As we enter the final stretch for 2012—making our way through exam time, getting ready for the holidays (convincing ourselves that we will have a relaxing time with friends and family but knowing that holidays are often busier and more stressful than we like to admit)—we are setting our minds to pleasant distractions. We have compiled a list of favourite and (almost) never fail podcasts to amuse, bemuse and inform during long holiday drives, while cooking (or cleaning) for festivities, or when taking some personal time at the gym. (I much prefer podcasts to music while working out. It’s a great opportunity to catch up and as they require added concentration it’s easier to tune out the world around me. The only drawback is that I occasionally laugh out loud, or burst into tears, while on the treadmill. Thank you, Ed Gavagan!)
(on twitter @TheMoth)
This American Life
The godfather of all podcasts. The Mount Everest of radio documentaries. Produced by NPR and led by host Ira Glass, the This American Life team, including David Rakoff, Jonathon Goldstein, Starlee Kine, David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell, tells stories on a particular theme (usually in three parts) that examine the many facets of life, living, politics, culture, art and, well, just about everything under the sun. From the heart breaking to the hilarious, TAL presents stories that are unique and stirring. If you’re not already a fan of TAL, this is an opportunity to hear true stories about cloned pet white bulls, Jack Hitt’s building super who may or may not have been a hit man in South America and recovering from a break up by consulting Phil Collins. I fear that my description makes this podcast sound a bit flippant but the truth is that it is hard to capture and explain. It’s probably best to listen and make your own way through the episodes.
(on twitter @ThisAmerLife)