I regularly listen to a few podcasts, and since it’s not easy to find interesting and well made ones, why not recommend some of those here on the blog? I already did that with You Must Remember This, Radio Morpork, InvestiGates, and Gom Jabbar. Today’s post is dedicated to…
LeVar Burton Reads is the self-explanatory title of a podcast that was launched a few years ago by the great LeVar Burton, actor known for playing Geordi LaForge in Star Trek: The Next Generation, but who was known in the US well before both thanks to the miniseries Roots (1977), and thanks to Reading Rainbow that he hosted from 1983 to 2006. The latter was a TV show designed to promote reading among the very young, so the podcast I’m writing about led actor / producer / director from Sacramento back to a great passion of his. This time, however, he reads for adults!
The length of the episodes of LeVar Burton Reads ranges from thirty to sixty minutes, and as far as I’m concerned they are a great background when I walk around the city. Burton personally chooses the stories to read and their only point in common is the fact that he liked them. As a result, he freely ranges between all possible genres, and there’s also extreme variety among the chosen authors ranging from the very famous Ray Bradbury and Neil Gaiman to little-known and semi-unknown names.
What makes listening to this podcast special is not only Burton’s skill in reading and interpreting the short stories he liked. His introductions and conclusions at the end of the stories add considerable value to listening, as he usually has interesting considerations to make about why he liked a certain story, for example, or about the characteristics of the writings that struck him for some reason.
Furthermore, there’s a considerable production value behind LeVar Burton Reads, and the host’s interpretation is accompanied by music always in line with the atmospheres of the stories, as well as noises that underline certain passages, and even vocal effects if required by the nature of the stories (for example, echoes or distortions of the voice of certain characters).
Personally I love hearing Geordi LaForge, er, I meant LeVar Burton narrating well-written stories and adding anecdotes from his life or personal considerations that I always find inspiring. And since I’ve enjoyed all the episodes I’ve heard so far (except for You Perfect, Broken Thing, by C.L. Clark, I’m afraid), I also find that his literary tastes are really good, or at least in line with mine. Ciao!