Technically speaking, Saturday marks the middle of daylight saving time; and although i’m normally celebrating the little things, these days i find it a bit of an ordeal to pick up a single rah-rah, let alone a sis-boom-bah.
Don’t get me wrong: there’s a lot to look forward to, and even more to be thankful for, but as we move into the second summer of our shared unhappiness, I can’t be the only one feeling a little… meh, lately.
I mean, not to stress the point, but last month my air conditioning broke down just as the July temperatures reached solar flare proportions, and my heavily neglected backyard looks like the ugly “front” photo of a landscaping infomercial.
And, oh, yeah, I’ve spent the last few days using trial and error (mostly) trying to give my dog twice a day pills – who, unsurprisingly, isn’t exactly thrilled with this new hobby.
As a small part of me is tempted to go back to my lockdown-era routine of watching a handful of fashion, cooking, and / or design contest shows, I’ve decided my time is up. much better spent on more fruitful endeavors – like listening to podcasts.
Look, I know podcasts aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, and as someone whose mind tends to wander while listening to any genre of audiobook format fiction, I get it; but what I love about podcasts is that there are so many good ones for all interests and tastes.
Read on for some of my personal recommendations for literary and book podcasts that help me get through the long summer days.
The first is “Medieval Death Trip” (www.medievaldeathtrip.com). OK, this one is near and dear to my nerdy medievalist heart, especially since, back in college, I wrote and presented a research paper on Drunken Rebellion and Symbolic Dismemberment in “The Canterbury Tales “.
Running somewhat alongside my interests in the quirks, allegories, and bygone societal mores of the Middle Ages, Patrick Lane’s podcast provides the framework and host commentary on selected passages from medieval primary sources. The episodes, which focus on medieval literary “murders, wonders, curses, (…) wonders and provocations”, are typically between 35 and 55 minutes long, perfect for passive listening while you tidy up the house.
Meanwhile, “LeVar Burton Reads” (www.levarburtonpodcast.com), is the antidote to the mild midsummer antipathy you probably didn’t know you needed.
If you’re a millennial of a certain age, the mere mention of Burton’s name means that you probably now have the theme song “Reading Rainbow” stuck in your head. While I’m still marked emotionally because I never appeared on my favorite PBS show as a kid, “LeVar Burton Reads” is kind of like the grown-up version of the reads we all know and love. With short stories from big names in literature like Neil Gaiman, Haruki Murakami, Ray Bradbury, and Kurt Vonnegut, to name a few, Burton’s Readings are lush and beautifully produced escape food for the spirit.
Finally, for those of you who really don’t like long podcasts, you can try “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books” (www.zibbyowens.podbean.com) as a quick source of ideas. on what to read next. In her hugely popular podcast, New York writer Zibby Owens interviews writers about their work in a pleasantly succinct yet in-depth format that lasts less than 30 minutes per episode. Owens does a great job of filling the shoes of a book influencer and literary fan girl, asking authors questions readers have about their work, and wrapping the latest news from the book into a fun and always entertaining package.
Recent guests have included Gina Frangello (“Blow Your House Down”), Emma Straub (“All Adults Here”) and Jesse Q. Sutanto (“Dial A for Aunties”).
• Krystal Corbray is the Programming and Marketing Librarian for Yakima Valley Libraries. Learn more at www.yvl.org.