Best 2018 Podcasts and Audiobooks For Book Lovers: August
As publishers, we don’t just turn pages–we also seek the best audiobooks and podcasts for book lovers so we can share them with you!
By David Adams
We know the welcome distraction of a great podcast or audiobook can make all the difference, so find your next great listen here.
Whether you’re trying to distract yourself from a steamy commute or looking to be transported on a lazy afternoon, we’ve got just the thing for you…
This riveting true crime drama takes its name from the rugged corner of Ireland where French film producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier was found beaten to death outside her holiday home in December 1996. Rumors swirled that the married mother of one had been executed by an international drug ring or attacked by a jealous lover, but detectives soon focused on a local man who behaved oddly in the days before and after the murder. With no motive and little forensic evidence, however, the case stalled, leaving the victim’s family, the suspect, and the community in a state of almost unbearable uncertainty. Combining the investigative verve of Serial with the atmospheric suspense of novels like The Woman in the Window and The Silent Patient, West Cork delivers twists and turns in each of its thirteen episodes. Thankfully, more are on the way.
Trippy, synth-driven intro music sets the tone for this free-form conversational podcast hosted by former Grantland writers Molly Lambert, Emily Yoshida, and Tess Lynch. Taking their cue from late-night call-in radio shows, the pop-culture savants gleefully plunge down every available rabbit hole, from naked mole-rats to lizard-people to the delusions of grandeur in Kelsey Grammar’s cocaine-fueled autobiography. Listeners can call in to get advice and recommendations for those “strange days and lonely nights” when the best distraction is a Real Housewives conspiracy theory you can really sink your teeth into. But the greatest pleasure of Night Call is the irresistible chemistry between three smart, funny women who love talking about weird stuff.
New York Times culture writers Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham have been hosting this witty, high-energy podcast since 2016. Topics range from Kanye West’s latest provocations to the significance of Barack and Michelle Obama’s official portraits. In addition to tackling the week’s culture news, Wesley and Jenna share their current obsessions — including Coco, Cardi B’s “I Like It,” and the Chinese science fiction novel The Three-Body Problem — and talk with fascinating guests about hot-button issues: Two recent episodes on anti-Asian-American racism featured interviews with New York Times book critic Parul Sehgal, ESPN sportswriter Pablo Torre, and musician Simon Tam. Come for the savvy insights into race and culture, stay for the adorable, infectious glee that Wesley and Jenna take in each other’s company.
Andre Aciman’s erotic coming-of-age story set on the Italian Riviera is given new life in this sumptuous audio version narrated by actor Armie Hammer. In the Academy Award-nominated film, Hammer played Oliver, the object of desire to newly minted heartthrob Timothee Chalamet’s 17-year-old Elio Perlman. In the audiobook, Hammer mellifluously narrates the story from the perspective of an older Elio reliving his summer romance. The twistiness of the character swap makes this a must-listen even (especially!) if you’ve already read the book or seen the movie.
I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara, narrated by Gabra Zackman, Gillian Flynn, and Patton Oswalt
True crime blogger Michelle McNamara died tragically while writing this investigation into a string of unsolved burglaries, rapes, and murders that she believed were committed by one man: the Golden State Killer. Her husband, comedian Patton Oswalt, oversaw the book’s completion and publication in February 2018 — two years after McNamara’s death and two months before the arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo proved her central theory correct. Gillian Flynn’s introduction and Oswalt’s afterword pay heartfelt tribute to a brilliant woman who dedicated her life to pursuing justice for others.
When the Hulu series based on this dystopian fable premiered in 2017, it hit almost too close to home. But the power of Margaret Atwood’s searing portrait of a society based on the subjugation of women lies in its timelessness. The Handmaid’s Tale has always been terrifyingly relevant–from its first publication in 1985 to its reemergence on bestseller lists last year. In 2013, Emmy Award-winning actress Claire Danes took on the role of the handmaid Offred to narrate this magnificently produced audio version.
The iconic novel by one of America’s most beloved humorists gets the star treatment in this audiobook narrated by Meryl Streep. The Academy Award-winning actress brings warmth, self-awareness, and an impeccable sense of timing to her audio portrayal of Rachel Samstat (who Streep also immortalized onscreen), a cookbook writer who discovers that her journalist husband is having an affair. The story, which is based on Ephron’s marriage to Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein, will have you laughing through tears.