Two can’t-miss podcasts, three more I love, and a bunch worth exploring.

Two can’t-miss podcasts, three more I love, and a bunch worth exploring.

In preparation for moving day (which is inevitable, but still TBD), I’m spending a lot of time touching up the paint in our current home. Which means I’m listening to a lot of podcasts these days.

Today I’m sharing my favorites.

2 podcasts I never miss an episode of: 

1. After the Jump. I started listening when a fellow blogger emailed me this episode about challenges facing bloggers in the new world of ads and wanted my opinion. I was hooked by host Grace Bonney’s savvy and her show’s eclectic blend of design, business, and productivity.

2. Office Hours with Dan Pink. Described as “Car Talk for the human engine,” this podcast features interviews with authors and business leaders such as Susan Cain,Gretchen Rubin, Tom Rath, Malcolm Gladwell, and more. I’ve found a lot of great books through this podcast.

3 podcasts I listen to more often than not:

1. Books on the Nightstand. My taste doesn’t always jive with Ann and Michael’s, but I still love hearing book lovers talk books.

2. The Art of Simple. Entertaining, accessible, and always well done. I’m excited about the new format for Tsh Oxenreider’s excellent podcast: shorter episodes, (maybe) more often. Her recent interview with Susan Wise Bauer was a favorite.

3. Beyond the To Do List. I prefer the big-picture episodes more than the nitty-gritty productivity ones, but host Erik Fisher makes every topic interesting. (I’ve been a guest on this podcast: catch those episodes here and here.)

3 podcasts I tune in to occasionally:

1. This American Life. Because Ira Glass is a genius (and an entertaining one, at that). The most popular podcast in the country, with over 1 million downloads per episode.

2. Relevant podcast. Mostly because I love Shauna Niequist, who just became a host.

3. Book Riot–The Podcast and their new spinoff, Dear Book Nerd.

3 individual podcast episodes worth singling out:

1. Rick Steves interviews The Ballpark Boys about their epic road trip. (Episode 96.)

2. This American Life features a special production of Hamlet inside a high-security prison, performed by, and for, the inmates.

3. More This American Life: this episode visits the editorial room at The Onion, where the comedy writers debate which jokes work, which ones don’t, and why.

5 podcasts I’d like to explore:

1. The Lively Show. Jess Lively offers great advice about living with intention on her blog and through her email list; I’m excited about trying out the audio version.

2. CraftLit. This long-running podcast aims to get classic literature to people busy working with their hands. (And how can you not smile at their tagline, Audiobooks with Benefits™?)

3. Anything paleo-ish or fitness-related. Because I need a kick in the pants.

4. The New Yorker fiction podcast. A writer friend raved about this one.

5. NPR Books podcast. Because I adore their radio segments, and just found out about the podcast.

What are your favorite podcasts? Tell us your favorite shows and episodes in comments. 

Two can't miss podcasts, three more I love, and a bunch more worth exploring. | Modern Mrs Darcy

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  1. Amy says:

    When Shana from Ain’t No Mom Jeans started here series of guest appearances on the Happiest Home podcast, I started listening to that. So far, I’ve only listened to her segment, because that’s all I had time for when I was listening, but I have enjoyed them so much, I think I would like the rest of it, too.

  2. Colleen says:

    I regularly listen to two podcasts, both produced by the CBC. The Age of Persuasion with Terry O’Reilly is all about advertising, and I find it fascinating. My favourite is The Vinyl Cafe with Stuart McLean. McLean is a wonderful storyteller and will have you in stitches. Both podcasts are suitable for the whole family.

    • brandy says:

      Such great recommendations Colleen! I need to listen to those podcasts more often. I usually only listen to them if I catch them live on the radio. The other CBC (Canadian Broadcast System) show / podcast that I love is Jian Gomeshi. It’s a mix of current news and pop culture. He’s one of Canada’s best on air journalists (in my opinion).

  3. I bet you’d like How They Blog (Kat Lee). I love podcasts so much that I’ve started my own! It’ll go up next week, and you know what? I like podcasting even more than blogging! Weird. 🙂 Mine is The Read-Aloud Revival, and we’re going to chat about reading aloud to our kids. Wanna be a guest? That would be fun! 🙂

  4. Melissa says:

    Our favorite right now is a podcast called Family Adventure podcast with Erik Hemmingway. It is full of stories of families who dreamed big and went on amazing, real-life adventures all over the world! Not gonna lie, it’s got us planning on doing some major changing so we too can have an adventure someday!!

  5. Jillian Kay says:

    I love that Hamlet episode of This American Life. It taught me much more about Shakespeare than a liberal arts education ever did. I like NPR’s TED Talks, Naptime Radio, 5 am Miracle, and Writer’s Bloc. Dan Pink hasn’t released a new episode in a while, not that I’ve been waiting or anything 🙂

    • Anne says:

      About Dan Pink: I know! I’ve been eagerly awaiting it because he’s talking with one of the guys from one of my favorite recent reads, Hatching Twitter. I can’t wait.

  6. Andrea says:

    I love this blog post! I really enjoy podcasts, so these suggestions are great!

    My current favorites are:
    – Books on the Nightstand: my favorite book podcast so far; I appreciate how the hosts keep the show casual yet professional, and I like that the show moves along at a good pace (which is my irritation with Dear Book Nerd)

    – America’s Test Kitchen Radio: I enjoy the different segments in this show; I think if you’re a fan of the cookbooks or TV shows, you’d enjoy this radio show

    – Slate’s podcasts: my current favorites are Mom & Dad Are Fighting (parenting podcast), Double X Gabfest (women’s podcast), and the Audio Book Club

    – Freakonomics: lively, interesting social science

    Ones I sort-of like are Book Riot and Dear Book Nerd — I want to like them since I love reading, but I find that they’re a bit long for my taste and the hosts ramble on too much in my opinion.

    This is my biggest complaint about podcasts, though I recognize that the issue may be more on my end. I find that I enjoy podcasts that are more like radio shows than just rambling conversations. I get a little irritated with the slow pace and rambling nature of some podcasts. I tend to think that if the hosts could just focus a bit more on keeping a good pace that the shows could be 30-35 minutes rather than 45-60 minutes. I don’t think I’ve been able to listen to a complete episode of Dear Book Nerd for this very reason. I have felt the same way about The Art of Simple, so I was glad to hear that Tsh plans to shorten the podcast (and I also loved the Susan Wise Bauer episode).

  7. Desiree says:

    Hi Anne!

    A bit off topic, but have you found a new house? We’re in the process of looking but I happen to live in North Dakota where there is a huge economic boom and housing is in short supply and way over priced. I struggle with finding a good family home for a price we are willing to pay.

    In regards to podcasts, I’ve never listened to one and I think it’s time I start. Any you’d recommend to get me going?

    Thank you!!

    • Anne says:

      Re: house. I think so. More info coming soon.

      Re: podcasts. I’d pluck one out of the post or the comments here (depending on your interests) and give it a whirl. Let me know if you find something you love!

  8. Heather says:

    I can’t wait to check out a bunch of these podcasts! My favorite one to listen to while working around the house is NPR’s TED talk hour.

  9. Anne says:

    Anne and all,

    When do you listen to these? Exercising….I bet? While doing the dishes? My husband has listened to a lot of podcasts, but I haven’t gotten into them yet.

    • Anne says:

      I listen to them when I’m in the car by myself (which doesn’t happen a ton), sometimes when I’m running, and when I’m working with my hands (painting, dishes, gardening, etc). After all these great comments I have way more podcasts than time to listen to them!

  10. Jessica says:

    I love This American Life, and also Radiolab, which is similar in a lot of ways. I’ve long been a fan of the Quick and Dirty Tips podcasts, especially Nutrition Diva, Grammar Girl, and Money Girl. I recently discovered The Longest Shortest Time, a birth and parenting podcast that I really enjoy. In particular I recommend the most recent episode, in which the host interviewed Ina May Gaskin about how she felt like a failure after having medical interventions during her daughter’s birth.

  11. Kate says:

    I love This American Life and Radiolab too. I also really like Snap Judgement. I’m always looking for new podcasts to listen to, so thanks for the recommendations!

  12. Ginger says:

    Thanks for these suggestions! I listen to podcasts during my morning walk, but I primarily listen to religion and history topics, so some of these new-to-me sound great (especially anything related to books).

    My favorites are:
    –The Briefing by Al Mohler (president of Southern Seminary in Louisville, gives a quick overview of the day’s news — what I love about him is that he is so concise, around 15-20 minutes, and he really thinks through all the issues all the way through, without resorting to the typical Christian pat answers)
    –Sermons: FBC Jacksonville (pastor Mac Brunson delivers great sermons, but what I love most are his stories … he’s a historian and has the greatest illustrations) and Tim Keller from Redeemer Pres in NYC
    –Rabbit Room (I think I’ve raved about this one before, but it is invaluable for writers and artists. Their podcasts from the Hutchmoot conferences are life-changing.)
    –BBC’s In Our Time (they have one for almost every genre, but I like History, Culture, Science, and Philosophy… they don’t update it very often, but I find following four different subjects is plenty to mull on)

  13. Fave podcasts: TAL, Planet Money, & Freakenomics.

    Thanks for the round-up. I’m always looking for new podcasts to listen to, but sometimes it can seem so overwhelming because there are so many to choose from!

  14. Courtney says:

    I listen to several of the ones already mentioned, and I never miss Stuff You Missed in
    History Class. Great archives too!

    • Amanda Roby says:

      I was waiting for someone to mention “Stuff You Missed…” My absolute favorite podcast ever, and pretty much the only one that stays on my ever-changing list.

      My other favorite is “A Way with Words”. I love the hosts, and the topic – words and linguistics – is right up my alley.

  15. Morgan says:

    I love all of these suggestions! Will definitely be checking out This American Life and The Rabbit Room.

    My current favorites are NPR’s Most Emailed Stories (just as a quick way to keep up with US news since we live overseas) and A Way with Words, which is a weekly, hour-long call-in show about the English language examined through history, culture, and family. It’s SO fascinating and the hosts are great! If you love words, I highly recommend it.

  16. Nolo says:

    Lots of great ideas in this list – now just to find the time to listen! Some of my favorites are Bill Simmons B.S. Report (sports – he’s from Boston and about my age so it’s like listening to someone from home); BBC’s Thought for the Day (great one w/short inspirational pieces from different religious traditions), The Splendid Table, and NPR’s Fresh Air.

    I just tried to subscribe to the Daniel Pink podcast via iTunes and got an error message saying it wasn’t available through the US store. Is that your experience? Or do you download them directly from his website?

  17. Andrea says:

    I listen to podcasts on my long runs and, as a runner, I love Another Mother Runner podcasts – they are like having two funny friends to chat with. I also love Nerdist podcasts, they can get a bit raunchy, but their hour long interviews with really awesome personalities (faves are Daniel Radcliffe and Neil deGrasse Tyson) are really in depth and, most often, hilarious. As a Chicago native, my favorite This American Life is the two parter on Harper High, no question.

    • LadyWoman says:

      Nerdist. All the way, Nerdist. I tempt you with the fact that they have plenty of sci-fi folks on and have had multiple Doctor Who stars on. It’s a blast to hear these people just hanging out and chatting instead of the usual E Hollywood standard interview questions. Michael Dorn talking about flying jets and Tom Hanks telling stories about in-jokes he and his brother started in childhood and still reference today, etc. I have an hour long work commute and it’s like having really entertaining friends riding shotgun. It DOES have a lot of swearing and raunchy humor, but everyone on there seems like genuinely nice, decent human beings, it’s not mean-spirited unpleasant raunchiness.

  18. Tuija says:

    My favourites:
    – Focus on the Family, when the topic interests me. (I download the Daily half-an-hour radio shows, or the international versions.)
    – Moody Radio’s Bullding Relationships with Gary Chapman, because I really like Gary Chapman’s insights, and he often has interesting guests. Sometimes I check out Chris Fabry’s show too, and listen if he has an especially interesting topic.
    – BBC’s History Hour, which is a weekend compilation of their weekday Witness programmes. Their description: “History as told by the people who were there. Witness talks to people who lived through moments of history to bring you a personal perspective on world events.” I LOVE getting personal perspectives on history.
    – I also check out other BBC podcasts occasionally: documentaries, Coast and Country, All Things Considered…

    And I just discovered Stuff You Missed in History Class (, but I haven’t listened to very many episodes yet. (Well, they did a Jane Austen episode, so that’s where I got started…)

    I’m definitely going to check out the Relevant podcast – thanks, Anne. The only problem is, I have limited amounts of listening time, and if I want to listen to audiobooks too, I’ll end up with hours and hours of podcasts waiting to be heard… I listen to podcasts when driving alone, grocery shopping, walking/jogging, and sometimes at home (while folding laundry etc) – but I don’t want to be wearing heaphones all the time….

  19. Amanda says:

    I’ve listened (for nearly ten years now) to a podcast called Radio Worldview. Great Christian takes on culture and politics. And food. And education. The hosts are teachers at a leadership camp called Worldview Academy.

  20. Shelley says:

    I can highly recommend Craftlit. I have been listening to it for years. They are just starting “The Count of Monte Christo”. I can’t wait!

  21. Aimee Larson says:

    My favorite podcast is On Being with Krista Tippets. She is an interviewer extraordinare with a wide diversity of guests. Poets, scientists, activists,authors. She has an interesting way of starting out each interview asking her guests what their spiritual background was like. Who does that?! It opens up the interviewee and gives the listener something to wonder over right away. Highly recommended!

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