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Go anywhere with 'Levar Burton Reads' - the Spectrum

Go anywhere with ‘Levar Burton Reads’

Podcast blends classic ‘Reading Rainbow’ with love of science fiction

LAURA ELLEN BRANDJORD | Photo Courtesy
‘Levar Burton Reads’ is the best podcast to unwind to while sipping your favorite beverage.

Levar Burton is best known for his roles in “Reading Rainbow” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” and he combines both in his podcast, “Levar Burton Reads.”

In the age where podcasts and audiobooks are eagerly devoured by young and old alike, Burton creates a memorable hybrid.

The title is self-explanatory and speaks to the show’s single-minded focus. The podcast is simply Burton reading a different short story every episode, which is done largely ad free. On top of that, there is no more than a brief commentary on the particular work before you follow Burton into the fantastical world of his choosing.

As to the process of choosing the stories read, Burton explains at the head of each episode, “The only thing these stories have in common is that I love them, and I hope you will too.”

It should be noted that the works are largely science fiction, but that shouldn’t deter people unaccustomed to the genre. Many of the science fiction tales have interwoven themes that speak to social justice, rights and the human condition.

Burton reads in a cadence that is all at once soothing and intriguing. However, perhaps the most cathartic part of the podcast is when Burton has listeners take a deep breath and exhale before he starts the reading.

It is like a passive meditation to listen to Burton’s episodes. Each episode is between 30-60 minutes long, making it ideal to fall asleep to or for taking a mental break from work or studying.

Each episode is self-contained, so feel free to browse until you find a summary that strikes you. Still not sure where to start? Here are a few suggestions:

Episode 32: “Jackalope Wives” by Ursala Vernon

LIVE! in Portland: “The Fliers of Gy” by Ursala K. Le Guin

Episode 9: “1000-Year-Old Ghosts” by Laura Chow Reeves

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