First things first, here’s a little video from my cousin in Australia.
Okay, back to the post. It looks like Wisconsin results won’t be coming in
until perhaps 9pm tonight until the courts quit fucking with democracy, so in the meantime, how about sharing some of your favorite things?
I used to fall asleep at night listening to political podcasts, but that’s not exactly relaxing these days, so I have given up on that. Now I put on a random episode of NCIS and listen to the voices of Gibbs, Ziva and the rest while I fall asleep.
A great book on tape might be just the thing to help put me/us to sleep. I can’t be the only person who isn’t sleeping as well as usual, right? If you guys are game, let’s put together 3 lists for the No Cabin Fever For Us! heading in the sidebar:
Books on Tape (read by great narrators)
Fun Podcasts (not political, not current events)
We’ve got quite a collection going over there in the sidebar, with things like:
Zoos, Aquariums & Wildlife
Noir: Favorites in Film, Books, TV (BGinCHI)
Free Streaming Services
Fun Music Thread (mistermix)
Museum Tours (Virtual)
Garden Tours (Virtual)
Tours of the Vatican, Machu Picchu, and more
Arts, Educational, & Public Affairs
One Good Thing (on-going thread)
But what I don’t know is whether anyone is actually looking any of it, or if interest in those resources was just a flash in the pan. Maybe you can let me know in the comments?
Oh, and I contacted the developers again today about the remaining site issues. By the end of the week, I hope to have a plan in place for resolution of issues like the back button.
I don’t know how to characterize, but I loved the podcast Ear Hustle about life in San Quentin. There are a few seasons of several episodes each. One of the producers was an inmate and Jerry Brown commuted his sentence so the last season had episodes about transitioning to life outside.
Good music too!
Dorothy A. Winsor
The Harry Potter books make good audio books. Fun too.
I also listened to Hillary Mantel’s first two books on audiobook. I never did get around to reading them.
Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia by Christina Thompson and read by Susan Lyons. Beautiful language and pitch-perfect narration. Great story as well.
@Sure Lurkalot: Compared to what’s going on, I would have to characterize a podcast about life in San Quentin as light-hearted distraction. :-)
James E Powell
The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath, read by Maggie Gyllenhaal
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker, read by Alice Walker
The Rewatchables – Deep dives into movies from the last 30 years or so.
Song Exploder – Artists discuss how they came up with songs, how they were recorded
I’m the wrong person to ask — I have to read with my eyes.
@zhena gogolia: At least I gave you a (sorta) update on the back button.
@zhena gogolia: Do you like music?
@WaterGirl – can we ask for some new submissions for the mysteries category or just books in general? I am doing a lot of reading on my Kindle and via library ebooks, and have some new recommendations to share.
I also used the mystery recommendations to find some new authors I am truly enjoying. For whoever recommended the Elly Griffiths series, bless you!
It looks like Wisconsin results won’t be coming in until perhaps 9pm tonight…
The clerks are under orders not to report any results before April 13.
Yes, thank you!
I love music but not now, for some reason. Can’t play the piano or listen to music.
@Auntie Anne: Absolutely! Are you thinking just a few that you might include here, or a new post asking about mysteries?
Professional Left podcast with driftglass and bluegal
Political, bit also fun to hear them bring the receipts on the GOP being a fucking pile of shit for decades.
I drift off most nights listening to Ian Carmichael reading the Lord Peter Wimsey books. I know them all so well that it doesn’t matter if I let my mind wander, or fall dead asleep — if I wake up an hour or two later, I can pick up the plot with no problems. And Carmichael does have a lovely soothing bedtime-story voice.
@zhena gogolia: I’ve been in kind of a weird place, yesterday and today. So restless. I can’t seem to settle into anything, and my attention span is about 5 minutes.
The last time I can recall feeling remotely like this was when I returned home after my dad died, and I had this feeling of wanting to run away, only I knew there was nowhere I could go to get away from it.
Dorothy A. Winsor
Oh we’ve listened to some Jeeves books too. They’re light and funny
@SiubhanDuinne: That sounds perfect. The narrator voice is really important to me.
How do you listen to them? Did you buy them, download from the library?
I used to get books on CD and import them into iTunes If I did them as separate CDs, I couldn’t get ahead of myself even if I fell asleep, because it would stop at the end of the CD.
Not sure how that works if you get a digital book from the library or wherever.
edit: that was a general question for everybody.
@WaterGirl: I was hoping for a new post, and one that wouldn’t necessarily be confined to mysteries, I think.
But now that you ask, I found a terrific new two-book series by Roger Johns on a detective (Wallace Hartman) Baton Rouge. Dark River Rising is the first of the two.
@Michael Cain: I thought the April 13 date was thrown out, and everything had to be received by today?
edit: What a clusterfuck! Twisting themselves in knots as they screw over the citizens of Wisconsin.
Harry Potter Books for audio, narrated by Jim Dale. He takes on each character in the books.
@Auntie Anne: So a new post with book recommendations in general? Not a specific genre like mystery. We can do that.
@Dorothy A. Winsor: Oh you beat me to it! Couldn’t agree more, Jim Dale is awesome.
@SFBayAreaGal: Sounds great. Abridged, or unabridged?
I’m a longtime reader and (very) occasional commenter here at BJ. I also produce and host The History of the Twentieth Century, a (non-political) podcast that is exactly what it sounds like.
I’m 190 episodes in and have gotten as far as…1919. Obviously, I still have a lot of work to do. But on the plus side, plenty of content there for a new listener!
Several years ago the family was taking a long road trip and brought along three audio books. We were pleasantly surprised at how interesting one was. The Big Year, about bird watching and the competition to ID the most breeds. The movie was okay, but the book was better. And I think it may actually have been better as an audio book than a read book.
ETA: Just found out today, You Tube will be broadcasting an Andrew Lloyd Weber musical every Friday.
For help with falling asleep, I recommend the podcast Bedtime Stories for Adults in Which Nothing Much Happens.
I love that. The name, I mean. Had never heard of the podcast before.
J R in WV
@japa21: Cool. Do you happen to have a link?
@J R in WV: Oh, no! Your pup ate the remote, raven’s pup ate his hearing aids. One or both? I can’t recall.
My pup years ago ate flash cubes.
@J R in WV: Why did you delete that? I love your stories.
Can heartily recommend SF Squeecast! https://sfsqueecast.com/
Cat Valente, Elizabeth Bear, Seanan McGuire, Paul Cornell, Lynne Thomas, Michael Damien Thomas squee about SF old and new. There are 39 episodes and all of them are fun. And I have found manymany new books/authors via this podcast. You have been warned!
James E Powell
Subscribed! Just the kind of thing I’ve been looking for lately.
You all probably already know about it, but “Levar Burton Reads” is an awesome podcast. He reads a different short story every episode (one story was split over two episodes), and “the only thing these stories have in common is that [Levar] love[s] them”.
The stories are always good, and Levar is a great storyteller. And just a great person in general.
@sdhays: Never heard of it. Thank you!
@MarkPainter: My sister would love that!
You Must Remember This – Hollywood scandals and history, emphasis on classic Hollywood. Runs in single topic seasons. Deeply researched and goes into the interconnectedness of all the people involved, an incident will show up several times because it figures into the life story of more than one major figure. Hosted by Karina Longsworth, it looks at the stories of the women who worked in golden age Hollywood with a post Me Too awareness.
Thirst Aid Kit: celebrating female lust through an exploration of what makes various male celebrities attractive objects of desire. Hosted by two very funny black women, Bim Adewunmi and Nichole Perkins.
Welcome to Night Vale: Faux radio broadcast from an alternate universe desert town. I really liked the early seasons when it was just Cecil talking (with occasional Dana). He was a wonderful unreliable(?) narrator, much was lost when the other characters started speaking for themselves.
Hardcore History with Dan Carlin: basically four to six hour monologues about how terrible various wars were. I don’t know enough military history to judge, but it’s clear how much is lost by not considering the details of war and warmaking when looking at the past.
My favorite political podcast is The Professional Left.
Fun, sort of, is Behind the Bastard. Awful people of history.
The podcast Scriptnotes by screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin (who wrote Chernobyl) is great on screenwriting and writing in general. Very easy on the ears.
@WaterGirl: I used to listen on CD, but those are all in storage at the moment. Happily, they’re all on YouTube so I just pull that up on the iPhone and snuggle up next to the device. Works a treat.
Tides of History podcast. A really great history podcast that’s been covering a lot of different aspects of the late Middle Ages and early modern era. Takes a broad look at times but often zooms in on individuals or regional trends. Sometimes the host invents a historical character based on real history and gives an overview of their life to help highlight certain ideas or trends; he did one on an English woman running a brewery in the early modern era that almost had me in tears. Really great stuff.
@WaterGirl: Ear Hustle is informative, funny, tragic and believe it or not, uplifting. And since we are all prisoners now….it’s a wake up call to see how people incarcerated for decades pass the time. Some good, some bad. Like us on the “outside”.
@WaterGirl: For the musicals. No. I was just going to o You Tube in the afternoon and see if I could find it. I’ll see if there is a special link.
Its on the Show Must Go On channel on you tube. The shows start at 1PM EDT every Friday and are available for 48 hours. This Friday it is Jesus Christ Superstar.
@SiubhanDuinne: The Lord Peter Wimsey books are on YouTube? I had no idea.
I bet the Harry Potter books aren’t, though. :-(
@Sure Lurkalot: I was just being silly upthread. I will check it out.
I can’t find the LOLcat Bible on Audible.
@japa21: Thank you for the info on the Andew Lloyd Weber musicals on Fridays!
Welcome to Night Vale – Styled as a weekly radio show about a remote (yet very well developed desert town). 50’s radio show meets 50’s B-movies meets Lovecraftian mythos, yet so original it has effectively become its own mythos. And it’s extremely funny.
My Brother, My Brother, & Me – 3 brothers get together weekly to provide the worst advice imaginable. Search for the episode “Tit Liquid”.
The Adventure Zone – The brothers from My Brother, My Brother, & Me get together with their dad to play D&D. Some of the best storytelling I’ve seen happen on the fly.
The New Day: Feel the Power – The most entertaining trios team in WWE talk mostly about their experiences in wrestling & life. These three are best friends in real life, & it shows. Learn the meaning behind “Big meaty men slappin’ meat”!
The Magnus Archives – Short horror stories, as told by the head archivist of the fictional Magnus Institute. The stories are top-rate, & the world-building that occurs through the series’ progression occurs very organically.
Has no one watched the two awesome naked guys dancing with only their towels? (At the link in the post.) I have seen them before, but I just love that.
The Shrink Next Door a true crime podcast with NO DEATH and the possibility of a happy ending!
For a look at the female side of British history The Queens of England a look at English Queens consorts from Alfred the Great through James II. He followed that series up with The Other Half “The Other Half tells the forgotten and ignored stories of the most powerful and influential women in history.” It goes back to the early Roman Empresses (if you’ve seen I, Claudius this is a new look at Livia and her successors) and then he turned to The Mothers of WW1 The Daughters and Granddaughters of Queen Victoria. It’s an look at how that conflict got started, including the influence of the women who were married to the major players were involved. He’ll be ending that up soon and he’s picking a topic that is more inclusive of non-European, non-white women.
@WaterGirl: It seems obvious, but I didn’t think about it until I stumbled across it looking for something else (so it at least wasn’t obvious to me!): if you have access to a well-financed library system, they might have the Harry Potter books “on tape” (i.e. online) available for virtual checkout. My library system has quite a lot of “books on tape” that you can check out online and download.
@sdhays: I will check that out, thanks.
My library card may be expired, but I did see that they are allowing new library cards and card renewals online while they are closed.
It is specifically for help with sleeping. I’ve never heard a whole story because I always fall asleep before they end.
@MomSense: Sign me up!
I am normally a very good sleeper, but lately, not so much. I wonder why!
Are you still feeling better? Over the bug you had?
Not podcasts, but available online from CBC Radio, some also available as pod casts,
Archives of The Vinyl Cafe, funny, bittersweet stories written and narrated by the late Stewart McLean, a multiple Leacock Humour Winner for such tales as “Dave cooks the Turkey” and “Hello, Monster”.
Also from CBC Radio, “The Debaters”, “Laugh Out Loud”, “Quirks and Quarks”, “Under the Influence” and of course, Randy Bachman’s “Vinyl Tap”.
@Czar Chasm: “If you see something, say nothing, and drink to forget.” – Welcome to Night Vale
*Ahem.* From Saturday morning.
@NotMax: Never hurts to mention it again. Since I am always on the loolout for your comments, I don’t know how I missed that. If I had seen it I could have watched Joseph and the Amazing…
This week is Jesus Christ Superstar with Tim Minchin. I’m looking forward to it.
Bailed out on Joseph after half an hour. It’s not my cup of tea. Maybe with someone other than Donny Osmond . . . . (although he sings it fine).
@Dorothy A. Winsor:
You didn’t just ask Jeeves to read them to you?
“Oh Jeeves, we would like to be read a story to pass the time.”
“Very good, madame.” ?
Dorothy A. Winsor
Wouldn’t that be nice? I hear he has a giant brain because he eats a lot of fish.
Podcasts not my bag, find those have sampled mostly amateurish or grating or hectoring.
Don’t personally do books on audio as what’s remnant of my mind tends unbidden to wander far afield during them. For those who do, Audible has made scores of titles free for all with naught but a click required: the skinny.
@Feathers: I think about that while enjoying a sweet cob of imaginary corn.
@Feathers: Scandal! (faints)
You’re Wrong About! “Mike and Sarah are journalists obsessed with the past. Every week they reconsider an event or person or trend that’s been miscast in the public imagination.”
Just a few of the best episodes:
Why Didn’t Anyone Go to Prison for the Financial Crisis?
The Obesity Epidemic
‘Yoko Ono Broke Up The Beatles’
The Victims’ Rights Movement
Kitty Genovese and “Bystander Apathy”
The Challenger Disaster
LA Times: Henry Rollins debuts long-form KCRW show, ‘The Cool Quarantine’
You can listen to the first episode here. It rocks.
Guess these kind of peripherally fit in here.
1) 15 Studios and Gyms Offering Free Workouts Online During Coronavirus
2) 9 Totally Free At-Home Workouts for When Coronavirus is Keeping You Inside
@zhena gogolia: Music has always been the ultimate distraction for me. In the olden days when I often went to places like grocery stores, Home Depot, restaurants etc., I could leave the place and tell you all the songs I heard playing in the background.
For one stop shopping I came across this place a couple of days ago. Online courses, e-books, music, movies and lots more including over 10,000 fan recordings of almost every Grateful Dead concert ever. I will eventually try to find the one I went to in Bloomington, Illinois in the ’70s.
@WaterGirl: Harry Potter audio unabridged
“Arrrgh! They’re playing Sugar, Sugar again!”
@WaterGirl: This is a family blog!
Also – Look Ma! No clothes to wash!
If anyone is looking for a good history book on tape, I can recommend Rick Atkinson, The British Are Coming. Very engaging. I knew a lot about both the American Revolution and British politics at the time, but I learned a lot. He’s great at telling details and character sketches. It’s long and it only goes to January 1777, so you can imagine how granular it is.
I’ve never gotten into podcasts, although years ago I did listen to quite a bit of The History of Rome. I’m not sure how to listen to them except maybe in the car. I guess if I got back into crocheting, I could listen then. But I’m usually on my computer – mostly visiting Balloon Juice.
Yes, I’ve been enjoying these, also.
The Black Guy Who Tips. Very insightful about a range of current events. I have greatly enjoyed a segment where the hosts read passages from some great books relating to black history.
The Phileas Club, Patrick Beja, a Frenchman currently living in Finland brings together various guest to provide interesting insights on what is going on in other countries. I really enjoyed a recent episode in which Beja provided good insights into how the French health care system works, an inside view of the good things and what could be improved.
More or Less. Behind the Statistics. Consistently entertaining and interesting show that looks at how statistics are used and sometimes misused in news stories. Essential for helping to brush up on critical thinking skills.
The Now Show/The News Quiz. I have a thing for British satirical shows. Fun and often more informative than straight news.
Quite Interesting. I have a bigger thing for British panel quiz shows. This is sometimes available on YouTube. Great fun.
You’re Dead To Me. A fun podcast which brings together a comedian and a historian to provide a fun corrective on history. A recent episode on Mary Shelly and “the most gothic first date in history” was tremendous fun.
Planet Money/Marketplace/Make Me Smart. Good podcasts about the economy.
Unspooled. A good podcast on classic films. Most recent episode was on the Preston Sturges comedy, Sullivan’s Travels.
Just recently picked up the James Taylor memoir and a version of The Maltese Falcon.
(slaps air in front of forehead) Almost forgot to include this.
Free Adventure Stories on Audio Books (MP3) in the Public Domain
From Radiotopia the Criminal podcast. Host Phoebe Judge has also started reading and releasing (public domain) mysteries one Chapter a day. She has a great voice.
Great English classics with great English narrators:
Return of the Native, with Alan Rickman
Peter Pan, with Tim Curry
Great Anglo-Irish classics with great Irish narrator: The Patrick O’Brian Aubrey-Maturin series, with Patrick Tull narrating
I’m working through the garden and museum tours, and plan to check out other links. A much appreciated feature!
Thank you, thank you! I can’t function without podcasts or audiobooks or Great Courses or iTunesU type online courses.
And I just can’t with politics or coronavirus anything at the moment so I need suggestions!
Here’s mine: Dolly Parton’s America. It’s amazing. I dole episodes out to myself when I need a special treat. You don’t have to like country music or be a Dolly fan (but if you’re not, what is wrong with you?).
Also too, Boomtown. It’s about the Permian Basin and how its current boom due to fracking affects the people who live there, and those who are there just for the boom. Roughnecks and sex workers, the guy who invented fracking (and now regrets it) and the host/writer’s grandmother being interviewed by her grandson on life as a West Texas rancher. The money, the politics, the land… I’m biased I guess because my mother’s family is from not too far from there, but I think it’s one of the best podcasts I’ve heard, ever.
@NotMax: Actually, those will be perfect under the Exercise & Movement section.
Beth, of BJ calendar fame, has promised me a bunch of links in that area. Once I have hers, I will add these there. thanks.
Mo Rocca’s Mobituaries podcast. The one about BIlly Carter is especially touching.
@SFBayAreaGal: I have to find that, then. thanks
@mrmoshpotato: I can’t believe no one else loved that. Or maybe everyone has seen it before. I had, too, but I still watched it to the end.
ha! on the naked guy walking down the street.
Have a a plethora and a half of links set aside. However the growth of the list has made Topsy look like a piker and over time it has become more and more unsorted so it takes a while and no small effort to trawl through them.
Same holds for recipes scattered among too many folders on the ol’ PC, although slowly, slowly am organizing those when mood and patience meld.
@SiubhanDuinne: Didn’t he also play Lord Peter in some of the BBC Wimsey adaptations? Must have been back in the 70s or early 80s, because I remember seeing him in Five Red Herrings, and I would have been in high school then. My dad loved Sayers and encouraged me to start reading the Lord Peter series. Amazing that I *started* with Five Red Herrings and then went on to the rest, because that one’s such a maze of railway timetables it’s hard to keep straight! But the TV series was great.
I think someone else played romantic Wimsey, ; ) because I remember seeing Carmichael in The Nine Tailors, but another actor in Strong Poison.
@MarkPainter: Wow, that sounds cool!
The Machu Picchu virtual tour isn’t bad at all, and it doesn’t miss the all-important alpacas and llamas. (Seriously, it wouldn’t reflect the actual experience if it didn’t include them – they are a big feature of the site.)
Machu Picchu is one of a handful of places I’ve been in my life where the reality was much, much better than any pictures I’d seen. Really, the whole area – Cusco, the various sites along the Sacred Valley – is incredibly impressive. And they made it all over about 100 years with stone tools and without the wheel.
You triggered me by mentioning podcasts, my comment will probably be moderated because I wrote too much lol. I’ll try to keep it to the fun side of things, and it’ll be history-heavy, because that’s how I roll:
British History Podcast
Criminal Records Podcast
Dr. Matt and Dr. Mike Medical Podcast
High Crimes and History
History of Aotearoa New Zealand
History of Indian and Africana Philosophy (I have to admit that I barely understand anything they talk about, but I can tell it’s really good, understudied stuff)
History of Japan
History of Persia
History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps (same host as the other philosophy podcast)
In Our Time
Inclusive Education Podcast
Iroquois History and Legends
Korean Drama Podcast (sadly on a long hiatus, but very funny, especially if you know anything about K-dramas)
Revolutions (I’m not the hugest Mike Duncan fan, contrary to all the other history podcast people, it seems, but it’s pretty good)
Science Rules! with Bill Nye
Teaching Autism and Special Education (as a fellow SpEd educator, I don’t agree with everything she says, but gives lots to think about)
The AskHistorians Podcast (was kinda wary at first, since this stems from the Reddit history forum, but seems like everyone behind their pseudonym is in fact a professional in the field)
The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry
The Food Programme
The French History Podcast
The History of Ancient Greece
The History of Byzantium
The History of China (the one with the thumbnail of a Southern Song general on his cool horse, not the other one)
The History of Egypt
The History of India
The Infinite Monkey Cage
The Kitchen Cabinet
The Partial Historians
This Podcast Will Kill You
You’re Dead to Me (HIGHLY recommended, the host pairs a comedian and a historian and everyone has a great time)
Fun Podcasts (not political, not current events)
Thanks for the recs, everyone else – I’ve got more to add to my downloads for WFH the rest of the week. :)
Note to self: start tuning into some podcasts.
Hope Watergirl is filing this post alongside some of the other ones!
@stinger: Yay! thanks for letting me know.
I love History Chicks about women in history, famous and obscure. This week’s episode is about Typhoid Mary.
Bowery Boys. New York history.
Satellite Sisters. Real life sisters chat.
Sporkful and Bon appetit Foodcast. Food.
A Way to Garden.
Gravy. Southern food history.
Hall of Shame. Sports for people not interested in sports. I loved the story of 10 cent beer night at a Cleveland Indians game. It didn’t go well.
@Miss Bianca: It’s already there! :-)
There’s a ton of really great stuff in this thread, and hopefully more to come.
@WaterGirl: thanks for doing this. I subscribed to some interesting sounding podcasts I hadn’t heard of.
Ian Carmichael reading Lord Peter is definitely a good, soothing listen.
My other comfort/drift off to sleep audiobook choice is Catherine Aird. Henrietta Who? in my favorite, with A Late Phoenix close behind. Border on parody of the police procedural set in a cozy village in a fictional English county, Aird writes about a long-suffering detective, aided by a bumbling constable (who often says something silly that leads to the detective figuring out who did it) and hindered by an overbearing superintendent. The narrator has the perfect calming voice, with just the right undertone of not being quite solemn that the almost parody needs.
I’ll second (or third) Ear Hustle as a great podcast!
No Such Thing as a Fish is a great comedy podcast where 3 Brit comedians get together and riff about their favorite fact of the week.
The Working Songwriter is a great music podcast by Joe Pug.
All in the Mind is a really interesting mental health podcast.
The single season of David Tennant Does a Podcast was really fun, I hope he picks it back up.
The Life Scientific is a fascinating science podcast in which people who have spent their lives in the sciences are interviewed.
Most of my political podcasts have been mentioned, except for Stay Tuned With Preet/Cafe Insider. Cafe Insider is $5.99/mo, but it’s hands down one of my favorites. Preet and Anne Milgram are so incredibly smart with such an interesting depth of experience – they’re really a joy to listen to. Can’t recommend enough!
@WaterGirl: Same here. I have seen it before, and it is so much fun. The boys are adorable.
For a sick good time, I recommend “The F Plus” podcast. A revolving cast does dramatic reading of let’s call it “esoteric” web content. A good introduction is this episode about sex doll enthusiasts:
@WaterGirl: I sent the link to my siblings, and my brother almost immediately replied WHAT DID YOU GOOGLE???
@SiubhanDuinne: Good to know those are available! I don’t have a problem with Carmichael’s voice, but from photos, esp. a (UK) paperback cover of Joy in the Morning Jeeves from the early ’70s, I just cannot see him as Bertie Wooster. (Or Lord Peter, for that matter.) But audio would work I think. I def. could listen to him read the Master.
Hugh Laurie, otoh, will always be Bertie for me. I broke down years ago and bought Fry & Laurie’s version. Thanks for reminding me – I just asked Mr S, and we’re gonna watch that tonight!
@Miss Bianca: Yes, he played Wimsey too. I caught one episode on some PBS station years ago. He is so not Lord Peter to me. Not sure who would be, though.
@WaterGirl: Yes I did, and I LOL’d. Very cleverly done, and the shots of the audience reactions were as amusing as the dancers.
I’m also making a list of podcasts that sound interesting. Thanks for all you do.
I love audiobooks. Favorites:
Dean Koontz’s Strange Highways read by James Spader. James Spader has one of the most soothing voices and is just a fantastic reader. The story itself is really good and Spader makes you feel like you are there in the midst of all the action. There is a James Spader fan site that has uploaded all eight parts of the novella. I loved it so much I actually wore out the cassette tape and purchased it again.
CBS radio mystery theater — included in the old time radio app, I used to listen to them on AM radio in the 70s and early 80s. One of my favorites is The Last Days of Pompeii. Interesting mix of topics including some interesting adaptations of Poe and Hawthorne. Also, some famous old time stars were cast in some episodes. Fred Gwynn was in a number of them. There also is a website devoted to them. The episodes sometimes include ads from the original airing as well as news that was happening. Never fails to take me back to my childhood and listening to a transistor radio.
I’ll do a +1 on the Harry Potter books.
I’ve also been listening to Dan Carlin’s Armageddon podcast/series. It’s history about WW1 and kinda like a book. I think he does a good job with it, and each episode is like 3 hours long.
For other podcasts, I would add Stand Up with Pete Dominick. It tends to be political, but he does a great job bringing a diverse array of guests (with expertise!) on the show.
@MarkPainter: Two of my favorite things in podcasts – recent history and lots and lots of episodes. Will definitely stop by.
@WaterGirl: Check out #HarryPotterAtHome. Also, J.K. Rowling has made The Philosopher’s Stone audiobook available as an audiobook from libraries with no waiting.
The Hottest Water in Chicago by my friend Gayle Pemberton, audiobook narrated by Gayle Pemberton. Just a fantastic book (slightly biased review here … but Toni Morrison did say it was “delightfully seductive. But the reader should make no mistake–this is a profoundly serious book”).
I fall asleep to audio books every night and have for years — started that habit back in the days when I was checking out books on tape from the library, which was a hell of a lot more hassle.
What works for me is to pick a book I already know and love. Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Wolf Hall, Bring up the Bodies, The Magician’s Assistant, The House of Mirth, A Gentleman in Moscow, are all reliable. I like male British voices best for falling asleep, preferably without too much emoting. I love the Harry Potter books, but the level of excitement in them doesn’t help me drift off.
I set the timer for 30 minutes, put the volume as low as it will go, and adjust the play speed to .75
My current favorites are a pair of novels by Ron Carlson, The Signal and Return to Oakpine. Both of them show off his gift for characters and setting; he’s got a kindness to him that soothes me more than I can say.
I also have lots of podcasts, most of which have already been mentioned. There’s one I haven’t seen yet called In Our Time, which is from the BBC. It’s a series of panel discussions among academics about every subject you can imagine; there are hundreds of them by now and they’re uniformly informative and interesting. Mr H likes to choose a science one for his falling asleep needs, but I find them too lively for that.
Thanks for this thread, watergirl!