My Year of Living Podcast-ly

Zibby Owens
Mar 30 · 8 min read

1 Year. 4 Kids. 100 Books and Interviews.

Exactly one year ago, in the middle of a bright afternoon, I closed the doors to the bedroom in my Upper East Side apartment and prayed my four kids wouldn’t come in for a few minutes. I curled up in the corner armchair and pressed record on the Podbean app of my iPhone.

That was it. I was officially hosting a podcast, which I’d decided to call, “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books.”

For my first “episode,” I read one of the most popular articles I’d published, “A Mother’s Right to Sanity: Starting the Movement to Just Be a Mom and Not a Family Management Exec,” which had gone viral on HuffPost.

I wasn’t exactly sure what a podcast was or why I was trying to host one, but I decided I would read some of my many parenting essays for busy moms who might not otherwise have time to read them. I could also “build my platform,” as my literary agent had suggested, before trying to sell the memoir I was working on, FORTY LOVE, about falling in love again at 40.

After my first attempt, I decided to interview author friends of mine instead about their work and see what I could learn from them about writing.

Now, a year later, I’ve interviewed 103 authors, including many current and past bestselling writers, authors I never dreamed I’d get the chance to meet let alone talk to intimately. I’ve read 105 books. I started a YouTube channel. I’ve met countless new people and had crazy, amazing experiences from Brooklyn, NY to West Hollywood, CA.

When I pressed the little microphone button that afternoon and started reading out loud, I never could have imagined how much my life would change. What happened? Looks like I’ll have to write my own book about it.

In the meantime, here are all the amazing books and authors I’ve gotten to spend time with over the past year.

(Click on links below for episode transcripts, audio, video, and links to buy the books.)

Authors I’ve Interviewed and Books I’ve Read This Year:

  1. Lea Carpenter, ELEVEN DAYS and RED WHITE BLUE
  2. Sarika Chawla, journalist, “How I’m Raising My Kids to Have a Healthy Relationship with Food Despite My Eating Disorder”
  3. Cristina Alger, THE DARLINGS and THE BANKER’S WIFE
  4. Dan Lotti, songwriter (note: this interview became part of the award-winning documentary short, “Dreamin’ in a Dream,” produced by Morning Moon Productions)
  5. Andre Agassi, OPEN: A MEMOIR (read previously)
  6. Sarah Mlynowski, WHATEVER AFTER: TWO PEAS IN A POD and UPSIDE DOWN MAGIC
  7. Jill Kargman, MOMZILLAS and SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE A NUT (read these previously)
  8. Piper Weiss, YOU ALL GROW UP AND LEAVE ME: A MEMOIR OF TEENAGE OBSESSION
  9. Lauren Smith Brody, THE FIFTH TRIMESTER: THE WORKING MOMS’S GUIDE TO STYLE, SANITY AND BIG SUCCESS AFTER BABY
  10. Caitlin Macy, MRS.
  11. Dani Shapiro, SLOW MOTION (read previously) and INHERITANCE: A MEMOIR OF GENEALOGY, PATERNITY, AND LOVE
  12. Jennifer Wallace, journalist, “The Teenage Social-Media Trap: Adolescents increasingly measure and manage social success online”
  13. Charles Duhigg, THE POWER OF HABIT: WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO IN LIFE AND BUSINESS
  14. Kwame Alexander, THE CROSSOVER, REBOUND, BOOKED
  15. Allison Pataki, BEAUTY IN THE BROKEN PLACES: A MEMOIR OF LOVE, FAITH, AND RESILIENCE
  16. Aimee Molloy, THE PERFECT MOTHER
  17. Dylan Lauren, UNWRAP YOUR SWEET LIFE: DYLAN’S CANDY BAR
  18. Rebecca Makkai, THE GREAT BELIEVERS
  19. Andrea Petersen, ON EDGE: A JOURNEY THROUGH ANXIETY
  20. Priscilla Gilman, THE ANTI-ROMANTIC CHILD: A STORY OF UNEXPECTED JOY
  21. Courtney Maum, TOUCH
  22. Jill Santopolo, THE LIGHT WE LOST and MORE THAN WORDS
  23. Jen Oliver, THE LOVE FITMAMA WAY: TRANSFORMING THE CORE OF MOTHERHOOD
  24. Lauren Costello, NOTES ON COOKING: A SHORT GUIDE TO AN ESSENTIAL CRAFT, THE COMPETENT COOK: ESSENTIAL TOOLS, TECHNIQUES AND RECIPES FOR THE MODERN AT-HOME COOK, and EAT YOUR BREAKFAST OR ELSE (read previously)
  25. Elyssa Friedland, THE INTERMISSION, THE FLOATING FELDMANS
  26. Elissa Cullman, co-author, FROM CLASSIC TO CONTEMPORARY: DECORATING WITH CULLMAN & KRAVIS
  27. Florence Fabricant, CITY HARVEST: 100 RECIPES FROM GREAT NEW YORK RESTAURANTS
  28. Rev. Lydia Sohn, journalist, “What Do 90-Somethings Regret Most?”
  29. Rosie Walsh, GHOSTED
  30. Lyss Stern, MOTHERHOOD IS A B#TCH: 10 STEPS TO REGAINING YOUR SANITY, SEXINESS, AND INNER DIVA, IF YOU GIVE A MOM A MARTINI: 100 EAYS TO FIND 10 BLISSFUL MINUTES FOR YOURSELF
  31. KJ Dell’Antonia, HOW TO BE A HAPPIER PARENT: RAISING A FAMILY, HAVING A LIFE, AND LOVING (ALMOST) EVERY MINUTE
  32. Mara Altman, GROSS ANATOMY: DISPATCHES FROM THE FRONT (AND BACK)
  33. Jon Henes, journalist, “Alzheimer’s Disease: A Letter to My Mom”
  34. Susie Orman Schnall, THE SUBWAY GIRLS
  35. Gail Honeyman, ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE
  36. Amy Blumenfeld, THE CAST
  37. Susan Verde, I AM HUMAN, I AM YOGA, I AM PEACE, THE MUSEUM, YOU AND ME, HEY, WALL
  38. Ingrid Fetell Lee, JOYFUL: THE SURPRISING POWER OF ORDINARY THINGS TO CREATE EXTRAORDINARY HAPPINESS
  39. Jeanne McCulloch, ALL HAPPY FAMILIES: A MEMOIR
  40. Glynnis MacNicol, NO ONE TELLS YOU THIS: A MEMOIR
  41. James Frey, A MILLION LITTLE PIECES (read previously), KATERINA
  42. Georgia Lou Clark, THE BUCKET LIST
  43. Jeff Norton, ALIENATED: GROUNDED AT GROOM LAKE
  44. Madeleine Puckette, WINE FOLLY: MAGNUM EDITION, THE MASTER GUIDE
  45. Kate Schelter, CLASSIC STYLE: HAND IT DOWN, DRESS IT UP, WEAR IT OUT
  46. Jo Piazza, CHARLOTTE WALSH LIKES TO WIN, HOW TO BE MARRIED: WHAT I LEARNED FROM REAL WOMEN ON FIVE CONTINENTS ABOUT SURVIVING MY FIRST (REALLY HARD) YEAR OF MARRIAGE
  47. Rebecca Schrag Hershberg, Ph.D., THE TANTRUM SURVIVAL GUIDE: TUNE INTO YOUR TODDLER’S MIND (AND YOUR OWN) TO CALM THE CRAZINESS AND MAKE FAMILY FUN AGAIN
  48. Molly Flatt, THE CHARMED LIFE OF ALEX MOORE
  49. Beth Ricanati, M.D., BRAIDED: A JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND CHALLAHS
  50. Sara Bliss, TAKE THE LEAP: CHANGE YOUR CAREER, CHANGE YOUR LIFE
  51. Min Jin Lee, PACHINKO
  52. Anne Lamotte, ALMOST EVERYTHING: NOTES ON HOPE
  53. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, BOLD & BRAVE: TEN HEROES WHO WOMEN THE RIGHT TO VOTE, OFF THE SIDELINES: RAISE YOUR VOICE, CHANGE THE WORLD
  54. Gemma Hartley, FED UP: EMOTIONAL LABOR, WOMEN, AND THE WAY FORWARD
  55. Jennifer Miller & Jason Feifer, MR. NICE GUY
  56. Rebecca Soffer, co-author, MODERN LOSS: CANDID CONVERSATIONS ABOUT GRIEF
  57. Natasha Solomons, HOUSE OF GOLD
  58. Kathy Wang, FAMILY TRUST
  59. Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen, AN ANONYMOUS GIRL
  60. Delia Owens, WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING
  61. Ali Katz, ONE MINUTE TO ZEN: GO FROM HOT MESS TO MINDFUL MOM IN ONE MINUTE OR LESS
  62. Jill Zarin and Lisa Wexler, co-authors, SECRETS OF A JEWISH MOTHER: REAL ADVICE, REAL STORIES, REAL LOVE
  63. Jessica Turner, STRETCHED TOO THIN: HOW WORKING MOMS CAN LOSE THE GUILT, WORK SMARTER AND THRIVE
  64. Sarah McColl, JOY ENOUGH: A MEMOIR
  65. John Kenney, TALK TO ME and LOVE POEMS (FOR MARRIED PEOPLE)
  66. Gary John Bishop, UNF*CK YOURSELF: GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD AND INTO YOUR LIFE
  67. Lindsey Mead, editor, ON BEING 40 (ISH)
  68. Rowan Ricardo Phillips, THE CIRCUIT: A TENNIS ODYSSEY
  69. Carolyn Murnick, THE HOT ONE: A MEMOIR OF FRIENDSHIP, SEX, AND MURDER
  70. Sharon Rowe, THE MAGIC OF TINY BUSINESS: YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO BIG TO MAKE A GREAT LIVING
  71. Hillary Frank, WEIRD PARENTING WINS: BATHTUB DINING, FAMILY SCREAMS AND OTHER HACKS FROM THE PARENTING TRENCHES
  72. Daniel Pink, WHEN: THE SCIENTIFIC SECRETS OF PERFECT TIMING
  73. Falguni Kothari, THE OBJECT OF YOUR AFFECTIONS
  74. Daria Gillespie, M.D., MOM HACKS: 100+ SCIENCE-BASED SHORTCUTS TO RECLAIM YOUR BODY, RAISE AWESOME KIDS, AND BE UNSTOPPABLE
  75. Gretchen Rubin, THE HAPPINESS PROJECT (read previously), OUTER ORDER INNNER CALM
  76. Elisa Strauss, CONFETTI CAKES and CONFETTI CAKES FOR KIDS (read previously)
  77. Nora McInerny, NO HAPPY ENDINGS: A MEMOIR and IT’S OKAY TO LAUGH (CRYING IS COOL, TOO)
  78. Anissa Gray, THE CARE AND FEEDING OF RAVENOUSLY HUNGRY GIRLS
  79. Camille Pagan, I’M FINE AND NEITHER ARE YOU
  80. Susan Conley, ELSEY COME HOME
  81. Lynda Cohen Loigman, THE WARTIME SISTERS
  82. Steven Rowley, THE EDITOR (episode still to air!)
  83. Pamela Paul, MY LIFE WITH BOB: FLAWED HEROINE KEEPS BOOK OF BOOKS, PLOT ENSUES (episode still to air!)
  84. Chris Van Dusen, IF I BUILT A HOUSE, IF I BUILT A CAR, THE CIRCUS SHIP, MR. MCGEE LEARNS TO SKI (read previously)(episode still to air!)
  85. Claire Bidwell Smith, THE RULES OF INHERITANCE (episode still to air!)
  86. Nell Freudenberger, LOST AND WANTED (episode still to air!)
  87. Helen Ellis, SOUTHERN LADY CODE: ESSAYS (episode still to air!)
  88. Ali Wentworth, GO ASK ALI: HALF-BAKED ADVICE (AND FREE LEMONADE) (episode still to air!)
  89. Jennifer Robson, THE GOWN: A NOVEL OF THE ROYAL WEDDING (episode still to air!)
  90. Marisa Bardach Ramel, co-author, THE GOODBYE DIARIES: A MOTHER-DAUGHTER MEMOIR (interview to come)
  91. Virginia Sole-Smith, THE EATING INSTINCT: FOOD CULTURE, BODY IMAGE, AND GUILT IN AMERICA (interview to come)
  92. Claire Gibson, BEYOND THE POINT (interview to come)
  93. Jamie Brenner, DRAWING HOME (interview to come)
  94. Adrienne Brodeur, WILD GAME: MY MOTHER, HER LOVER, AND ME (interview to come)
  95. Kate Hope Day, IF THEN (interview to come)
  96. Brian Solis, LIFESCALE: HOW TO LIVE A MORE CREATIVE, PRODUCTIVE, AND HAPPY LIFE (interview to come)
  97. Mindy McKnight, VIRAL PARENTING: A GUIDE TO SETTING BOUNDARIES, BUILDING TRUST, AND RAISING KIDS IN AN ONLINE WORLD (interview to come)
  98. Matt Lee & Ted Lee, HOTBOX: INSIDE CATERING, THE FOOD WORLD’S RISKIEST BUSINESS (interview to come)
  99. Susan Choi, TRUST EXERCISE (interview to come)
  100. Cathy Guisewite, FIFTY THINGS THAT AREN’T MY FAULT (interview to come)
  101. Biz Ellis, co-author, YOU’RE DOING A GREAT JOB!: 100 WAYS YOU’RE WINNING AT PARENTING (interview to come)
  102. Celeste Ng, LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE (interview to come)
  103. Fatima Farheen Mirza, A PLACE FOR US (interview to come)

Authors and Books Coming Up: These books are next on my list to read with interviews scheduled or pending!

  1. Lauren Gershell, THAT’S WHAT FRENEMIES ARE FOR
  2. Nicola Harrison, MONTAUK
  3. Allison Winn Scotch, BETWEEN YOU AND ME
  4. Darcy Lockman, ALL THE RAGE: MOTHERS, FATHERS, AND THE MYTH OF EQUAL PARTNERSHIP
  5. Lisa Taddeo, THREE WOMEN
  6. Amanda Stern, LITTLE PANIC: DISPATCHES FROM AN ANXIOUS LIFE
  7. Wesley King/Kobe Bryant, THE WIZENARD SERIES
  8. Lisa Scottoline, SOMEONE KNOWS
  9. Fiona Davis, THE CHELSEA GIRLS
  10. Wendy Walker, THE NIGHT BEFORE
  11. Lisa Barr, THE UNBREAKABLES
  12. Catherine Price, HOW TO BREAK UP WITH YOUR PHONE
  13. Karen Dukess, THE LAST BOOK PARTY
  14. Eva Hagberg Fisher, HOW TO BE LOVED: A MEMOIR OF LIFESAVING FRIENDSHIP
  15. Julie Morgenstern, TIME TO PARENT: ORGANIZING YOUR LIFE TO BRING OUT THE BEST IN YOUR CHILD AND YOU
  16. Dena Moes, THE BUDDHA SAT RIGHT HERE: A FAMILY ODYSSEY THROUGH INDIA AND NEPAL
  17. Laurie Gelman, YOU’VE BEEN VOLUNTEERED: A CLASS MOM NOVEL
  18. Reema Zaman, I AM YOURS: A SHARED MEMOIR
  19. Ben Michaelis, Ph.D., YOUR NEXT BIG THING: 10 SMALL STEPS TO GET MOVING AND GET HAPPY
  20. Paige Adams-Geller, co-author (with me!!), YOUR PERFECT FIT: WHAT TO WEAR TO SHOW OFF YOUR ASSETS, WHAT TO DO TO TONE UP YOUR TROUBLE SPOTS