Welcome to my “Listens Club.” A similar concept to a book club but an audio version.
If you have read my Bio (or of course if you know me personally) you will know my eyesight is such that I can’t read a book unless it is magnified on a computer which is very time consuming and more effort than I am willing to put in. I mean, who wants to spend a month trying to read one book? Not me. Therefore I listen to a huge amount of audiobooks and podcasts. It helps me feel like I am using my brain when I am really doing something like mopping the floors or wiping a bum and it provides me with some adult conversation even though there are no adults around (though I can’t talk back – which is something I need to probably work on anyway!)
Here I have complied my latest list of favourite “listens.” A combination of podcasts and audio books I have listened to in the past 3 months. Although I enjoy also listening to music, after a while I need to be more mentally stimulated. And I love talk back radio but get fed up with slow talking callers and frustrating politicians! So this is my answer to all that.
So, if you spend time commuting, doing mundane housework, you are too busy to have to time to sit down and read a book, you need something to keep you awake while you are feeding a baby in the middle of the night or if you are like me and need time winding down at night/redirecting your thoughts that are going a hundred miles an hour that you can’t switch off – this is for you!
However, before I recommend my latest faves, you need to do two things.
First is the audible app. It is easy and much less expensive than physically
buying the CDs in a book shop. It also offers a monthly subscription so books can be made even cheaper and when you figure out you don’t like it a quarter of the way through, you don’t feel so bad. Plus it recommends you other books you might like.
The second is go browsing on your podcast app or if you have a android device download a good podcast app. You can see some here. It is amazing how many people still haven’t discovered podcasts. Almost all podcasts are FREE! So many people listen to radio segments filled with adds but don’t realise you can get so many of them on a podcast that is interruption free, 1 day (or less) later! And so many amazing segments and talks are ONLY on podcasts. So get on it!
The Dollop (Podcast)
The Dollop is a podcast that takes place each week in which Comedian Dave Anthony discusses one topic or person from American history to fellow comedian Gareth (Gary) Reynolds (with guest appearances from people such as Wil Anderson and Patton Oswalt)
I have put this at the top of my favourite listens because I am currently addicted! This is an offbeat history class about many (stupid) characters and events that you will struggle to find in any mainstream history book. Even if you aren’t from America or not particularly interested in American History, don’t be put off! This podcast is outrageously hilarious but at the same time incredibly interesting.You do need a deep appreciation for sarcasm and they don’t shy away from religion, sex or anything taboo so if you are easily offended then it might not be for you (but that makes you a party pooper.)
There have been times in this where I have laughed so hard at this podcast Malachy has said to me, “Mummy, you might need to go to the toilet” or late at night I have my headphones in and I am trying to laugh quietly so Liam wont wake but I’m shaking the bed trying to keep it in.
If you haven’t yet heard of Serial, pull yourself out from underneath that rock.
This is the podcast that has literally revolutionised the way we listen to podcasts, receive information and also are entertained.
This phenomenal podcast debuted in October 2014 and each of the 12 episodes were uploaded weekly. If you are starting it now, you are lucky you won’t have to wait as the entire first series is available for you to listen to in its entirety. As for the rest of us, we have to wait until later this year to hear season 2.
As Serial’s website explains, this “is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, and is hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial tells one story – a true story – over the course of an entire season. Each season, we’ll follow a plot and characters wherever they take us. And we won’t know what happens at the end until we get there, not long before you get there with us. Each week we bring you the next chapter in the story, so it’s important to listen to the episodes in order, starting with Episode 1.”
Season 1 followed the story of Adnan Syed, the charged and jailed ex-boyfriend of schoolgirl Hae Min Lee, a murdered senior at Woodlawn High School in 1999. Though Adnan still maintains his innocence, he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison and the case against him was mostly based on the word of one witness, his friend, Jay. Sarah Koenig spends an incredible amount of time, energy and resources trying to find out who really did do it. Her evidence will have you believing one week Adnan is innocent and the next he is guilty. What sets this podcast apart from most other podcasts is that you get to hear first hand the audio from both Adnan (from his correctional facility), his family and friends, witnesses, experts and the actual sound from the court proceedings and interviews from the police.
As Serial’s website questions, “How can you know a person’s character? How can you tell what they’re capable of? In Season One of Serial, she looks for answers.”
The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect (Audiobooks)
The Rosie Project, is a romcom about a socially inept professor of genetics (Don Tillman) who tries to find his future wife with science and a list of must and must not haves. With the results from this list he forms a compatibility score-and Rosie scores zero. This light hearted but captivating book will have you drawn in with its non conventional love story. And when you are left wanting more the author, Graeme Simpson, kindly gives you the “what happened next?” with his sequel The Rosie Effect.
How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran (Audiobook)
Currently one of the world leaders on feminism, Caitlin Moran reads her own semi-autobiographical book. This audiobook is about a woman having a superb and clever rant about what it is to be a woman. The overall tone is really playful and as she explains at the start “Do you have a vagina? Do you want to be in charge of it? If you said yes to both, Congratulations! You’re a feminist.”
Though, it wasn’t overly challenging and I can’t say I agreed with everything she reads, I don’t think it is a book written for an entirely persuasive purpose. It is to relate, to laugh, to think critically and to enlighten you on where your morals lie. Look, if you are a male you are going to find bits hard to relate and if you are a bit of a wanker the parts about periods, birth scenes and pubic hair are going to make you squirm. However, if you are open-minded guy and have an appreciation for how the “other half live,” you will enjoy it too.
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s Memoirs – “Bossypants” and “Yes Please” (Audiobooks)
To me these two autobiographies/memoirs go hand in hand. If you know Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s work (especially on Saturday Night Live) then you probably don’t need any explanation how amusing these books are. With a similar style of comedy (and many references to each other) you are left with no doubt why both women are sitting at the top of a predominantly male profession. Both are intelligent and unyielding women who can find the amusement in even the most shitty or serious situations and issues. Their ability to think critically and imaginatively combined with honestly and sharp humour (plus two lives very well lived) makes both books worth listening to. Plus, they both read their books themselves so they add plenty of extras that you don’t get in the books!
Dr Karl (Podcast)
This podcast is from Triple J Radio’s Thursday morning’s segment where once a week Dr Karl makes a guest appearance to answer curious listeners’ trickiest and absurd science questions. Dr Karl, who has an incredibly broad knowledge on science, will make you feel like you are expanding your brainpower even though you might be doing the dishes! This podcast has given me a fantastic amount of interesting conversation topics and has made me much more conscious of the little things happening all around me (even as simple as the best colour pegs to use on my washing line!). And because every few minutes a new caller rings with a new question, you can be as attentive as you please (unlike having to follow story line where you have to rewind every now and then) which makes this podcast easy listening but with questions and answers that are at times very challenging. Easy listening and challenging? A huge contradiction, I know! A great podcast to start if you don’t have enough time to dedicated to a whole book or you are waiting for your bus.
Have you been listening to anything you have enjoyed lately? Please let me know!