Listening to podcasts is one of my favourite ways to stay occupied on my 45-minute commute in the mornings and afternoons. I love sitting back in the early mornings and letting my mind drift to the conversations and interesting talks these podcasts provide. I keep all of my podcasts on an app called Pockets Casts on my Samsung Galaxy. I wanted to mention this app because it’s been great at letting me find podcasts, keep them organized and set them to update as I wish. Below are my top five favourite podcasts; let me know if I’ve missed any really good ones!
The Inquiry: // This is a BBC World Service programme that is also available in podcast form. A new episode is available each week and runs only about 20 minutes long. The premise, as the name suggests, is to answer a question or inquiry. Some past episodes have explored questions like, “Should we Give Homeless People Homes?” and “Can you Believe What you Read on Wikileaks?” Many of the questions are current events related and listeners can submit questions, as well. The answers are presented simply, through expert or character interviews, and I’ve loved most episodes. Honestly, I can’t remember much of what I’ve learned listening to these programs, but I do think that being a dedicated listener has taught me to think differently about the questions I face in my own life—to really think outside the box. Two of my favourite episodes are “Can we Eat Our Way out of Climate Change?” and “Is Retirement Over?”
Food Non-Fiction: // If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that it started as a food blog and of course I’m a big food fan (really, who isn’t?) So my next favourite podcast is Food Non-Fiction, which features short episodes (10-12 minutes) about the origin or behind-the-scenes story of certain foods, fresh or packaged. I liked the episodes on ramen noodles and the one about sriracha.
History Extra: // This podcast is produced by the people bringing us BBC’s History Extra magazine. They broadcast one show each week and it’s about an hour long. Past show titles have included, “Regency scandal and the history of canals,” “Magna Carta and the Holocaust,” “Witch trials and feuding queens,” and “Crusade logistics and the battle over the slave trade.” Honestly, some of the topics simply do not interest me and given the levels of historical detail the show gets into, I find I can only keep track of the conversation threads if I’m very curious. This said, they have covered lots of really interesting topics as well. The absolute best show i’ve listen to from them is the one about the Joan of Arc trials. I recommend this episode even if you’re not going to become a regular listener.
Awesome Etiquette: // I got the idea for this blog post from The College Prepster, and actually was turned onto this podcast by her post. It’s a podcast about modern etiquette broadcast from the Emily Post Institute. Emily Post was an American author and authority on etiquette matters. I really appreciate the show because the hosts answer listener questions regarding everyday situations. I don’t always agree with the level of consideration the hosts advocate for—it borders on the ridiculous—but listening guides me in the right direction both in terms of my actions and my mindset… It’s easier to compromise one of my wants when I know exactly how or why it might bother another person. But avoiding bananas in the office because they “smell”? That’s a little much for me…
Revisionist History: // This is a podcast series by Malcolm Gladwell, and by podcast series I mean that there are only 10 episodes, a number specified at the outset. The show is meant to highlight the flaws in the ways that history remembers real events. Gladwell looks back at events from the past, sometimes well-known and sometimes not, and analyzes whether the accepted version of events is what actually happened. The cliche “master storyteller” is the only way I can describe Gladwell in this series—no other words will do.