Friday, July 9, 2010

You Should Be Listening to RadioLab

They say there's no zealot like the convert, and so it is with the Ape and podcasts. We have several favorites, though not many yet of the bookish variety. Still, when we recently listened to this episode of RadioLab, our favorite current podcast, it became clear we had to share it.

From the show's teaser:
In [this] podcast, a look at what scientists uncover when they treat words like data. In [Agatha] Christie’s case, an English professor makes a diagnosis decades after her death. And in a study involving 678 nuns—as Dr. Kelvin Lim and Dr. Serguei Pakhomov from the University of Minnesota explain—an unexpected find in a convent archive leads to a startling twist. In both examples, words serve as a window into aging brains…a window that may someday help pinpoint very early warning signs for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. We also hear from Sister Alberta Sheridan, a 94-year-old Nun Study participant.
It's a fascinating twenty minutes for the bookishly-inclined and serves as a good example of the kinds of stories and ideas RadioLab covers--smart and puckish considerations of science in the everyday. Highly, highly recommended. (You can subscribe through iTunes here)

(PS- Anyone have any good leads on literary podcasts? We currently listen to Books on the Nightstand, but haven't uncovered any others to our liking. We'd especially like a Siskel and Ebert-model, but about books, preferably fiction. Anyone know of one? And are we crazy, or would that work? Drop us a note in the comments or by email: readingape (at)


  1. I don't generally do podcasts, but they do play RadioLab stories on NPR's Morning Edition and All Things considered from time to time, and I always find their stuff fascinating!

  2. A Siskel and Ebert-style book rating podcast is a fantastic idea! Wanna try it?

    Other than BONS, I haven't come across any good book podcasts either. Once in awhile, I'll tune into the NY Times Sunday Book Review podcast, but it's always so damn long...

  3. I'm not sure if you'll like them, but I can recommend:

    Nancy Pearl's Book Reviews

    and possibly the best literary book podcast in the universe (sometimes too highbrow for me):

    The Book Show

  4. Greg- Yea, I'm not a huge fan of the NY Times cast either. And I am tempted to try an At the Movies-inspired podcast...

    Thanks for the recommendations--I haven't tried either of those, but I will definitely check them out.

  5. The Writers on Writing podcast is excellent. Barbara De Marco Barrett hosts. Her website is at
    and you can subscribe on the website or through iTunes.

  6. thanks so much for the Books on the Nightstand shoutout! I only recently discovered your blog, when it was featured along with 4 others on another book blog I read (since there are so many that I have in my Google Reader, I can't remember which one it was!!). I've quickly become a fan. Keep up the great work!

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