8 podcasts to check out on International Podcast Day

International Podcast Day is coming up this Sunday 30 September. Podcasts can be a great way to learn new things, explore other perspectives, stay informed on current events and unwind with a good laugh. Here in the library, we are always on the lookout for new ways to share information, and podcasts are one of the most popular media from the last five years!

The best part? They’re almost always free. You can listen to most podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts, not to mention lots of other free apps.

Many people credit smash-hit podcasts like Serial for hooking a whole new generation on audio reporting and true crime. It remains the number one podcast to this day, according to iTunes rankings, and recently released a brand new season that is already getting rave reviews.

But if you have already listened to Serial or aren’t really interested in true crime, there are thousands of other great options for you to explore in the podcast world. Here are eight recommendations from library staff.

1. Happier with Gretchen Rubin

Author Gretchen Rubin and her sister, a TV writer, meet and discuss lifehacks and good habits for a happy lifestyle. It's as entertaining as it is helpful. They talk about their own stumbling blocks and share listener tips for success in 'adulting', like knowing what to say to a friend going through a tough time, dealing with stressful periods, making a Summer bucket list to get the most out of your holidays and remembering to have fun. Listen here.

2. Books of Your Life with Elizabeth

This podcasts questions what people are reading and why. It’s interesting to see the books that changed people’s lives. From the creator: “Join me as I talk to some of the most creative, dynamic, and interesting people in the world to learn about the books making an impact on their lives.” They have also started an online book club where listeners can more actively participate in the discussion. Listen here.

3. The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe (also available on Spotify)

A weekly science-based podcast hosted by Steve Novella (MD) and a panel of regulars, that encourages people to think critically – particularly when it comes to news headlines about medical and scientific "discoveries" – as well as discussions about recent science news topics. The podcast is informative, easy to listen to (even for those of us not particularly science inclined!), entertaining and fun. They also regularly feature explorations into unusual words, inspiring science quotes and myth busting (they are on a mission to correct popular misconceptions).

They play two games regularly: Science or Fiction – where headlines are read out and the panellists have to guess which one of the headlines is the fiction (all the rest are science and true – not easy!); and Who's That Noisy – where they play a weird and wonderful sound file sent in by a listener, and then listeners and the panel guess what the sound was, with the answer revealed the following week.

Note: very occasionally, the humour is a little adult and an episode will contain a profanity, so caution if you are listening with little ones around.

4. Business Wars

Ever wonder the story behind some of the greatest business rivalries in history? Nintendo versus Sony. Coke versus Pepsi. Nike versus Adidas. eBay versus PayPal. The Business Wars podcast has all the details, laid out in dynamic and fascinating multi-part episodes that explore some of the world’s most famous business fights from both sides. Listen here.

5. So You Want to Be a Writer

The title says it all. This podcast is hosted by the founder of the Australian Writers’ Centre, Valerie Khoo, and author Allison Tait. They produce a show every week, chock full of useful tips, warnings and advice, questions answered and a writer in residence interview. They speak to an author, editor, agent, or some other professional in the publishing industry every week, and it’s fascinating to hear how everyone’s path to publication is distinct. No one author’s experience is the same as another’s. Plus, Val and Al are entertaining, funny, and down-to-earth hosts that you’d be happy to sit down and have coffee with. If you’re a writer or interested in being in the publishing business, you are missing out if you don’t listen in. Listen here.

6. Containers

Over eight fascinating parts, you’ll learn (and enjoy) more about the realities and futures of global trade than you ever thought you could. Yes, it’s kinda-sorta-mostly a podcast about shipping containers… but it’s so much more! Great production and interesting, personal stories make this one a winner.

7. Song Exploder

Each episode features musicians talking about the creative process for one particular song. The episodes are short, the artists range in geography, style, celebrity-ness, and the interviewer mostly shuts up and lets the artist talk. A great way to get some insight into the thinking of musicians and to discover new music.

8. A Piece of Work

It’s a ten-part podcast about art, mostly visual art, but it works! Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson walks you through her experiences getting to grips with a variety of artistic styles. Along the way, you’ll hear from different artists, staff from the Museum of Modern Art, and some of Abbi’s famous friends. For the artistically ignorant (that’s me) this is an entertaining avenue for beginning to understand and appreciate modern art.

We hope you find something you enjoy from the list above! Got any podcast recommendations of your own? Make sure you share them with us on Facebook or Twitter.