Wednesday, July 26, 2017

New Podcast: Levar Burton Reads

Levar Burton Reads. I heard a reference to this podcast on a different podcast, then after I thought about it for two seconds I went and hunted it down. I mean, I didn't exactly "grow up" with Reading Rainbow*, but I definitely watched it sometimes and loved it. So to have him reading stories for adults? Yeah.

The podcast started in June and is up to seven episodes covering six short stories. The latest story is by Neil Gaiman, but Burton also reads pieces by Percival Everett, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Richard Parks, Daisy Johnson and Bruce McAllister.

In the first episode, Burton reads "Kin" by Bruce McAllister. It was excellent. The story is good, and Burton's reading is suitably creepy and solid, depending on which character he is focused on. The length of the story, 35 minutes, is perfect for a podcast as far as I'm concerned.

It will take me a few days to catch up, but from then on it looks like this will be on my weekly listens.

I have always been a visual learner, preferring reading or seeing to listening alone. However, I've come to enjoy my podcasts, particularly after I've been writing. They seem to recharge me - because I don't have to remember them or take notes on them. I'm currently working on catching up with two other podcasts, and I thought I'd mention them...

The first is the History Goes Bump podcast, which combines two of my favorite subjects: history and ghost lore. I love the stories they collect from all around the world, and have listened to the latest few podcasts with joy. I finally decided to head back to the beginning of the podcast and start listening from the start. I was warned, but the audio quality in the first few episodes is truly dreadful. Fortunately, it seems to have been fixed fairly quickly, and starting with about episode six the sound improves dramatically.

The podcast takes either a place or a person and tells the history of that place and person, then covers any ghost tales associated with them. The result is a generous heaping of history with a dash of human nature thrown in. I adore this podcast, and love it when a new one drops. Now, however, I have more than 200 episodes to catch up on.

The other one I've decided to listen to from the beginning is Tea & Jeopardy. I've listened to a handful of episodes thanks to the Hugos, but I decided I wanted to hear them all from the start. And I'm glad I did, because Emma is MUCH more sinister in the first episode, providing considerably more peril to her guest than just her disturbing butler, Latimer. As the third episode features my friend Paul Cornell, I'm looking forward to continuing my listening and finding out what dangers Paul endures.

Both these podcasts have Patreon accounts, and if I were a rich girl I would support them both for the joy they provide (and the extras would be nice to get, too).

* I was 11 years old when Reading Rainbow started, and already an avid reader. Most of the books on the show were for younger readers, like my two younger siblings, so I watched when they were watching. I really loved the theme song, though.