Passing The Time

28 Mar

Daisy is a very independent little girl, but she likes to have me in the same room with her while she plays. I’m not allowed to knit or read because she is very curious about yarn and books and wants to taste them, tangle the yarn, and tear the pages. It can get a little dull after several hours of sitting on the floor watching my little girl bang blocks together and crawl. One of the best ways I’ve found to relieve the tedium is to listen to podcasts and audiobooks.

Here are some of my favorite podcasts:

This American Life is a public radio show that is also distributed as a podcast. Each week brings a new episode, and every episode has a different theme. The one-hour episode usually consists of several stories relating to the theme. There have been a couple of episodes where I would have been upset if an older child had been listening to it with me – the one that comes to mind is a story where a couple have a “relationship rumspringa” and compete to have more sexual partners than the other in the space of a month. So caveat listener.

The Freakonomics Podcast is another public radio show that is also distributed as a podcast. These are also released weekly, and are also about an hour long. The Freakonomics radio show started with the book Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything – a New York Times best-seller authored by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Levitt is an economist fascinated by the riddles of every day life, and Dubner is an author and journalist. The podcast follows in much the same vein as the book and usually is quite entertaining.

At The Intersection of East and West is a podcast distributed by Ancient Faith Radio. It’s a recording of a Christian (or Eastern) Orthodox Church sunday school class for people curious about Orthodox Christianity, and it’s taught by Deacon Michael Hyatt. Hyatt is the chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, so he understands where enquiring Protestants are coming from. It’s a fascinating look at the history, philosophies, and teachings of the Orthodox Church, and he sometimes provides contrasts with the Roman Catholic Church and major Protestant denominations. For anyone curious about the Orthodox Church, this is a fantastic, scholarly resource.

As for audiobooks, I am currently listening to a series of books by Laurie R. King that starts with The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. These novels feature Mary Russell, a brilliant young woman born in 1900, who at first is an apprentice to Sherlock Holmes before marrying him when she is 21 and he is in his sixties. It sounds crazier than it actually is, trust me. If you enjoy Sherlock Holmes stories, then you will love the Mary Russell novels. All the wonderful, long-beloved characters are there, plus new characters that are simply delicious. I have just finished A Monstrous Regiment of Women and have just started A Letter of Mary, which are the second and third books in the series, respectively.

Another wonderful series are the Maisie Dobbs books, written by Jacqueline Winspear. Maisie Dobbs is another brilliant woman, born into a housemaid’s life before being discovered by her employer reading classical literature in the library at three in the morning. Rather than sacking her, the liberal-minded matron gets her a proper education and apprentices her to a detective. (Sound familiar?) These books provide incredible color and detail about life during and after World War I. If you like Downton Abbey, then you will love Maisie Dobbs.

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