Podcast of the Week: Episode 4

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Saturday evening now and I realized I didn’t schedule this post for earlier today, as I had planned – because I didn’t get a chance last night to find all the podcast links. Here they are anyway, without the links. You’re smart; you can find them just as easily as I can.

Oh, I found it interesting that I happened to be in two separate conversations with two people this week when the topic of podcasts came up. Both individuals were podcast enthusiasts. These were people I’d never met prior to this week and I just found it interesting that, based on a few minutes’ conversation, we immediately connected over podcasts.

Anyway. Here’s what I listened to this week:

Books on the Nightstand
– BOTNS #336: 500 Pages Plus (6/16/2015)
Books over 500 pages. Recommended books include I Saw a Man by Owen Sheers, The Fold by Peter Clines and Delicious Foods by James Hannaham. 

– BOTNS #335: LGBTQ Lit  (6/9/2015)
This year’s big winners of the Tony Awards were both based on books (Fun Home, which won Best Musical and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime, which won Best Play). Recommended books include Michael’s audiobook of the week selection Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf (already on my TBR list),  Judge This by Chip Kidd; and Dietland, by Sarai Walker.  Also discussed are books in the category of LGBTQ literature (among them, Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan, which I loved).

Dear Sugar
– Am I Too Young to Get Married? (6/2)
The Sugars  (Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond) discuss a question from a bride-to-be who wonders if she is getting married too young.

Freakonomics Radio
– Failure is Your Friend (rebroadcast) (5/20/2015)
A good discussion about how to learn from failure and the benefits of conducting a “pre-mortem” (like a post-mortem, but only beforehand … obviously) at the beginning of a project. 

– Ten Years of Freakonomics (5/13/2015)
Dubner and Levitt, live onstage at the 92nd Street Y in New York, discussing their new book When to Rob a Bank and highlights of the last decade of their work. 

Inside the New York Times Book Review
– “Reagan: The Life” (6/5/2015)
Discussion of H.W. Brandt’s new biography “Reagan: The Life”; publishing news and bestseller updates; an interview with Charlotte DeCroes Jacobs, biographer of Jonas Salk, and listener questions. 

– Episode 144: Cheryl Strayed (6/3/2015)
A nearly two-hour Interview with Cheryl Strayed, author of Torch, Wild, Tiny Beautiful Things and the voice of the advice column Dear Sugar. 

The New Yorker Political Scene
– American Dynasties (6/12/2015)
Discussion about the political families (the Bushes, the Clintons) and the upcoming presidential elections. 

Writing Excuses
-Season 10, Episode 24: Hooking Younger Readers
How to get younger readers interested in reading. Discussion with a school librarian about engaging reluctant readers, specifically middle school students. Some interesting takeaways: 1) book trailers are huge in YA; 2) graphic novels have been a good way to get reluctant readers interested; 3) how a book is categorized can be key; 4) one or two kids reading a book can make a book spread like wildfire in a particular school (as opposed to some schools 5) when teens are segregated by gender in school, they gravitate to what society expects them to pursue. 

Podcast of the Week

This was a fantastic week of podcast listening – so much so that I couldn’t choose just one Podcast of the Week. There were two that I would like to single out.

Episode 144: Cheryl Strayed (6/3/2015
This week I finished reading Wild, so listening to almost two hours of this interview with Cheryl Strayed was absolutely perfect timing.  In a very free-flowing conversation, she discusses writing and especially the writing of memoir and about the distance between the time of her hike (in 1995) and writing Wild in 2008.

She talks about how her time on the Pacific Crest Trail gave her a true sense of being alone that today’s technology would not have been able to offer, given that we are so connected with smartphones and email. There’s a good discussion about how, even though her hike was in 1995, we tend to assume the technology was always part of our lives whereas instead we were on the precipice of a time when our world would change because of it.

I enjoyed Cheryl’s reflections about how her kids’ growing up with privilege is starkly different from how she grew up and how one finds some peace with that (I liked her suggestion to talk to kids about the concept of privilege (they’ve gone to camps, they’ve been able to get their teeth fixed; do they notice that some kids don’t have those kind of advantages).

I listened to this over two days of morning and evening commutes to and from work and found this to be a very engaging interview. Highly recommended listen.

I also liked the ten year retrospective offered by Stephen Dubner and Steven Leavitt of Freakonomics fame. When Freakonomics first appeared on the scene a decade ago, I attended a lecture by Steven Leavitt as part of a book club event in Philadelphia hosted by Michael Smerconish, a talk-radio personality who can now be heard on SiriusXM’s POTUS channel. It was fun listening to this and remembering some of the great Freakonomics topics (not necessary from that Book Club event, but from the book and other works).

What have you been listening to this week?


Thanks for sharing this post!

One thought on “Podcast of the Week: Episode 4

  1. Sue Jackson

    Glad to see you’ve discovered BOTNS! I listen to a bunch of book podcasts, but that was my first and is still my favorite. I must be a bit behind – I haven’t listened to those 2 episodes yet! I alternate between listening to podcasts and listening to audiobooks so when I am into a good audio book, I get behind in my podcasts.

    That interview with Cheryl Strayed sounds wonderful! I loved Wild, especially since I love memoirs and used to backpack.

    Enjoy your podcasts!


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