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.
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.
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.
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.