Listening Chronicles #17
Listening Chronicles is a series where I'm documenting my thoughts about the podcasts I listen to and those I would recommend.
For the past year or so, I honestly haven’t been able to listen to podcasts the way I used to. I couldn’t make time, or even if I did, I would get impatient or distracted very easily. I had lofty aims, of listening to 2-3 hours of podcasts everyday, somehow. When I didn’t meet those goals, I felt guilty and drifted away from listening. Of course, I stopped sharing links or making recommendations and Listening Chronicles came to a halt.
I’m trying to change that.
The simple truth is, I quite like listening to podcasts and thinking about them. I like exploring different niches, see what is being made, how it’s being made, what is the host thinking about while asking questions, how is the narrative crafted, what’s the sound design, why did they pick that particular soundtrack, why did I like a particular episode, and why I didn’t etc.
I lost sight of that for a while, and I want to refocus my attention. I don’t need to have some objective metrics of listening or anything. I just want to engage with my interest a lot more.
So, with that, I’m back with a new edition of Listening Chronicles once again !
If you’re reading this for the first time, Listening Chronicles is a series of posts where I document the podcasts I’m listening to, and some of which I would recommend. It is a way for me to express my interest in the world of podcasts, and is also an invitation to the readers to share their thoughts about the podcasts they’re listening to.
I listen to a variety of genres, and I try to surprise myself. Hopefully while reading this series, you’ll come across something you like. I do want to write a few detailed posts about podcasts beyond the style of a listicle, don’t have any concrete ideas on those yet, but stay tuned !
Podcasts That I Listened To
I have known about Serial ever since I started listening to podcasts years ago. Serial is a true crime podcast. In 2014, it started off as an offshoot of This American Life (another great podcast series).
In podcasting history, the launch of Serial could only be described as a cultural moment. It is a significant event. The reason why true crime podcasts became so popular, could be linked to Serial. Narrative podcasts entering the mainstream, could also be possibly linked to Serial since it got a whole lot of new listeners invested in audio and so many podcasters find their influences in how the show is made.
Season 1 of the podcast is essentially a reinvestigation of the murder of Hae Min Lee and the person convicted in the case - Adnan Syed, her former boyfriend. Here’s the official description of Season 1:
A high-school senior named Hae Min Lee disappeared one day after school in 1999, in Baltimore County, Maryland. A month later, her body was found in a city park. She'd been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was sentenced to life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae's body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Some people believe he’s telling the truth. Many others don’t.
It is one story, spread across a season of 12 episodes. Each episode is 30-45 minutes long (but doesn’t feel like it).
I’ve been listening to Season 1, and I’m done with 5 episodes.
The episodes are well crafted. A lot of thought has gone into the production of this series. While listening, it makes it easy for you to enter into this mystery along with the host - Sarah Koenig. The story is gripping, thrilling and will definitely make you want to put on your detective hats.
It is carefully thought out, and you want more at the end of each episode. I will write about it in more detail once I’m done with the series, but if you’re someone who’s been listening to podcasts, listening to Serial is a must.
I am late, but I’m glad I got around to it.
A bonus tip - get a friend to also listen to it and don’t spoil the story for yourself. You’ll be surprised at how varied opinions can be around the case - I’m sure you’ll have fun discussions.
2. Listening In
I was looking to try listening to some fiction podcasts, since that’s a genre I’ve not explored enough.
Listening In, is one of them. It is a thriller and mystery story about a young couple, Julia and Noah, who have recently moved to New York. Julia is struggling to settle in, and for some reason the home speaker in her house starts transmitting conversations from various neighbours in her building. She starts listening into their private lives, and seems like a mystery is brewing which will affect the young couple’s stay in New York.
It is a new series. Each episode is released every week. As with good fiction podcasts, this is an auditory experience.
The production ensures that you’re able to imagine and visualise each aspect of the story, and with each passing episode the mystery keeps building. I don’t know how the story ends, and I’m left guessing. I can’t wait to find out what Julia is listening to through the creepy home speaker and what her neighbours are upto.
3. The Loneliness of the Indian Woman | The Seen and the Unseen
I recently finished reading the book Desperately Seeking Shah Rukh by Shrayana Bhattacharya. It’s a wonderful read (will share my thoughts on the book separately)
This podcast episode is a conversation between Amit Varma and Shrayana Bhattacharya.
While it is a long conversation, I honestly felt like there could’ve been so much more - a characteristic feature, I think, of all TSATU episodes.
They discuss quite a lot - influences of the writing style displayed in the book, how Shrayana thinks about economic research, what is peculiar about SRK that resonated with so many women, what is the economic status of women in the country, why is it the way it is etc.
It’s a really good episode, and will open you to a well of knowledge and insight about the economic realities of being a woman in India. Give it a listen for sure !
4. Kiddo | The Memory Palace
This post would be incomplete without recommending The Memory Palace, one of the many podcasts that inspired me to make my own.
This episode is a story about a cat. 12 minutes. Listen to it on your next walk. I won’t say more.
That’s it for this edition.
You may have noticed, there’s no Readers’ Cast section this time, but in the next edition I want to feature your recommendations. Are there any podcasts you’ve been listening to which you want to recommend? Let me know !
Please share this with people who you think would like Curiousect and the Listening Chronicles.
Thanks for reading Curiousect! Subscribe and you’ll find a lot more interesting posts coming up !