If you refresh your podcast feed every morning hoping for a new episode, you’re in good company at Omaha Public Library. While I can’t force our hosts to produce more content, I can offer a delightful alternative: OPL’s enormous collection of audiobooks! Even better, there’s no advertisements to skip through in any format--whether downloadable via Libby, CDs or pre-loaded Playaways. To get you started, I’ve paired some popular podcasts and genres with a handful of library offerings. I've compiled all the titles and available formats mentioned in this post here.
There are many options for true crime devotees of all persuasions. Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich’s "The Fact of A Body” is a dark, personal and meticulously researched selection, while “The Blood of Emmett Till” by Timothy Tyson presents a historic case of injustice. If you love “Last Seen," and listening to hours of grisly true crime makes you nervous, give Kirk W. Johnson’s “The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century” a try.For those of us who love “2 Dope Queens,” “WTF with Marc Maron,” and other comedy content, there’s the deeply specific sub-group of comedian memoirs narrated by their authors. These are easy enough to find on your own, but feel free to start with “The Greatest Love Story Ever Told” by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman or “Failure Is an Option: An Attempted Memoir” by Jon H. Benjamin.
Short story collections are a great fit for listeners who haven’t missed an episode of “This American Life” (TAL) in three (or 10) years. Some promising new options are “Almost Famous Women: Stories” by Megan Mayhew Bergman and “The King Is Always Above the People,” by Daniel Alarcon. In nonfiction, “It Occurs to Me That I Am America,” a collection of essays by a variety of American writers, is almost an extended episode in itself. A more committed read that reflects TAL’s deep dives and multi-faceted perspectives is “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America” by Beth Macy.
In the way of “Stuff You Missed in History Class,” “Hardcore History” or “Uncivil,” both “The Bone and Sinew of the Land: America's Forgotten Black Pioneers and the Struggle for Equality” by Anna-Lisa Cox and “The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke” by Andrew Lawler provide extensive research into lesser-known historical subjects.
My personal favorite podcast genre -- horror fiction like “Limetown,” “Tanis” or “The Horror of Delores Roach” -- has many contemporaries in the book world. “City of Ghosts" by Victoria Schwab will satiate your supernatural fix, “The Cabin at the End of the World” by Paul Tremblay has your apocalyptic thriller scares, and Joe Hill’s “Strange Weather” consists of four creepy stories if you’re looking for variety.
I think you’ve got the idea, but I’ll leave you with a few rapid-fire pairings of more obscure podcasts, in case I haven’t hit your niche yet. Happy listening!
- “Something Wonderful Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway Revolution” by Todd Purdum
- “Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway” by Michael Riedel
- “How to Fix a Broken Heart” by Guy Winch
- “If You Ask Me” by Eleanor Roosevelt
- “F*ck Feelings: One Shrink's Practical Advice for Managing All Life's Impossible Problems” by Michael and Sarah Bennett
- “The Royal Art of Poison: Filthy Palaces, Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Medicine, and Murder Most Foul” by Eleanor Herman
- “Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer” by Barbara Ehrenreich