Monday, 10 May 2010

Podcast pleasures


Ah, the joys of a good podcast...
There’s nothing I like better when doing mindless tasks, like cleaning the kitchen or walking the dog, than listening to something absorbing on my iPod. If you only use your MP3 or iPod for music, I’m going to go all evangelical now and tell you that discovering podcasts is positively life changing. It is. Honestly.
Being of a nerdish disposition, I’ve been hunting around for a while now for podcasts that relate to books and writing and am starting to build up a nice little collection. I thought I’d share my top five with you, lovely Strictly readers.


My favourite of the moment is a US cast called Books on the Nightstand which I’ve recently discovered. Michael Kindness and Ann Kingman are two publishing insiders who love to read and whose enthusiastic recommendations are so infectious, I frequently find myself on Amazon after I’ve heard the show. [As a side note, I was recently stranded with family and friends in Turkey, thanks to the Icelandic volcano dust and desperate to have a solitary moment of headspace, I listened to an episode while I did some chores. It really felt like time out and helped with the stress of the whole experience. I’ll always be grateful to the programme.]

Next on the list is Radio Four’s Open Book , in which the silky-toned Mariella Frostrupp interviews authors and chats about the latest book news. Once a month this turns over to Book Club, in which James Naughtie interviews a big name author in front of a studio audience.

I’m also a big fan of the Guardian’s books editor Claire Armistead’s weekly cast. This is a more in-depth look at new titles and publishing news.

I should be writing is a podcast and blog by sci fi writer Mur Lafferty aimed ‘at wannabee fiction writers by one who is still learning.’ She has various guests on the show but also talks about her own writing and how it’s going, both good and bad. I’ve been listening since before she got published and it’s been a real privilege to share her journey.

The World Book Club comes from the BBC World Service and authors from all over the world are interviewed in front of an invited studio audience. I’ve heard Sue Grafton, Andrea Levy, Jodi Picoult, Kaled Hosseini and Lionel Shriver in recent months and all were fascinating in their different ways.

Here are some others that deserve a notable mention...

Writers on writing


Holly Lisle on writing


The Writing Show


iTunes Meet the Author



If you know of any good writing/books podcasts that I haven’t mentioned, do share them. I’d love to add to my collection.

15 comments:

Charmaine Clancy said...

I love writing podcasts, especially when I'm driving.
Thanks for the suggestions there were some I hadn't listened to.
I also like (these are also on iTunes):
http://www.thecreativepenn.com/
and
http://www.writingexcuses.com/

Anonymous said...

check out the New Yorker fiction podcast

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Oh dear, this is where the world of technology leaves me well behind... Sounds like a great way to do chores, though. Last time I did anything like that was with a Sony Walkman. (*slinks - or rather creaks - away*)
Susiex

CarolineG said...

Susie, don't creak away! Honestly, I know it sounds daunting but really, it's all a doddle. And if you don;t even own an iPod or MP3, you can still listen to podcasts straight from your computer...
Thanks Charmaine and Anon..I'll definitely check those out.

Fidelity said...

I'm afraid I have to be with Susie - hope it doesn't incur any wrath but I'm afraid I believe that literature and technology just do not mix. Though I'd rather someone listened to a writing 'podcast' than a rock one (What is a podcast anyway?). I admit though to listening to 'talking books' - on cassetes or CDs but think the e-readers are the worst thing that's ever happened.

Gillian McDade said...

Great blog, Caroline. I love listening to literature podcasts. I too love Guardian Books and the World Book Club. Thanks for the other recommendations - only prob is I've used up all 32gb on my ipod!

One you really must subscribe to is the video podcast 'Upstairs At The Square. It features a mix of music, reading and conversation from my fav book shop Barnes and Noble, Union Square, New York (see previous post around a year ago). It's definitely one of the best!

CarolineG said...

Fidelity, it's funny you should say that because I'm not especially interested in audio books. This is much more like listening to the radio, but being in control of the subject matter. That's a better analogy really than thinking of it as books and technology mixing. I haven't got an e-reader of any kind yetm but it's only a matter of time. But it would only be for certain instances and wouldn't replace books.
Thanks for that tip, Gillian...off to check that out...

Ann Kingman said...

Caroline, thank you so much for your recommendation of Books on the Nightstand. I'm glad you enjoy it, and I'm honored that you chose to spend some of your more difficult moments in Turkey with us! I do love Turkey and would love to visit again, but visiting vicariously through you is the next best!

Thanks again.

Helen Black said...

Oh God, these sound fab.
Must...move ...away...now.
Deadline looming. Aaaaahhhhh.

CarolineG said...

Ann, thanks so much for coming over!
Hope this brings some new listeners because the show is fab.

Helen...go on, off you go :)

Lynn said...

Great suggestions. Podcasts are perfect for my hours on the road, driving to the next sales/support call. I'm going to check these out. Creative Penn is one I like also.

CarolineG said...

I'll check that one out, Lynn, thanks.

How do others hook up their iPod in the car? Used to have a very simple thing for this but have newer car now and it went with the old one. What's cheap, but effective?

Emma Lee said...

If anyone's into poetry, check out Poet Casting for podcasts of poets reading from their work.

Luisa Plaja said...

This is a brilliant list and I'll be checking them out. Thank you so much!

dirtywhitecandy said...

Thank you for this terrific list. I have spent a happy hour on The Guardian's website and the World Service book club. Looking forward to my next run!