And now for a change of pace. A while back I wrote about my favourite podcasts. And then I wrote about them again. And I realised over the years that the list keeps changing. So in the interests of maybe helping you to find something fun to listen to, and for my good friend Annie, here's what's on my current rotation. (Oh and it's in alphabetical order, so I don't have to play favourites!)
A History of the World in 100 Objects - A fabulous series from the British Museum, curated by its director, Neil McGregor. Deliciously short features, each exploring a historical object (like a jade axe, for example) and looking at the broader historical period. Excellent for: burgeoning history buffs and list-lovers.
Arts and Ideas - An always-interesting discussions of, unsurprisingly, arts and ideas from the BBC. Good for: car trips or walks up the street.
BBC Documentaries - Aural documentaries, you say? Well that's what most podcasts are, but this one actually feels like the structure of a doco, too. Thousands of topics covered here, from North Korea to the AIDS crisis. Good for: learning about new parts of the world.
Forum - A World of Ideas - An always-engaging and well-moderated panel discussion with three new panelists each week, who come from academia, the arts and science/medicine and beyond. They draw fascinating parallels between their respective fields and the topic at hand - quite delightful.
Here's the Thing - A newcomer which is Alec Baldwin's interview podcast. I didn't think I'd like this, but a gateway drug would be the excellent interview with Kristen Wiig. Whom I adore.
KCRW's Bookworrm - Where to begin?! Not only does Michael Silverblatt have a voice like warm honey, he is a genius when it comes to books. If you need an episode to convince you, try this heartbreaking interview with David Foster Wallace. After listening to one of Silverblatt's questions, Wallace says simply, "Adopt me".
Fresh Air - Terry Gross is a wonderful interviewer who always seems to have great guests. I love her sensitivity and insight - she is part psychologist and part culture fanatic. Bonus: a brilliant comedy video from Mike Birbiglia featuring himself and Terry. Courtesy of This American Life (see below).
Radiolab -A very unusual and highly produced show, I would recommend listening to Radiolab in a dark room on a cold night. Scintillating and sometimes heart-stopping, start with Lost and Found and tell me you are not moved by Emilie's story.
Shakespeare's Restless World - A follow-up series from the British Museum (those guys are on a roll!), this series looks at themes from Shakespeare, like food or travel, and how those would have really been in Shakespeare's time. Riveting. Good for: Literary nerds and sonnet-a-holics.
Slate Culture Gabfest - It's hard not to adore Dana, Steven and Julia. When I first started listening to this back in 2008, I had no idea they'd become my 'friends'. Too, too wonderful. I've put a lot of my REAL friends on to this one, and they all seem to still be listening. Enough said. Good for: everything.
The Moth - Always riveting. The Moth is a series of stories told by everyone from famous people to your everyday girl next door. Storytelling at its finest. Best for: short trips.
This American Life - One of the biggest and most famous shows on NPR. Hard to explain the impact this show and its host, Ira Glass, have had on me. But suffice to say this never disappoints. One of my favourites is Switched at Birth (which another friend hates!) so at least it will provoke conversation.
Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me - A fun panel comedy show which talks about US current affairs and interesting topics. An interesting way into the news if you've had a week where you can't stomach real news.
Whew! Enjoy if any of these are new to you - I'd love to hear if you like them!