Listening Recommendation Week 6: Let’s have a laugh…

Listening Recommendation Week 6: Let’s have a laugh…

They say laughter is the best medicine, so I thought I’d do a listening recommendation that will help you de-stress on the way to work. I can’t think of too many people funnier than Tina Fey. Okay, maybe there’s a few, but I do appreciate her humour, which is why I decided to download her audio-book Bossypants.  Written and narrated by Tina Fey herself, Bossypants is a comedic autobiography that basically covers Fey’s life, from birth to the point at which she wrote the book. Fey hilariously pieces together the story of her life and career, with several quirky anecdotes, and often goes off on amusing rants about this, that or the other thing. You are sure to get a laugh listening to this.

Check out an excerpt from the beginning of Bossypants, where Fey goes on a short rant about her scar. Good news, Bossypants is available on OverDrive, so enjoy!

What are you listening to? 

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Listening Recommendation Week 5: Gotta love that true-crime…

Listening Recommendation Week 5: Gotta love that true-crime…

My listening recommendation this week is another podcast, and another true-crime podcast at that. You just gotta love that true-crime. It’s so addictive! If you’ve finished the first season of Serial, I know that you have been left wanting more. Fear not, I have something for you, and this time you can satisfy your true-crime craving with a story that’s a bit closer to home.

Someone Knows Something Season 1, by CBC, is hosted, written and produced by the award-winning independent Canadian filmmaker, David Ridgen. Raised in Arnprior, Ontario, David Ridgen takes us back to his home town to open up a cold case from 1972. The case involves a five-year-old boy, named Adrien McNaughton, who vanished into thin air while fishing with his family in Eastern Ontario. An intensive search and investigation ensued, but no sign of Adrien, or what happened to him, was ever found. With a proven track record for solving cold cases, David Ridgen may be able to solve a case that has remained a mystery for over forty years.

With a Canadian focus, Someone Knows Something offers up a much more personal listening experience for Canadians. Listen to what David Ridgen has to say about this podcast and why he started it in the first place.

Happy listening!

What are you listening to? 

Listening Recommendation: Week 4 …Are you hungry yet?

Listening Recommendation: Week 4 …Are you hungry yet?

Since my last post was all about delicious food, I thought I would share a listening recommendation that literally made my mouth water.  That’s right, an audio-book that makes your mouth water! The Lost Recipe for  Happiness, by Barbara O’Neal, narrated by Bernadette Dunne, is a delectable story about a female chef, Elena, who finds herself with The Lost Recipe for Happiness on Libraries on the Gothe opportunity of a lifetime –the chance to run her own kitchen.

Of course, opportunities like these are often attended by a great deal of self-reflection and Elena is forced to face her past, while working hard to build herself a happy future. This story offers a bit of everything, with some romance, drama and action, accompanied by several traditional Mexican recipes, that when read aloud, will make you want to either cook or eat, or most likely both.

Barbara O’Neal does a fantastic job of character building, giving you the sense that you are meeting the new characters and getting to know them as Elena does. Likewise, Bernadette Dunne does a beautiful job narrating, giving the characters life as she uses tone and accents to give each one a unique voice. If you love food and love to cook, this is a book for you. Happy listening!

What are you listening to?

Listening recommendation: Week 3

Listening recommendation: Week 3

I will keep my listening recommendation for this week short and sweet. I am recommending one of the most popular and recognized podcasts out there: This American Life. If you are not familiar with this podcast but it rings a bell, you are likely remembering my Week 1: Listening recommendation, the podcast Serial. The creators of This American Life created Serial, giving Serial increased popularity in the podcast world. It’s a bit ironic that I actually learned about This American Life from Serial.

What I like about This American Life is that they cover a variety of topics and places through storytelling. Each episode has a theme and despite the name of the podcast, they really do cover anything and everything, from places near and far across the globe. Being an Anthropology major, I love it! Produced weekly, they are on episode 602 as I am writing this, and have been producing episodes since 1995. Needless to say, there’s a lot of listening material here.

To get you started, here are three of my favourite episodes so far:

Podcast Episode 560: Abdi and the Golden Ticket

Episode 587: The Perils of Intimacy

Episode 594: My Summer Self

Some episodes will make you laugh, some will make you smile and some will even make you cry, while others will make you mad, but I guarantee you will learn something new and gain a different perspective than you had before. Enjoy!

Listening recommendation: Week 2

Listening recommendation: Week 2

What are you listening to? Here is my weekly listening recommendation…

For my second weekly listening recommendation, I am suggesting an audio book I listened to last fall. I enjoyed this book so much that, although I would primarily listen to it while running, I found myself also listening to it while sipping on a glass of wine on a Friday night and even before bed.

The book is called Before the Poison by Peter Robinson, presented by HarperAudio (HarperCollins Publishers) and performed by Susan Lyons and Toby Lennet Moore.  The story begins in present day, with the move of a successful Hollywood film music composer, back to England after the death of his wife. Moving back to his hometown in Yorkshire, the main character Chris finds himself in an old isolated house that he bought sight unseen. The house proves to be more than he bargained for when Chris finds out that a Book Cover of Before the Poisonprevious owner had died there sixty years ago and his wife was convicted and hanged for his murder.  As Chris gets pulled into the mystery and learns more about the characters that were a part of this event, we the listener find out about the life of a battlefield nurse in World War II and the serious implications that it had.

This story has lots of twists and turns. More than just the story itself, I truly enjoyed the performances of Susan Lyons and Toby Lennet Moore. If you love a good mystery with a bit of historical fiction, you will definitely enjoy this book as well!

You can find the audio book on Libraries on the Go, as part of the Southern Ontario Library Service (and I am sure others) or you can purchase it online. Happy listening!

Listening recommendation: Week 1

Listening recommendation: Week 1

What are you listening to? Here is my weekly listening recommendation…

I am going to start my weekly listening recommendation with a podcast. I know that I mentioned podcasts are my last ‘go-to’ as far as listening options in the car go, but this particular podcast is exceptional. Also, it was brought up in my Foundations of Digital Communication and Social Media class last week. My instructor played the start of an episode and the theme song alone brought back my obsession with it. Almost everyone I have introduced this podcast to loves it.

It was my friend Kate who recommended it to me and when I asked her where she would listen to it (she didn’t drive that much at the time), she said it was so good that she would listen to it any chance she got. Yes, it really is that good! For me, it was the beginning of the year and I had challenged myself to run 1000 km in 2016. Living in Canada, January was a rough time to get back into running outside; that is until I listened to the first episode of Serial.

Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life. There are two seasons, each telling a different true story. Week after week, the host of the podcast takes us through a chapter of the story, unfolding the mystery and introducing us to the various characters that come into play. We the listener, learn new details about the story, not long after they are discovered by the producers themselves.  What truly makes this podcast so great, is the host. A former newspaper reporter with a serious talent for story telling, Sarah Koenig uses her experience in journalism to uncover the facts. I could honestly listen to Sarah Koenig talk all day. She is amazing at bringing up and answering questions at the exact moment you think of them. It is like she is reading your mind. As my instructor Donna Papacosta so accurately put it, it feels like she is talking directly to you and only you.

I highly recommend this podcast to get you through your morning and evening commute. I suggest you start with the more popular Season 1, a completely captivating true story about high school love and a murder.

How do I play podcasts?

You can play podcasts on your computer by going to the podcast’s website and either streaming or downloading episodes. You can also play them on your phone, which is the way to listen to them while commuting. Most smartphones come with a default podcast app. On the iPhone it looks like this:

Podcast App Icon

It’s good to note that streaming episodes on your phone will use up your data, which could end up getting costly. A better option is to download an episode while on WiFi and listen to it afterwards.

How do I find Serial?

You can find Serial on most podcast apps by searching for it. You may get other podcasts that are about Serial, but they are not the original Serial. You want the one that looks like this:

Serial Podcast Icon

Be sure to double check the season and episode numbers, as the search results don’t always bring them up in order, and you don’t want to spoil anything for yourself.

That should do it! Enjoy. Oh and uh, you’re welcome!

What to listen to while you drive…

What to listen to while you drive…

In my last post I talked about steps to surviving your commute.  The one thing that really gets me through my commute is listening to something. I would even go so far as to say that I enjoy the commute, because of what I listen to. I am not a picky listener either. I will listen to pretty much anything and everything, but some things are definitely better than others!

My top three sources of pure listening entertainment…

  1. CBC Radio 1 – I LOVE this radio station. I promise they aren’t paying me to say this; they really do have great content. I love Matt Galloway’s Metro Morning and if I am driving early enough to hear him, I will tune in. For my evening commute back home, my go-to is CBC’s As It Happens at 6:30 p.m.. Carol Off and Jeff Douglas make me laugh, and sometimes cry, with their quirky rendition of the day’s events. While they can be serious with some of the issues they cover and seem to take a strong stance on controversial topics, they are enjoyable to listen to and interview some very interesting people from across the globe. I always chuckle to myself, both at the odd-ball stories they tell and the inevitable pun that gets delivered at the beginning of every episode.
  1. OverdriveOverdrive is an app I have on my phone that connects me to Libraries on the Go. Many local library memberships in the GTA give you access to Libraries on the Go, which hosts hundreds of eBooks and audio-books. If you live in a suburb and work in the city, you may be able to get a membership at both local libraries, giving you access to even more online books! I use Overdrive to download audio-books, which I listen to during my drive. They are more convenient than audio-books on CD and they are way more affordable. Of course, there are some additional considerations that factor into liking an audio-book or not, the narrators voice and style being major ones. I have enjoyed most of the books I’ve listened to. It’s like being a kid again, listening to a bedtime story… except they are adult books and they do not put you to sleep (hopefully).
  1. Podcasts – I listen to podcasts in the car a lot less often than audio-books or the radio, but there are some fantastic podcasts out there and they fill in the gaps between books. It was also a podcast series that got me through a winter of running outdoors last year. I’ve been hooked ever since. There are so many podcasts to choose from, and with millions of topics and stories there is something for everyone. They are convenient too; you can listen to a podcast episode right on your phone. Apple products come with their own Podcasts App, as do most other Smartphones out there. Many podcast producers also have their own apps from which you can stream or download episodes.

With coming up on four years of listening experience, I would like to share the best of what I have heard. On Sundays, I will start getting you ready for your week by posting an audio-book or podcast that I recommend, and if I happen to hear a good radio segment on CBC, I will share that too. My aim is to spread the word on audio-books, podcasts and talk radio, to help my fellow commuters everywhere find a bit of enjoyment in the ride.  Even if you don’t commute, maybe you run. Consider taking these audio gems out for a spin; they may just get you to run an extra kilometer or two.

What are you listening to?