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 worthy of your listening time. This week, we’ve got podcasts about a lesser-publicized suicide bombing, a street racing legend, and more.
Why should I listen? This is one suicide bombing you probably didn’t hear about on the news.
How many episodes are there and how long are they? It’s a seven-episode season, with each between 22 and 37 minutes.
Describe it in one word: Unnerving.
The Digital Trends headquarters is in Portland, Oregon, so the 2016 armed standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was inescapable news. Yet the 2018 podcast Bundyville revealed there was much more to the story than could fit into daily updates.
In season 2, subtitled The Remnant, host Leah Sottile investigates an offshoot mystery, a 2016 suicide bombing in Nevada where Glen Jones killed himself and blew up the home of his former friend. Sottile tries to learn whether the motivation had anything to do with LaVoy Finicum, who was shot and killed during the Malheur occupation. Some members of anti-government movements see Finicum as a martyr. The podcast is especially prescient considering the current news cycle about who gets to criticize this country.
Why should I listen? To respect the romance novel.
How many episodes are there and how long are they? The first episode is 49 minutes.
Describe it in one word: Idealistic.
About nine years ago, when NPR would cover romance novels, it was mostly under its “guilty pleasure” tag. That started to change around 2012, when reviewer Bobbi Dumas wrote there was actually nothing to be embarrassed about. People have been pointing out for years that dismissing an entire genre is lazy and sexist. Also, life is short, so read what you like and don’t force yourself to finish something that you’re not enjoying.
Vanessa Zoltan co-hosts Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, which is the podcast equivalent of curling up on the couch under a blanket with a cup of tea while the scent of cookies wafts in from the oven. Her new show, Hot and Bothered, breaks down the work of writing a romance novel into weekly tasks, courtesy of author Julia Quinn. In each episode, Zoltan talks to a friend whom she’s recruited to write a romance novel and talks to them about their process.
Why should I listen? You live your life a quarter mile at a time
How many episodes are there and how long are they? The first four episodes are around half an hour each.
Describe it in one word: Legendary.
The legends of Paul Bunyan always start with his size, how he towered above everyone else and could fell a tree in a single ax swing. In earlier tales, he was seven feet, but as the story spread, the lumberjack grew.
There’s a hint of this mythmaking when people talk about Big Willie Robinson. He was 6-foot-6-inches tall and weighed 300 pounds. His friends and acquaintances marveled at the size of his biceps. But the awe that surrounds him is about more than that. Host Daniel Miller interviews a slew of street racers, police officers, and others who knew Robinson. For a while, he was famous enough to appear in movies and hang with stars like Steve McQueen. He even had his own theme song. Robinson hoped to create a kind of racing utopia, where everyone — even rival gangs — could peacefully and safely run what they brung.
Why should I listen? You love a good declassified document.
How many episodes are there and how long are they? There will be 12 episodes. The first is 20 minutes.
Describe it in one word: Moonstruck.
There’s a short-short story that goes like this: “The last man on earth sat alone in a room; there was a knock on the door.” My writing teacher used it to describe duende: Art that gives you a physical or emotional reaction.
The story astronaut Charles Duke tells Lillian Cunningham might give you similar chills. One of 12 people to walk on the moon, Duke says he had a dream about driving on the lunar surface and seeing another set of tracks. Then it gets weirder. July 20 marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon, so there’s no shortage of lunar content. But this opening episode of The Washington Post’s Moonrise has us intrigued. By the end of the series, Cunningham says, we’ll understand the beginning.
Not a new podcast
Although Feminist Folklore is not a new podcast, it did end this week. In each episode, hosts Rachael Marr and Carlea Holl-Jensen told a story — fairy tale, folklore, or myth — and then deconstructed it through a feminist lens. As a proper sendoff, I shall listen to an episode and drink every time they say the word “patriarchy.” Adieu!
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