Friday, July 2, 2010

Road Trip Essentials

I was talking to my friend Megan last night about long car drives. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am in my car all the time. I always figure that if I can get there within a day, I might as well go. To pass the time, I am an audio book and podcast listener. Since you already read enough about my book tastes, I’m only going to give podcast recommendations to all of you who have long drives, long bike rides, or long runs ahead of you….
** Book Review - The host, Sam Tanenhaus, is a bit much, but if the books being discussed or the author being interviewed are interesting, it’s totally worth it. I’ve gotten some great reading ideas from this podcast.

Classic Speeches from BYU - I can’t say that I am totally sold on this podcast yet only because I prefer the speaking style of more recent orators. That said, it is pretty amazing to listen to a talk by President Hinckley from the 60s.

ESPN Baseball Today - I realize most people are just going to skip right past this as a possibility, but if you love baseball, then this is a fun way to catch up on what’s happening in the league. Eric Karabell does a good job moderating. I am not a huge fan of his new co-host, but the power rankings that they do on Mondays are why I listen. I love hearing who their top ten and bottom five are. To be honest, I only listen to the Monday editions of this podcast unless something major happens. Give it a try. You’ll like it more than you think.

Freakonomics Radio - This one is actually an anti-recommendation. I love the Freakonomics books and random articles. In audio form, I think the authors sounds ridiculous and too into their own brilliance. Borderline tragic – read their blog instead.
**The Moth - The stories on “The Moth” are told live, without notes during shows that are recorded primarily in New York. They are raw, hilarious, evocative, and about a dozen other adjectives. This podcast is not for everyone because the content varies wildly and can sometimes be inappropriate. Whenever I listen to a particularly good one of these, I find myself thinking back to it all day.

**New BYU Speeches - I am not a diligent devotional attendee. This is my way of making up for it and for getting that taste of BYU while I’m away. I love these. Recently, my favorite MPA professor, Jeff Thompson, spoke on finding your calling in life. Even if your life seems like it’s on the right track, I still would recommend listening to it. Dr. Thompson offered some very salient points on fulfillment and our purpose here on earth. Barbara Heise gave another great talk from March 2 of this year on growing towards Christ. It was honest and completely inspiring. Listen to it while you get ready, while you drive the kids to soccer, or while you cook dinner – you’ll feel better about the world when you finish.

**New Yorker: Fiction – This podcast is an author reading and discussing another author’s short story that was published previously in the magazine with the fiction editor. Sometimes the stories aren’t great, but usually the stories and their authors are lesser known, so it’s almost like a treasure hunt for someone you didn’t know you had lost (in the reading world – nerd alert, I know).

New Yorker: Out Loud - In an attempt to be more cultured, I took the “New Yorker” magazine for a year and found that I could not get through its dense pages. I moved on to a couple “New Yorker” podcasts until I find a few extra hours that I’m willing to spend on this insightful magazine. This podcast focuses in one story from the current issue of the magazine – Roger Federer, depression, fall musicals, adults as portrayed in children’s literature, Gen. Petraeus**(SP???****, you name it – they discuss it. This is another podcast that I selectively listen to only as the topics seem interesting or informative.

**NPR: Books – I can’t help it. I love hearing anything and everything about what’s happening on the literary scene. Same as with the NYTimes Book Review – I get great ideas here, but I skip the books and authors who I know I won’t want to read.

NPR: Fresh Air – This a special topics podcast that covers current affairs, politics, art, etc. in depth with host Terry Gross (unfortunate name) doing the moderating. Since it is NPR, my more conservative friends may not like the spin on some interviews, but overall, it’s very interesting.

NPR: Pop Culture – This is like less salacious “Entertainment Tonight” – guilty pleasure listen.

NPR: Story of the Day – Do you remember “fishing” at school carnivals? You never know what five to ten minute story will be chosen. I like this for the variety of topics that I get exposed to.

**Stuff You Should Know – My MPA teammate Nicole recommended this podcast to me back in the fall, and I can’t remember life without Chuck and Josh telling me random facts. From them I’ve learned about some many things including the origins of Santa Clause, human spontaneous combustion, McDonald’s, and Mesopotamia.

**This American Life – Host Ira Glass’ voice will be emblazoned in your ears forever once you start listening to this podcast. The approach to a seemingly simple topic is often unorthodox, but the glimpses into people’s lives and psyches are fascinating. Again, there is a more liberal slant, but c’est le vie. I love this style of journalism.
There you have it – more information than you ever wanted about what I’m listening to in my car and while I get ready in the morning. Try one of them out though – they’re free on iTunes along with hundreds of other possibilities. Give that Top 40 station and rest, and you’ll be surprised how much you can learn.

Ps. Meg – since this one was for you and Justin, the podcasts I would recommend checking out are the starred ones. Call with any questions. Good luck on your trek to Texas! I miss you already.


Lizzy Lambson said...

Ooh, have you ever listened to Radio Lab? Or the Moth stories? I love Radio Lab. That's my big recommendation.

Justin said...

Thank you! 26 hours... Yikes!