The weather is slowly getting nicer and so I’m getting ready for my yard work. One of my favorite things to do is to be outside in the garden, in the yard, working on the house and listening to a podcast. Some podcasts are so immersive that I hate to be finished with them! For those of you who enjoy immersing yourself into something and want to keep that vibe going, I’ve got some podcast and book pairings.
99% Invisible promotes itself as a podcast about architecture and design, but what it really does is reveal the secret histories of things all around us. They cover hostile architecture (those really uncomfortable cement benches in train stations? Yeah those!), barbed wire, braille, flags, and the blackest black paint ever. I always find myself full of interesting tidbits after going on a 99pi (as it’s colloquially known as) binge.
If this is one of your favs, check out A Walk Around the Block: Stoplight Secrets, Mischievous Squirrels, Manhole Mysteries & Other Stuff You See Every Day (And Know Nothing About) by Spike Carlsen (031.02 CARLSEN). Carlsen takes what we think of as mundane – the mailing of a letter – and dives into just how it gets from your mailbox to its destination (with machines, fluorescent markings, airports, sorting, carriers and more!). You’ll never look at your local mailbox the same.
One podcast that I’ve been binging lately is Who the Hell is Hamish? the story of Hamish Watson, serial conman. He could be whoever you wanted him to be – a professional skier bound for the Olympics, a family man, stepping in for an absent father, a hedge fund manager, a laid-back surfer dude.
Hamish would probably get along well with The Commander from Abby Ellin’s Duped: Double Lives, False Identities, and the Con Man I Almost Married (ebook). Ellin, a reporter for the New York Times, looks back into her relationship with a man she almost married whose past proved to be completely fabricated. How could a bright young woman fall completely for such blatant lies? Take a peek inside to find out the science of lying, the history of con artists, and the effects of betrayal.
If true crime is more your flavor, you’ll want to check out the first season of In the Dark, an investigative podcast into the kidnapping of Jacob Wetterling. Wetterling disappeared from his neighborhood in St. Joseph, MN in October of 1989, and the case remained unsolved for 27 years. It dives into the history of the investigation and lays bare the mistakes of local law enforcement.
If you were haunted by the Wetterling case, you should check out Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey, a mystery novel directly inspired by the Wetterling kidnapping. Cassie McDowell lives in a small town in Minnesota in the 1980s and life is pretty wholesome. Until local boys start to go missing. One by one, they return – violent, moody, and withdrawn. The town is rocked to its core, but Cassie is unaffected, until it’s her sister who disappears and returns changed.