In today's hectic technological age, it can be difficult to find time to read all the things we want to. With homework, sports, and all those TV shows to keep up with, who has time to read more short stories? The way I keep my writerly mind churning even when riding the bus or cooking dinner is by listening to writerly podcasts. Here are a few I listen to and love. All of these podcasts can be found in the iTunes podcasts listings and downloaded for free.
New Yorker: Fiction (iTunes link)
The New Yorker is filled with hundreds upon hundreds of classic and earth-shattering stories, but we rarely have the time to go poring through the archives. This terrific podcast, led by fiction editor Deborah Treisman, brings a distinguished author each month to the studio to deliver a stunning reading of a story. The interesting twist, however, is that the author chooses a favorite story not by him or her from the archives. There have been Joyce Carol Oates reading Eudora Welty, Tobias Wolff reading Denis Johnson, Jeffrey Eugenides reading Harold Brodkey, and many more. The reading is always followed by a discussion about why the author chose this story and some commentary on the writing and the life of the author of the story. It's always informative and fascinating, and you'll get access to some forgotten or famous classics.
PRI: Selected Shorts (iTunes link)
Another way to get your fiction fix in listening form is to tune in to Public Radio International. Their weekly podcast, usually a taping of a live performance in New York, brings great actors and performers together to read classic short stories in the aim of keeping the form alive. I've already heard an Updike I had never read before and a haunting holocaust tale. The use of actors keeps the reading crackling.
This American Life (iTunes link)
While not strictly about the short story, This American Life's sad-funny vignettes about the American experience can often feel like a spoken short story. The little arcs, the development of character, and the consistently screwy or strange topics keep me listening. Highlights for me are the frequent appearances by David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell. I often feel like I'm learning something about a specialized world that I've never considered before, which is often the goal of a good story.
Wait Wait Don't Tell Me (iTunes link)All right, this one isn't really about writing. But it is delightfully funny week in and week out. On my long bus trips between Boston and New York, I often find myself struggling not to laugh out loud. It makes me feel lighter and sillier, which can often be the start to a good creative mindset (or just a good mood). Don't miss this hilarious podcast.
These are some of my favorite podcasts; what podcasts do you recommend? What do you listen to to get your creative juices pumping?