** Apologizes to The Truth Podcast. An earlier edit of this post had it listed as “read by authors.” This was in fact an uncaught error meant to read “read by actors”. Please see The Truth below for updated information.
With the expansion of Netflix I have developed a deep love for TV shows, and have divorced my former love movies. The longer story line in shorter bits without having to wait a whole week for more. Genius. Netflix is the new movies for busy people.
It’s for similar reasons I can appreciate the Podcasts ability to bring a story week after week in a convenient little package. I’ve spent hours hunting down podcasts that have great story lines and interesting character development along with good audio and hosts that don’t make you want to beat baby chickens. The following is the fruits of years of research.
Chilling Tales – Podcast One
It’s all in the title. The format varies, sometimes there is one story sometimes two or three. Sometimes they are original and sometimes they are remakes by kings of creep (like Edgar Alan Poe). There have been times I’ve shared the story with Darren and he’s simply said “That’s creepy as … poop.” Every episode is professionally read and acted. Click here to view it in iTunes.
We’re Alive – A “Zombie” Story of Survival – Wayland Productions
I’m not into the zombie thing so I haven’t listened, but it does come highly recommended from other sources. It’s a weekly podcast similar to Welcome to Night Vale where every podcast builds on itself, so be sure to start at episode one. Click here to view it on iTunes.
Lore – Aaron Mahnke
A podcast dedicated to following legends and lore from around the world. The audio is high quality and the topics tend to be much more legend based than mythology. I’ve really enjoyed being slightly creeped out by those urban legends from around the world. Click here to view in iTunes
The Mythology Podcast – Beau Caprice Vetch
Not all that different from Lore in topic and quality; however, it focuses more on mythology than legend. A couple of my favorite have been “Raven” and “Coyote”, in these episodes he gives several legends from different cultural backgrounds surrounding the animal in question (I’ll never look at a raven the same way). Click here to view in iTunes
Myths and Legends – Jason Weiser
I’ve actually never listened to this one, but when I was following the rabbit trail of research for this article I found it and decided to give it a try. The website describes it as “Each show, I’ll draw interesting, funny, and touching tales out of dry texts. Over the course of this show, I’ll tell the original stories of the knights of King Arthur’s court, Robin Hood, Aladdin, Ragnar Lodbrok, Mulan, the bloody Viking legends that inspired The Lord of the Rings, and so many more.” Click here to view on iTunes.
Selected Shorts – PRI
A new podcast of short stories preformed on stage by actors surrounding a central theme. The stories vary between classic and current. Great for the gym and car rides, it does a great job of keeping your attention. Click here to view it on iTunes.
The Truth – Radiotopia
A collection of short stories preformed by actors. While both The Truth and Selected Shorts are both story telling podcasts, The Truth is recorded in a studio with sound effects. Director Jonathan Mitchell describes it as “movies for your ears.” Click here to view it in iTunes
Classic Tales Podcast – B.J. Harrison
I LOVE this podcast. Harrison appears to be a trained narrator and he tries to pick seasonally appropriate classic stories and shares them an hour every week until the book is complete. One of my favorites is The Enchanted April. I’d never heard of this classic book before listening to the podcast, and looked forward to it being downloaded on my phone every week. Click here to view it in iTunes
Stories About Average People
Snap Judgment – WNYC
I caught Snap listening to NPR while on call one afternoon (I turned 25 and started listening to NPR, it was the weirdest thing) and I’ve been hooked ever since (nearly 6 years. Yikes). I love these podcasts for when I’m on a long bike ride. Glen Washington and his team orchestrates each story to feel almost like music even though each story is individually told by the person experiencing it. Click here to view it on iTunes.
The Abortion Diaries – Melissa Madera
Melissa Madera travels the world collecting men and women’s stories of abortions. This podcast is truly incredible in the way it allows women and men to express their relief, grief, peace, regret or conflicting emotion surrounding their experience. It is about the least political this topic can get as Melissa seeks to simply hear the person’s story in their own words. Click here to view it on iTunes
Hardcore History – Dan Carlin
Dan Carlin for president. The man has the voice of an angel and the mind of a Nobel prize winner. His history podcasts are sporadic and long (think 4 hours long), but Carlin is an incredible story-teller and what would have been boring in a book comes alive with him. Click here to view Hardcore History on iTunes. If you are more of a political bent give Common Sense a try.
Stuff You Missed in History – howstuffworks.com
My favorite of the Stuff You Should Know podcasts. Holly and Tracy are engaging hosts who stick to the topic and have a knack for telling those unusual and undertold stories of history. Each episode is only 30 minutes long, so it’s like getting a shot of history espresso twice a week. Click here to view on iTunes.
Titanic Letters – BBC
No new episodes are currently being made of this incredibly touching podcasts, so you can binge listen like Netflix. Each episode is a letter sent from the Titanic before it sank. Some of the episodes are very short, but leave you wanting a little more context and history on the person who wrote it. Click here to view on iTunes
Liar City – Brian Flanagan
This podcast will turn your world upside down. Remember the lady who sued McDonald’s for the hot coffee? Apparently there was way more to the story. Michael Jackson? Probably definitely not a child molester. Each episode takes common lies we believe and dissects them down to leave you paranoid about how much you believe from the media. Click here to view on iTunes.
Sword and Scale – True Crime Media
This podcast is truly addicting. Each episode is a recent(ish) criminal case. The host doesn’t just discuss the case, instead he provides court transcripts, 911 calls, and interviews to give you a fuller picture. Click here to view on iTunes.
Book Riot: The Podcast – Book Riot
A bi-weekly book news podcasts. Keep up to date with the latest releases, openings and topics. Click here to view Book Riot: The Podcast on iTunes. Also great in book news is The Penguin Podcast which does a lengthy author interview intersected with professionally read clips from the book in discussion.
Books on the Nightstand – Books on the Nightstand
One of the best book news podcasts, in my opinion. The co-host discuss big news and releases in a way that is fast past and relative. Click here to view on iTunes
What Should I Read Next? – Anne Bogel
Anne Bogel is the author of the blog Modern Mrs Darcy , and her podcast What Should I Read Next? is a well designed podcast with an interesting premise. The format consists of Anne chatting with a fellow reader, after getting the reader’s likes and dislikes she comes back with book recommendations they should read next. It’s pretty entertaining to listen to. Click here to view What Should I Read Next? on iTunes. Also interesting is Dear Book Nerd a question answer show where the host answers questions sent in on a variety of reading and publishing nature.
Loveline – Podcast One
Not, strictly speaking, a book podcast, but it is the one podcast I listen to five days a week. Dr Drew Pinsky and Mike Catherwood host the show where people call in with all kinds of love, relationship and health questions. I love listening to Loveline when I cook… or chart a the hospital. I can come in and out of listening with one ear and not feel like I missed too much. I’ve also learned a ton about psychology and humans from Dr Drew. Click here to view on iTunes