Books I’m Reading and Indulgent Podcasts

I am a commuter. On the DC Metro. 40 minutes one way.

That being said, I don’t mind it as much if I’m passing time with a book or (most likely) making faces while listening to interesting facts, stories and insights through my earbuds.


I’ve recently gotten into Studio 360 and can’t get enough of it. Their American Icons series is my favorite so far. (Did you know that The Wizard of Oz is actually a 20 book series?)

If you like keeping up with politics, The Political Scene from The New Yorker is a great way to do it. It’s a quick 30 minute look at the last week’s politics, broken down by veterans in the field.

Another one I love is Snap Judgement. Some of the stories literally give me goose bumps or make me laugh out loud on the Metro. I also really enjoy the musical interludes between stories. (This podcast sometimes shares stories with This American Life so there may be some déjà vu moments.)

Of course, This American Life is a no-brainer. It’s everyone’s favorite.

The others fall under the How Stuff Works umbrella – Stuff Mom Never Told You and Stuff You Should Know. I’ve listened to a few of the other “Stuff” podcasts too but these two are my favorite. 

The State We’re In is my newest addition and I’ve become weirdly captivated by it.


I just finished reading Geek Wisdom: The Sacred Teachings of Nerd Culture and was thoroughly delighted. I wish I were as cool as the types of people described in that book. They also gave a few shout-outs to Doctor Who which put a smile on my face.

I especially enjoyed the quotes contained at the beginning of each chapter. From those, I began a list of books and movies I need to see in 2014. (Submissions to that list have been closed. Please check back at the end of 2014.)

Gone Girl. Where to begin on this one? I think I am still emotionally scared by this book. I loved it. The plot twists, unimaginable genius and the love-hate relationship with the female antagonist. In a twisted sort of way, I admire and even envy her immaculate planning, her ability to account for everything and even use roadblocks to her plan as assets.

I also just learned that a movie is in the works for this – I look forward to seeing it and I hope Rosamund Pike is able to do Amy Dunne justice.

The same friend that recommended Gone Girl recommended Before I Go To Sleep so I decided to check it out from my online library. It was not as gripping as Gone Girl but I did enjoy the plot intrigue and arguing with myself as to the motives of each character.

After listening to a podcast from Studio 360 about Walt Whitman – part of their American Icons series – I decided to download his book of poems, Leaves of Grass. I have been reading parts off and on but so far my favorite is The Wound Dresser, some text of which is inscribed above the Dupont Circle Metro, Q St exit.

While 2013 was full of other books, movies, distractions and pastimes, the above were some of my favorites.

Hats off to a wonderful 2014!

2 thoughts on “Books I’m Reading and Indulgent Podcasts

  1. Katie Dwyer says:

    As a fellow enthusiastic listener to This American Life and Stuff You Should Know, I’m really excited to check out these other podcasts on your list! It makes such an enormous difference in a commute when you have friendly stories in your head.

    I did a similar list–I’d love to hear what you think! ( I suspect you would particularly enjoy the Slate Gabfests, both for politics and general current events.

    Thanks so much for this list!


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