Don’t read about it. Just say you did.


lena dunham

Here is the problem.

You write a lot. A freaking lot.

Or, you work on the computer a lot. You do it so much that it takes its toll on your reading hours because you’ve heard sitting is the new smoking, and now you’re anxious. And unfortunately, you also have a reading list a mile long because you know you need to read so you can learn. Plus it’s fun. But you also have things to learn . . . and places to go and only so many hours in the day, and how about a walk in the park every now and then?

All this happens in life and then words, the things you love most, begin to lose their luster. Your computer, your books, maybe they start to feel like just another obligation, a mighty ball and chain.

Am I right?

If you’re anything like me, your obsession for words might conflict with your longing to do anything but sit down and stare at more words.

But there’s a sneaky way to get your book fix and grow – without feeling chained to your desk. I refer here to the wild and wonderful world of podcasts.

Ah, podcasts, how I love thee!

I can learn about writing or story while I walk my dog. I can re-discover a word each day while I brush my teeth.

Kismet, anyone? How about farraginous?

I can explore the theme of wisdom in Japanese folktales or listen to The Sugars plunge the depths of the human heart – the very impetus of story.

I can climb inside the head of radically artful memoirists like Maggie Nelson or Sarah Manguso. Or, I can peep into the thought processes of novelists like Justin Torres or Anthony Doerr.

Whether you want to explore the big world of podcasts . . .

or just get up from your desk and call it “continuing education,”

or impress your friends, here are my go-to’s for people who love words + art.


Between the Covers: Author Interviews

This podcast favors of the edgy, artful, and literary. If words = art, check this out.

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day

This is for catching up on words you should’ve nailed on the SAT. And for exposure to some crystalline word-smithing. Observe: “The next noise was the resonant but farraginous sound of twisted metal; a nightmarish squeal followed by eerie silence, as if the night held its breath with me.”

Poetry Off the Shelf

Intelligent readers talking about contemporary poetry in an accessible way.

Dear Sugar Radio

Honey got the blues? Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed read and respond to emotionally fraught letters and base human entanglements with sensitivity, complexity, and verve.

Story Geometry

Food for the literary minded and unapologetically bookish.

Beautiful Writers Podcast

Online trailblazers and passionate booksters Danielle LaPorte and Linda Sivertsen conduct candid interviews with thought leaders and authors about writing, publishing, and chocolate. They also do a swell job exploring the intersection of business and books.

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