7 Podcasts Worth Checking Out

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I was really excited and flattered because I was asked by my friend Patrick O’Keefe to be a guest on his podcast Community Signal this week. Community Signal is one of my favorite podcasts because it’s one of the only one’s that goes in depth into my field of Community Management every week.

Podcasts have exploded and there are so many out there now. I get overwhelmed when I search for new Podcasts to listen to. In addition to Community Signal, I wanted to suggest six other Podcast that I think are worth checking out.

  1. Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert: I can’t wait for season three to come out! I loved Ms. Gilbert’s book Big Magic and this podcast is an extension on her lessons in creativity and empowering others to conquer fear and live their passions.
  2. Her Money with Jean Chatzky: This podcast makes a topic that I usually find boring or stressful, personal finance engaging and approachable. It’s geared towards everyone regardless of where you are in your career if you have debt, and what your financial goals are.
  3. Call Your Girlfriend: The tagline is “A podcast for long-distance besties everywhere.” As someone who’s closest girlfriends live in a different state that is something I can relate to. It’s two besties who call each other each week to catch up on what’s happening in politics, pop culture, and everything in between. Hosts, Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman are so engaging that you forget they’re not in the same room and that you aren’t there with them.
  4. NHS Choices This is a British Health site which may seem weird for me to suggest but of all of the running podcasts, I’ve tried this one is my favorite. If you’re thinking about trying Couch25K or any other running program, this is the one I’d recommend.
  5. Dear Sugar : Cohosted by authors Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond I think this is the best podcast on relationships. I like it because they don’t limit their conversations around romantic relationships. Their subscribers write in with their struggles with parents, friends, and siblings in addition to romantic partners.
  6. RadioLab: When I get ready in the morning I’m typically either watching TED talks on Roku or listening to Radio Lab. I’ve been listening for years and it’s one of my favorite sources on science and obscure stories that I become riveted with.

What is your favorite podcast?

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Spinster Life: Looking for a Heroine

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I dual majored in English and Communication in undergrad so it isn’t a shocker that I love to read. I tend to mix it up between fiction and non-fiction and I know this is admitting what I nerd I am but the life-long learner in me still enjoys picking up something on literary criticism every now and then. On of my favorite books on that topic in recent years was How to Be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis. I couldn’t put it down. She recounts all of the literary heroines she loved over the years and revisits whether she should be holding them up on the pedestal that she used to. Many of the characters she covers are also some of my favorites and I too needed to pause and think about how I was reading them.

Ms. Ellis’ epiphany came when arguing over who is the better heroine, Jane Eyre or Cathy Earnshaw. While I enjoy both Emily and Charlotte Bronte’s novels I, like Ms. Ellis, always preferred wild Cathy to practical Jane. During her argument with her friend though I have to admit an excellent point was made. Her friend pointed out that Cathy ends up unhappy and a ghost lost on the Moors while Jane becomes independently wealthy, free to make her own choice, and with her happy ending. It’s hard to ignore facts like that.

While I see merit to that argument I also agree with Ms. Ellis who feels that Jane isn’t the perfect heroine because she doesn’t really have flaws or make mistakes. That’s boring and while I don’t want to end up like Cathy, Jane still isn’t the heroine for me.

Two of my favorite characters ever are also explored by Ms. Ellis, Anne Shirley, and Jo March. I reread one of the Anne novels each year and I have to admit that I get more excited when I read the earlier four books as opposed to the later four. I used to think it was because there was more tension in the earlier novels and while I still think that is true  Ms. Ellis reminds the reader that once Anne gets married she gives up writing and all of her later stories are focused on her children. Jo March meets a semi-similar fate. She doesn’t give up writing completely, but she does end up living back in her hometown and married to a man who is boring compared to her prior beau. I wanted them to both have amazing adventures and become world famous authors.

She breaks down other characters I love including Elizabeth Bennett, Franny Glass and even the women in Valley of the Dolls. Okay, I admit I never saw Neely, Anne or Jennifer as a character I wanted to be, but I do reread Valley of the Dolls every couple of years. I love and agree with most of Ms. Ellis’ critiques. She doesn’t abandon these characters. They still have heroic qualities we should look up to, but we should also be aware of their shortcomings and flaws.

This has made me want to read some more novels with strong female characters to find some new heroines to add to my posse. Let me know some of your favorites in the comments.