Crystal Valley Blog

Escape with Four-Star Podcasts and Audiobooks!

POSTED April 16, 2020

Does it seem like you’ve been working your eyes harder than ever in the past few weeks? With all of the additional screen time and reading everyone is doing, maybe it’s time to give your eyes a break! A great way to unplug one sense while still engaging your other senses and imagination is by accessing some of the top podcasts and audio books available. It’s a different kind of escapism using the theater of the mind and if you’ve never tried “just” listening, you’ll be amazed at how different this approach to entertainment is. Many people are actually more drawn into audio stories than ones that include pictures!

What’s a Podcast?

Whatever you’re interested in, there’s a podcast for that! Most of you know, but for those who don’t, podcasts are wonderfully edited and curated “radio shows”—but with a much greater variety than you’ll find on the FM dial. Some radio shows—like public radio favorites This American Life and the weekly comedy news game show, Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!—also exist as podcasts, with extra material and longer interviews, but many other podcasts exist only outside the realm of radio.

In the old days (before stay-at-home orders), you might listen to a podcast on your commute to work. Now that you’re home, this option gives you an even greater opportunity for escape: listen while you are doing the dishes, in the morning while you are making breakfast, or on a “leisure walk” with no purpose! Make the podcast something to look forward to in your otherwise Groundhog Day existence!

If you’re new to the world of podcasts, The Guardian tells you how to tune into a one from a website, iPhone or iPad, or an Android phone. Basically, all you need to do is to download an app and choose what you want to listen to.

Four-Star Podcasts

Once you’re ready to download podcasts, what do you choose to get? Here are some ideas, according to what you are interested in. One of the most popular podcasts — if you do a search for best-of — is Serial. This bit of investigative journalism is a 32-episode series, narrating a non-fiction story developed by This American Life. It won a Peabody award, and was turned into an HBO documentary entitled The Case Against Adnan Syed.

Ever wonder how inflatable men came to be regular fixtures at used car lots? Curious about the origin of the fortune cookie? Want to know why Sigmund Freud opted for a couch over an armchair? This is the stuff 99% Invisible is made of – one of the most popular podcasts on the internet with more than 400 million downloads. It’s all about the thought that goes into things we don’t think about. 

The public-radio show On Being hosted by Krista Tippett may be familiar to those who are interested in a way of looking at the world that opens to all kinds of possibilities. For anyone not familiar with the syndicated radio show, this is a way to explore deeper ways of looking at the world through religion, literature, philosophy, and more. It’s a great way to learn more about the positive ways people see the world.

Whether you are a full-fledged science nerd or have kids that exhibit interest in science beyond your comprehension, Radiolab is sure to draw you in! They have a way of telling stories that is sure to pique the interest of the most humanities-driven among us, as well as appealing to serious science fanatics!

News, Economy, Sports & Comedy

Marketplace is an American Public Media program that provides a daily show about the economy that is both informative and entertaining. Even if you are not particularly interested in things of economical nature, you will find yourself entertained!

If you are feeling nostalgic for broadcast sports events, Player FM has a podcast for you! These are talks about some of the best moments in recent sports history. Meanwhile, NPR’s sports commentator, Mike Pesca, talks about the effect COVID-10 has had on sports. Pesca hosts Slate magazine’s daily podcast The Gist.

While everyone’s taste in comedy is unique, Happier Human has provided a list of some of the funniest and most relevant podcasts out there. From Late Night’s Conan O’Brien who is searching for a true friend, to Anna Faris’ Unqualified interviews with the biggest names in entertainment, to Uhh Yeah Dude, hosted by Seth Romatelli and Jon Larroquette, you’ve got a great range of choices!

One of the most renowned names in the comedy podcast world is Marc Maron and WTF. Stand-up comedian Marc Maron has welcomed numerous celebrity guests to his show, including Robin Williams, Jim Norton, and Ray Liotta. Maron often references his own life, as well as happenings around the world. His raw conversations with well-known personalities are honest, funny, and thought-provoking.

Libertarian Adam Carolla is an author (Angry Middle-Aged White Guy, In 50 Years We’ll All be Chicks), radio personality and actor, and hosts his own podcast The Adam Corolla Show – touted as the #1 downloaded podcast in the world. We can’t verify that, but Adam shares his thoughts on current events, relationships, airport security, specialty pizzas, politics, and anything else he can complain about five days a week. 

A to Z Podcasts

There’s nothing that defines this category better than the fascinating true-life story, My Dad Wrote a Porno, from a British university student who stumbled across his family secret, and How Did This Get Made? about the origins of the unlikely productions of bad movies.

For lists of more popular and varied podcasts according to Esquire and Good Housekeeping, and Wired, visit their sites for a menu of options – from true crime and celebrities interviewing celebrities, to news of the day, with The Daily, a New York Times podcast and likewise, conservative newsy podcast, The World and Everything in It.

Recommended Audio Books

Another approach to listening is audio books, where an author or actor reads the text of a well-known book. Classics are a great place to start, since hearing them read aloud can make them more accessible. 

Apple Books offers some great free options, with stars sharing their talents in the telling of the classic stories, including Kate Beckinsale reading Jane Austen’s Emma, Kelsey Grammer narrating H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, and comedian Tituss Burgess guiding you through L. Frank Baum’s Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

While kids are on break from school, this is a great time to enjoy reading out loud. To get you started, check out this list of favorite children’s audio books from Audible, including The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, A Wrinkle in Time, and the Harry Potter series. For as long as schools are closed, Audible is making available to kids everywhere, an incredible collection of stories, across six different languages to help them continue dreaming, learning and just being kids.

Inspiring non-fiction audiobooks top the list of the New York Times bestsellers. Untamed by Glennon Doyle describes the activist’s journey to finding her inner voice, Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell explores the nature of conflict by looking at famous examples of miscommunication, and Erik Larson’s The Splendid and the Vile is a biography of the leadership of Winston Churchill. You’ll find best sellers and popular listens at Audible for all ages and “reading” preferences, fiction, nonfiction, biographies, news and more.

Take Time to Listen in Crystal Valley 

Time at home can be time spent listening to uplifting content while you engage in other activities, or exclusively and without distractions. In the master-planned community of Crystal Valley, a variety of beautiful model homes from Century Communities, Kauffman Homes, Richmond American Homes, and D.R. Horton are available — check them out online with virtual tours or make an appointment for a virtual walk-through with a sales associate. With ranch and two-story models available, new homes in this fast-growing Castle Rock community are priced from the $300s.


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