In the past year or so I have really been getting into my podcasts. They are great companions on my long (bike) commute to university, or distractions when I’m not loving whatever it is that I’m doing (typically cooking or cleaning). This selection features the very best podcasts I have found so far. I know it sounds like an overstatement, but of each of them has improved my life in some way.
1. Dear Hank and John
If you don’t know the vlogbrothers, here is a short introduction: they are a pair of brothers, Hank and John Green, who have been making YouTube videos for each other since the dawn of time (or, you know, YouTube). Hank is the creator of many online things (SciShow, Crash Course, Vidcon and many more) and John is a writer best known for his novel The Fault in Our Stars. Their videos are a mix of fun, educational, inspiring and nerdy.
Their podcast, Dear Hank and John, is exactly that: they answer questions from the listeners, give dubious advice, and provide updates on their respectives interests, i.e. the planet Mars and the English football team AFC Wimbledon.
The podcast is so much fun: they can get real deep but never for too long, as there will always be a silly question to answer. Love them, love it.
2. Witch, Please
Did you really think I wasn’t going to find a way to include Harry Potter in this list?
YES. Witch, Please is a freaking revelation for anyone that appreciates anything about the Potter books and/or movies. Hannah and Marcelle are delightful and funny and they explore the themes and complexities of the Potterverse at length. They discuss issues of race, feminism, history and so many more interesting things.
I would highly recommend this podcast for anyone interested in literature. Potter fans: the discussions about the ins and outs of the books and films are amazing. I can’t tell you how excited I have been to analyze Harry Potter along with the podcasters, realizing bothow much I have missed (after all this time) and how much I love it (always).
3. Harry Potter and the Sacred Text
No, no – I’m not done with the Potter pods just yet!
Harry Potter and the Sacred Text is a little bit more niche than Witch, Please. Each episode focuses on one chapter of a book so you do need some extensive knowledge of the plot in order to fully appreciate it. However. What a treat.
The premise of this podcast is to use the tools of religious studies and apply them to the text of Harry Potter. This means that the text itself and the way certain things are phrased are taken as guidelines or lessons for your life. It is truly a heartwarming listen that has brightened up my day manier times. Again, the hosts Casper and Vanessa are lovely and oh-so smart.
A must-listen for any Potter fan.
4. Stuff Mom Never Told You
Moving on from Harry Potter! (“Finally!”)
This podcast is an extension of the YouTube channel of the same name. It is an inclusive feminist podcast that studies all kinds of social science-y phenomena. From weddings to tarot to unicorns to lady truckers to emoji to drugs… There isn’t a topic they won’t cover.
Each episode introduces topics in a very intelligent way that includes all types of audiences. Cristen and Caroline, the lovely ladies that run it, like to provide historical overviews as well as explain social changes over time and why they have/are occurring.
It’s super interesting and always accessible. Another A+ from me!
As much as I love all of these podcasts dearly, I am really missing some good science-y ones. I have given a few a try but never found anything I liked. So if you have any suggestions, please do let me know!