Shoutout Saturday (book and podcast recommendations)

Hey guys! So I’ve been spending a lot of time by myself of late, just because I’m on winter break right now–and sometimes when I feel lonely, listening to podcasts helps. (This is gonna sound really sad–but it’s sorta like a one-sided phone call.) Anyway, here are some of my favourites I’ve recently discovered!

Zero Hours

This is one of those podcasts I’ve been meaning to get to for ages, and I’m so glad I finally did. It’s a short series of pieces exploring the end of the world, from 1722 to the present, to far, far into the future. It’s definitely not easy listening, or the best thing to put on if you’re already feeling anxious about the state of the world. But if you’re up to it, this show has some of the most brilliant, unique writing and sound design I’ve seen in a long time.

Some episodes explore dystopian societies, and horrifying wastelands, your typical “end of the world” fare. But other episodes explore a much more personal kind of apocalypse–a couple weighing the pros and cons of taking a miracle drug that might ruin their relationship, a bartender considering his options the night before Prohibition goes into effect. It’s definitely not rainbows and sunshine, but despite the grim stories this podcast tells, in the end, I think it’s a show about hope, and shared humanity.

Oh! And, it’s by the same people who made Wolf 359, so some of the voice actors from that star in it, which is super cool, just to get to see the same voices in a totally different context? I don’t know, it’s neat!

A Neon Darkness

So, The Bright Sessions has to be one of my favourite podcasts of all time. I binge-listened to it in, like, a week, because the writing is just so addictive–maybe I’ll write about it more at some point, or relisten. But the basic premise is that the show follows Dr. Bright, a therapist for people with superpowers, and her clients, whose stories all gradually come together. It discusses mental health and trauma in a really refreshing, poignant way, it has found family, and it’s just such a good show. Anyway, it’s over now, but the person who wrote it, Lauren Shippen, is still writing stuff in the universe–there are two spinoff shows out right now, and she’s writing three books about some of the supporting characters who didn’t get a chance to tell their full stories in the podcast.

A Neon Darkness explores the life of Damien, a nineteen-year-old with the power to make other people want (and therefore do) what he wants.

This book kept me up super late into the night, I just couldn’t put it down. In the podcast, I always hated Damien’s guts, and I still do–he does some really awful, inexcusable things. But after reading this book, I can empathize a little bit more with some of his experiences. The way he becomes the villain of his own story, and sabotages himself without even realizing it–I’ve definitely been there.

This book also has phenomenal representation, just like the podcast, which made me so happy–and yeah, you should check it out, and also listen to The Bright Sessions!

Station Arcadia

My friend introduced me to this show. I started listening to it a few days ago, and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since.

Station Arcadia is set in a barren, war-torn dystopian empire from the not-so-distant future. Each episode is a broadcast from our narrator, Kass, as she tells stories of those at the living very edges of society. (I’m only on episode five, but I’m pretty sure there’s gonna be a revolution, and I’m very hyped.) It’s got really good representation, and it’s got that super cool radio show format, which I’m always trash for in podcasts–and I love the mix of a new story every episode, but there’s still an overarching storyline, and of course, as the episodes go on you get to know the narrator. The sound design and music is also really well done, like wow.

I’m almost done casting for my podcast, and halfway through editing the first season, which is super exciting–and I guess it’s just comforting to see another small podcast, doing its thing really well, and putting out super high-quality content? It makes me really happy.

The Lower Light

Right now, this podcast is only on its first few episodes, but it deserves so much more attention!

The Lower Light follows Laurie Caston, a curator for the Lighthouse Museum, as he explores the artefacts and tells you the stories behind him. Each episode has a new stand-alone tale of selkies, or vampires, or other funky creatures, and it’s super cool. Laurie’s voice is so soothing to listen to, he’s pretty much the ideal narrator for a fiction podcast (in my humble opinion). Oh, and it’s got really awesome representation too, which is super cool to see!

The sound design is beautiful, and the writing is just so effortlessly elegant–somehow every time I listen to it, I feel like I’m right there with the characters, and I can just imagine the setting so vividly. Listening to this show is just an absolutely magical experience, and I can’t wait to see where it goes in the future.


Anyway, that’s all I have for you this week! I hope you all are taking care of yourselves, I know the holidays can be a really rough time, especially this year. I’m sending lots of hugs your way. I hope you’re all safe and healthy, and I’ll see you again in the New Year. 🙂

Lots of love,

Lorna

What I’ve been listening to + reading (Shoutout Saturday!)

The 12:37 | Listen via Stitcher for Podcasts

The 12:37

The 12:37 is one of those podcasts I got recommended to me at some point, and so then I added to my library on Spotify–but just never really got around to until a few weeks ago, when I finally got up to date with The Penumbra Podcast and was looking for something new to listen to. But I’m so glad I did.

It follows Nora, a twentysomething girl who accidentally boards a time-travelling train on her way home from work. But there’s a larger plan afoot, and also yet another evil corporation who is actually manipulating everyone, which I’m totally here for. There’s found family, and a really cute romance, and it’s just so good.

I really appreciate how depression is handled about, as well as taking medication for it. You can tell that there was a lot of care put into the way they wrote it, and as someone who takes meds, and experiences depression, it hits home. Also, the representation is amazing, and it makes me so happy! If you’re looking for diverse media, you really can’t beat podcasts.

Death by Dying | Listen via Stitcher for Podcasts

Death by Dying

I’ve probably said this before, but I love how you can listen to podcasts while doing other things. With a book or TV show, you have to pencil out a whole part of your day to watch/read, but podcasts can conveniently be listened to while I’m working, or while I’m on the bus, or doing schoolwork, or whatever. I listened to the entire first season of Death by Dying while I was doing some gardening for a client, and got ridiculously emotional as soon as I went home.

Death By Dying follows the tired obituary writer of Crestfall, Idaho, as he tells the stories of the recently departed, and investigates their lives. It has a similar vibe to Welcome to Night Vale, since they both take place in these absurd small towns–which, as someone who lives in an absurd small town, I am absolutely here for–but it’s also completely different? It’s quiet and mournful, it’s funny and ridiculous, it’s terrifying at times, and also, the sound design is gorgeous.

I don’t know–as someone who’s spent a lot of her life observing death from a distance… this show just hits different.

Wolf 359 (podcast) - Wikipedia

Wolf 359

Okay. So, this podcast isn’t in any way a new find for me; I spent most ninth grade absolutely losing my mind over it, because it’s such a good show. I have the whole thing downloaded on my phone, and I guess I never bothered to remove the episodes after I finished them. So, while I was working, I realized I didn’t have anything else downloaded, and so I decided to reslisten to it, and I have no regrets because it’s amazing, and I love this show so so much. It’s particularly nice to listen to while I do things I don’t want to–because hey, I may have a massive pile of dishes to do, and also my cat threw up on the carpet, but at least I don’t work for Goddard Futuristics.

Wolf 359 follows Doug Eiffel, a tired, kind of obnoxious communications officer, aboard the USS Hephaestus. It starts out as a workplace comedy, but about ten episodes in, does a super cool genre switch, and suddenly, yep, guess what, there’s another evil corporation manipulating everyone. (What can I say, art reflects life.) It’s one part comedy, one part tragedy, and one part cosmic horror, and honestly feels concerning relatable after having spent a fair amount of time alone, in close quarters with two other people for an indeterminate amount of time myself when we were in quarantine. The soundtrack is amazing, the writing is just so good, and the sound design is beautifully done, and, I don’t know, it’s probably one of my favourite podcasts out there–so go give it a listen.

Here in the Real World: Pennypacker, Sara: 9780062698957: Books - Amazon.ca

Here in the Real World

I’ve had this book sitting on my nightstand for a while, but recently, I finally got around to reading it. And I am so glad that I did. This book just hit way too close to home for me, and I think pretty much any other creative person would feel the same.

Here in the Real World is about Ware, an 11-year-old boy whose mom sends him off to summer camp, so she can help his sick grandmother. He’s surrounded by people who see his introversion as a problem, and are constantly trying to get him to interact with other children in a different way. So, after a few days of the camp, he drops out, and goes wandering into the forest, where he finds this abandoned lot, with an old church on it. It’s there he meets Jolene, who’s been turning the lot into a garden, and the two set out to make it into something beautiful, and completely new.

This book is heartwrenching, and beautiful. It made me remember what it felt like to be a little kid, figuring yourself out, and trying to find your place in the world–to not be so tired and cynical. And honestly, I really needed that.

Okay! I think that’s about it for today! I hope you liked reading me geek out for 1000 words, because I had fun writing this post. 🙂

Lots of love,

dragonwritesthings