Fans of book clubs are likely to find plenty to love about podcasts.
On the off-chance you're not familiar, podcasts are prerecorded radio shows posted to the internet, through platforms such as iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher and more. They first started becoming popular in the mid- to late 2000s, and in the past decade have become a unique cultural medium. They cover virtually every subject imaginable - politics, arts and entertainment, sports, comedy, home maintenance, investigative journalism, fashion and so many others.
So what should you listen to? That depends on your interests, of course. But we'll get you started with a few suggestions:
1. Lux Radio Theatre
To familiarize yourself with podcasts, it might be helpful to start with a program similar to radio dramas that you may have heard growing up. Look no further than Lux Radio Theatre. Originally a radio show running from 1934 to 1955, it featured adaptations of Broadway plays and Hollywood films, voiced by a diverse range of stars from John Wayne to Judy Garland. Iconic filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille hosted the series from June 1936 to early 1945, after which William Knightley and Irving Cummings took over. The podcast episodes feature vintage radio ads and, in many but not all cases, the original narration.
2. Freakonomics Radio
According to Alert One, this program has become the top-rated podcast for adult and senior listeners. You might've heard of the book on which it's based: "Freakonomics," by Steven Dubner and Stephen Levitt. The authors now host this podcast to have continued discussions of the ways in which economic concepts fit into nearly every other aspect of life, from pop culture to health and leisure activities.
3. Stuff You Missed in History Class
Produced for the website How Stuff Works, the podcast hosted by Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey focuses on the premise that in history's broad tapestry, there are so many events of social, cultural and political importance that simply don't get taught or emphasized in general history classes. Everything from psychiatric oddities and the people who discovered them to obscure royalty and the Hawaiian pineapple trade is discussed here, so you're guaranteed to find something fascinating.
4. The Handyguys Podcast
If carpentry, construction or general home improvement are hobbies of yours, then The Handyguys Podcast might be right up your alley - in part because podcasts' nature makes it easy to listen while doing other things. Handymen Brian and Paul offer tips and tricks for home upkeep tasks alongside anecdotes about their family lives and miscellaneous topics.
5. The Alton Browncast
Amateur cooks (or, perhaps, retired chefs) should try the podcast hosted by Food Network star and renowned chef Alton Brown. You'll hear news about the latest culinary trends as well as recipes and best practices on The Alton Browncast, and Brown often brings fellow cooking masters to aid the discussion.
6. Good Job, Brain!
Are you a trivia buff? If so, Good Job, Brain! will be your new favorite. This podcast functions as an interactive quiz show and showcase of strange trivia facts across a diverse range of subjects, making it a potential family activity as well as a method for keeping your mind limber. New episodes air infrequently - usually once or twice a month - but more than 190 shows have already been recorded, so you won't run out of material any time soon.
7. This American Life
Ira Glass's journalism and human interest program, produced by NPR, is one of the most famous radio programs ever, and certainly one of the most popular, with 2.4 million people downloading every episode. The stories on This American Life range from the daily habits of a Navy vessel's crew to ruminations on summer camp. You may like some stories more than others, but there are so many different topics you're bound to enjoy many of them.
8. Planet Money
Another NPR podcast, Planet Money focuses on economics but doesn't get quite as out there as Freakonomics. But it's every bit as engaging and diversely informative. You're just as likely to learn about immigration's effect on the South Florida economy as you are the difficulties of raising free-range chickens.
9. Guided Meditations
Tara Brach, a psychotherapist and student of Buddhist philosophy, created and hosts this podcast. If you have interest in meditation to deal with life's stresses or simply to decompress at the end of the day, Guided Meditations can be a big help, providing calm discussions of body and mind in fairly brief episodes lasting between 9 and 25 minutes.
10. The Senior Caregiver Podcast
Last but not least, the Senior Caregiver Podcast from Sunrise Senior Living is one you should listen to with - or recommend to - your loved ones and any caregivers you interact with on a regular basis. Hosted by Bill Worthington and featuring a revolving cast of Sunrise's experts in various fields, from memory care to nutrition and much more, this podcast offers a welcoming space for the discussion of issues that your and those you care most deeply about often encounter, while also providing valuable daily wellness tips.