Listen to Something.

Over here, I try to document the media I consume. And for a while, I was tracking podcasts, until it became clear to me that I listen to way too many to track every day. So instead, I’m writing this guide to podcasts I listen to.

Before I begin, a note about how I listen to so many: I am not wild about existing in silence. Occasionally, I take time to meditate or pray or just drive in silence, but for the most part, I like noise. So podcasts are my go-to when I’m doing dishes, folding laundry, cleaning and driving. Some times I will listen to a podcast instead of music while walking. So if you think you don’t have time for podcasts, you might be surprised to find that you actually do. These are in no particular order, by the way. But I’m certain there’s something for everyone.

1. Open Account with SuChin Pak. This podcast is all about money, why we are afraid to talk about it, and why we need to. Favorite episode so far: Paula Pell. I don’t know how Pak convinces her guests to be so open about their financial lives, but I’m glad, because their stories help me feel less alone while inspiring me to be a bit smarter with my money.

2. Code Switch (NPR). This is a must-listen. Panelists discuss issues of race in America and the challenges people of color encounter. Favorite episode so far: I Don’t Know If I Like This, But I Want It To Win. I learn something every episode, and I really think all educators should listen to this podcast to confront their own biases.

3. The West Wing Weekly. Probably my most favorite podcast right now. Hrishikesh Hirway and Joshua Malina discuss The West Wing, one episode at a time. They both praise and critique it, and they’ve had some knockout guests. Favorite episode so far: In Excelsis Deo. I cried while listening.

4. NPR Politics Podcast. Panelists discuss political happenings. Especially important right now as we gear up for what I think will be a rather ill-fated election. Favorite episode so far: Musicals and Politics. I mean, really, does that surprise you?

5. Ask Me Another. Starring Ophira Eisenberg and Jonathan Coulton, this is a radio quiz show packed with wit. It is delightful. Impossible to pick a favorite episode because each one is wonderful.

6. The Moth Podcast. This podcast highlights stories told by real people with real nerves and some real emotion. I have laughed and cried while listening to these stories, and I’m never disappointed when I listen to this podcast. I’ve been listening to it for so long that I can’t pick a favorite, but trust me. Give it a try. Tip: fast forward through the hosts jabbering.

7. The Moment with Brian Koppelman. Koppelman interviews people about their creative process. Favorite episode: Beau Willimon. I listened to that episode while I was revising my book, on a day I was feeling like I wanted to pull my book from publishing because I felt like a complete fraud. Their conversation addressed exactly that feeling, and I figured if both of them felt like frauds (both have written several films and television shows), then what I was feeling was normal.

There’s a glut of podcasts out there, a glut that I’ll be adding to come September, but their entertainment and educational value is so worth it. Try one I’ve written about here, or find one that fits your own interests. Have a must-listen that I should try out? Let me know! Enjoy!

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