Favorite Audiobooks and Podcasts of 2019, Part 2

Posted on January 2, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Music + Videos, Paul with 13 Comments

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.

Audiobook: Fiction

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).

Audiobooks: Non-fiction

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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Comments (13)

13 responses to “Favorite Audiobooks and Podcasts of 2019, Part 2”

  1. cornholio

    Thanks for posting this info. Most of the time, I find your selections very good reads/listens.

  2. wright_is

    Just a minor quibble, "If I did it" should fall under fiction. It is providing a fictional dialogue based of real events. ;-)

  3. Chris_Kez

    Looks like it has been a dark few months, lol.

  4. Sykeward

    True crime podcasts aren't really my thing but I've heard that "Urge to Kill" was great. It was created by our local NBC station out here in Portland (it was a regional crime) so it's interesting that it's finding an East coast audience, too. I may give it a listen.

  5. waharris007

    I changed my podcast listening similarly this year, but I haven’t completely cut off my weekly favorites. Man in the Window was fantastic, as was the Kim Goldman series. I’d also highly recommend The Mysterious Mr. Epstein, The Drop Out, and Dateline’s The Thing About Pam. All of those have wrapped up, so they can be binged pretty easily.

  6. krisarthur

    I'm thinking I wouldn't want to be Paul's wife based on this list..... she sleep with one eye open every night Paul?

  7. rseiler

    I urge you to watch the recent three-part series "Don't F**k With Cats" on Netflix.

  8. ianceicys

    Great list. I also like listening to the NoAgenda podcast. John Dvorak from Cranky Geeks fame : http://www.noagendashow.com/

  9. jamie_webster

    I've been looking for story driven podcasts for my step grandad whos losing his sight and these ones you've picked look a good start . Thanks for sharing ?

    Now I need an easy way for him to access them

  10. dipakstuff

    Very soon people Stop reading the things because of busy schedule and start listening Podcast. But then also words matters.