Podcasts. You either love ‘em or you hate ‘em. You either listen to podcasts while you brush your teeth or walk your dog, or you listen to music like a normal person.
As someone who loves listening to podcasts, I do understand why the infatuation seems odd. At their worst, podcasts can be dreadfully stiff interviews combined with frequent ad breaks. But at their best, a podcast can be a story that stays with you forever.
This month, Marrion Ball and I teamed up to give you the best podcasts for a variety of interests.
Genre: Mystery (non-fiction)
Description: “A high-school senior named Hae Min Lee disappeared one day after school in 1999, in Baltimore County, Maryland. A month later, her body was found in a city park. She'd been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was sentenced to life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae's body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Some people believe he’s telling the truth. Many others don’t.”
My take: Serial is the first podcast I ever listened to. It’s absolutely gripping, haunting, and compelling. With twists and turns that are still occurring today (a new trial for Syed was just announced), Serial is the podcast you should listen to if you are even slightly interested in mysteries. Oh, and the second season is garbage.
Description: This is how the news should sound. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, hosted by Michael Barbaro and powered by New York Times journalism.
My take: Leave it to the New York Times to create an engaging and informative podcast to listen to five days a week. With different topics discussed everyday, the Daily is a great way to stay updated on the news.
Description: The NPR Politics Podcast is where NPR's political reporters talk to you like they talk to each other. With weekly roundups and quick takes on news of the day, you don't have to keep up with politics to know what's happening. You just have to keep up with us.
My take: With an engaging cast of reporters, this podcast is sure to keep you engaged on the most pressing issues of our time.
Genre: Mystery Fiction
“WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff's Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events. Turn on your radio and hide.”
My take: You’ve probably heard of this if you’ve heard the word “podcast.” Do yourself a favor and listen to this podcast.
Description: “This American Life is a weekly public radio program and podcast. Each week we choose a theme and put together different kinds of stories on that theme.
My take: This is most likely the most recognizable podcast on the list. If you enjoy listening to stories of any kind, you’ll enjoy this podcast. It is released on Sunday afternoons, perfect to listen to on a nice long walk or while you’re deep cleaning your room.
“My Brother, My Brother and Me is an advicecast for the modern era featuring three real-life brothers: Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy. For roughly five-sixths of an hour each week, with new episodes dropping every Monday, the brothers McElroy will answer any query sent our way, each fielding questions falling into our respective areas of expertise. We operate like a streamlined, advice-generating machine. It’s both terrifying and humbling to behold.”
My take: The best thing about this podcast is the relatability of the hosts. Which is crazy cuz’ they’re white, straight, millennial, guys. But, they’re very inclusive, so it’s a safe space for a lot of people.
Genre: Comedy (fiction)
Description: RUDYARD FUNN RUNS A FUNERAL HOME ON THE ISLAND OF PIFFLING.It used to be the only one. It isn't anymore.
Rudyard Funn and his equally miserable sister Antigone run their family’s failing funeral parlour, where they get the body in the coffin in the ground on time. But one day they find everyone enjoying themselves at the funerals of a new competitor – the impossibly perfect Eric Chapman! With their dogsbody Georgie, and a mouse called Madeleine, the Funns are taking drastic steps to stay in business…”
My take: Wooden Overcoats is a multi-award podcast, lauded by organizations such as Vox, the Guardian, and BBC. It’s absurdly funny, so if you need a good laugh, listen to this podcast.
Genre: Dystopian Fiction Murder Mystery
Description: "Lesser Gods is a soundscaped, shifting perspective, murder mystery podcast.”
My take: Even though this podcast seems very niche, if you like young adult novels, you’ll love this podcast.