Each week I publish the most Delicious Ingredients of my Audible Feast … the scrumptious, delectable, savory, rich, sweet, spicy, and best podcasts that have fed my ears over the last week. They’re listed in no particular order. You can see what I’ve been listening to here to see the competition these shows beat out to earn their spot as the best of the best. I didn’t post last week, so this is a two-week recommendation list (more for you!). This week I listened to 71 episodes for this podcast review recap – three new shows for me this time, one of which made it on the best-of liste below.
The Doc Project: Addict Samaritan (11/20/18): What it’s about: “Danny MacKillop was homeless and struggling with addiction, stealing to get money for his next high. But when a Toronto special constable left $40 in an ATM, Danny chased him down and returned the money. The officer posted about Danny’s good deed on Facebook and tagged him. Danny’s mother, Mary, hadn’t seen him in 8 years, but she saw the post. Mary knew immediately what she had to do. She packed a bag and flew from her home in Cape Breton to Toronto, to search the streets for her son, and save his life.” Why it’s great: Mary MacKillop did unthinkable things to save her son’s life. She always did what she thought was right, which makes her an excellent mother (in my opinion). This is heartbreaking story (yet very common, as rampant addiction rips people away from their support systems) with a very happy ending. (28 minutes)
Latina to Latina: Literary Writer Frances de Pontes Peebles (11/11/18): What it’s about: “The Brazilian-American author says she never had to claim her Latina identity because “it embraced me” as she grew up bilingual, bicultural, and multinational. On tour for her latest novel, The Air You Breathe, de Pontes Peebles tells Alicia about wrestling with the tension between needing time and space to create while meeting the demands of being a dedicated mother. She also recounts difficult scenes from her postpartum depression and how the act of telling someone saved her. Writing continues to save her, and she guards her gift ritualistically, including her tradition to “let the wall be empty for a while.”” Why it’s great: This is very insightful interview with questions that really drew a lot out of the guest. I was very impressed with host Alicia Menendez’s thoughtful questions about de Pontes Peebles’ books (and so was de Pontes Peebles). There are a lot of sub-par interviewers with podcasts – they should listen to Latina to Latina and find out how to conduct a deep, continuously engaging interview. (26 minutes)
Criminal, Episode 103: Get Out of My House (11/16/18): What it’s about: “On a hot summer day in 1978, a group of friends started renovating an old house in Atlanta. They were steaming wallpaper off of the walls when two strangers just walked in. One of them had a gun.” Why it’s great: Criminal strikes again. I truly need to write an updated review of the show (I last wrote a full review of it in 2015) because it is one of the best podcasts on air. (Four stars does not do it justice.) One thing I heard in this episode that definitely endears me to the show is the matter-of-fact way the guests speak about the crime, whether they were a perpetrator, victim, witness, or bystander. There’s a very intentional lack of sensationalism and drama in the way the words are told – the story itself contains the drama and suspense. (27 minutes)
Read my 4-star review of Criminal here! (September 2015)
Terrible, Thanks for Asking, Episode 55: T-T-T-Today, Junior! (11/6/18): What it’s about: “Did I stutter? Erin did. Erin does. And here’s what it’s like to live with a speech impediment that people still make jokes about.” Why it’s great: This is one of the bravest stories I’ve ever heard. Erin didn’t go into a burning building, save a puppy who fell into a sewer, or fight in a war, but she put her stuttering story out there for everyone in the world to hear. She endured the cruelty of childhood bullies and “well-meaning” adults who didn’t understand her speech impediment but offered unqualfied and unsolicited advice, and worked her way toward giving presentations at work. I admire her so much. (42 minutes)
Committed: Jerry (10/27/18): What it’s about: “Most marriages don’t survive more than a few years after losing a child to violence. Fred and Maria Wright have had dark days since their son Jerry was murdered in the Pulse nightclub mass shooting in 2016. Two years later there are days when they still can’t even leave the house. This is the story of two people forced to confront the worst thing that can happen to parents and finding a way through the darkness together. ” Why it’s great: What I love about Committed is that it tells the story of perseverance through the struggle that is buoyed by love. There’s also usually an element of surprise. You’d think Fred and Maria, having lost a son to gun violence, would become (if they weren’t already) card-carrying liberals, but they’re not – they choose instead to become focused on and active in reducing gun violence and responsible gun use. (37 minutes)
StoryCorps: Barbara and Jeanne (11/20/18): What it’s about: “Two estranged friends reunite in a shelter and find home in an unexpected place.” Why it’s great: StoryCorps has now transitioned to seasons (vs ongoing episodes) and this season is about reunions – perfect tearjerker material. It is so obvious how much love Barbara and Jeanne have for each other, and it’s heartbreaking but somehow perfect how they met again after many years and ended up moving in together. (9 minutes)
Read my 4-star review of StoryCorps here! (September 2015)
Awful Grace: 11.22.XXXX (11/22/18): What it’s about: “11.22.XXXX | A Day in America | A tragedy told in XXXX acts, set in XXXX, USA during the year of our Lord XXXX, A.D.” Why it’s great: Awful Grace releases quite sporadically, so I looked at this new episode’s title quizzically when it showed up in my feed (again, reason #682 not to remove interesting shows from the subscription list even if they haven’t released in quite a while). I didn’t read the episode description prior to listening, so I was even more confused in the first few minutes, but I’m glad I stuck with it, because it was a weird, dramatic, sad, beautiful non-narrated commentary on gun violence in this country. Producer Robert Andersson takes the listener through one national tragedy after another, with advertisement interludes from the time periods of each act. I applaud the weirdness, ambition, creativity, and message (lest you think I only write about or listen to mainstream stuff!). (30 minutes)
Welcome to Tinsel Town, Episodes 1-7 (11/22/18) *First appearance on Delicious Ingredients*: What it’s about: “Holly, an eight year old girl who has fallen out of love with Christmas, finds herself transported to Tinsel Town, a magical realm where they celebrate Christmas every day. Now she needs to find the mythical Christmas star in order to solve the mystery of her transportation or risk being caught in Tinsel Town forever. Meanwhile, the residents of Tinsel Town begin to notice something troubling since Holly arrived. In a whirlwind adventure with help from wacky characters and Tinsel Town’s festive landmarks, Holly learns how her Grandmother’s secret legacy might just be key to this riddle.” Why it’s great: I find joy in holiday-specific podcasts, because I know they’re something I can consume in one sitting. The length of these episodes is perfect – each is 15-20 minutes – and the sound design is really nicely done. I didn’t listen with my kids, but I am sure they would like it. The story is full of magic as we follow Holly the Human’s transport between her normal life and Tinsel Town. (each episode ~15 minutes)
Reveal: Case Cleared (Part 2)
Love Me: What Can You Hear?
Rumble Strip, They Are Us, Show 5: My Pad
Someone Knows Something, S5 Episode 10 Part 1: Sumner
It’s Been a Minute: Weekly Wrap: California Fires, Drunk Raccoons, Beto Running
All episode descriptions and artwork come from the linked sites. What else was fantastic this week? Send me a note! firstname.lastname@example.org or @audible_feast on Twitter. I’m also on Instagram at @audiblefeast.