Pondering Podcasts

January 28th, 2019Posted by Nancy

As with most things, I came to the podcast world a bit late.  The first one I followed was Welcome to Nightvale, based on a recommendation from friends.  That led to Alice isn’t Dead.  Then to Writing Excuses, then to Revisionist History, and on.

The first summer I was off after liberation from work, I discovered university courses online (and watched Magic, Science and Religion).  Last year, I realized you could get most of the online courses as podcasts, so that’s another rabbit hole entered. 

I like podcasts because I’m a pedestrian. We don’t own a car so all trips involve walking or transit – or really both, because it’s a ten minute walk to the subway.  With podcasts, I can not only get some exercise but I learn something at the same time.  Sometimes I make an idiot of myself by laughing out loud, but we’ll get to that.

So here, in no particular order, are my favorite podcasts.

Welcome to Nightvale, the imaginary community radio show from a town where the otherworldly creatures and sheriff’s secret police are equally dangerous.  Their live shows are quite entertaining as well and I discovered the musician Dessa (now one of my faves) through their “weather” feature.

Writing Excuses, with the tag line “Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry and we’re not that smart.”  Hosted by veteran science fiction writers, it’s a good way to at least pretend you’re working while you’re walking.

The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, Open Yale Course.  Professor David Blight is a great speaker and this course is even more important than ever given the current political climate.  Next time your misguided relative blathers on about how the Civil War was about States Rights, you’ll have the ammunition to refute that ridiculous claim.

The World In Time, from Lapham’s Quarterly.  Lewis Lapham may be slowing down a bit (he is 89, after all) but his podcast features noted historians and writers talking about their new books.  My “to read” list gets longer every time I listen to this one.

Trojan War, the Podcast.  “History’s Most Awesome Epic!”  Storyteller Jeff Wright takes you through the back story to Homer’s Illiad, through the war itself, and up to the departure of the Greeks from Troy.  Lots of fun.

About Building and Cities.  Luke Jones and George Gingell, two English guys with lovely voices, talk about architecture.  I particularly enjoyed the episodes about architecture in William Gibson novels and the episode about the Barbican in London.

The Adventure Zone.  Three brothers and their father play Dungeons and Dragons.  I’ve never played Dungeons and Dragons before but I still have to cover my mouth to stop from laughing out loud while I walk down the street listening to this one.  The friend who recommended it warns me that I will cry at some point, though.

Check them out where you get podcasts!

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