Best 2018 Podcasts: August
We love books—and podcasts! We think fellow book book lovers will like these shows, too!
By David Adams
We know the welcome distraction of a great podcast 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.