Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Podcasts Part 2

A few weeks ago, I blogged about some of my favorite podcasts. Today I want to share five more great podcasts with you. The first one that I just can't stop listening to (apart from the five I have already mentioned) is The History of WWII Podcast by Ray Harris Jr.


This podcast is wonderful. I have a degree in history. I read tons of history. I learn many new things every episode. I'll be honest - I haven't done any research on the author of this podcast, so I have no idea who he is. I don't care - he knows his WWII. I can see where some people might find his presentation a little dry, but I don't. I prefer his straight lecture style to the more meandering "entertaining" style of some other podcasts. You won't regret listening to this podcast. Start at the beginning and prepare to binge listen. You may know the ultimate outcome, but you have no idea all the twists and turns that happened along the way.

Documentaries is another one of those awesome BBC podcasts. I swear the BBC has the best radio productions of anyone out there. There are almost 700 episodes at the feed that I linked in the title, and the podcast is updated daily. Documentaries covers...everything. Two of the most recent ones that I listened to dealt with a massive body dump site in Medillin (Columbia) and the 300 year journey of a Stradivarius violin. Listening to Documentaries reminds me of how much I used to love watching 20/20 when I was a kid and it was the only program of its kind on TV (well, there was 60 minutes, but I always kind of thought that show ran a little red, even when I was 10 years old...).

For fun, and definitely not for everyone, there is Thinking Sideways. This is the podcast Therese is currently obsessed with (judge me later - she's 13, and I often credit my own intelligence, high grades, and ridiculously generous scholarships - as in full ride from bachelor's through Ph.D. - to my parents' liberality with what they let me read and listen to, as long as they read and listened to it, too, and we talked about it). Anyway, this podcast would have been shelved in the "900s" in the Dewey Decimal system - the first place I used to look for books when I was a kid (like 999) (or the 100s, it depends). Check it out if you always wonder about Amelia Earhart.

Back to the BBC (because I just can't stay away!), there is Letter from America (N.B. - I have linked only one of the archives here - there are more on the BBC's site). This is a really neat and incredibly long running radio program. I think the BBC has something like 1,500 programs on its site (there were 2,869 broadcasts total!). The show was a program hosted by Alistair Cooke, and its purpose was to give the British people a view of issues that were topical to the U.S. Thus, they present items of interest to us (Americans), but with the idea that they were intended for a different audience. That makes them fascinating to me. It's like listening to BBC broadcasts of WWII, in a way, but not quite, as the point was to acquaint people in the UK with America. I can't explain. Listen. They are wonderful broadcasts.

Finally, and kind of a mashup of a couple of podcasts already mentioned, we have Melvyn Bragg's In Our Time (N.B., in this case, the link is to the archive, and not to the feed). The BBC says that In Our Time explores the history of ideas. That about describes it for me. There are over 650 episodes thus far (it has been airing since 1998), and the show has touched on everything from philosophy, to culture, to history, to more. The format is almost like a talk show, as Mr. Bragg has experts on to discuss the day's topic. Shows I have listened to recently include the alphabet, humanism, Baconian science, Abelard and Heloise, and Avicenna. There are so many more, though! You can download the whole archive, or browse by topic. 

Hopefully, you will find a podcast that will enthrall you the way all of these enthrall me. I am a huge fan of listening to something anytime I am not doing anything that requires my attention or concentration. I listen while I knit, while I am trying to sleep, and (most importantly) when I have a headache. 

What are some of your favorites? I would love to find a new one!

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