Podcasts are a unique and accessible way to create content and tell stories to a wide audience. Both creating and listening to podcasts can be done at any time and from any place; the sheer number of podcasts available and the wide array of topics they cover is a testament to this. The struggle now lies in choosing the right podcast to listen to. Here are five personal favorites for those interested in lifestyle and pop culture.
1. The High Low
The High Low is a popular podcast that discusses the week’s current affairs and pop culture, which often puts them on the most-downloaded list. Episodes range from covering events such as Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, to Serena Williams’ controversial behavior at the U.S. Open, to monthly author specials on recently-published books. The episodes tend to open with a roundup of the week’s news and recommendations of what to read, watch, and listen to.
The central attraction is the show’s two hosts, Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes, who are both well-established and widely-respected journalists in their own right. Dolly has a weekly column in the Sunday Times magazine and is the author of the bestselling book, Everything I Know About Love. Pandora is a regular contributor to multiple publications including the website, Man Repeller. Their level of openness when discussing themselves and their shortcomings inevitably breeds a strong sense of trust – and by extension, engagement – with their wide audience. This podcast is highly recommended for Millennial and Generation Z listeners alike.
2. Table Manners
Table Manners is a bi-weekly podcast hosted by Jessie Ware and her mother, Lennie. The twist: it features a guest they’ve invited over for dinner. If you’re looking for a great episode to start with, check out their interviews with Nigella Lawson and Ed Sheeran. The idea behind the podcast is captivating: inviting guests into their home to share a meal creates a sense of familiarity – between the hosts and their guest, as well as with the listener. This is a great listen for a comfortable, chat-show feel.
3. Literary Friction
Literary Friction is a monthly podcast hosted by two friends, Carrie and Octavia, where they interview a recently-published author, in addition to covering a topic on which the author is an expert. One notable example is Sally Rooney’s episode – they discuss her debut novel, Conversations with Friends, and how to write about conversations. This is a must-listen for anyone seriously interested in literature or looking to think deeper about the writing process and its techniques.
4. How to Fail
Elizabeth Day’s How to Fail revolves around our society’s conception of failure and how it ought to be understood as a natural fact of life from which good things can emerge. Each week, a guest is interviewed about times in which they felt they had failed and the personal growth that resulted. Day’s ability to talk frankly with her guests, while both investigating and empathizing with them, is remarkable. The guest lineup is impressive, and each episode lasts about 30 minutes, making it an easy listen.
5. The Guilty Feminist
The Guilty Feminist is a comedy podcast hosted by Debora Frances-White recorded in front of a live audience on a regular basis. The show deals with the often-contentious topic of feminism in a contemporary setting with its many inconsistencies. In doing so, she creates a safe space and an open discussion on what it means to be both feminine and a feminist – no easy feat by anyone’s standards.