Storm Distraction Podcasts

"Storm in the Mountains," about 1870, by Albert Bierstadt
Photo Credit: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 
Storm warnings, impending storms, and hovering storms make me edgy and distracted. I'm always waiting for a widowmaker to fall off one of the 100-year-old oaks on our street, or for the power to go out. Right now in the Boston area we're on the edge of the blandly-dubbed Hurricane "Sandy," and although we're getting off light compared to New York and New Jersey, I find it hard to focus with the wind gusting up to 63 mph and the interior doors ghosting back and forth.

Podcasts are good for storms, because you can go around doing storm prep while listening, and once the storm is upon you a podcast can take your mind off those wavering branches, or in the case of my niece in Brooklyn, a swaying 4th floor apartment.

Here's a sampling of old podcast favorites that should get you through a storm (click on titles to go to podcast links):

The New Yorker: Fiction Podcast: Paul Theroux Reads Jorge Luis Borges
Paul Theroux reads "The Gospel According to Mark," Jorge Luis Borges' allegorical story about a well-intentioned young medical student trapped in the Pampas by wet weather. They don't structure stories like this any more. A robust 20 minutes.

The Guardian Book Podcasts: Andrew O'Hagan: Burns Night Special
Robert Burns expert Andrew O'Hagan hails from the Scottish bard's windswept Ayrshire. In this half-hour podcast he reads three of Burns' works in the accent they deserve. Wrap yourself in your plaidie and listen to the storm-perfect "O Wert Thou in the Cauld Blast"(poem text link).

The Bat Segundo Show: Cynthia Ozick II (#368)
Ed Champion conducts a wonderful discussion of writing craft with master writer Cynthia Ozick. Uncompromising and stimulating, it's a conversation to take your mind off almost any meteorological threat. Approximately one hour.

Guardian Short Stories Podcast: Helen Simpson Reads "The Kitchen Child" by Angela Carter
A great story read extremely well. Conveys much concupiscent culinary coziness. About half an hour.

BBC World Service's World Book Club: Edna O'Brien
Edna O'Brien reminisces about boarding school, her formation as a writer, the censoriousness of 1950s Ireland and answers questions (including one from Anne Enright!). She also reads from "The Country Girls."

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