In the last year, I’ve become a huge fan of podcasts. As a kid, my mom used to play books on cassette while driving us to school or extracurricular activities. We listened to the entire Harry Potter series over and over again, or switch it up with some of Roald Dahl’s short stories (some of which were seriously creepy and still haunt me to this day). Sometimes, we’d end up staying in the car and skipping a swimming or soccer practice just to finish a chapter. At a certain point, my brother and I transitioned from audiobooks to Walkmans, then iPods or the radio. Somehow, I forgot how much I loved listening to stories.
Then came my senior year of college. I found myself looking for something other than music to keep me company on my commute to my internship and on drives home. Thankfully, I discovered podcasts. Now, I’m obsessed! I can’t imagine how I ever survived drives without them! So, here I am, sharing my favorite podcasts and hoping someone else will share theirs too.
If You Want to Listen to a Thriller:
I’m sure everyone has heard of, if not listened to, Serial by now. I think it was the podcast that popularized podcasts. I couldn’t watch a scary movie if my life depended on it so this is the perfect suspense story for me.
Both seasons follow true stories and look into the complexities and uncertainties of these controversies. I loved the first season so much that I would listen to it when I got ready in the morning, walking to and from class, making dinner, and going on a run. Highly recommend!
If You’re Looking For a Tear-Jerker:
I get choked up easily so the phrase “tear-jerker” might not be taken seriously by those who know me – but I’m serious! StoryCorps is the most riveting and emotional podcast, ever. Featuring real, unscripted interviews from everyday people, each episode features a theme with several stories to support it. I cry pretty much every episode!
It conveys the beauty and power of our seemingly simple stories, demonstrating the importance and wisdom of each and every one of us. Each episode is compelling and the perfect length for my half-hour commute.
If You Love Love, in All its Forms:
Aside from Serial, the first podcast I fell in love with was Modern Love. Featuring essays from the New York Times column, you listen to stories about “love, loss, and redemption” (I can hear host Meghna Chakrabarti’s voice as I type it) from people of all different origins and ages.
I think it’s special because it covers real, candid stories founded on love. And not just your typical romance, but, just as (if not more) importantly, narratives of familial love and self love. The essays range from heart-wrenchingly sad to downright hilarious and the podcasts end with comments from the writers themselves. Because most essays were published many years ago, it’s fascinating to hear about where the authors are now.
If You’re Interested in Edjamacating Yourself:
Of all the podcasts I’ve listed, Hidden Brain is the newest on my list. That being said, every time I finish an episode, I feel just a little smarter. Focused on the science of everyday experiences, its tagline is “A conversation about life’s unseen patterns.” Pretty cool, huh?
Shankar Vedantam, an excellent host, receives guest speakers that range from everyday people to influential business executives. He delves into the details and science between our ordinary life happenings and experiences, inspiring people (or me, at least) to lead more intentional and mindful lives. It truly is a fascinating podcast, so if you want to learn something at 7am on your way to work, add Hidden Brain to your queue!
Image Credit: Jacob Santiago