Podcast mini-reviews

Although I haven’t had as much time for reading lately as I would have liked, I have been enjoying other forms of content. In particular, I’ve been listening to podcasts as an incentive to get a bit more exercise. It took me a while to figure out what sort of things I wanted to hear, but I’ve settled on a handful that I now listen to regularly. Thought I’d share.

  1. Decode DC. I have been trying for years to understand US politics, and my bewilderment has increased significantly since this election period began. This podcast has helped. I mean, I still don’t understand why people are voting for Trump. Please stop doing that. However, it has helped me to understand aspects of the political climate that were previously obscure. For example, I now have a slightly better understanding of what a super-delegate is. The content is engaging and clear, and I haven’t really seen any obvious political bias in the reporters. Of the few episodes I’ve listened to so far, my favourite was the conversation with Norman Mineta.
  2. Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine. This podcast comes with a health warning for anyone of an even slightly sensitive disposition. I am a nurse, one of my life skills is being able to describe exactly what colour fluids are leaking out of people, and I can eat a large meal whilst watching extremely informative documentaries about mummification. Even so, there have been times when Sawbones has turned my stomach. It’s totally brilliant, though. Dr Sydnee McElroy and her husband Justin look back over the various terrible ideas that doctors and other people have had for curing illnesses and injuries over the millennia. It’s a little like Horrible Histories for grown-ups. Sydnee is excellent at sifting through the evidence and painting a vivid picture of e.g. life in the Middle Ages, and her husband acts as a useful audience surrogate—asking very entertaining questions to give his wife a chance to talk and joke.
  3. Gilmore Guys. On the day that the Gilmore Girls revival hit the headlines, I received three different texts from people who assumed I would be excited. They were right. Although Gilmore Girls is probably no longer my favourite TV programme, it’s still up there, and it’s such a pleasure to listen to two people enthusiastically discussing every episode in the kind of minute detail that is my preference. The episodes for this podcast are too long, to the extent where it’s almost comical (the most recent was nearly four hours), and I really wish they wouldn’t make fun of Christians and church culture nearly as much as they do. Even so, it’s still a bit like watching Gilmore Girls with a room full of friends. That makes this a lovely podcast. (They are onto the dreaded Season 7 episodes now, so the tone has changed a bit).
  4. I Feel Better. Described by the podcasters as “a pop culture podcast hosted by four internet friends”, this is exactly what it says on the tin. One of the hosts is Ashley from Climb the Stacks, one of my favourite Booktube channels, which is how I heard about it. The four hosts discuss some piece of pop culture that they have all consumed in the previous week, talk about what books/TV shows/podcasts/apps etc. are making them feel better, and answer a question from the audience. It feels exactly like being allowed to eavesdrop on a conversation between four extremely clever, funny, and engaging women about stuff they love (or sometimes stuff they don’t love, but it’s generally positive in tone). A lot of the time, I am unfamiliar with the content they are talking about, as it’s quite US-centric, but that doesn’t upset my enjoyment of the show. I have picked up a couple of recommendations from what they talk about, but honestly, it’s just a very friendly way to spend half an hour.

There are a whole load more podcasts that I’ve recently subscribed to but haven’t listened for long enough to have an informed opinion of them, so maybe there can be more of this in the future? I don’t want to stop writing posts just because my reading rate has slowed down a bit, after all. I’m trying to avoid bookish podcasts, as I feel like basically all of my media consumption is book-centric, but other than that I’m open to recommendations.

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