There is SO MUCH GOOD TV ON this summer, of course there are always great books to be read, and the selection of good podcasts have never been better. And I am all about consuming all different kinds of media, and sharing some of my favorites with you! So here’s what I’ve been reading, watching, and listening to lately…
Dragonfly in Amber (the 2nd book in the Outlander series) by Diana Gabaldon
I read the first book of my favorite TV series back in January, and I started the second one almost right away. I got about halfway through it, and stalled because life just got too busy! But I took it to the beach when we went a few weeks ago, and was able to read about 200 more pages in the sunshine! Diana Gabaldon’s books are long (this one is 722 pages), but the words just flow and you want to keep reading and reading, and all of a sudden, you’ve read 200 pages! I’ve even already seen the entire show (Dragonfly in Amber is depicted in Season 2 of the show), and I still can’t put it down. The books are just so incredible (read what I wrote about Outlander, Book 1, here).
Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark
I love the podcast, My Favorite Murder, and this book is written by the hosts, Karen and Georgia. I have always had an odd fascination with serial killers and true crime long before it took over my Netflix recommendations, and this podcast totally (and literally) speaks to my obsession. The book is more about Karen and Georgia individually, how they grew up and how their lives shaped who they are and ultimately how they got together to create the podcast. It is in the same hilarious (and very vulgar) tone as the podcast (definitely not for those offended by bad language!) and is really touching and poignant at times. Really quick read and totally worth it!
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
GET THIS BOOK IT IS SO GOOD. Really all that needs to be said. I cried multiple times, but it isn’t really a sad book, just has heartbreaking parts. But when I finished it, I realized that it’s a story of survival, and overcoming obstacles, and thriving despite disappointments, and courage. It’s just so beautiful (and I’m thrilled Reese Witherspoon is making it into a movie!!).
GO WATCH THIS NOW. I had heard about it on Cup of Jo back when the first season premiered, but finally watched it in June when Scott was gone for the weekend and the kids were at my in law’s house. And I watched both seasons in one night. It’s only two seasons, six 30 minute episodes per season, so totally doable in a weekend (or a day in my case, ha!). It’s truly one of the best TV shows I’ve watched- one that you watch, and afterward you think, “that should win an award.” It’s hilarious and makes you laugh out loud, makes you cry, makes you think, it’s unpredictable, it’s bittersweet, and one of those shows that you’ll go back and watch again after it’s over (guilty). It will rip your heart out in the best way possible.
I knew very little about the Soviet nuclear disaster, bad had read a few articles about it and seen the eerie pictures of the abandoned town of Pripyat, the town where all the employees of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant lived. This six-part series is so fascinating, so devastating, and so unbelievable to see the extent at which the Soviets were willing to go to cover up their lies and their egregious errors in judgment. And there is an accompanying podcast- 6 episodes- that I thought was really great too. It went into more detail about what’s going on in each episode, how it happened in real life, how they designed the sets, etc. If you like to take a deeper dive into the series, you learn a lot from the podcast.
Dead to Me
This Netflix “dramedy” with Christina Applegate and Linda Cardinelli was so good! Not a typical true crime or drama like I typically watch, but it was good for a break. I watched it while Scott was out of town and loved it. And Netflix has already approved a second season, so I’m excited for what’s in store!
Honorary Mentions: Some of my favorite shows premiered their newest seasons this summer too. Season 2 of Big Little Lies, season 3 of Stranger Things, and season 3 of Handmaid’s Tale. All are so, so good and I can’t wait to get through them all!
The Shrink Next Door
The craziest podcast about a psychiatrist that completely defrauds and takes over his patients’ lives, and is still out there! I love the fact that it was only 6 hours, so it’s easy to listen to and finish over a long car trip or on vacation. But it was really fascinating how people you trust- even doctors!- can really manipulate you and cross lines for their own benefit. Highly recommend!
I started the Happy Face Podcast this week after hearing how good it was, and halfway in, I’m a big fan. It’s about Melissa Moore, the daughter of Keith Hunter Jesperson, the “Happy Face” serial killer from the 1990s. I’ve listened to tons of true crime podcasts about serial killers, but none like this, telling the story of the crimes from the perspective of the child of the killer. Very interesting, and so fascinating to hear how she looks back on her childhood now as an adult, with a serial killer-father. There have already been some pretty uncomfortable descriptions of the crimes and other situations, and I’ve heard that it gets even more graphic in describing the crimes, as it goes on (just an FYI). But so far, so good.
American History Tellers
I think I’ve talked about this podcast in the past, but if you are a history buff like I am, this is a fantastic podcast that takes a deep dive into different events in American history that you may or may not know much about. They focus on a different event each season, and I particularly enjoyed the seasons on the Cold War and J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, since they’re not as foundational as say, the Revolutionary War or the Civil Rights era (though, those seasons were amazing too!). But, their most recent season that focuses on the Tulsa Race Massacre was particularly fascinating and moving because I had never heard anything about it, except for a random Facebook post back a ways. It seems, though, that I am not the only one, since it’s not even taught in history classes, even in Oklahoma! It was a major civil rights travesty that has been nearly erased from our country’s history, which is a disgrace, I think. Good or bad, we have to learn and retain the history of our country to honor those that were there, and also to ensure that the mistakes we made in the past aren’t repeated. The podcast is designed and laid out in a captivating way, and breaks each episode up into the different perspectives of people involved in the event. It’s great for adults and even kids that are interested in history and social studies, and can even begin to foster a love of history and nurture a love for our great country. I highly recommend it!
Honorary mentions: I can’t get enough podcasts, and I don’t even listen to the radio in the car anymore, I just listen to podcasts! For a funny take on true crime, listen to My Favorite Murder, to get involved as an amateur detective (really!) listen to The Murder Squad, if you aren’t 100% sold that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, listen to Conspiracy Theories, and let me know if you need more suggestions, ha!
I am *always* up for learning about new books to read, shows to watch, and podcasts to listen to, so tell me your favorites!