Podcast Pairings

To close out Audiobook Month, let’s take a look at another listening experience that seems to have exploded in recent years—the podcast. These audio shows are so popular now that there are even podcast conferences. One of which is happening in Chicago next week: Podcast Movement 2016. I’m a big fan of these shows, which cover topics from pop culture to science and everything in between.

In my mind, podcasts and audiobooks are a natural fit. I’ve rounded up a few popular podcasts and paired them with fitting “listen-alikes.”

Modern Love: Featuring essays from the long-running New York Times column of the same name, this podcast quickly made the rounds a few months back. While you may have read the column before, the podcast brings the stories to life as the essays are read by celebrities, and there are follow-ups with the essayists. One of my favorites, “One Last Swirl,” was read by Jason Alexander.

An apt pairing for Modern Love is Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance. Read by Ansari, this audiobook will appeal to those interested in the pursuit of love in the modern day with so much technology at our fingertips. Library Journal praised Ansari’s “lively narration” and recommended it for fans of his live performances as well as those "interested in the impact of social media on human relations.”

Modern Romance is also available in downloadable format.

Reply All: Marketed as a “show about the internet,” Reply All really covers a broad range of topics. There are lighthearted episodes like “Underdog,” which featured the story of the Instagram phenomenon that is Marnie the dog. And then there are deeper dives like the recent multipart episode about a man who maintained a blog from prison with the help of his mother, “On the Inside.”

If the topic of all things internet is up your alley, you may enjoy Jon Ronson’s So You've Been Publicly Shamed. Ronson explores high-profile public shaming on the internet. Library Journal notes, “The author's narration turns on a dime from deadly serious to deadpan funny and keeps the listener engrossed throughout.”

Stuff You Should Know: Find out about all sorts of stuff you might have wondered about, like “How Umami Works” or “Can I Survive a Shark Attack by Gouging Out Its Eyes?” from this fun and informative podcast.

Can’t get enough of weird facts? Then listen to What If? AudioFile magazine applauds Will Wheaton’s narration of this “romp through the world of Randall Munroe—physicist, roboticist and editor of the website xkcd?... if you want to be thoroughly entertained while discovering what would happen if the world suddenly stopped spinning or a drain appeared in the bottom of the ocean, this audiobook deserves space on your listening device.”

Song Exploder: This one is for all you music lovers. Listen to musicians from Iggy Pop to the Lumineers talk about how their songs are made piece by piece.

If getting the inside scoop on music fascinates you, check out The Song Machine by New Yorker writer John Seabrook. AudioFile magazine hails celebrated narrator Dion Graham’s narration as “enthusiastic and stylish.”

What are your favorite podcasts or audiobooks? I’d love to hear!

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