Letter #12: A (Semi) Brief Intro to Podcasts
I only say 'semi' because I didn't cram ALL the podcasts in here... yet
As you might’ve noticed, I am a ghost with many loves: books, mythology/folk lore, music, anything remotely involving crafts, writing, cozy stuff, etc. The list is long.
And don’t even get me started on my music taste. My Spotify mixes are a bizarre (but beautiful!) blend of assorted indie rock, electro swing, lo-fi/chillhop, bedroom pop, anime opening and covers, musical soundtracks, punk of all kinds, ‘20s-‘40s jazz/swing, instrumentals, ‘80s-early 2000s pop, holiday music, and a bunch of Volbeat. Maybe the occasional sea shanty. (I totally don’t have a sea shanties playlist that is almost entirely covers of “The Wellerman.” It’s good for dishwashing music, okay?)
The podcast seed got planted in my head after the Trash Taste podcast popped up on YouTube. It’s the combined effort of three YouTubers centering on anime and manga as they live/work in Japan: Garnt (Gigguk), Connor (Cdawgva), and Joey (TheAnimeMan).
You can check their podcast out here:
It wasn’t until last month that I started finding podcasts on Spotify. (I pretty much live on Spotify.) And oh boy, do I have some favorites now! Here’s some, admittedly all quite nerdy, podcasts I’ve enjoyed so far!
1. “Word Matters” (from Merriam-Webster)
After popping around through some dictionary sites, I realized that Merriam-Webster has a podcast!
This is the first one I listened to:
It’s also available on their site, along with the transcript if you’d rather read it: https://www.merriam-webster.com/word-matters-podcast/episode-53-noah-webster.
It was a fascinating look back into a little bit of history behind Noah Webster and the Merriam-Webster name!
TLDR: It’s hyphenated because it was a pair of brothers, with Webster as the author and Merriam as the printer.
Also, they say “lexicographer” way too much for me not to love this. (C’mon, this word sounds fantastic.)
A (Sorta-Somewhat Related) Aside: Hey, uh, so I was today years old when I learned that there’s a Jane Austen Festival in Bath?! I mean, this makes sense, but I didn’t even think about this existing and I am happy for learning this information! Check it out here at: https://www.janeaustenfestivalbath.co.uk/.
2. “David Tenant Does a Podcast with…”
YES, David Tennant does have a podcast and it brings me great joy! I’ve only listened to the Neil Gaiman and Michael Sheen episodes so far (hmm, sensing a trend here?), but he interviews a whole host of other celebrities, including Billie Piper, Judi Dench, George Takei, and Jon Hamm. Can you guess which episode is next on my list? :P
It’s all quite wholesome and interesting! He just sounds like the absolute sweetest every time I’ve ever heard him speak as himself and not as a character. David Tennant, you are a treasure! :)
3. “Ologies with Alie Ward”
This one is so fun!
I’ve also listened to so many of these episodes and I am nowhere even near finished because she has such a tremendous backlog dating all the way back to 2017. (She puts about a bunch of episodes out each month and they are all phenomenal. It literally makes me wish I was a specialist in something so I could go on her podcast, but alas, I am not. Maybe one day.)
Our host, Alie Ward, asks professional -ologists about the things they love to study! There is so much cool stuff here! You get science explained in a casual way that makes sense while learning about some weird, VERY specific stuff. I totally dig it.
I have spent many nights typing/researching my letters while listening to episodes and have found myself on completely separate research questions halfway through a letter. (Again, another reason these take time; I am easily distracted by very specific questions and am bad at not searching them out.) So those developed questions/answers/thoughts will be here at some point in the future.
The first episode I heard, and what got me hooked, was the moss one here:
Fun Fact: This is how I learned that bryology exists! Also, love the sound of this word too. It sounds ancient. Though, interestingly enough, Merriam-Webster lists its first appearance in 1848, though the origins come from the Greek bryon (“moss”) and the usual scientific -ology/-logy (“study of”).
Here we have a wild “Ologies” website spotted in its natural habitat of the Interwebs: https://www.alieward.com/ologies. There’s a description for each episode, along with pictures and links for each guest and the charity of their choice. As someone who just listens, I find it nice to periodically check the website and go, “Oh, this is what [Insert Cool Specialist Name] looks like! Neat!”
4. “You’re Dead To Me” (from BBC Radio 4)
This is my most recent podcast addition. It’s just straight up history with humor! The episodes are quite quick, so I blew through like ten in one evening! Just a nice dose of history and humor in quick bites. Or bytes. (I’m not sorry for the puns.)
Ahhhh, love this one the way I do with “Ologies!”
This might be my second favorite podcast currently; it keeps bumping around with “Ologies” for the Number 2 slot.
Two friends and history geeks talk about folk lore and mythology from around the world. They’re absolutely charming and I love finding out about new stories… or just hearing their commentary and descriptions of stories I do know! They start off with a bang, with the first episode addressing Hades and Persephone!
I’m a sucker for mythology, so Spotify did a number on me when they recommended this one a few weeks ago. Also, the host of my current favorite podcast (see below) mentioned it during “The Lightning Brief” the other day and I was VERY happy to see two of my favorite shows connect.
6. “The Newest Olympian”
Okay, I saved my new favorite for last! :D I stumbled across this the other day and LOVE it!
Our host, Mike Schubert (he also did the “Potterless” podcast with basically the same concept, but Harry Potter) has never read Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series. He’s currently remedying that and providing his hilarious commentary about the one-two chapters he reads a week. The podcast just started a few weeks ago, so episode 5 just came out.
He said in one of the first two episodes how the book was just making him smile continuously and that’s how I feel listening to this podcast 😊
Apparently other listeners are taking the time to read along with him, treating this like a book club. I have decided to do the same and reread these books from one of my favorite authors.
Update: As with many other listeners, I was not able to read along with him chapter-by-chapter. I finished the first book in a day. I have managed to somehow restrain myself by not proceeding to the rest of the series while our host and guests are only on Ch. 7, but it is a struggle.
Have you read Rick Riordan? Do you know the struggle? Do you know how hard it is to literally put the book down? If you don’t, I insist that you find out. (One look at the table of contents page is really all it takes. His chapter titles are GOLD. Solid Imperial gold.)
I haven’t read the original Percy Jackson and the Olympians series in forever. I read the original books when I was in the target demographic of middlegrade readers (middle school-ish), then kept reading his spin-off series throughout high school and beyond. I literally still read his books as they come out and I’m an official adult. (The Heroes of Olympus and Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard are my favorite of the spin-off series.)
Here, have a link! It makes me very happy! https://rickriordan.com/
(It doesn’t want to actually hyperlink here, so I apologize. You might just have to copy and paste the link into your browser.)
If you check out the “Mythomagic” tab on his website, you’ll see some brief info about the shows they’re working on for some of the series! “Mythomagic” is the studio Rick Riordan and his wife, Becky, started to work on TV/film adaptations of his work. The name is a nod to the card game that Nico DiAngelo, one of my absolute favorite characters of all time, played as a kid in the original series. (Frank Zhang did too, by the way. I love that this is a detail in the later spin-off books.)
Side Note: I knew “series” remained the same in both singular and plural form, but when I looked up how that works, apparently it makes the word a “zero plural,” which sounds kinda metal. For more info, check here: https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/series-singular-plural-grammar-usage!
I have a bunch more podcasts on my list to try, but I haven’t given them a listen yet. I’m sure I’ll report back with some more at some point!
Any podcasts you really enjoy? Clearly I’m really loving the ones that teach me stuff, so if anybody has more suggestions, I’d love to hear about them!
Have a lovely rest of your day and happy reading!
Quote of the Week:
“Wisdom begins in wonder.” -Socrates
“To a great mind, nothing is little.” -Sherlock Holmes (technically Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
Works Cited (MLA 8th):
“Bryology.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bryology. Accessed 7 Oct. 2021.