Do you listen to podcasts? I recently had a conversation with some friends, prompted by this Buzzfeed list (I know), about how our love of podcasts means we might be old. While one friend was horrified that any of us drive around listening to anything but music, the rest of the group admitted to having multiple podcasts on listening rotation. Then, this weekend Refinery 29 posted a list of “The 24 Best Podcast Episodes Ever.” Though I don’t understand how any such list is actually feasible (all of the podcasts? ever?), I can’t fault some of their choices. The list includes some of my favorites, including This American Life and The Nerdist, though I’ve actually not listened to the episodes chosen. Obviously, I have some catching up to do.
I usually save The Nerdist for long car rides, and in general think that it can be kind of hit and miss. But when it’s at its best, Chris Hardwick offers up some of the most insightful, thoughtful, and funny interviews you’ll find. Some of my favorite episodes include Hardwick’s interviews with Ana Gastyer, Lauren Graham,and Tony Hale. And while I tend to think This American Life is consistently fantastic, Episode #293 from 2005, A Little Bit of Knowledge, was especially wonderful. Reader, I laughed and then I cried. Seriously.
Also, because I am a nerd, I really like BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg. The episodes vary in topic, covering everything from science to history to literature. Each episode features Melvyn Bragg interviewing three academics on a specific topic, such as Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, photosynthesis, or the philosophy of solitude. Some of the episodes are better than others, but the History and Culture archives both have some great selections from past episodes going back to the early 2000’s. I also like that the archives let you pick and choose episodes that appeal the most to you instead of just wholesale subscribing to the podcast, though don’t worry, I do that too. See: nerd, above.
Finally, a recent discovery of mine is The Heatley Cliff, hosted by Amy Foster and Sheryl Zentner, which is like getting to sit and share a cup of tea with two of your favorite friends. Self-described Anglophiles and nerds, Foster and Zentner have some great TV and book recommendations, and they make me want to take up knitting despite my rather unfortunate fine motor skills.
So what about you? What podcasts do you recommend? Do you plan on listening to anything on the Refinery 29 list?