Podcasts and audiobooks

Because the spoken word content on Spotify is so-so most of the time (aside from podcasts like Ologies and the Spycast), I have been trying Audible to provide better quality listening material during walks.

So far I have finished James Donovan’s book “Strangers on a Bridge: The Case of Colonel Abel” about the espionage trials and eventual prisoner exchange of a KGB colonel living as an illegal in New York (also depicted in the excellent film Bridge of Spies) and Lyndsay Faye’s “Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson” which I learned about from an interview with the author on the I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere podcast and then finished in two days.

Donovan’s book was quite interesting, if read a bit mechanically. Faye’s book is a great pastiche, interestingly written with both deep knowledge of the canon and a willingness to innovate, and very well read in this edition.

Over several weeks I have listened to the first half of “Anna Karenina” read by Maggie Gyllenhaal, which is superb. She brings a great saucy enthusiasm to the text and language, and it’s easy to imagine that one is being read to by her character from the film Secretary.

Finally, in the hope of better understanding American conservatism in order to better strategize about climate change, I have been listening to Geoffrey Kabaservice’s “Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, from Eisenhower to the Tea Party.” I’m still working through the 1960s, which is still fairly little-known history to me. The book is a bit challenging both because a lot of the names and events are unfamiliar and because the narrator is a bit monotone in a way that tends to enhance the difficulty of paying attention.

I found that such narration was commonplace in the books and spoken word content on Spotify, so generally I have been very happy about how Audible has shifted my listening toward fully accomplished published works with enduring social importance, rather than just the (sometimes excellent) present-focused podcast and news content.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

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