My excessive commuting is fast coming to an end (Hooray!), but I’ve had lots of time – and thousands of miles – in the past six months to drive, contemplate life, fret over uncertainty, worry about Anything and Everything, plan vacations and listen to podcasts.
Lots and lots of podcasts.
Here are some suggestions, if you’re so inclined:
- This American Life. I’ve been a fan since its inception. Still am. Always will be. This is the standard bearer for me by which all other podcasts are judged.
- S-Town. The entire run of this Southern Gothic story dropped at once, and basically everyone freaked out and made this the Number One podcast in the Universe. Confession: for the first three episodes, I thought this was an extremely well-crafted fictional narrative, but when I figured out it was true, I lost my mind and gobbled up the rest. The storytelling here is incredible. I can’t even begin to describe what this is about: clock repair, hedge mazes, small town Southern life. You’ll have to trust me that this is so worth your time.
- Crimetown. This first season is all about Providence, Rhode Island, and its corrupt politicians and mafia kingpins, both of which ruled the city for decades. Any fan of works like “The Sopranos” or “Goodfellas” will love Crimetown.
- Up and Vanished. Oh, boy. This one is addictive. This podcast starts out investigating a cold case murder of a teacher in a small town in Georgia, and in the course of the podcast, the case gets solved in real time. Watching this unfold week by week has been riveting. You can still catch up.
- Matt and Doree’s Eggcellent Adventure: An IVF Journey. Well, I’m biased because this is what I do for a living, hence my initial binge and current weekly listening session. Matt and Doree are a likable California couple trying to have a baby via science. Hearing about IVF from a patient’s perspective has been humbling.
- The Dinner Party Download. Guests vary, but the formula is the same: corny jokes, craft cocktail recipes, celebrity interviews and answers to modern etiquette quandaries.
- Fresh Air. Terry Gross is a master interviewer. An unfulfilled dream of mine would be to have dinner with Terry and have her find me witty and charming, with both of us leaving as fast friends. While this is never going to happen, a girl can dream. Full disclosure: I download all the episodes but only listen to about half, usually when the guests seem appealing. This is probably a mistake, because Terry Gross can make any interview fascinating. Tip: there is a weekend show with the week’s best clips if you want to cut to the chase.
- Wait, Wait! Don’t Tell Me. Usually I catch this gameshow live on NPR, but when I don’t, I listen to the week’s podcast.
- The Moth. Tagline: The art and craft of storytelling. Sometimes I laugh. Often I cry. The stories are that good. Another unfulfilled dream: have a story good enough to share at one of their events.
- Mortified. Cringeworthy and awesome. Adults read their real childhood diary entries onstage, unedited and in their awkward adolescent glory. I’ve almost driven off the road choking with laughter, so be careful.