While the weather in New York might not actually be getting colder, I'm still dry-cleaning my winter coats, re-soling my boots, and doing all the things you're supposed to as fall approaches–including swapping out my podcasts for some super-cozy ones that fit right in with thick blankets, lit candles, and something braising on the stove. Here are a few of my favorites.
Could I really say the words "cozy" and "sweater weather" without a textile podcast on this list? I'm a truly terrible knitter, but I get most of my podcast listening done while I'm weaving on my loom, so textile shows are obviously close to my heart, and KnitBritish is my favorite. Even if you're not a knitter, spinner, weaver, or crocheter (or British!), host Lousie Scollay goes deep on things like the small farms revival, her travels to different regions and the wool they produce, and Fair Isle patterns in a way that's super absorbing–plus, she's a total joy to listen to, and never shies away from sass. Episodes tend to run a little long, so you can really settle in and get comfortable. A great place to start is her 100th episode, where she reviews some greatest hits from the past episodes. Listen here
Did you read Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles books (Dealing with Dragons, Calling on Dragons, etc) when you were growing up? They're a funny, thoughtful, and kind set of young adult fantasy novels–and Alba Salix has extreme Enchanted Forest Chronicles energy. It's an fantasy-workplace-comedy that follows Alba Salix (yes, that's the Latin for white willow, the aspirin alternative, good job!), royal physician, and her crew of assistants. I find that a lot of audio dramas I listen to have very high stakes and are very serious–and it's not that Alba Salix episodes lack for tension or, that, as podcast critic Wil Williams notes, the show doesn't engage with heavier themes like power structures, sexism, and racism, but it still does those things while still being able to be described as "a romp." Listen here.
I am not a homesteader–I live in a one-bedroom in Brooklyn, and the only animal I have in my care is my cat, Dolly. That being said, one of my guilty pleasures is listening to doomsday prepping and off-grid living podcasts. Those are a little too stressful for a ~cozy podcasts~ listicle! Enter: Living Homegrown! Living Homegrown is Teresa Loe's podcast all about "living farm-fresh without the farm," so things like fermenting, pickling, small-space gardening, long-term food storage. Basically, all of the things I start to do in earnest when it gets too cold out to go to the beach or a rooftop bar with my friends. I'm not saying I'm going to try my hand at mead-making after listening to the LH episode about that, but I did start baking bread after their no-knead episode, so the precedent is there. Listen here.
LeVar Burton Reads
It's LeVar Burton. Reading amazing short fiction to you. What else needs to be said here, really?
Fine, fine, fine. I grew up on Reading Rainbow, so it's a true delight to have more LeVar Burton in my life. I really like listening to this right after I stop working for the day and start cooking dinner. Burton opens each of the episodes with "If you’re ready, let’s take a deep breath..." which I always do, and always immediately feel more relaxed. There seems to be just a smidge more science fiction and fantasy stories than anything else (which I don't mind at all), but it's a great variety overall, and Burton picks the stories himself, so you know you're in good hands. Each episode goes between half an hour and forty five minutes, with a few of them bumping up to the hour mark. Listen here.
I'm writing a companion list to this one about all the scary podcasts I listen to when the weather gets cold, and it might surprise you to hear that the audio drama about a funeral home isn't on that one, but I think the scariest thing about Wooden Overcoats is just how unanimously everyone I've recommended it to has enjoyed it. After all, "British mortuary humor, oh, and a talking mouse" sounds kind of niche, to be honest. Antigone and Rudyard Funn run what used to be the only funeral home in Piffling Vale until Eric Chapman shows up and opens up a rival business. There's a circus, clowns, naughty literature, and, best of all–the show just announced a fourth and final season, so you have plenty of time to catch up! Listen here.
What's a honey roast? Well, it's like a comedy roast, but people only say sweet and nice things about you! And frankly, that's probably exactly what I need when the temperatures drop along with my Vitamin D levels and serotonin. Plug in your sun lamp and start listening–especially since, if you'll let me get a little meta, some of my favorite podcast creators, actors, and critics are featured in this show. (Which, also, means you'll probably find ever more shows to listen to!) Listen here.