Here’s a look back at the audiobooks and podcasts—especially podcast serials—that I enjoyed in the second half of 2019. A similar look at the first half of last year is available here.
Also, this guide may not be complete: In addition to moving between audiobooks and podcasts last year, as always, I also used a lot of different phones and, over time, different podcast clients. So it’s possible I’ve lost track of some podcast serials, in particular.
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The Institute: A Novel
By: Stephen King
Narrated by: Santino Fontana
Length: 18 hours and 59 mins
Stephen King’s latest novel is a nice return to form, but it’s also a nice return to some themes of his from the past, including groups of children who band together to overcome evil (It) and distrust of secret government agencies (The Stand, Firestarter, Dreamcatcher, The Mist, many others).
If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer
By: The Goldman Family, Pablo F. Fenjves, Dominick Dunne
Narrated by: Kim Goldman, Pablo Fenjves, G. Valmont Thomas, Grover Gardner
Length: 6 hours and 54 mins
After listening to Kim Goldman’s amazing podcast Confronting: O.J. Simpson, I felt compelled to listen to this incredible audiobook in which OJ Simpson (wink, wink) describes how he killed Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman. You know, if he had. Which he did.
Child Killer: The True Story of the Atlanta Child Murders
By: Jack Rosewood
Narrated by: Kevin Kollins
Length: 4 hours and 27 mins
The second season of the well-done Netflix series Mindhunter focuses largely on the Atlanta child murders, so I listened to this to learn more.
A Grown-Up Guide to Dinosaurs: An Audible Original
By: Ben Garrod
Narrated by: Ben Garrod
Length: 2 hours and 42 mins
Think you know everything about dinosaurs? So did I. This book is brief, entertaining, and educational.
World War 3.0: Microsoft, the US Government, and the Battle for the New Economy
By: Ken Auletta
Narrated by: Robert O’Keefe
Length: 6 hours and 1 min
I’ve read and re-read this book many, many times, but I did so again, in both ebook and Audible (abridged, sadly) forms as part of my research for the Programming Windows series of articles.
I changed up how I listen to podcasts in 2020, again, but I also changed what I listen to, meaning that I dropped a lot of long-lived subscriptions, like Travel with Rick Steves (which is boring), The Tim Ferriss Show (which is a circle-jerk of successful, mostly white guys), and various Financial Independence (FI) shows, to focus more on the topics that really interest me. This included subscribing to and cherry-picking the best episodes from various music and tech-related interview shows like Run As Radio, .NET Rocks!, Hanselminutes, and more. But there were more great serials to be had last year, too, including…
Man in the Window. This is the incredible story of one of California’s most deadly serial killers, the Golden State Killer, who was finally caught 40 years after the fact thanks to DNA evidence.
Dirty John. This one looked like your basic stalker story, so I ignored it for a few months. But I shouldn’t have waited: The story is nuts, and it was actually turned into a TV show this past fall as well. (And that’s worth seeing too, actually.)
Urge to Kill. Another crazy true-crime story in which a man murders, kidnaps, and tries to murder some more. It just wrapped up.
Blood Ties. This one is still ongoing, but it tells the story of the sudden accidental death of a famous figure in health care and how is family learns that maybe he wasn’t as great as everyone thought. Unlike the other shows, this one is actually a scripted drama with actors, which is not usually my thing, but it seems to work well.
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