Desperately in need of a quick escape from the world? All flue-ed up? These hero podcasts guarantee more than a few hours of seriously quality listening. They’re not all brand new, but they are 100% guaranteed to hold your interest.
–The Living Room (Love + Radio) An unintentional voyeur becomes deeply involved in her neighbour’s life. Hankies at the ready. There’s no way to say more without giving too much away.
?–Birth Story, Playing God, Oliver Supple (Radio Lab). RL consistently produces stories that stay with you long after you’ve listened to them, stories that you want your nearest and dearest to hear ASAP so you can discuss them together. While their excellent earlier programming had a more scientific angle, their human interest stories go deep, exposing issues that deserve more than water cooler chat. They educate on so many levels.
-David Sedaris reads Miranda July’s short story Roy Spivey (New Yorker Fiction). A very tall woman and a very famous celebrity share a plane journey. The strange intimacy that develops between them has a lifelong impact on one of them.
-The Moth’s first-person love stories often end in tears like 2016’s I Can Die Now, which finds a woman deeply in love with a much younger man but sometimes they make you angry, too. The Promise begins with a poignant first kiss but the storyteller’s unconscious, default selfishness is breathtaking.
?As a rule with the series Modern Love (WBUR and The New York Times), fast forward past the annoying intro to the main event, which is an essay about love and/or loss read by a well-known actor. It’s a bit hit or miss but Marry a Man Who Loves His Mother is a keeper. We all know that the fact you don’t choose your in-laws can actively keep people from forging the best bonds, that passing judgment is a doddle and that sometimes it takes a crisis for both sides to be their better selves. But this’ll make you think.
?Get comfortable. This much-lauded seven-parter deserves every grain of attention it’s received. On the face of it, S-Town (NPR) is the story of a deeply charismatic, but troubled smalltown genius. However, its rich substrata of mystery, documentary and social commentary never mind its incredible production values set new standards for the genre.