Sometimes I think my bike trip is an excuse to listen to podcasts all day long. When my old iPod got soaked in a thunderstorm (and the rice didn’t cure it), I immediately bought a new one. In case anyone was wondering, just what is Gretchen listening to all day, here’s a list of my favorite podcasts. And this isn’t even all of them.
Story Pods— Mostly genre fiction. Because I am so not a lit snob. I love a good sci-fi, or fantasy, or crime, or chick-lit, or whatever. Maybe romance not so much, but that’s not to say I don’t completely respect romance writers because that is a lucrative field and, I’m sure, much harder than it looks.
Scott Sigler Audiobooks – Scott Sigler is pretty much a pioneer in podcasting his own stories. He has been releasing his own material for years. It runs the gamut from high-tech horror to intergalactic football to secret societies of people-eating creatures living under San Francisco. Many years ago, he told listeners that they could be a murder victim in his book Nocturnal if they signed up on his website. I signed up. Imagine my surprise when I heard my name. Not as a mangled body, but as an SFPD cop, with a sex scene, with my favorite character (not the main character but his cool Asian sidekick buddy). How fucking cool is that? I don’t know if you can still listen to that book. I ordered the print version but Scott, in a terrible editing decision, had changed the whole end and written out that storyline. Something about the book being too long by 200,000 words or something stupid like that.
Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Horror. All part of Escape Artists Inc. Consistently high quality stories, hosted by a cast of my favorite writers and podcasters.
Sort of a catch-all for 100 word stories, 100 character Twitter stories, general weirdness. Mostly funny, occasionally creepy. There was this one story about these people living inside a house that was built inside a chained-up giant creature on Mars that gave me nightmares.
Sci-fi stories, science news, genre news, author interviews. The host, Tony C. Smith, has an amusing Scottish accent and can really rattle on.
Sci-fi. In June, they ran a series called People of Color Destroy Science Fiction, featuring writers of color. The stories were so outstanding, I bought the e-book version.
Sci-fi, read by Kate Baker. Good stuff, lots of translations of Chinese Sci-fi.
Fantasy. I’ve only started listening to this one recently. Good so far.
I’m glad the New Yorker has two podcasts now. Listening to them makes me feel fancy and cultured.
From NPR. I used to listen to this on the radio. Sometimes I would even stay in on Saturday night so I didn’t miss it.
Pods about Writing and Creativity
Featuring the dulcet voice of Bess Hess, he talks about writing life with the writers from the Writing By Writers workshop. One of my favorite writers, Pam Houston, appears in almost every episode. Ben also interviewed me when I showed up at my first writing conference on a bicycle, having just ridden from California to Colorado.
Gabriela interviews writers and gives lots of advice. She’s got an online course and a book coming out. I love the idea of DIY MFA. That’s sort of what I want to do with my bike tour around America. Which is why Gabriela should probably interview me.
Sort of like a book club where they actually talk about the book and don’t just drink wine. Mostly they’re pretty spot on, although I thought their shredding of Eat, Pray, Love was unnecessarily mean.
Celebrity Pods – Somewhere along the line, famous people started podcasting and it made them even more famous.
This is the first podcast I ever fell in love with. They recently got inducted into the Podcast Hall of Fame, whatever that is. I’ve been listening to Dawn and Drew for so long, I know them better than I know some of my friends. I’ve been listening to them since before FaceBook existed. Dawn and Drew are a couple from a farm in Wisconsin and they’re super funny and potty-mouthed. I can’t really describe the show more than that, except to say that I love them. I have Dawn and Drew stickers on my bicycle.
Aisha Tyler is a comedian and actress. She interviews interesting people on her show. She used to put out a show every week, but now she’s on four different TV shows and she’s making a feature film so she cut back to once a month. Aisha is from San Francisco and it’s my dream to meet her some day. I have been watching her shows/reading her books/stalking her for years now, even before she was on Friends.
Paul Gilmartin used to host a TV show called Dinner and a Movie. Now he interviews people about their battles with mental illness and substance abuse and messed up families. It’s fantastic and eye-opening to hear Paul’s guests get so vulnerable about their fears and traumas. I bet this show brings so much comfort to people who think they’re all alone, that no one would ever understand their problems and fears. Maybe I love it because it makes me feel relatively normal and stable, but it’s also fascinating to hear people’s crazy stories.
Marc Maron has come so far since he launched his pod from his garage. He went from angry, neurotic, and broke to having his own TV show and interviewing the President. WTF really illustrates the Power of the Podcast. Marc also talks about his own battles with drugs and alcohol, and really appreciate how candid he gets. That interview with Robin Williams always makes me cry.
The Suitcase Entrepreneur – hosted by Natalie Sisson from New Zealand. She recently did her first TedX talk. As a traveler, I’m really interested in the culture of nomadic online business that Natalie talks about.
The Tim Ferriss Show – Sort of a weirdo but entertaining and definitely living large.
Biking Pods – Most podcasts about cycling are focused on racing and dudes, or dudes racing, or just not my thing. There are a few more out there that I listen to occasionally.
The Joyride – Interviews with female cyclists of all stripes. Episode 12 is an interview with ME!
Roam Rydes A newish pod, I just recently started listening to this one. Not terrible so far.
Stuff You Missed In History – They seem to have an episode on just about everything.
Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History – Mostly war history, Dan has a voice that grew up in radio. New episodes only come out every couple months. Over 3 hours long and obsessively researched.
StarTalk Radio – Neil DeGrasse Tyson and his guests talking smartie stuff.
Travel – Like cycling, there are tons more out there.
Travels in Music – a newer podcast, hosted by my buddy Zach, who gets some amazing interviews.
Indie Travel Podcast – Advice and reviews from an experienced travel couple from New Zealand.
Advice from my favorite writers.
Magic Lessons – by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Magic Lessons and Eat Pray Love. Slightly podfaded at the moment but I’m sure she’ll start up again any day now.
Happier with Gretchen Rubin – author of The Happiness Project. Her first rule of happiness is Be Gretchen.
Dear Sugar Radio – hosted by Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond. Cheryl Strayed wrote Wild, still one of my favorite travel memoirs of all time.
Savage Lovecast – hosted by Dan Savage, love and sex advice columnist at The Stranger, a weekly newspaper in Seattle, WA. Dan also started the It Gets Better Project.