Podcast Picks

I promised to share a list of podcasts I’ve been listening to; both book and non-book related. It started out with an itch to occupy my commuting time more beneficially when I have exhausted all brain power to read a book. So here are my select favourites I love listening to on the regular:

World Book Club
Honestly, this is the only book podcast I listen to religiously. WBC is hosted by Harriet Gilbert, and they would invite an author every month to talk about their latest novel. I love Harriet; she has this inviting, momsy voice that just sinks in my ears like a fat, warm, buttery scone (what a horrible imagery). I discovered some new books and up and rising authors here. There is a WBC Classics edition where an invited panel would discuss the chosen classic, like The Great Gatsby or Pride and Prejudice. I particularly liked the interviews done with Neil Gaiman, Arundhati Roy, Elif Shafak and Elizabeth Gilbert.

The Minimalists
These guys are in my ears almost 24/7 – while I get ready for work, during my commute, while I’m running… it’s like they’ve become the voice at the back of my head now, not too sure if it’s a good thing. But yes, I am an avid believer in their cause. Their podcasts are live recordings of the tour which they are currently on – the ‘Less is Now’ tour in the States. They discuss topics in relation to minimalism, provide pithy, tweet-able answers during their Q&As, and share personal experiences – from jumping off the corporate ladder where life was steering them towards a life of disaster to a life of minimalism, to how the loss of their loved ones redirected their focus to what really matters. I listen to their podcasts quite regularly because I need some reminders to constantly reevaluate my lifestyle choices. More than just buying less, it is essentially about living life purposefully. ‘To love people and use things, because the opposite never works.’ – TM.

Lit Up
Lit Up is a great podcast where authors discuss various topics with regards to their work – Mohsin Hamid talks immigration, Emma Donoghue chats about the history of Ireland, while Alain de Botton discusses how to keep love alive, just to name a few.  More fascinating topics can be found on the podcast. This is one of my favourites!

London Review Bookshop
LRB invites featured authors to read excerpts from their books and have a discussion on it, sometimes with other featured authors. I don’t quite frequent this one but it’s only because the episodes aren’t downloading as swiftly as the rest. Otherwise, book lovers, this is a show you’d want to have in your podcast.

TED Talks Daily
Who hasn’t heard of TED? This is one of my favourite podcasts and it should be yours too. From how to be better speakers, to the economy, the issue of climate change, sexual harassment, and the global education crisis, this podcast serves a plethora of urgent ideas worth sharing and listening. Recently listened to Julian Treasure’s How to Speak so that People Want to Listen and Sarah Corbett’s Activism Needs Introverts. Delightful and refreshing content.

Big Think
On civilization, our human brain, mysteries, thinking about thinking… interesting topics spanning science, culture, technology, politics and more are available in every episode of your choosing. This podcast is perfect for the curious. Some content might be a bit heavy, so I’d avoid listening to this when I’ve had had an exhausting day and I need my brain to cruise on autopilot for a bit.

Qalam Podcast
This is my favourite faith podcast because it focuses mainly on the seerah (history) of our Prophet’s life, and I enjoy listening to these stories on the go. Other series include the 40 Hadith of Imam Nawawi, Purification of the Heart, Ramadan Reflections. Main teachers are Sheikh Yasir Qadhi and Mufti Hussain Kamani.

Yaqeen Institute
A great alternative to reading their insightful articles backed by extensive Islamic research, although I still do prefer reading them to listening. Still, a good substitute for days when I just need to let my eyes rest a little.

Bayyinah
I don’t really listen to this mainly because I prefer watching and learning from the videos available on Bayyinah TV. Nevertheless, quality content on the exegesis of surahs and Quranic Arabic, yielding lessons and practical tips for us to apply in our daily lives.

Productive Muslim Podcast
Q&As, interviews, practical tips on increasing your motivation to be productive. Ideal for days when you’re feeling jaded and simply need a motivational boost and reminder on your life purpose and to chase the 5 before 5.

Other podcasts I listen to: Muslim Central (on faith), The New Yorker: Fiction (on stories), The Mindful Podcast (on meditation), Selected Shorts (readings by stage and screen stars), Dear Mr Potter: A Harry Potter Seminar (don’t ask), Deconstructing Dinner (on the origins of food). As you can see, I love listening to a medley of things – from the intriguing to the mildly amusing. If do you have any other podcast recommendations to share, fill me in!

P.S. I’m using the Podcast app on iPhone, in case you are wondering. For Android users, I believe there are plenty of podcast apps available. Podcast Addict/ Podcast Go are some of them.

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