Each month, we’re rounding up a selection of the best new podcasts, e-books, TV shows and music for you to preload into your device before you board your flight.
With an arsenal of entertainment at your command, you’ll be prepared for all possibilities: unexpected stopovers, exhausting the in-flight entertainment, and downtime in your new destination.
Books and audio books
Burke & Wills by Peter FitzSimons. Narrated by Michael Carman (Audible)
Peter FitzSimons tells the story of how Robert O’Hara Burke, William Wills and 17 other unfortunates set out from Melbourne in 1860 to become the first Europeans to cross the continent of Australia. As history tells us, things immediately begin to deteriorate: the group is woefully underprepared for the harshness of the Australian landscape, they have no knowledge of how to survive off the land and they refuse the help of local Indigenous people. The expedition claims seven lives, including those of Burke and Wills; just one, John King, crossed the continent and made it back to Melbourne alive.
Artemis by Andy Weir (Penguin)
The author of The Martian (made into a 2015 film starring Matt Damon) is still floating around in space and this time Andy Weir is telling the tale of Jazz Bashara who lives in Artemis, the first (and only) city on the moon. Jazz is a petty criminal – life is tough on the moon if you’re not wealthy – so she jumps at the chance of a seemingly foolproof get-rich-quick scheme. She soon discovers a terrifying conspiracy – and her quest for cash becomes a fight for survival.
Bonfire by Krysten Ritter (Penguin)
Until now, Krysten Ritter has been known as an actress with starring roles in Don’t Trust the B**** in Apartment 23, Jessica Jones and Breaking Bad. She’s added another string to her bow with Bonfire, her debut crime-fiction novel that’s been released to a solid reception. The premise? Abby Williams, a successful environmental lawyer, returns to her small Indiana hometown to investigate the town’s main employer Optimal Plastics. Ten years earlier, her high school classmate Kaycee Mitchell disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Abby’s investigations begin to uncover some dark connections.
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings – Soul of a Woman
Sharon Jones died last year, taken way too early after suffering pancreatic cancer. Before she departed, though, Jones recorded one final album with her band the Dap-Kings at Daptone’s House of Soul in Brooklyn.
Sia – Everyday is Christmas
It’s nearly Christmas and if you want to give the Bing Crosby (or Mariah Carey – hey, we all Christmas differently) a rest this year, Sia has released her first-ever festive album. She’s not re-treading old ground here, either: each of the 10 tracks is a Sia original (and soon-to-be Christmas classic). Titles include Santa’s Coming For Us and Puppies Are Forever.
Talib Kweli – Radio Silence
The Brooklyn rapper’s eighth studio album features a load of collaborators including Rick Ross, Anderson Paak, Waka Flocka and Amber Coffman on Kweli’s signature jazzy, conscious hip hop style.
Great Lake Swimmers – They Don’t Make Them Like That Anymore
The music of Toronto band Great Lake Swimmers has been compared to Neil Young, Iron & Wine and Nick Drake. The band’s new EP was recorded in a disused grain silo and the result evokes rural landscapes with acoustic instruments and haunting, wistful vocals.
Sampa the Great – Birds and the BEE9
Melbourne (by way of Zambia and Botswana) singer/rapper Sampa the Great has gone from strength to strength since she featured on Triple J Unearthed two years ago. Her debut album is a blend of clever rhymes, African chanting and neo-soul.
She’s Gotta Have It (Netflix)
A 2017 10-episode remake of Spike Lee’s first feature She’s Gotta Have It made in 1986. The film starred Tracy Camilla Johns as Nola Darling, a young woman juggling dating three suitors. The new version stars DeWanda Wise as Nola and sees her navigating work, life and three lovers over 30-minute episodes.
The Big Family Cooking Showdown (Netflix)
Unscripted, raw and messy – if you’re a fan of the Great British Bake-Off or Come Dine With Me (the Brit version, of course) then this new cooking show is going to be right up your alley. British families compete to be named Britain’s best home cooks in what could be the most low-stakes competition of all-time.
No Activity (Stan)
Another Aussie triumph to head Stateside, Stan Original Series No Activity has been remade with the help of executive producer Will Ferrell and guest stars including Amy Sedaris, Jake Johnson and Jesse Plemons. It stars co-creator and original cast member Patrick Brammall alongside Tim Meadows (Saturday Night Live).
Ladies, We Need to Talk
Forget the pleasantries, Yumi Stynes delves straight into the nitty gritty: lost libidos, body issues, motherhood regret, an over-dependence on that evening glass of wine – it’s all up for discussion. Leave your pearl-clutching at the door.
Gimlet Media has launched the second season of Jonathan Goldstein’s Heavyweight, a meditation on life: regret, memories and how life could have been different. Episode one focuses on Buzz and Sheldon, brothers in their 80s who fell out and haven’t spoken in decades. Buzz goes to visit Sheldon to get to the bottom of why.
Dredging up a 37-year-old murder case is HowStuffWorks’ Atlanta Monster. In the early 1980s, a spate of murders rocked the southern American city. Twenty-eight victims – mostly male, all young and all African-American – were killed between 1979 and 1981. A young man, Wayne Williams, was arrested for the crimes but subsequently convicted of two adult murders. He’s currently serving life in prison and has never been tried for the child murders. He maintains his innocence in those cases. Atlanta Monster re-examines the case, speaking to witnesses, families of victims and experts familiar with the murders.
Shannon O’Meara and Alice Fenton met on a blind-mum-date because Shannon didn’t “gel” with her mother’s group. O’Meara and Fenton, both mothers to one-year-olds, have taken their conversations about new motherhood and what it does to a woman’s mind and body and turned them into a must-listen podcast for any parent or parent-to-be. They’re sharing all the things they wished someone had told them before they had kids, from the phenomenon of “mum thumb” to that incredibly unfair phenomenon of post-partum hair-loss. Download from your favourite podcast app or Qantas In-Flight Entertainment channels.
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