I love a good podcast binge-listen. I've made my way through the archives of so many great shows this way (including Death, Sex & Money, Mystery Show, and Radio Rookies). Here are five fantastic podcasts I've recently binged my way through -- if you haven't heard them yet, I'd highly recommend each one for your next long lunch break, sick day, or beach vacation. All five are serialized, so start with their first uploads if you do tune in. And I'd love to know -- what are your binge-listening recommendations?
For your lunch hour: What The Hell Happened in East New York? [4 episodes, 15 minutes each] This brand new podcast comes from Digg and The Big Roundtable, and it's really good. It's a four-part series featuring award-winning journalist Kevin Heldman. He's on a mission to explore East New York, to figure out how it became the most crime-ridden and polluted neighborhood in New York City, and to decide whether or not there's any hope for its future. I listened to all four episodes while on a walk earlier this week, and I'm so glad I did. Each part is incredibly well done, but episodes three and four are especially powerful.
For your road trip: First Day Back [9 episodes, 20 minutes each] This great podcast follows Tally Abecassis as she returns to the world of documentary film-making after taking an extended maternity leave with her two sons. The show takes on gender roles, work-life balance, the ups and downs of freelance work, and the heartache of leaving a child in someone else's hands. It's funny, it's moving, and it's so relatable, even for someone with zero children and no film-making experience. I sped through the first nine-episode season in under a day, and I've got my fingers crossed that the second season -- which will document a totally different individual's return to work -- is on its way.
For your sick day: How to Be a Girl [10 episodes, 10-20 minutes each] This impeccable show gives me goosebumps like no other podcast in my subscription box. It's so good. Host Marlo Mack is a single mom raising a seven-year-old transgender daughter. The two talk candidly about the challenges she faces (like deciding whether to tell her secret to her second-grade classmates at a brand new school) and the delicate balance she must tread to be both happy and safe. I flew through the show's archives on one rainy Saturday and now that I'm caught up, I look forward to new uploads with absurd levels of excitement. How to Be a Girl is such a heartwarming listen, and I'm in constant awe of Marlo and her daughter for being so brave, so honest, and so wise.
For your lazy weekend: The Bright Sessions [15 episodes, 15-20 minutes each] I discovered The Bright Sessions earlier this year and it's quickly become one of my favorite podcasts ever. It's a science fiction show about a therapist -- Dr. Bright -- whose patients all have superhuman powers like the ability to control minds or time-travel. It's such an unexpected take on the superhero genre. Dr. Bright's patients aren't out saving or ruining the world, they're just in therapy, trying to gain control of their strange abilities. I binged my way through the show's first season-and-a-half in just under two days, and now I anxiously await new uploads each and every Wednesday, hitting play the second a new one appears.
For your week-long trip: StartUp (2 seasons, 20-30 minutes each) If you're a fan of Gimlet's podcasts and haven't heard StartUp yet, you absolutely need to add it to your queue immediately. At least the first season. It documents the company's earliest days, from choosing a name to securing funding and everything in between -- including its first hire and a mini advertising crisis. It's fascinating to hear, and it's given me a whole new appreciation for the network's other great shows like Reply All and Surprisingly Awesome. The second season is also fantastic, following the creators of a brand new online dating company as they attempt to make it big without straying from their founding values. And the third season starts tomorrow! I made my way through the show's archives while travelling last week, I'm really looking forward to some brand new uploads from it.