The same as when Jackie was pushing me to embrace Sudoku, I ignored her telling me about podcasts for months.

Many and lots of months.

Yeah, yeah I would respond and go about my business. I have enough voices in my head every day. Being attentive to someone’s chatter while I’m occupied with something else held no appeal. But, Jackie would say, this one is about….

Then Michael Connelly’s second season of Murder Book came out. Season one  bored me and I didn’t finish it. But I love Connelly’s novels and the Bosch TV show (on Prime), so maybe I would try. The Women Who Caught Sam Little is much more intriguing than podcasts about Sam Little. He is a raping and murdering scumbag, which is all we need to know about him. On the other hand, learning about the women so dogged in catching him was fascinating. 

There must have been a cosmic conspiracy, because a friend sent me a podcast from Stuff You Should Know. Sigh, there was another one I enjoyed. Some stuff is just plain fun to know, right?

Being a raging mystery fan, it was easy to accept when Jackie said, hey, I discovered Criminal with Phoebe Judge. And this is where my podcasting journey got really interesting.

Books & Podcasts – What a combination!

Due to Phoebe Judge, I discovered lawyer Bryan Stevenson, the Equal Justice Initiative, and his book, Just Mercy. If you don’t think there is racial bias in our country, I beg you to read this book (and Up From Slavery). It is also a movie starring Michael B. Jones.

Also on Criminal, I caught Benjamin Ferencz recounting his days as a Nuremberg Trial prosecutor. What a story! Turning 100 last year hasn’t slowed down any part of Mr. Ferencz. Please read his December release, Parting Words: 9 Lessons for a Remarkable Life. Exceptional, indeed. 

How did I discover The Murder Squad with Billy Jensen and Paul Holes? Heck, I’ll admit that I searched for true crimes and this podcast popped up. Binge-worthy? Oh yeah. I listened the entire time I sewed Christmas gifts. Logically, I progressed to reading Billy’s book, Chase Darkness with Me: How One True-Crime Writer Started Solving Murders. Another enthralling read.

I belong to the Women’s Fiction Writers Association so it was an easy leap to start listening to their/our podcast, Hear Us Roar. Maggie Smith hosts and she is always worth tuning into.

Choosing to subscribe to Amanda Knox’s The Truth About True Crime also came to me via a book. Years ago I read, Trial By Fury: Internet Savagery and the Amanda Knox Case. Douglas Preston is part of the Preston/Child duo writing the (usually) enjoyable Agent Pendergast books. Both authors write on their own and their non-fiction efforts are among my favorites. And yes, I think Amanda is innocent. 

Other Modes of Listening

I’ve got zippo plans to tune into audiobooks, which is an entirely different way of listening to stories. 

Podcasters are akin to old radio shows, the way my dad did when he purchased this radio as a teen in the 1940s. [Because I know someone will ask: Yes, the tubes function, it simply requires a new electrical cord … then what could I dial into? A show brought to us from the past?]

1941 Silvertone Radio
Dad’s Silvertone Radio

With podcasts, you can be involved in something else—in my case with the dreariness of winter, sewing. I don’t know if I will tune in come spring. When I’m outside, I like to hear the birds, not cart my phone and earbuds around. Or maybe I will.

But listening to a book—novel or non-fiction? I learned years ago this was a bad idea when I tried to do so while driving to Guelph, Canada for work. My writer’s brain sees when I read. The words pop off the page and go directly into my mind’s eye. I’m seeing the scene, the characters, the vividness of the colors the author describes. Not a good plan for keeping my attention on the road.

How Not-to Podcast According to RoseMary

Because, ya know, I’ve got an opinion on everything, here are my top seven no-no’s if you create a podcast:

If you have a guest/co-host, do not talk over each other.

  • Music is fine, but if the first four minutes are pure music, I’m out.
  • Curse if you must, but warn me that episode might contain some choice words.
  • Always include in the details if the show may be gruesome. I’ll choose to skip.
  • Women, oh my darling gender, do not up-lilt your statements. The other day I nearly shut off a very intelligent woman whose every statement was spoken like a question. She was making me lose my mind.
  • Don’t digress too much. I love the Jensen/Holes discussions of single malts and bourbons and that they limit the time spent on whisky. On Small Town Dicks, Yeardley Smith introduces the guests and pow—you are plunged into the episode. Good job. (One intentional digression: This is one of the best podcasts I have heard. The hosts are utterly respectful of the victims of crimes. They do their best to present an honest law enforcement show. Bravo, Yeardley, Dan, and Dave, et al.)

Stuck on Podcasts

I’m addicted to podcasts, thanks, Jackie. There are books to be discovered via this new world I’m locked into. And podcasts to discover from books!

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Read: Are you listening?