Spring Break is finally here and it couldn’t have come sooner. You’re probably off to an exotic location or maybe even your bed (both options sound pretty amazing right now). Midterms are over and this is your chance to relax and get away from all of that reading and studying. On those long flights to Puerto Rico or the hours whiling away in your room (ignoring the dishes and laundry your parents have started to nag you about) I am sure that you will be craving entertainment. Sure, you could binge-watch something on Netflix. However, I would like to offer you a better option… listen to that podcast you’ve been thinking about for so long.
No matter what mood you’re in or what you hope to get out of your relaxing spring break, let my podcast suggestions be your newest form of escapism for this week of leisure.
1. The Podcast(s) for Your Inner Crime Detective
At this point if you haven’t listened to Serial I have only one thing to say to you: just do it! Seriously, do it now. Don’t continue reading this article until you’ve finished it. Okay, you’re back. At this point you’re probably full to the brim with theories and even more questions than you have answers for. In that case, I would suggest that you move from Serial to Stranglers, a new podcast from Earwolf. Strangles investigates the Boston Strangler murders that occurred during the 1960’s. If you can get past the strained Boston accents and old-timey sound of some of the voice actors, I promise that you’re in for a real treat. I enjoyed it because of the New England elements of the story, the mystery and theories I developed along the way (more than one killer?), and the larger social dialogue it fosters about the general populist’s fascination with serial killers and violence against women.
2. The Podcast to Enjoy from Your Bed
In Your Dreams is a hilarious podcast that will captivate all those mystified by the unconscious or haunted by their dreams. Now is your chance to analyze all those crazy nightmares that always seem to pop-up around midterm season. In this new podcast from Earwolf, comedians Chris Gethard and Gary Richardson dive into dreams that have been submitted by their listeners. They provide absurdist analysis, coin new phrases along the way (reality-mare anyone?), and ultimately make you question your own psyche. I’ll freely admit that I’ve gotten inspiration for stories from the strange dreams that have been shared on this podcast. The only downside to this series is the shameless plugs for In Your Dream’s sponsor: Casper mattress. However, the occasional annoying commercial is well worth it for the belly laughs that you’re sure to have. I love that this podcast popularizes dream analysis and introduced me to so many great comedians along the way. It’s definitely worth checking out.
3. The Podcast for When You Don’t Want to Watch the Bourne Trilogy on Its 700th Rerun
Let me tell you about one of my favorite podcasts. Yup, I said it. It’s an amazing series and I will stand by that comment. The name of the podcast is Homecoming from Gimlet media. It’s a radio drama that is so beautifully layered that it creates a completely immersive listening experience. Above all things, this podcast excels at characterization. It has taught me how to write dialogue more effectively than any other medium. This podcast demonstrates that what is unsaid can create both mystery and be more impactful than that which is explained. A few things I LOVE about this podcast are: 1) the voice talent features actors such as Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac, and David Schwimmer, 2) the psychological thriller and military elements, and 3) the “behind the scenes look” for each episode includes the books that inspired each podcast. I would classify Homecoming as a must listen. I’ll admit that if you listen to this podcast and nothing else on this list, I’ll be content.
4. The Podcast for When You Need a Bedtime Story
I found Myths and Legends last summer when I was looking for someone willing to read me a bedtime story (and yes I am a 21 year old quasi-adult—what’s it to ya?). The host, Jason Weiser, has an undeniably soothing voice and is as talented at research as Beowulf is at being a bad-ass epic hero. Weiser can weave a tale like an English major (maybe because he was one). His podcast covers everything from folklore and mythology to fairytales. Things I dislike about this podcast: nothing except having to wait a week for the next episode to be posted. Things I love about this podcast: both the incredulous sarcasm (see The Little Mermaid episode) and the nerdy jokes.
5. The Podcast for Laughing with Your Squad
If you love girl power, abbreviations, and laughing until you cry then you’re sure to enjoy 2 Dope Queens with comedians Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams. The tone of the podcast is so seamlessly candid that it’s as if you’re talking with your best friend about each episode’s topic: social issues, angry uber drivers, boyfriend drama, and strong women. Each podcast features three guest comedians who share their own hilarious and relatable stories. I’ll admit that I’ve been inspired to write a few poems from the human stories shared on this series. 2 Dope Queens has also encouraged me to incorporate more comedy into my fiction pieces. The thing that I like most about this podcast is how diverse the voices, stories, bodies, and experiences are while still resonating with the listener. I always feel happier and more empowered after I listen to this series.
6. The Podcast for Fangirling Over Your English Professors
If you want to bask in the creative talent of your fellow students and achieve a more thorough understanding of your favorite professors, I would definitely recommend that you check out Professors Are People Too. UConn’s Ali Oshinskie uses her podcast to interview both her peers and professors, allowing her audience the chance to really get to know the person standing in the front of their lecture hall. Episodes feature Gina Barreca, Cathy Schlund-Vials, and LRR’s fearless faculty advisor Sean Frederick Forbes (O Captain! My Captain!). A must listen for any UConn student!
7. The Podcast for Your Love of All Things LRR Related
The Long River Review has its own companion podcast. The intro episode will be out next week. Listen in for a sneak peek into the making of the Long River Review, hear readings from poets and authors, and LRR staff interviews. Listen to it! Shameless self-plugs for days!