The best thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them while you’re doing other things: Washing dishes, going for a run, coloring, and especially, driving. But there are so many podcasts these days that it’s simply impossible to keep up. There are new ones debuting all the time, and it’s hard to know whether they deserve a spot in your feed.
Every week, we highlight new and returning podcasts we couldn’t put down. Whether you’re looking for the latest and greatest or you’re just dipping your toe into the vast ocean of podcasts, we’ll find you something worth listening to. This week, we’ve got podcasts about a hitman manual, a deep dive into Chicago’s South Side, and a 12-year-old science fan.
True crime podcast
A Catholic school made news recently for banning the Harry Potter series. Students were at risk of “conjuring evil spells,” said the school’s pastor. But Harry Potter is a work of fiction, not a how-to manual.
Can a book be deadly? Should one, even a manual for murder, be banned? These questions drive Hit Man as host Jasmyn Morris recounts what happened when a man seemed to follow a mysterious book’s instructions to the letter. He ended up killing three people, including a four-year-old. Morris is also trying to discover the identity of the author, perhaps to figure out if he or she feels culpable in any way. In tandem, Morris speaks with members of the Horn family, whose lives were destroyed by murders.
When I was 12 and had a science question, I had to look up the answers in an encyclopedia or, perhaps, Encarta it.
Tai Poole is 12 and is curious about how the world works. Not satisfied by a mere Google search, he finds experts willing to answer his many queries. Whether he’s trying to figure out if his brother can train ducks or what happens after you die, his questions are thoughtful and reactions are often entertaining. Even adults are likely to learn something, like what it means when a shrimp is bioluminescencing at you.
Lots of people have opinions about Chicago’s South Side, including those who have never set foot there. But the area isn’t one adjective, one set of statistics, or even one neighborhood.
Hosts Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin are the duo behind Comedy Central’s South Side. Instead of creating a podcast about the show, they wanted to introduce listeners to the area’s residents. In episode one, you meet Rosemary, who just might convince you to buy a bedroom set without even visiting her store. Comedian Kellye Howard rides along with a police officer in episode two, and he shows his courage with an anecdote about a bad joke.
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