How can you get interesting and enriching entertainment? How can you get daily encouragement when you need it? How can you find the answers you are looking for in an easy to accomplish manner? Two words: Podcasts & Blogs. Who has time to read lengthy books? Not many of us. Podcasts and blogs (from authors you’ve thought about reading) are excellent ways to feed your spirit and your funny bone.
If you find a blog you like, subscribe to it via RSS (Real Simple Syndication). This is the little icon that looks like a wireless Internet symbol. You can have articles emailed to you, but I prefer a reader such as Google Reader that is directly on my homepage. I keep it away from the hundreds of emails I get each week, and I can easily see exactly what I want to read. You can also subscribe to many blogs via Twitter and Facebook. Who do I read? Below is a list of the blogs I follow.
- In Search for More – This is my blog. You’re probably reading this on it right now. Even though I write it, I like to see it in the various places that my actual subscribers are seeing it too. If you want to learn how to be a better parent and/or spouse, check out my blog where I write about this stuff. Subscribe at www.insearchformore.com
- The Disney Parks Blog – We have a trip coming up in October to the House of the Mouse, and I’m keeping up with what’s going on through their blog. I know when the new attractions will open and I even find out about travel tips. www.disneyworld.com
- Instrument Rated Theology– This is a blog written by Paul Smith, a doctoral student at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA. He is also a minister in the Church of Christ, and I stumbled upon his blog when doing a little research. I liked his review of a book so much that I purchased it to use in an adult Bible class and have since been reading his views on having a Christian worldview. Subscribe at www.instrument-rated-theology.com
- Musings on Spiritual Matters – This blog is written by my good friend and confidant, Matthew Morine. He too is a doctoral student but at Harding Graduate School of Religion. Originally from Nova Scotia, Canada, Matthew brings insight into the Lord’s work that can easily be missed by some. Subscribe at www.MatthewMorine.com
- Social Mouths – With the increase in the use of social media there are people teaching others how to maximize its potential. Francisco Rosales’ articles are well written, well-illustrated, and extremely practical. I credit the work of Rosales with me getting two Kindle books published. It was his easy to read article that showed me how to do this in one afternoon. Subscribe at www.socialmouths.com
Podcasts are also a favorite media of mine. I primarily listen for entertainment but there are others that can help with personal growth as well. Most all podcasts are free and can be subscribed and/or listened to through iTunes. You can also Google them for their respective sites. Here are the ones I listen to when I’m not listening to an audio book (another favorite past-time).
- Freakonomics Radio – If you’re a fan of the books, subscribe to this podcast. If you’ve not read the books yet, do so, and then subscribe. Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner are the hosts of this podcast that can be anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes long. Learn why your house’s false alarms have a hidden cost and why the president of the United States has a lot less power than you think. Levitt is an economist so he looks at things a little differently than most people and Dubner is an award-winning author. Their synergy is what makes the show so enjoyable, not to mention the curve ball they throw you on a lot of topics.
- A Prairie Home Companion’s News from Lake Wobegon – I’m not readily able to listen to the entirety of Garrison Keilor’s show, but I can listen to its most famous segment. Keilor started his “old-fashioned” radio variety show in Nashville, TN and he continues to carry the nostalgic theme well in a post-modern world.
- Focus on the Family: Focus on Marriage – Dr. James Dobson has done a lot of work in the name of families, and this short yet insightful podcast can improve your marriage in no time. In the podcast, experts are interviewed on a variety of marital topics so there’s no shortage of information. Typically one large recording spans over several podcasts so you receive tidbits of information that are easy to digest.
- The Moth Podcast – “Stories told live without notes.” Authors, actors, and everyday people tell stories that are funny or life changing or both. Very entertaining and quick with most shows being less than 15 minutes.
- NPR: Live Concerts from All Songs Considered – Recorded concerts from clubs, music festivals, and even from behind the desk at the NPR studios. If you like live music and want to hear some cool jams, subscribe. Through this podcast I discovered the music of First Aid Kit, Kat Edmonson, and I rediscovered Jakob Dylan (Bob Dylan’s son and former front man for the Wallflowers). Very eclectic in their choice of other performers including the Soweto Gospel Choir.
- This American Life – Journalist Ira Glass weaves a narrative of stories, typically in four acts, that are designed to make you think, care, and wonder about the world we live in. Unlike talk-radio, they don’t spend hours discussing what most people forgot about two weeks ago. Instead, they have stories that are good sometimes for no other reason than they are interesting. Although, relevancy is also a typical characteristic. Its popularity has grown to a TV show and they are working on an event that will be broadcast live in theaters across the country.
- The Truth – My newest subscription. “. . . a contemporary re-imagining of what audio drama is and can be . . . .” That’s right! They are working to revive one of the oldest forms of entertainment to go across the airwaves; radio drama. There are no story arcs that I’ve found. Just good short prose that captures the imagination because it is well written and true to life.