasts?”
“You know, POD-casts.”
“You mean, those things on the left of iTunes that no one ever clicks on?”

I’m what ‘they’ call, a ‘pod-head.’ I can’t get a cup of coffee without listening to podcasts. I will just about subscribe to any topic: book reviews, a new musical group in Tasmania, the political factions in Syria, ‘how Vampires work,’ you name it.

Podcasts are the perfect way to learn while doing seemingly mundane things (sitting in traffic, waiting in line). Below are a list of a few of my favourites:

NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour: this happy foursome genuinely enjoy each others’ company as they discuss pop culture topics ranging from ‘How Long is too Long’ to ‘Best Commercial Jingles of all Time.’

Q: The Podcast: Jian Ghomeshi interviews authors, politicians, scientists, musicians, you name it, in these brainy discussions.

NPR’s Fresh Air: Terry Gross and co. have interviewed everyone. Literally.

Mental Health Happy Hour: thanks to one of my students, Michael, I was introduced to this thought-provoking exploration of how different people respond to issues that have led to, well, mental health issues.

The Moth: killer storytelling a la TED talks format. Check out Peter Aguero’s touching “Me & Her & It” (thanks, Foster!) for a raw expression of what it’s like to live with someone suffering from epilepsy.

Slate’s Audio Book Club & Slate’s Culture Gabfest: the popular e-zine’s editors and critics get together to hold stimulating discussions about books – one pick per month – and pop culture items.

BBC World Book Club: Authors come in to discuss their works of literature with host extraordinaire, Harriett Gilbert. Check out the David Grossman episode for some serious insight into To the End of the Land.

NPR’s On the Media: Hosts Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield delve into anything media-related – including internet security, political coverage on the news, the role of celebrity – in this fantastic hour of brain candy for the media lover.

Stuff You Should Know: Most of the podcasts from ‘How Stuff Works’ are fun for a long drive.

Simply go to that place on the left-hand side of iTunes, click ‘Subscribe’ and you’re in.

If you’d like to name your favourite podcast, please feel free to send me an email or write a response below.


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