Stories and storytelling have long been a way to relax and make connections. However, in a world that’s in constant motion, it can be hard to find the time to sit down and read a book.

Instead of trying and failing to find time to read on a busy day, I listen to podcasts.

Most of the podcasts I listen to have episodes that are 20-30 minutes long. These smaller chunks help me stay focused on the story. As much as I love reading, it’s easy for me to get distracted halfway through a chapter and be completely confused when I refocus. Being able to listen to a story in small chunks while I’m doing something makes it easier for me to stay fully engaged with the story. And, each episode has a small description, so it’s easy to get a quick recap if I don’t remember what happened. Most of the time, episodes have distinct endings, which makes it easier to find a place to stop. When reading, chapters flow together, which is good, though that makes it difficult to find a natural stopping point.

Another thing I like about podcasts is the variety of ways to tell a story. Most books have the same basic structure, even though writing styles differ. Characters are introduced, readers learn a little about them, and then the story begins. Podcasts, however, can tell stories through recordings, or as if you’re listening to a radio show from a strange town. This difference in style allows for a difference in structure. It can take longer to introduce plotlines, letting listeners get to know characters before major events. There’s more time to explore how major events affected the characters.

Podcasts are a wonderful way to listen to stories. There’s such a wide variety of styles that there’s something for everyone.

Lynn Spahr is a freshman in general studies.

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