5+ podcast episodes I’ve loved lately

5+ podcast episodes I’ve loved lately

I’ve been a podcast fan since back when I listened to them on my original iPod, but since I started my own podcast What Should I Read Next? I’ve gained a whole new appreciation for what makes a podcast, and an individual episode, work.

Today I’m sharing five-ish of my recent favorite episodes. I can’t wait to hear yours in comments!

(I share all about how to subscribe to podcasts in this post right here.)

1. Making Oprah.

A friend told me I had to listen to this podcast from WBEZ Chicago, which describes itself as “the inside story of a TV revolution”: it’s all about the making of the Oprah Winfrey show. It’s only 3 episodes (plus a few bonus episodes, which I found interesting, but wouldn’t call “must-listens”). I never watched Oprah when it was on the air, but I still found the story of how the show came to be absolutely fascinating.

2. Sorta Awesome.

I love Megan Tietz’s podcast, which is nothing new, but she’s had two terrific episodes lately that I’ve been recommending like crazy to friends in the course of my everyday conversations.

The first is Leaning into the squirm: how to talk to your kids about bodies, sex, and sexuality (episode 99), which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, in the form of Megan’s one-hour conversation with LeAnn Gardner, a licensed clinical social worker and ordained minister. As a parent who found this episode aptly titled (squirm is right), I found this to be practical and empowering.

The second is The truth about anxiety, part 2 (episode 101) in which Megan and co-host Laura Tremaine revisit a topic they first covered in episode 26 (go listen if you haven’t). They cover the difference between worry and anxiety, how you can tell you or a loved one needs help, how to find a good therapist, anxiety dynamics in marriage, helping children cope with anxiety, and a new-to-me phenomenon called Perfectly Hidden Depression. So good.

3. Beautiful Writers: Story Is Everything with Robert McKee

When it comes to story and storytelling, McKee is The Guy; many readers first encountered him as the story guru from the pages of A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.

In this episode, he discusses the timeless elements of good story, the difficulties of writing good dialogue, and how he thinks the greatest storytelling of our era is happening as longform television.

4. From the Front Porch: The Politics of Being Southern

I regularly listen to this podcast, hosted by independent bookstore owner Annie Jones, and especially enjoyed this offbeat episode. Annie and Pantsuit Politics co-host Sarah Stewart Holland (who you may remember from this episode) talk about what “life in the South” really means, with a special emphasis on the politics of being Southern (and on Sarah’s Designing Women obsession). As someone who lives on the northernmost edge of the Upper South (or as I like to say, where we get Southern Living but the tea isn’t sweet), I appreciated this episode.

5. Henry Cloud’s Leadership University hosts Amor Towles: How to Bring Life to the Intimate Experiences of Writing

Two things about this title: 1. This is a conversation with Amor Towles, and a conversation with Henry Cloud, but they are not in conversation with each other. (Bummer.) 2. That is not the strongest description of either conversation.

The important stuff: If you have ever read anything by Amor Towles, considered reading anything by him, or think you might one day do so, go listen to this episode. The man can talk (and the man can write!). The bulk of the conversation centers around A Gentleman in Moscow, but they also dip into Rules of Civility and what he’s working on now (hurray!).

In the conversation with Dr. Cloud, they cover his writing process (and specifically how a non-writer like him can write books), why he believes everyone probably has a book or two in them, and making time for a big project like writing a book.

Bonus: What Should I Read Next?

I couldn’t resist including a couple of episodes from my own podcast. Every Tuesday, when we publish each new episode, at least half a dozen people tell me that that particular episode is their favorite, and they feel like it was made just for them. That makes it hard to play favorites! But three recent episodes have gotten more love than usual:

Books that make you want to skip dinner, work, and the rest of your life (Episode 80). Listen to this if you want to broaden your reading horizons.
• Obsessive readers and bookish kindred spirit angels (Episode 82). Listen to this if you love travel memoir OR if you want to hear a self-aware reader talk about what it means to be “obsessive” about the reading life.
• An epic birthday bookstore road trip (Episode 83). Listen to this if you want to get pumped to visit some independent bookstores this summer OR if you want inspiration and ideas to read the classics.

Have you listened to any great podcast episodes lately? Tell us all about them in comments!   

P.S. Need more episodes to queue up? I shared 7 more favorites right here. And check out my own podcast, What Should I Read Next, right here.

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  1. Marie says:

    Great list!! And ditto to both those Sorta Awesome episodes. The first made me cry (in a good way!!) and the second was such an honest, helpful discussion on a very prevalent issue that can seem very isolating.
    Can’t wait to check out the rest of these!

  2. Hannah Simpson says:

    My obsession with Omitted Podcast is real! Shorter episodes but well researched with a narrative storytelling.

  3. Kari Rose says:

    Thank you for the recommendations! I think I’ll give them all a try. The podcasts that are I currently have on my phone are What Should I Read Next (of course), TEDTalks, Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History, Stuff You Missed in History Class, and Up and Vanished.

    • pneu says:

      So happy you mentioned Revisionist History. I deleted my feed after months and months without a new episode, and YAY, it’s back!!

  4. Elizabeth Thompson says:

    Perhaps you mentioned it elsewhere and I missed it, but have you listened to S town by Brian Reed? I finished it late last night. I thought it was masterfully done, a story that is richer on more layers than the producers probably ever intended. But at the same time I have qualms about actually recommending it. I feel like it it might have been an exploitation of the central character.

    • Angie says:

      It absolutely felt like exploitation after awhile and I became uncomfortable listening so I quit. Specifically, it felt like private conversations were made (very) public because the subject wasn’t around to object. Pretty riveting until this, then just sad. 🙁

  5. Aimee says:

    I’m loving the Wild & Free podcast, especially episode 13 called Laying the Feast.

    Another favorite is episode 53 of the Smart Couple podcast which is an interview with Stan Tatkin about How to Feel Safe & Secure with Your Partner. That one rocked my world in such a good way!

  6. All the episodes with Lisa-Jo Baker on the Never Unfriended book, but my favourite was God Centered Mom interviewing her. Episode 159 🙂 And Annie F Downs one was also good.

    And then the Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey – episode 144 with Sarah Harmeyer – so good! It’s on hospitality. She really makes it sound so easy and accessible.

  7. Laura says:

    I am obsessed with the ‘ How I built this” podcast which is all about famous entrepreneurs and their stories of how it all came about… Kate Spade, TOMS, Kendra Scott, Melissa & Doug. Fascinating..

  8. Thanks for the suggestions, Anne! Making Oprah sounds interesting to me, and I keep hearing about Sorta Awesome.

    Do you ever listen to The School of Greatness? That’s one of my favorites, there are always good episodes on there with people who are doing exceptional work, how they got there and their outlooks on life. I really loved the most recent one with Julianne Hough, cause I’m a bit obsessed with dance 🙂 But she talked a lot about her insecurities, and it was nice to get a look into her life. There are quite a few celebrities on there, but it’s more insight into them than you’d get in a magazine interview or quick television interview. I love it!

  9. Thanks for this! I downloaded several episodes of From the Front Porch for my plane ride tomorrow. Btw, I’m sure you know this, but John Grisham has a new podcast that he’s recording while on his current book tour (his first in 25 years). Each episode he chats with another author. The first episode is up with Jodi Picoult.

  10. pneu says:

    Thank you for the recommendations, everyone! Here are some of mine:
    ‘People Fixing the World’ is a new favourite, and the episode How to Be a Better Mom in Jail made me cry on the train this morning.
    Another absolutely lovely episode is Gordon Hempton–Silence and the Presence of Everything, which is from ‘On Being with Krista Tippett’. About Gordon’s search for quiet spaces all over the globe, their conversation is so soothing that I sometimes listen to it as I fall asleep.
    Finally, The Road Back to You is a funny and engaging podcast about the Enneagram. Great interviews!

  11. Shayne Johnson says:

    I love Sorta Awesome too. I can’t recommend Episode #87 “Real Talk About Refugees” enough. One of most intelligent and thoughtful discussions that I have heard on the topic. I would also like to do a shout out to Shalom in the City.

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