Being stuck at home has only amplified my internal monologue, and listening to other people’s conversations helps me take a break from my own thoughts. Podcasts are also a great way to carve out space for yourself when you’re hunkering down with lots of other people. Here are five that I’ve been enjoying.
Described by its hosts as the show that tells you, “everything you need to know about the celebrities you don't,” this podcast covers D-list celebrity gossip with a comical twist. Does it improve my intellectual capacity? No. But gossip has always been a guilty pleasure of mine, and poking fun at wealthy celebrities is deeply satisfying. Tabloid coverage has reached absurdism now that there’s nothing to actually cover, and it’s easy to laugh along with hosts Bobby Finger and Lindsey Weber, who are snarky but not mean-spirited.
The Magnus Archives
In the month since I started this horror fiction podcast, almost everyone in my life has heard me talk about it. The show is set up as statements recorded by the archivist of the fictional Magnus Institute, which collects accounts of unexplainable occurrences. The first season is comprised of mainly stand-alone episodes, with the real plot kicking in at the finale. And oh boy, does the plot get real. I’m a total scaredy-cat, but the audio format means that I can be spooked without being completely terrified. This podcast is an opportunity to forget your own fears by throwing yourself into those of the characters. Plus, the final season is currently airing, so now is a great time to start listening!
Technically this show isn't new for me, but my interest in it has been renewed thanks to COVID-19. Sawbones is a medical history podcast hosted by a West Virginian doctor and her husband. While that description makes the show sound dry, it’s actually super fascinating to learn all of the crazy ways we used to treat sick people throughout history. Since the pandemic began, the show has covered topics like Dr. Anthony Fauci, Hydroxychloroquine, and origins of washing our hands. Dr. McElroy is a reassuring presence, and she and her husband bring a dose of much-needed levity. I appreciate this show because it allows me to learn about coronavirus from a trustworthy source without exposing myself to all the tragic stories in the news.
Unlocking Us with Brené Brown
This podcast is great if you like your self-improvement with a side of social science. Dr. Brown is a well-known research professor of social work who has written New York Times best-sellers and even filmed a lecture for Netflix. Now she has expanded her repertoire to podcasting, where she uses fascinating interviews and her own insights to explore the human condition. Dr. Brown’s main research area is shame, which a lot of us are probably feeling right now. I find this podcast is good for helping me check in on my mental health and thinking patterns in a productive way.
Start With This
If you’re looking to increase your creative output but can’t seem to get your head straight, this is the podcast for you. Each half-hour episode discusses a different part of the creative process, then gives you two prompts: one thing to consume, and one thing to create. The two hosts are super-nice guys who have a lot of experience in different artistic mediums. They’ve put out episodes of their fiction podcast “Welcome to Night Vale” for eight years, written three novels, and produced live shows all over the world, so hearing their perspective on art and creation is really motivating!