Any Podcast Listeners Out There?

Last week’s discussion on reading digital books had me thinking about another way of getting them into your head – having someone read them to you. Every week I get an e-mail from the Economist telling me their audio edition is now available online. I can download the parts that interest me (or the whole thing if I’m ambitious) and have them read to me in a soothing BBC accent.

And yet, even though it’s so easy, I never do. The idea of podcasts has always appealed to me, but somehow I never get around to listening them. They’re one of those ideas that seems great in theory but I just can’t put into practice. So my pile of downloaded stuff just keeps on growing. Economist articles, Big Ideas lectures, Russian lessons (sadly now defunct, but you get the idea of how long it’s been since I listened) and more.

Of course I’ll keep downloading stuff and trying to find the time to listen. So does anyone have any podcasts or other downloaded audio that you’d recommend? And if so, where do you find the time and opportunity to listen to them?


  1. I love the “A way with words” podcast, which used to come from KPBS and is now online at What I usually do is let the new episodes pile up in my feed reader, then take a few minutes and download them all at one. I pop them onto my iPod, and listen to them over the next couple of weeks while I walk or take transit to work. A very nice way to start or end the day! I’ve also heard of people listening to their weekly batch of podcasts while doing their weekend housecleaning.

    Trying to download content every time there’s a new episode is way too much effort. Having an mP3 player or good speakers is essential, since no one wants to sit around and listen to the computer when they could be doing other stuff.

  2. I recommend giving LibriVox a try. It’s volunteer narrated public domain books, mostly from Project Gutenberg, and they’re pretty well done.

  3. Thanks for the suggestions – I’ll have to check some of them out. And maybe I’ll have to start walking to work to find the time to listen to them.

  4. Well – American Public Radio, the CBC and the BBC feature prominently in my pod-listening. The Splendid Table can’t be heard in Toronto any other way. The podcast versions of many print publications are different – so each Friday I get the Sunday NYT Books podcast. I listen to the Guardian’s and the Times’ books podcasts. The Oxford DNB has some interesting brief biographies and Slaw readers should subscribe to the Supreme Court Watch podcasts.

    As for books, the CBC serialized the Canada Reads winner Rockbound, which I highly recommend. I listen when on the public transit, during flights and when driving.