The Magic of Audio


One of the surprise benefits of driving 200 miles a day is getting the time to decompress in the privacy of your car and essentially do – or listen to – whatever you want. Until I started this commute, I hadn’t picked up a book in 10 years. And because I never had time to read the paper nor the patience for TV news, I had only the vaguest notion of what was going on in the world. (Can you relate?) Needless to say, book clubs weren’t an option for me. Cocktail parties made me anxious. And dinner conversation could only go so far.

Now I’m well-read and well-informed – thanks to the magic of audio books, radio and podcasts. There’s a big, fascinating world out there, and I LOVE listening to it.

Here’s what I’ve “read” and what I can’t wait to plug into on my next commute. Thank you, NHPR, OverDrive, Audible, Goodreads and SiriusXM Satellite Radio for making it all possible.


I love being read to. It’s one of the purest delights in life, instilled in us from early childhood. Thanks8765 to audio books and apps like Audible and OverDrive, the simple pleasure of being read to is no longer confined to the private domain of thumb-sucking three-year-olds. Here’s a small sampling of the audio books I’ve devoured this year, along with a short list of favorite authors (I  you, Nora Ephron) and voiceover artists.

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I love funny people. Who doesn’t, right? Lucky for all of us, some of the funniest people out there write books. Even better, they narrate them. Besides Nora Ephron, my favorite humorists include Tina Fey, Anthony Bourdain, Amy Poehler and David Sedaris, not necessarily in that order. I’ve also laughed out loud while listening to Ellen DeGeneres, Mindy Kaling and Betty White. Yes, Betty White. She’s a comedian. She wrote a book. And her name is Betty. What’s not to like?


SerialSerialConceived by the creators of This American Life and hosted by Sarah Koenig, Serial “tells one story – a true story – over the course of an entire season.” The current series delves into the plight of Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. Army soldier held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan for five years. It’s storytelling and audio production at their chilling best. Prepare for multiple driveway moments.

DesignMattersDesign Matters with Debbie MillmanLed by author, educator, brand strategist and design luminary in her own right, Debbie Millman, this is a must for anyone interested in thought-provoking conversation about design and creative culture. Debbie’s guests have included Massimo Vignelli, Milton Glaser, Malcolm Gladwell, Barbara Kruger, Seth Godin, to name just a few. Design Matters made iTunes best podcast list in 2015.

TastTaste-Trekkers-Twitter-Icon-180x180-150x150e TrekkersTaste Trekkers is for foodies who love travel and travelers who love food. In each episode of Taste Trekkers’ Find Dining Podcast, founder and host Seth Resler explores a different city or region, discussing the local dining scene with a chef or culinary expert from the area. It’s a delicious way to research your next culinary adventure.

Corncorner_office_finer Office from Marketplace – If you love the wry, irreverant and mellifluous musings of Kai Ryssdal on NPR’s Marketplace (as I clearly do), you’ll love Conversations from the Corner Office. Each episode brings you “inside the room” with the business leaders transforming our economy, our culture and our daily lives. Kai leads the conversation as only Kai can.

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