As a print journalist, it probably goes without saying, but I’m a huge fan of storytelling via the written word.

Some say it’s a craft; others an art. Some say it’s fading away and others even say it’s dying, but many still love diving into newspapers, books, magazines and online articles. And if you ask me, there’s really no medium that can provide the depth of coverage and permanence that writing does.

But, because my job requires me to read and write all day long, I must confess that even when I try to read on my own time, it often still feels like work. That feeling has kept me away from a lot of great opportunities to learn and be entertained lately and I hate to think I’m missing out. So, at the start of this week, I vowed to get into some podcasts, and I have to tell you, it’s been a great experience.

I think podcasts and books on tape get a bad rep like they’re the lazy person’s version of reading or as if it’s cheating or somehow a lesser form of storytelling. And, I’ll admit that I’ve been guilty of the mindset but no more.

I’m new to the podcast world so my view is rather limited, but thanks to NPR’s lineup of chosen podcasts I’ve found some great places to start: This American Life; Hidden Brain; Freakonomics; Radio Lab; Snap Judgment and The Moth Radio Hour.

On my morning walk with the dog and on my long drive into the office this week, I’ve heard some truly awesome stories.

There was the one about a longtime Texas Ranger who spent decades chasing and catching an accomplished criminal and escape artist. Another told the story of mother who lost her son but made it her mission to understood how her child’s donated organs were advancing medical research. One recounted the epic travel of a homesick British man who shipped himself from Australia in a wooden box and got caught by the FBI. Perhaps my favorite was the story of the North Pond Hermit, a man who spent 27 years hiding deep in the woods of Maine.

I know I’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to podcasts, but I’m so excited to see what else is out there. Reading and writing are still great ways to share and tell stories, but I encourage everyone who hasn’t looked into a podcast to give it a chance. There’s some really fascinating stuff to be found..

Happy birthday to Larry Michael and Trey Ertel, of Bonham; Dhana Johnson of Louisiana; David Strasner, Ricky Sommers, Jr., William Hughley and Elizabeth Wilson, all of Sherman; Derrick Dunlap of Dallas; David Mac Lawhon of Arlington; Melody Walters of Allen;