New to Podcasts? Here’s How to Listen on Your Phone


I know, I know. It’s hard – technology is a pain. You like technology, you respect it, you admire its power…but man… how many rabbit holes does one have time for? So there you are, reading this and that on the Jacke blog… and he keeps talking about podcast this and podcast that and author interviews and all these things that sound SO INTERESTING but require YET ANOTHER technological skill… And maybe you click on a link or two, and you like what you hear and can see some attraction to the whole thing, but frankly, candidly, honestly…listening to something on your computer isn’t exactly what you want to do. Why be tethered? If only you could listen on your way to work, or while you’re washing dishes, or…

Stop there! Because you CAN be untethered! You probably have this amazing portable thing in your bag or your pocket or your hand right now… your phone! And they are the perfect podcast-listening device.

Here’s how to do it, courtesy of the folks at Life, Listened:

1. Download a (free) podcast app to your mobile device

iPhone users can start with iOS’s Podcasts app (free); Android users might try Stitcher (free) or Pocket Casts ($3.99). When you’re just starting out, it won’t make a huge difference which one you try. You can always switch later if you’re not happy with the functionality.


2. Search for shows

If you know which show you want to listen to, type the name into the app’s search feature. It’s that simple!

If you like to browse from available shows and episodes, try typing in a topic, a book, or a personality into the search field. You’ll probably see individual episodes as well as show titles appear in search results, giving you plenty to browse through and try out.

3. Subscribe

Finding shows to listen to using the search feature is pretty simple, but if you want to stay informed when a new episode of your favorite show airs, subscribing is best.

Most podcast apps will have a “Subscribe” option on the main screen for that particular show (see below for iTunes and Stitcher examples).


Once you’ve subscribed, new episodes will appear automatically wherever your subscribed shows are listed. You may also want to tinker with settings for offline listening, which will make sure shows are downloaded to your device (best if you’re doing to be listening when there’s no phone or wifi service available).


4. Listen!

Now that your favorite podcasts are mobile, listen to them in the car, on the treadmill, or wherever you and your phone find yourselves.


So what should you listen to? You might try the podcasts at Life, Listened, who put together such an awesome how-to guide. I also like Marc Maron’s WTF program and Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time from the BBC.

Or you can [lowers eyes modestly] subscribe to The History of Literature podcast with [kicks dirt with toe] yours truly. Jacke Wilson. Your old pal.




Okay, onward and upward! Happy listening!


Kitty Weeks, Welcome to the Big Time!

So many things to like about this one… I think my favorite fact about Capability “Kitty” Weeks (other than the fact that her name is Capability) is that she drives her own car. So awesome. And of course, it’s also great that she’s paving the way for women journalists everywhere and investigating a murder, too.

(Come on, Hollywood! Why don’t you turn THIS into something for me to watch with my kids?)

The book is available now at

You can also listen to my conversation with the author, Radha Vatsal:

The History of Literature Episode 40 – Radha Vatsal, Author of “A Front Page Affair”


Host Jacke Wilson is joined by special guest Radha Vatsal, author of the historical mystery A Front Page Affair. Radha starts by talking about her own adventure leaving India to study in America at the age of 16, which eventually led to an interest in the action film heroines and female journalists at the start of the twentieth century. Radha also recommends four books for listeners and describes the historical research necessary to create the character of Kitty Weeks, a plucky female journalist in 1910s New York City who owns her own car and wants to write about more than fashion and gossip.


Works Discussed:

A Front Page Affair (Kitty Weeks Mystery) by Radha Vatsal

The Forgotten Female Action Stars of the 1910s” by Radha Vatsal (article in The Atlantic)

The Waterworks by E.L. Doctorow

The Vertigo Years: Europe 1900-1914 by Philipp Blom 

Front-Page Girls: Women Journalists in American Culture and Fiction, 1880-1930 by Jean Marie Lutes

Out on Assignment: Newspaper Women and the Making of Modern Public Space by Alice Fahs

A FRONT PAGE AFFAIR description:

New York City, 1915

The Lusitania has just been sunk, and headlines about a shooting at J.P. Morgan’s mansion and the Great War are splashed across the front page of every newspaper. Capability “Kitty” Weeks would love nothing more than to report on the news of the day, but she’s stuck writing about fashion and society gossip over on the Ladies’ Page―until a man is murdered at a high society picnic on her beat.

Determined to prove her worth as a journalist, Kitty finds herself plunged into the midst of a wartime conspiracy that threatens to derail the United States’ attempt to remain neutral―and to disrupt the privileged life she has always known.

Radha Vatsal’s A Front Page Affair is the first book in highly anticipated series featuring rising journalism star Kitty Weeks.

Advance reviews:

“The fascinating historical details add flair to this thoroughly engaging mystery starring an intelligent amateur sleuth reminiscent of Rhys Bowen’s Molly Murphy. Vatsal’s debut will leave readers eager for Kitty’s next adventure.” – Booklist

“This lively and well-researched debut introduces a charming historical series and an appealing fish-out-of-water sleuth who seeks independence and a career in an age when most women are bent on getting married, particularly to titled Englishmen. Devotees of Rhys Bowen’s mysteries will enjoy making the acquaintance of Miss Weeks.” – STARRED Library Journal review; March Debut of the Month

“[A] spirited debut…Vatsal deftly intertwines the tumult of the era, from emerging women’s rights to spreading international conflict, into this rich historical.” – Publishers Weekly

“This first in a planned series is a nice combination of mystery and thriller seasoned by historical facts and a look at women’s lives before woman’s liberation.” – Kirkus

About the Author:

RADHA VATSAL was inspired by 1910s action-film heroines to create a heroine, Capability “Kitty” Weeks, an aspiring journalist who finds herself plunged into the tumultuous world of 1910s New York. Vatsal was born in Mumbai India, and has a Ph.D.from the English Department at Duke University (with a focus on silent-era film history). She lives in New York with her husband and their two daughters.You can find Radha at or on FacebookTumblr or Goodreads.

Show Notes:

You can find more literary discussion at and more episodes of the series at

Contact the host at or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

“Bass Walker” by Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

The Dreams of Graham Greene

Graham Greene week continues! Today’s our last installment before we take a look at intrepid women journalists (and other action heroines) in New York City of the 1910s.

The most curious book in the Graham Greene canon is probably his book of dreams, A World of My Own, essentially a dream diary. Stop there! I know what you’re thinking! Other peoples’ dreams are boring and tiresome. Well, that’s generally true. But Greene is such a strong writer and such a fascinating creature there’s some merit here. It’s worth a look.

Maria Popova goes through several of them over on Brainpickings. Here’s my favorite:

On May 5, 1973, I had an awful experience I am thankful never occurred in the Common World. I had sent a love scene in a new novel to my secretary to make a draft, but her draft was full of gaps — that was only tiresome. What was awful was that as I read aloud to the woman I loved, I realized how false it was, how sentimental, how permissive in the wrong way. She too knew how bad it was and that made me angry. I threw it away. “How can I read it to you,” I demanded, “If you interrupt and criticize? It’s only a draft, after all.”

But I knew that the whole book was hopeless. I said, “If only I could die before the book is published. It’s got to be published to earn money for the family.” The thought of Russian roulette came to me. Had I recently bought a revolver or was that a dream? My mistress tried to comfort me but it only made things worse.

Mike brought up the issue of Russian roulette, which Greene actually played, on the podcast. It’s interesting to see it here in the context of a failed book. Like any good writer, Greene took it hard if things didn’t work out.

(Note the first sentence, though: this never occurred in real life. In real life, the guy churned out 500 words a day and built his novels, brick by brick. There was no hopelessness.)

(And note the last sentence. My mistress tried to comfort me but it only made things worse. One suspects that THAT probably happened oh-too-often.)

Ah, sadness. Why do I take such comfort from you, even as you repel me?

Listen to our conversation about Graham Greene’s life and works or check out the other installments in the History of Literature podcast.