Podcasts I STILL Can’t Stop Listening To

My days of long commutes are done (I hope), but I started listening to podcasts last year and I can’t freakin’ stop. You guys, I listen to 24 podcasts!

Between menial work tasks and endless chores at home, I mostly manage to keep up. Here’s what I’m loving the most recently.

My Favorite Murder

My Favorite Murder podcastWho says learning about murder can’t be funny? Every week “murderinos” Karen and Georgia read about murders — new or old, solved and unsolved, it’s all fair game. They also post “mini-sodes” where they read emails from listeners who talk about their hometown murders. Every episode is hysterical, despite the macabre subject matter. With a motto like, “Stay sexy and don’t get murdered!” what’s not to love?

The Popcast with Knox and Jamie

The Popcast podcastAlso known as the podcast with “the wheezy guy and the lady who hates everything.” This Southern lady and gentleman talk about all aspects of pop culture, from television shows to things people need to chill out about (looking at you, Pumpkin Spice Lattes). They are so funny, and Jamie’s accent in particular makes me feel right at home.

Lore

Lore podcastHost Aaron Mahnke shares the truth — or the theories — behind the scary stories we tell around the campfire. Episodes have titles like “Going Viral,” “Quarantine,” and “Within the Walls.” They’re creepy, well-researched, and make you take a closer look at the people around you. Plus the music is spot-on.

2 Dope Queens

2 Dope Queens podcastComedians Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams host a show featuring female comedians, comedians of color, and LGBT comedians. Not only is everyone funny, they also share different perspectives on life.

Twice Removed

Twice Removed podcastHost A.J. Jacobs meets with a celebrity guest and tells them about interesting people in their family tree. At the end of the episode, Jacobs introduces them to a “mystery relative” they didn’t know they had. It’s fascinating to learn about people’s history, and then be surprised by the mystery relative. The show is between seasons right now, but the first season is up on iTunes and is well worth a listen.

What podcasts have you hooked lately? What should I add to my list?

The Long Drive: Podcasts I Can’t Stop Listening To

The Long DriveLike the breathtakingly uncool person I am, I’ve only just recently gotten into podcasts — possibly a little too into them. I listen to them while getting ready in the morning, while driving to and from work, during my evening coloring sessions, and any other time I can squeeze them in.

Listening to podcasts gives me the opportunity to learn (my favorite thing), laugh, and keep up with news and trends. I’m currently subscribed to 12 podcasts, and want to share a bit about my favorites here. All of these are well worth a subscribe!

The Way I Heard It, Mike RoweThe Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe

I’ve had a huge crush on Mike Rowe since the early days of his show Dirty Jobs. He’s smart, funny, seems like a genuinely nice guy, and I am a huge fan of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation’s mission. So when Rowe announced he was launching a podcast, I knew it was something I should look into.

The Way I Heard It claims to be “the only podcast for the curious mind with a short attention span.” Episodes are less than 10 minutes long (often closer to five), and have a Paul Harvey The Rest of the Story feel to them. Rowe is an excellent storyteller, introducing listeners to fascinating information about historical and cultural figures they thought they knew. The episodes are bite-sized, well-crafted, and fun. Give it a listen right now on Rowe’s website.

SawbonesSawbones

With a subtitle like A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine, who wouldn’t want to subscribe? This podcast was recommended to me by my fabulous friend Lauren — we roomed together in college and it’s kind of scary how well she knows me and my taste in weird medical crap.

Sawbones is hosted by Dr. Sydnee McElroy and her husband Justin, and focuses on the history of medicine and all the ridiculous things humanity has done in an effort to prevent, treat, and cure illnesses. Not only is it interesting, it’s also hysterically funny — Justin in particular has a great sense of humor, and plays an excellent “dumb guy” against Sydnee’s clearly well-researched medical knowledge. My husband and I listened to several episodes on a recent long car trip, and they kept us laughing the whole way. Check out Sawbones online now.

Ask Me AnotherAsk Me Another

I subscribe to several NPR podcasts, and Ask Me Another is currently my favorite. Contestants and special guests (VIPs, or Very Important Puzzlers) solve puzzles, play word games, and answer trivia questions. The games are smart, the guests are funny and interesting, and I enjoy yelling out answers in the car on my commute. Listen to Ask Me Another on NPR’s website.

LimetownLimetown

“Ten years ago, over three hundred men, women and children disappeared from a small town in Tennessee, never to be heard from again. In this seven-part podcast, American Public Radio host Lia Haddock asks the question once more, ‘What happened to the people of Limetown?’”

Okay, I’m cheating a bit here because I haven’t actually started Limetown yet. But I’m so excited to get started! Not only because it sounds like a good mystery, but also because of the podcast’s format: it’s a fictional story set up to sound like a “ripped from the headlines” tale of an investigative reporter becoming obsessed with discovering the truth. The whole thing’s already aired, so you can listen to all of Limetown online here.

Honorable mentions

Other podcasts I’m loving and think you will too:

  • StarTalk Radio – Hosted by Neil Degrasse Tyson (and Bill Nye filling in occasionally), who does a great job of explaining some incredibly complex scientific concepts. Fantastic guest interviews.
  • Note to Self – Interesting intersections between tech and real life, and balancing the two.
  • Sorta Awesome – A little bit of everything, most of it falling in the “people are looking for ways to live better and happier” category. Very positive, interesting, silly, and fun.

What’s your favorite podcast?

I’m the last person hopping onto this bandwagon, so I know you’ve already got some favorite podcasts. Let me know what they are in the comments so I can subscribe, too!

Am I the Only One Who Hates Third Person Present Tense?

I’ve just finished reading Plan Your Attack, the second book in a series by Sarah Rodriguez Pratt (I reviewed Choose Your Weapon last year). I don’t typically review entire series, but I’m making an exception because I just have to know: does third person present tense drive anyone else as crazy as it drives me?

For those who get this kind of thing mixed up (like me), here’s a sample of what I’m talking about (from Pratt’s novel):

Helen quickly locates her new locker. Thankfully, it’s clean, unlike the gum-encrusted locker she had her freshman year. She pulls a notebook out of her backpack and deposits the rest of her belongings into the lockers, sliding her old padlock over the latch and shutting it with a familiar click.

While I enjoy Pratt’s storytelling, I can’t like the way she’s chosen to storytell. Third person present tense has a “bad fanfiction” kind of feel to me, and I think that does a disservice to Pratt’s story and her characters.

I’d love to get other people’s thoughts on this. What do you think of third person present tense? Is there a writing style that you dislike? Let’s talk this out!

Birthday Books (Plus Snake Pictures)!

A few weeks ago my mom came to town to celebrate my 28th birthday. We ate and chatted a lot, got our nails done, and of course made a stop at Barnes and Noble. I got some great presents, most of which — surprise! — are of the paper-and-ink variety.

Before I get to the book haul, I wanted to share some photos from our visit — namely, snakes.

Visiting the Snake Farm

My mom has wanted to visit Animal World and Snake Farm since she first drove past it on a family vacation in 1969. She’s talked for years about going, and this year the timing was finally perfect.

Animal World and Snake Farm

The place was featured in a 2007 episode of Mike Rowe’s Dirty Jobs, and in the intervening years has grown, recently becoming an accredited zoo. They’ve got dozens of snakes — most of them very poisonous indeed — but they’ve also added all kinds of birds and mammals, including Capybara and Ankole-Watusi. And of course there’s Princess Pickles.

Princess Pickles

It’s a four-month-old porcupine! Wearing a purple harness! Eating a grape! What’s not to love?

And let’s not forget the creepy-crawlies. We’ve got your Big Ass Snakes:

Big snakes

And there’s always that one that seems to be sizing you up (I could see this one breathing):

Tree boa

While this kind of adventure is not typically my thing, it was fun to be with my mom as she crossed something off her bucket list. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of animals, and they all seemed healthy and happy.

Animal World and Snake Farm has made and is continuing to make improvements, and it’s obvious the staff cares about the animals. It was a fun time, and I think you should consider visiting next time you’re near New Braunfels, Texas.

Books, books, books!

They really are the gift that keeps on giving. Here’s what I got for my birthday.

Shopping, Seduction, and Mr. Selfridge is a biography about the man who revolutionized shopping. I saw a short documentary about Selfridge’s earlier this year, and my marketer’s mind loved hearing about his strategies and life. Who says work reading has to be boring?

Shopping, Seduction and Mr. Selfridge, Lindy Woodhead

The Girl on Legare Street is the sequel to The House on Tradd Street, one of my so-far favorite reads of 2015.

The Girl on Legare Street, Karen White

I asked for The Legend of Eli Monpress based on a friend’s recommendation. Magic and mayhem!

The Legend of Eli Monpress, Rachel Aaron

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House Books series has always been one of my favorites, and I’m so excited to get my hands on Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Biography.

Pioneer Girl, Laura Ingalls Wilder

Life has gotten really real in the last few months, and it was so great to spend some time with my mom. I’m a lucky girl.

Review: As You Wish

As You Wish, Cary Elwes with Joe LaydenAlthough it didn’t do well during its original 1987 release, the film The Princess Bride has been a cult classic for almost 30 years. It’s been replayed countless times and quoted even more than that (seriously, when is it not the right time to quote this film?). I myself have watched the film about a zillion times, as well as the read the book by William Goldman on which it is based.

As a closet exhibitionist, I’ve always liked peeking “behind the curtain” and learning the stories on the other side. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride gave me just such a chance.

Just lovely

As You Wish is a memoir by Cary Elwes, who starred as sweet, brave Wesley. It’s a record of his memories of reading for the role, filming, becoming friends with the cast and crew, and his astonishment at the impact the film has had on American culture.

The book also includes reflections from Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner.

Much like The Princess Bride, Elwes’ book has a little of everything: humor, danger, sword fighting, and above all, love. His book leaves you with exactly the same feeling as does the film: the awareness that these people care for each other, and that love is the greatest gift in the world.

Pick up a copy of this book as soon as you can. If you haven’t seen the film, do so right now. And have fun storming the castle!