I've been listening to loads of podcasts at work lately, and while there are the big ones everyone's pretty familiar with (WTF with Marc Maron, Serial, Ted Talks), I've really been enjoying finding smaller, but super awesome ones.
We all love to cry, right? In this podcast, Susan Orlean and Sarah Thyer ask people all about what makes them cry. They've had guests like R. L. Stine, Mara Wilson, Moby, and Weird Al, to name but a few. Whether it's a good slow clap, a classic movie, or those videos of soliders coming home to their pets, everyone has a go-to for a good cry. Now you can see if yours are weird or not!
Good Christian Fun
From Kevin T. Porter, cohost of Gilmore Guys, comes a new podcast all about Christian pop culture. It's not about getting you to go to church or about heckling Christians, but rather a genuine look back at what Christian media has given us. Cohost Caroline is a delight, and with special guests, they look at things like Veggie Tales, Left Behind, various Kirk Cameron movies, Amy Grant, and The Prince of Egypt.
They've also branched into newer media like Christian Mingle and God's Not Dead. Guests provide a 'guestimony' about their experiences with Christianity, the hosts ask how each other's hearts are, and each show ends with a convicting, lifting up of everyone's social media and current projects. It's hysterical and genuine, and if you grew up in The Church, you'll feel so much better about not having all the answers.
This is the shortest podcast on the list (each episode is ~15 mins), but it's got so much to offer. Hrishikesh Hirway lets artists explore the process of crafting one of their songs, from the instrumentation, lyrics, and recording locations to the mental state of the band at the time. Lots of genres are present, including some TV show themes. If you love hearing artists talk about their work, this is for you.
Dear Hank and John/The Anthropocene Reviewed
The Vlogbrothers, who, among other things, run Vidcon, fund educational shows like Crash Course and Sci Show, raise loads of money for charity, and oh yes, publish novels, now have a podcast. It's called Dear Hank and John (or as John likes to call it, Dear John and Hank) and it's an advice podcast in which they answer such burning questions as, "Can I take food from someone else's shopping cart?", "How do fish get into lakes?" and "How much sand is there?". In addition, John shares a short poem to kick things off. They then each give an update on their topic of interest: for Hank, Mars, and for John, AFC Wimbledon (a 3rd tier English soccer team).
John has also recently started a second pocast called The Anthropocene Reviewed, which includes monologues about aspect of our current age, as well as a star rating for each. Episodes have two topics, such as Halley's Comet and Cholera (spoiler, the latter got a low score). There are only a couple episodes so far, but I need more, so please go rate it.
Harry Potter and the Sacred Text
I put off listening to this for so long, and it was a mistake. Vanessa and Casper, both of Harvard Divinity School, discuss the idea of sacred texts and explore how one might treat everyday things (like Harry Potter) with the same reverence and expectation of life lessons. They examine the books chapter by chapter, viewing each through a different lens (commitment, fear, loneliness). This show is packed with genuine insight, and if you're familar at all with Harry Potter, it's eye-opening to realize how many positive, outlook-altering ideas can be found there. The hosts have a lovely earnest quality, which makes it feel like you're on a journey together. As a religious person, I was a bit on the fence with the premise, but I'd encourage you to listen to the first episode and see what you think.