Skip to main content

Podcast Review: Welcome to Night Vale

     Before I begin: Is this ok?  Do you guys mind if I extend the scope of this blog to include podcasts as well?  
     I only ask because I am a rabid enemy of e-readers - e-readers will eclipse bound paper pages over my dead body - and feel perplexed as to why podcasts enchant rather than irritate me.  I think that I feel this way because podcasts are too different from books to be a replacement.   
     The podcast is less like a book and more like the descendant of old-fashioned serial radio programs. Listening to a podcast, you can close your eyes.  You can picture the story and its characters and its setting in your head.  You can appreciate the skill of voice actors and the power of a few well-chosen sound effects. And the podcast listener receives other benefits - she can escape her morning commute or a sleepless night just by slipping on a pair of headphones, for example.  
     In short, I feel no shame in promoting podcasts on this blog because they are alternatives to and not substitutes for books.  

Subversive Radio Host Patch
Welcome to Night Vale makes some awesome merch
Buy it at http://www.topatoco.com/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=TO&Product_Code=CPB-WTNV-SUBVERSIVE-PATCH&Category_Code=CPB

     And now back to your regularly scheduled programming: I am obsessed with Welcome to Night Vale by Commonplace Books, and I'm sure that any listener with a dark sense of humor will love it as well.  The podcast takes the format of a community radio show, broadcasting the news, weather, traffic reports, high school football games, and local ads of the (fictional) small desert town of Night Vale.  What makes this community radio show NOT deadly boring is that the town itself is deadly.  Seriously, so many civilian deaths (related to rips in the space-time continuum, attacks by the Sheriff's Secret Police, UFOs, vaporizations, never having actually existed, etc.) occur each episode that it's amazing there's anyone left in town.
     This podcast is notable mainly for two things: a) the bizarre, gruesome, random, and existentially fraught events that are reported in it, and b) the unfazed and cheerful way in which the radio host, Cecil Palmer, reports them.  For example, a typical episode might include an optimistic announcement that HBO is now available to the political prisoners being held in the abandoned mine shaft just outside Night Vale.  
     I won't say anymore!  I wouldn't want to spoil the absurdity of a single episode for you all.  
     If you want to listen to this podcast, try downloading it via the app Podcast Addict.

    - Carly

Popular posts from this blog

Best Reading from my First Semester

Ok, my only excuse for this long-ass hiatus is that I started college, and what with exams, essays, friends, newfound independence, and minor dramas, I nearly forgot I had a blog until this week.
But I'm back now, and here to tell you about the best books and stories I read during my last semester.

Novels
1. Citizen: An American Epic by Claudia Ward - A multi-media masterpiece about modern racism, with a particular focus on microaggressions.
2. Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward - The story of a young girl coming of age in an impoverished area of Mississippi, on the brink of one of the great natural disasters of the last decade.
3. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison - A classic allegory of the racial justice movement in America.
4. Beloved by Toni Morrison - Possibly my favorite book ever, Beloved is based on the story of Margaret Garner, a woman who escaped slavery with her children and, when recapture seemed inevitable, killed her children to their being returned to slavery.
Shor…

Book Review: The Spanish American Short Story, edited by Seymour Menton

I love the cover of this book.  Look closely - it's a little skeleton man clasping his hands over a cup of black coffee.  I don't know what it means, but it's delightful.      Anyway, I read this collection of short stories in Spanish - El cuento hispanoamericano - for a class I am taking this semester, but it is also available in English.  According to my professor, it's a unique book in that it offers the best representation of Latin American short stories throughout modern history, with details about literary movements and authors as well.  I liked some stories better than others - "The Tree" by Maria Luisa Bombal and "The Ruby" by Ruben Dario were my favorites - but even the ones I disliked, such as "Secret Love" by Manuel Payno, were included because they were representative of a certain movement or regional style that was worth acknowledging.        My only issue with this book is that a story I just mentioned, "The Tree,&…

Book Review: Che by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon

I'm back with another graphic novel!  And this one isn't about zombies - it's about Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, better known as Che Guevara.  This beautiful, color-illustrated comic book is a biography of the revolutionary figure, from the famous motorcycle trip he took through Argentina partway through medical school, to his success as an Argentinean communist fighting for Fidel Castro in Cuba, to his capture by government soldiers while aiding rebels in Bolivia, and subsequent execution without trial.
     A good fourteen pages of the novel are spent describing in brief the history of every country in South America.  I admit that I found this section boring at first.  But honestly I benefited from it, first of all because in high school I learned very little about South American history.  World Wars I and II got a lot of attention in my history classes, but the revolutions of Latin American countries did not.  So this book gave me a crash course.  Second of all, t…