Most of the time, I want a podcast that’s going to make me laugh or tell me an interesting story (or preferably, both) but sometimes I want a podcast that’s mindful, thoughtful, and helps me see things in a new way. Here are a few podcasts to try if you’re looking for a moment of gentle profundity, or insight.
Poetry Unbound (or any of the On Being family of podcasts) is a particularly beautiful place to start, in my opinion. In Poetry Unbound, poet Padraig O Tuama reads a poem and offers insight into what the poet may be saying (about life, being human, etc.) before reading the poem a second time. A great podcast for feeling calm and profound. Other podcasts from On Being include the eponymous On Being, Becoming Wise, and This Movie Changed Me, all on the same theme of life’s meaning and personal transformation and insight.
For a print version of this podcast, try The Poetry Remedy, edited by William Sieghart, or for a timely collection, Together In A Sudden Strangeness: America’s Poets Respond to the Pandemic, edited by Alice Quinn.
If you’re looking for a podcast that makes you think and helps you rest, but also teaches you something new, you may like 99% Invisible. This popular podcast focuses on the design, architecture, and infrastructure which underlies our daily lives but all but completely escapes our notice. Aiming to help you see the world differently, it’s accompanied by a print book, The 99% Invisible City, by the show’s creator Roman Mars.
And of course, there are also podcasts to help you start a meditation and mindfulness practice, such as Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris. This podcast features guests, insights, and advice into how to live a more mindful life. Accompanying the audio insights is Harris’ 2014 book 10% Happier: How I Tamed The Voice in my Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works. For a more practical, advice-based book, see Harris’ Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics.
Good luck finding a copy of the sudden phenomenon known as Fifty Shades of Grey, a scintillating romance novel – the first in a trilogy – that’s stirred up a whirlwind of conversation lately. The novel started its life as an online-only Twilight fan fiction story; once it picked up some enthusiastic readers and momentum, Ms. James modified her main characters’ names, professions, and paranormal status and Fifty Shades was born. Since then, it’s found a major publisher and a movie deal in addition to a spot on the national scene. Find your reason for not reading this sexy novel below and read on for your next great read!
- I like ‘romantica’ (romance novels with very erotic scenes), and I’ve already read (or I’m impatiently waiting for) this trilogy. What should I read next? If you’re a fan of the genre, try books by any of these authors, who mix plenty of sensual action into their happily-ever-afters: Shayla Black, Colette Gale, Kresley Cole, Zane, Janice Maynard, J.R. Ward, and Lora Leigh.
- This book was too racy for me! For a gentler read with contemporary setting and a happily ever after, try any of these writers who focus on lighter romance: Lisa Kleypas, Jennifer Crusie, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Nora Roberts, and Rachel Gibson.
- I’m so sick of Twilight and all its spin offs – whatever is the opposite of that is what I want to read. Try out these realistic, literary, thought-provoking novels for a reading experience just as compelling as the-vampire-book-that-must-not-be-named but minus all the bloodsucking, romantic quivering, and hype: Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell; The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach; Arcadia by Lauren Groff; The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt; Swamplandia! by Karen Russell; Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore. Nary a vampire in sight!
- I want to read romance or erotica, but I’m embarrassed to let people see me with them. Don’t sweat it, a lot of us are in the same boat, and DPL has some awesome solutions! For the ultimate in anonymity, check out our WILBOR database of ebooks you can check out for free. You don’t have to own a smartphone, Nook, Kindle, or iPad – WILBOR offers tons of audiobooks that can be played from an mp3 player, and ebooks can frequently be read on your computer without transferring to an e-reader. Explore WILBOR’s help page or call the Reference desk if you need assistance. Also, don’t forget that all three branches have self-checkout counters, so you can pick out your favorites and none of the staff need to be any the wiser! Or take matters into your own hands with a Do-It-Yourself or inexpensive book cover. If anyone asks, just shrug and say, “oh, I’m finally trying to finish Middlemarch – the darn thing is just so long!” No one wants to talk about Middlemarch, so you’re free to read your salacious paperbacks in peace.
Ever wonder how other readers find great books? What sources do they search, what fount of wisdom to they consult? Contrary to popular myth, librarians do not get to sit around all day and read (if only!!) We’re looking for our next great read, just like you. So we’re introducing a new series of blog posts that will help you find the books you want to read – books, magazines, blogs (other than our very own Info Cafe, of course) that will point you in the right direction. First up: a sure fire winner from everyone’s favorite famous librarian.
The third title in Nancy Pearl’s growing series of what to read (after Book Lust and More Book Lust) is the newly published Book Lust to Go: Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds and Dreamers. Whether you’re a globe-trotting enthusiast or prefer to dream about other lands, Book Lust to Go will satisfy your wanderlust (Nancy owns up to being a determined non-traveler herself) Using the same format as her earlier books, topics are arranged in short, pithy chapters, with brief descriptions of recommended titles plus a few choice quotes to entice you into picking up a title. Subjects range from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, Texas to Tibet and include modes of transportation (hiking, walking, trains) and even a chapter cautioning on the hazards of travel (“It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time”) Coverage is idiosyncratic, covering countries, cities (Berlin, LasVegas), regions (Chesapeake Bay, Appalachia, Cornwall) and states (Ohio, Nebraska, Wyoming but sadly, no Iowa) There are some curious omissions but Nancy points out that many travel subjects and titles may have already been covered in her earlier books. You certainly won’t lack for interesting and exciting travel reading with just this book whether you’re planning your next adventure, or planning to sit comfortably by the fire and read about the adventures of others.
Nancy is a regular contributor NPR Morning Edition (usually airing on Fridays) where she always has interesting book recommendations. You can also follow her via her blog at NancyPearl.com where she has in-depth descriptions of her recommended titles, links to her NPR segments and access to the Book Lust Shop where you can buy her titles or a librarian action figure – and who doesn’t need one of those?
Watch for more Book Watch entries in the weeks to come!