5 Things Friday: My Favorite Podcasts

Ink to Film

Podcasts are interesting for various reasons, like the topics they cover, the style of the presentation or the personalities. I listen to all of these and a few others, and some are in different formats, like YouTube or part of a radio show. I love listening to them while I drive or workout.

 

 

 

Here are my top 5 (+1).

  1. Writing Excuses – This is my all-time favorite. Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Howard Taylor and Mary Robinette Kowal talk about writing. The often have a guest. The guest might be an agent or an editor or an astronaut. Usually it’s another writer though. They try to keep it to 15 minutes long, which fits my attention span pretty well, and it makes it easy to catch up if you fall behind. They make a new episode every week and have been at this for almost 14 years and they have won awards. They cover about every possible angle about writing and it is damned good advice for writers of about every level. They often focus on stuff for new writers though. It is the one podcast I have kept listening to for almost its entire run. I didn’t start listening until season 3 is the only reason. I hope they do it forever.
  2. Fresh Air – It is on the radio with NPR and the host, Terry Gross, is the best interviewer of all-time hands down. Fresh Air is produced at WHYY-FM in Philadelphia. They cover about every topic under the sun, with guests that include writers, producers, actors and really about anyone that has done something interesting. They are on 7 days a week, and have won the Peabody. I have always said that I will know I made it as a writer when Terry interviews me. We all need to have dreams. It is just under an hour with commercial breaks. They also have other critics and commenters that fill up the remainder of the hour after Terry’s interview.
  3. Joe Rogan Experience – Joe is the second best behind only Terry Gross. The only other person I put in this conversation is Terry Gross from Fresh Air. Joe got his start as a standup, so he has a lot of comedian friends, but he has people on that he wants to talk to regardless of what they happen to do for a living, like Billy Corgan or Elon Musk to name a few. His interviews are very in-depth and go for as long as they naturally will. Some are an hour and a half and some are less than an hour. He has done at least one over 4 hours. He is the one podcast I don’t usually care how long it is, because he talks as long as it is interesting then stops.
  4. Ink to Film – This is a great podcast by writer Luke Elliot and filmmaker James Bailey. They take a famous movie that was based on a novel and then break down both. They start with the book, and go through the entire thing, often over several episodes, and then they cover the movie, and then compare it to the source material. It’s especially interesting to get their takes inside and outside their specialties. In all fairness I have to admit that Luke is a personal friend. But the podcast is fantastic and I am happy to say that to anyone who will listen.
  5. Radiolab – It has been around since 2002. They focus on “investigating a strange world.” Hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, Radiolab has won Peabody Awards, and a National Academies Communication Award “for their investigative use of radio to make science accessible to broad audiences.” They actually travel and do a live show, but part of the coolness of this show is the way they edit it and the special effects they use. They cover all kinds of interesting science topics and do it in a way that is extremely compelling.

Honorable mention:

Alpha Control – They just finished their 1st season, hosted by Lane August and Kurt Kuersteiner. It’s about Irwin Allen’s classic 1960’s Sci-Fi Adventure television series LOST IN SPACE. Laen is remarkably funny and they do interviews with some of the people that helped make the original series, as well as breakdown episodes. It’s off to a good start. Again, I have to admit that Laen is a personal friend. We flew together during the Kosovo War and have know each other for more than twenty years. He is a wonderful and talented guy.

Do you have any that you like or listen to regularly?

Just finished an Incredible book! Shades of Milk and Honey

     I heard Mary Robinette Kowal on one of my favorite podcasts several months ago and was taken with her remarkable views on writing.  Her take was so much different than those that I had been hearing that it stuck with me and I put her upcoming novel on my wish list as a curiosity to see how her approach translated to reality.


     I was in the middle of a long series by CJ Cherryh and wanted to finish what I had started, but went ahead and ordered the book when it came out and told my wife that I thought it might appeal to her, as it was a period setting.  My wife and Mary Kowal are both fans of Jane Austin, who was the inspiration for the book, Shades of Milk and Honey.  She adored the book and it is one of the best books she has read this year according to her.



     I started the book this morning and finished it just now and I have to say that it was fantastic!  I am not a fast reader but I read the book from cover to cover, with a few breaks to eat and do a little work, in under twelve hours.  That is a rarity for me, but the book has such wonderful appeal, from setting to mythos to character that one can’t help be drawn in.  I like a happy ending too and this one finished in a grand fashion, leaving me wanting more.  I was very taken with her writing style and with a setting that makes me wish that manners were not a thing of the past.  Although there are many things about the early nineteenth century that I would not enjoy, I definitely think our society could use a good dose of propriety and civility.


Mary also takes little jab at herself with one of my favorite quotes:

“One must not put trust in novelists, Beth; they create worlds fit to their own needs and drive their characters mad in doing it.”



I know she has a second book coming out in 2012 to follow this one, Glamour in Glass, but it will be a long wait indeed. If you like period pieces and magic, this one will definitely satisfy!  Well done Mary Robinette Kowal!