Anjali Enjeti, author of the novel “The Parted Earth” and the essay collection “Southbound,” suggested a long list of podcasts, including “How Writers Write” and “Minorities in Publishing.” But the one that caught my eye was Fully Booked, presented by Kirkus Reviews. In addition to short reviews of new books, each episode includes an interview with a current author talking about his or her latest book. Enjeti herself is a featured author, as are Susan Orlean, S.A. Cosby, Emily Ratajkowsky and Tiphanie Yanique. Episodes last about an hour and drop every Monday.
Speaking of Yanique, the author of “Monster in the Middle” also offered several recommendations.
“For fiction I love “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls,” which my daughter and younger son love,” she said. “I bought the book and then found the podcast. These do not really help them sleep at night, but they dig the stories anyway.”
The podcast presents 10-to-20-minute kid-friendly biographies of successful women told in the style of a fairy tale, only these stories are all true. An eclectic selection of women is highlighted, including Oprah Winfrey, Simone Biles, Lady Gaga, Gloria Steinem, C.J. Walker and Amanda Gorman. The podcast recently launched a Rebel Girls app where the podcasts are free for now, but perhaps not for long. Expect rates of $3.99 a month or $39.99 a year to be instated soon. New episodes drop every Tuesday.
“For myself, I love those podcasts which tell you a story to help you actually fall asleep,” said Yanique. “I like “Bore You To Sleep,” and a host of others like that. The form of the sleep story is so fascinating to me. The story has to be interesting enough to calm the inner chatter, to keep my mind from wandering to what I have to do tomorrow or stressing about the mistakes I made during the day. But it can’t be so titillating of a narrative that my mind attaches — that I want to stay awake to hear how things will play out or how the character will be emotionally impacted. That won’t help me sleep. There is a sweet spot where I am engaged with the story but not attached to it. And then I’m waking up the next morning feeling rested. I often wonder what it would be like to write a story like that.”
Episodes run about 30 minutes, and a new one drops most every week, but there is no regular schedule.
For true crime aficionados, I would be derelict in not mentioning The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s terrific podcast “Breakdown,” an investigation by seasoned reporters of current and cold-case murder trials in Georgia, now in its eighth season. Hosted by AJC legal affairs reporter Bill Rankin and produced by staff writer Asia Simone Burns, the podcast is currently covering the case of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was shot and killed while jogging through a Brunswick neighborhood in February 2020. Three white men are on trial for felony murder; 11 white jurors and one Black juror will decide their fate. Episodes run from about 30 minutes to an hour, and a new one drops every Monday.
Suzanne Van Atten is a book critic and contributing editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter at @svanatten.