I love oral storytelling. In this space I’ll share my favorite podcasts and audio books. Let me know yours too!


My Top 5 Podcast Hit List (grabbed from Podcasts are your Next True Love, an article I wrote for Mamalode):

1. This American Life: There may be others after him, but Ira Glass will always hold a place in my heart. Check out the coincidences episode; it’s guaranteed to blow your mind.

2. Serial: This newish show just wrapped its first season, an in-depth analysis of whether a man was wrongly convicted to life in prison. It’s an evolving story from one episode to the next, so start with Episode 1.

3. The Moth: I also highly recommend going to one of the Moth events in person, but until then, fall in love with their greatest hit-makers, like Elna Baker.

4. Radiolab: The hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich remind me of an uncle and nephew arguing and postulating at Thanksgiving. Try this hour devoted to telling the story of a baby born at 23 weeks, 6 days, one day shy of our definition of “viable.”

5. Here’s the Thing: Like Jerry Seinfelds’ show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Alec Baldwin’s WNYC interview program is riveting. It’s like being a fly on the wall of Alec’s living room while he chats with other famous people. Since I mentioned Seinfeld, here’s an episode where Alec interviews Jerry.

I said Top 5, but I must give honorable mention to foodie-centric The Splendid Table. Every Friday I tune in to see what Lynn Rossetto Kasper has to say about food. Not as famous as but just as knowledgeable as Martha Stewart, Lynn has given me countless good tips over the years. Give a listen to an episode in which she talks to David Sedaris about dinner.

Starting in December 2014, Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, the writers who created The Rumpus’ advice column Dear Sugar, are teaming up with WBUR to bring us a podcast. They’ll dish out, in Strayed’s words, “the real story that lies beneath what’s apparent.” This one is so new there isn’t an iTunes link yet; for now you can find it on the WBUR website.

If you fall down the listening rabbit hole as far as I did, you might enjoy these storytelling podcasts:

Love + Radio
Snap Judgment
StoryCorps (see list of staff picks)
The Dinner Party Download
True Story
Radio Diary
Selected Shorts
Stanford Storytelling Project
The New Yorker: Fiction
Porchlight Storytelling Series
The Writer’s Almanac
The Classic Tales
The Memory Palace
The Story
The Truth


Audio books:
(Note that some of these are affiliate links, meaning I earn a small percentage of the sale if you buy it but you pay the same amount)

Simplicity Parenting (Kim John Payne)
The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
Nurtureshock (Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman)
I Remember Nothing (Nora Ephron)
The Paris Wife (Paula McLain)
I’ll Mature When I’m Dead (Dave Barry)
The Secrets of Happy Families (Bruce Feiler)
Call the Midwife (Jennifer Worth)
Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls (David Sedaris)
Then Again (Diane Keaton)
The Table Comes First (Adam Gopnik)
At Home (Bill Bryson)

The Year of Magical Thinking (Joan Didion)
Life Lessons (Elisabeth Kubler-Ross & David Kessler)Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake (Anna Quindlen)

3 thoughts on “Hear

    1. I’m a little obsessed myself. I’m known to shush my family if they talk while I’m listening to it. But the hubs understands, saying he knows when to leave me alone. I’m lucky to have a man who lets me fly my freak flag!

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