Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday Salon: Podcasts

Once upon a time I used to listen to music at work. I would take my CDs in to work and put them on the computer so that I could listen to them, sometimes whole albums at a time, sometimes on random, sometimes with the ear phones in, and other times out loud so that my co workers can hear.

All that changed a few months ago when I discovered podcasts. Now instead of listening to music all day, I listen to people talk about books and history, for the most part anyway. I get to hear about books and authors I probably wouldn't have necessarily read about, or discussion about prizes, background to novels and so much more

For today I thought I would share some of the podcasts that I do enjoy.


BBC History Magazine
Stuff You Missed in History Class
Witness - short podcasts where witnesses of historical events talk
A History of the World in 100 Objects - this finished last year but the podcasts are still available and they are fascinating. Looking at events through history through objects that are held in the British Museum

Radio shows and other media

Books and Authors - BBC show hosted by Mariella Frostrup (who also hosts SkyUK The Book Show which I have been watching quite a bit recently)
Guardian Books
NPR Books
The Book Show - our public broadcaster (ABC) book show
World Book Club - BBC World discussion about a specific book each month

Bloggers and podcasters

Galactic Suburbia - three Aussie women who podcast about speculative fiction, news and general chat. Lots of fun!
Books on the Nightstand
The Writer and the Critic  - this is a relatively new Australian podcast, but you can really tell that the two hosts have been friends for ages. There's a really fun vibe between them!

So there you have just some of the podcasts I listen to on a regular basis. 

Are there are any that I don't have listed here that you listen to that I should check out? Do you like listening to podcasts?


  1. I've never tried a professional podcast. I've listened to a few podcasts made by readers like me and they were not terribly interesting.

  2. My husband is really into podcasts, usually gaming ones. I sometimes get to hear them when we're both working at our computers at home because he won't use his headphones then. Sometimes I'm okay with it and other times I'll leave the room to go read for awhile. I haven't really gotten into them myself.

    I wish I could listen while I work, but there are too many interruptions. :-( I've tried a couple but grew bored with them quickly. I don't know why though. I love listening to NPR now and then on the radio, especially when they're talking about books. You'd think I'd be more into podcasts. On the plus side, you can listen to podcasts whenever you want--unlike a radio show that's live.

  3. Ooh, I'm also a big podcast person. The New Yorker has one where authors read short stories published by other authors in the magazine and then discuss the story afterward--that one is probably my favorite. NPR's Books & Pop culture podcasts are good, as is This American Life (although probably not of interest to you ;)). Vanity Fair magazine has a good one where authors read experts of THEIR books.

    And so on and so forth, lol. Basically, I understand the podcast love (although I mostly listen to audio books at work).

  4. You've reminded me that I really should listen to more podcasts. I'm not knitting at the moment though and that's when I'd usually tune in.

  5. Several years ago I got a bit hooked on podcasts but then just like google reader my podcast list would explode if I didn't listen regularly. So I stopped listening. I miss the bookish ones though and sometimes think I should start that up again.

  6. I'm a huge podcasts fan. Since I discovered them, going on the treadmill (or walking outside, when the weather is better) has turned from a chore to a treat.

    Some of my favourites are the same as yours (loved the History of the World in 100 objects series, and I always download Books and authors, the BBC World Book Club and the Guardian Books podcast. Some other non book-related ones that I enjoy are:

    Answer Me This ( - The format is simple and sounds a bit boring: listeners send in questions and the presenters answer them, but it's just hilarious.

    Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo's Film Reviews ( - Interviews, box-office top 10 films, and reviews of new releases. But the best thing about it is the way the two presenters bicker and tease each other. Not to mention, Mark Kermode's rants are just spectacular. Every now and then I search out the archives for the Sex and the City 2 review just to hear Mark getting so worked up that he starts singing the Internationale!

    I also love a variety of Radio 4 podcasts (, but my favourites would be Saturday Review (the presenter and guest review a film, a novel, a play, an exhibition and a TV programme) and the Friday Night Comedy podcast.

  7. I couldn't agree more! I think I discovered podcast just over twelve months ago after getting an iphone. I find it amazing that often times music has taken a backseat for me too. Between audiobooks and podcasts, there just aren't enough listening hours in the day to get through everything. It is nice to be so spoiled for choice. Thanks for bringing all of these together in one place.

  8. I wish I could listen to podcasts or audiobooks while working! I found that while I can listen to music okay, if I listen to someone telling a story, I am not able to read and write papers etc at the same time. It simply demands too much of my focus. I'll just have to stick to listening in my car...