Wednesday, September 24, 2014

In which I become slightly obsessed with podcasts

A few months ago, I was only listening to one podcast. I had caught up on all of the episodes, and actually had to wait for episodes to come out. This was annoying primarily because it meant I no longer had daily Harry Potter discussions to look forward to. It also meant I needed to find something else to listen to on my walks.

So music it was.

But it's not as fun to listen to music when you can't sing along. I may be willing to verbalize my thoughts to the Alohomora! hosts, but singing along to music no one else can hear is a crazy I'm not comfortable succumbing to.

Then if finally occurred to me—I should listen to other podcasts!

I immediately began my research, and started paying more attention to podcast mentions from people who have similar interests. While I first searched for entertainment, I quickly realized I could use podcasts to quench my thirst for knowledge somewhat. Soon I had more audio than my iPod had room for, full of discussion on books, language, the humanities, and culture. Since I only listen to podcasts when I'm working out (okay, and sometimes when I'm at work), I have more motivation than ever to be physically fit.

If you're considering allowing podcasts to suck up your time, here are some of my favorites.

Alohomora!There are a lot of Harry Potter podcasts out there, but I am devoted to this one. It's a global re-read of the Harry Potter books. Each chapter is discussed in loving detail, so it's basically the most awesome thing ever.

Lexicon Valley: This is a podcast about language. It focuses more on the evolution and quirks of language, rather than the rules. So you'll get discussions on why English doesn't assign gender to nouns, or why we start and end sentences with "so." I am completely fascinated with this stuff. Completely fascinated. 

Writing Excuses: Shannan has listened to this podcast for years, but I always resisted, even though I love everything Brandon Sanderson is involved with. I'm one of those special people who would rather read something than watch or listen to it. But, I finally gave it a chance. And of course I liked it. Everyone has their own tips for what works in writing and what doesn't, but the hosts seem more genuine. Not to mention they have fun while doing it.

The Readers: These guys make my reading habits look pathetic. I average about a book a week, but I'm starting to realize that may not qualify me as a true bibliophile. So even though these guys (I can't remember their names—I call them the Brit and the American in my head) talk a lot about books I've never heard of, they also discuss readerly topics I'm very interested in, like why the classics are classics, how the internet has affected our reading habits, and how to find time for reading. Their discussions flow naturally, too—I always feel like I'm listening in on an interesting conversation between experts rather than two hosts who are trying to stay on topic within their allotted timeframe. Plus, I get great book recommendations every episode.

Entitled Opinions: I call this one my humanities podcast. It focuses primarily on literature, but there's also some science, psychology, art, and music thrown in there. I've only listened to a few episodes so far, but it makes me feel like I'm in school again more than any of the other podcasts I've found. (Clarification: this is a good thing.) It's very academic and mind-broadening, so I like it.

BYU Speeches: I didn't go to very many devotionals during my time at BYU. I enjoy this type of thing more now than I did then, though, and it's nice to have a more Sunday-appropriate podcast to listen to.

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