I love podcasts, and have since I first started listening to them in 2005. Since then, they’ve always been a part of my life: company on long car rides, while walking the dogs, or just sitting at home knitting. Some podcasts, I can even remember exactly when and where I was when I listened to a specific episode. This is a multi-part series on podcasts I love, past and present.
2006-2008 (aka, the post-college Florida years)
By the time I graduated college, iTunes had come out with the podcast directory, which is pretty much what I used to manage my podcast for, oh, the next several years. The great technological advancement for me, was the ability to stop in the middle of the podcast, and have iTunes remember where I was. That was pretty much it. I was still always running out of hard drive space, so I still managed all my podcasts manually, and every so often I would purge half my unheard episodes.
Also, in this time period, I went through three i-devices. My first iPod died the summer after I graduated, and I immediately went out and got myself one of the first gen iPod shuffles (you know, the ones that looked like a giant white flash drive). I developed a system of adding my podcasts the beginning of my shuffle playlist, so that I could easily find them when I wanted to listen to podcasts instead of music. However, less than a year after I moved to Florida, my housemate’s cat, who had a tendency to rub her head against the shuffle when it was plugged into my computer, broke it in two in her enthusiasm. So I got a blue iPod nano (named Blue Ibis), which lasted me the rest of my time in Florida, but not all that much longer.
Lime N Violet
If Brenda Dayne of Cast-On is a wise matriarch of the knitting podcast world, Lime and Violet were sort of like the fun aunts who swear and let you get away with things your parents would never allow. The Lime N Violet podcast was funny, raucous, irreverent. They rambled, and got off topic, and over time, the episodes just got longer and longer. It definitely wasn’t for everyone, but if you liked them, there was nothing else quite like it. Sadly, they just completely disappeared off the face of the internet one day, and are no more.
Despite not being a mom yet, I started listening to the Creative Mom Podcast because Violet (of the aforementioned Lime N Violet) recommended it as a general creativity and inspiration podcast, even for non-moms. It’s actually much more in line with Cast-On’s structure and feel, with an emphasis on art and creativity, and being creative while also being a mom. Amy, the host, has a lovely calm voice and shares thoughtful essays and book reviews, and this podcast is actually the first time I’ve come across the concept of setting a word for a year. I’ve listened to it on and off over the years, but in terms of “where I was” when I listened to this podcast, I always think of driving to the library that was 1/2 a mile from first home in Florida. It’s podfaded now, but the archives are timeless and still available online.
I stumbled across Craftlit just after Heather started A Tale of Two Cities. A Tale of Two Cities, by the way, is one of those great classic novels that was completely ruined for me by a bad high school English teacher (I had two absolutely wonderful English teachers in high school, but 11th grade English is best not remembered.) My mom had always been disappointed by my A Tale of Two Cities experience, in particular, because it was one of her favorites, so I tried very hard to get her to listen to CraftLit along with me. I don’t think I was ever quite successful in getting her to listen, but she did get me my very own “What Would Madame Defarge Knit?” CraftLit shirt, so hey. And I did end up really loving A Tale of Two Cities when I listened to it on CraftLit.
I’ve listened to most of the CraftLit novels (right now, I’m a novel behind–I’m still 3-4 episodes from the end of Age of Innocence), but my two absolute favorite are The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, which I’d never even heard of before CraftLit, and Dracula, which has some absolutely killer voice acting and production–I would recommend the CraftLit version of Dracula to anyone above any other audio version. (Not that I’ve listened to any other audio versions; it’s just that good.) Both of these novels have multiple narrators, and each narrator is represented by different audiobook narrators. If I recall correctly, both are initially from Librivox–where CraftLit gets most of its audio–but then Heather got additional narrators to fill in certain parts, so the narration is all really excellent.
7th Son Trilogy
I’ve talked about JC Hutchins and the 7th Son Trilogy before on this blog, and how I ended up cursing his name at the cliffhanger at the end of Book 2. I found 7th Son either through Cover to Cover or Scott Sigler–probably both–while I was still in college. But the biggest “where was I when” moment for me of the entire series was when I was driving down to Key West one day while I was in Florida. Where I lived at the time, Key West was basically a 4 hour drive each way, and looking back, I’m sad that I only did it a couple of times. My roommate had just gotten engaged, and was selling her condo, so I needed to find a new place to live. I found a fantastic place, but it was probably about 45 minutes north of where I was living at the time, and I knew that making the Key West drive and back in a single day probably wasn’t going to be able to happen anymore. So one of my last weekends at my old place, I drove down to Key West. And I got stuck in traffic at the second-to-last Key.
I was (as always) several episodes behind on the 7th Son books, and I guess I didn’t realize how close to the end of Book 2 we actually were. So there I was, on my way to Key West, but stuck in bad traffic, so it was much later in the day than I had expected, but listening to this enthralling book, and all of a sudden–Bam! Massive cliffhanger!
All I can say is, if you like sci-fi thrillers, and haven’t read 7th Son, you owe it to yourself to do so. And you don’t even have to wait several months between books like we did!
Playing for Keeps
Mur Lafferty is another Big Name Author from the early days of podcasting. I’ve actually listened to several of her podcasts: Geek Fu Action Grip, I Should Be Writing, and Playing for Keeps, which is a podcast novel. This is another one I tried to get my mother to listen to along with me. My mother was a huge reader, but near the end of her life, she had trouble seeing, so she turned to audiobooks. I remember visiting her over the 2007-2008 winter holidays, (one of the last times I got to see her) and we swapped books we were reading–I told her all about Playing for Keeps, and she told me about Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst.
Anyway, Playing for Keeps is a superhero novel, with a twist. The characters have “lesser” superpowers–the title character’s power is that once you give something to her, it can’t be taken away or stolen–but because they live in a world where superheros are revered, they end up bitter and jaded. Until of course, the time comes that their specific powers are needed to save the day. It’s a fun book, and I really liked all the characters.
In two weeks… I move across the country a couple of times, kill off yet another iPod, and pick up a bunch of new podcasts.