Even though work has been busier than ever lately (more to do with the time of year it is in Admissions than anything else), I of course have had a ton of extra free time these days because I can’t go anywhere on the evenings or weekends. To be honest…I’m not complaining at all. I feel like I’ve been going, going, going nonstop for months and it’s been nice to have some free time at home. Also, I just feel grateful that I get the privilege to stay home at all. There are millions of people out there who do not have that luxury and are risking their health to go to their jobs so I try to remind myself of that when I start feeling a little antsy.
One perk of getting to stay at home is that I’m now able to catch up on all the books, music, movies, TV shows, and Youtube videos that I didn’t get around to before. I wanted to share with you all the things I’ve indulged in. So without further adieu…
BOOKS (you can read my full reviews on Goodreads):
Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark: I’ve been listening to the My Favorite Murder podcast for about a year now and I enjoy it (to an extent- listening to stories about murder for hours on end takes its toll). I liked this book because it was more about their lives and experiences vs. their passion for true crime. It was a fun, quick read!
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: This book has rave reviews and I think they’re well deserved! It’s the perfect mix of romance, mystery, and coming-of-age. There’s also some great courtroom drama at the end which I’m a sucker for. I loved this one!
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman: This has been my favorite book I’ve read in awhile. It seems kind of quirky and offbeat at the beginning but ends up tackling some very real issues such as abuse, mental illness, and loneliness. I think the writer did an excellent job at creating a very real character. I highly recommend this one!!
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn: This is a historical fiction book about a group of female spies in German-occupied France during WWI. It’s based on true events and while parts of it certainly were interesting, it was not my favorite book. It felt way too long and some of the writing just wasn’t great in my opinion. It took me a long time to read because there were days that I just didn’t feel like picking it up.
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney: I am just not a fan of Sally Rooney, I’ve decided. Her books can best be described as “tepid”. And this one in particular had characters that really got on my nerves. I know a lot of people love her books but they are not for me!
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion: This was a really raw, honest portrayal of grief. Joan Didion is a fantastic writer and she provides insights in this book that are so perfectly worded, I don’t know if anyone else could say them any better. Not the lightest book ever but a good one.
Know My Name by Chanel Miller: Any review I can give this book wouldn’t do it justice. The author is the woman who was raped by the Stanford student in 2016 (you know the news story I’m talking about). Just read it, please.
MOVIES- These are all pretty random, but they’re what I’ve watched! I’ve been watching a lot more TV than movies so there aren’t many on this list.
Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse: This was so surprising and delightful! I don’t have kids of my own so I’m not really up to date with the latest kids movies and kind of let this one fall by the wayside despite all the rave reviews. Greg recommended it to me so we watched it and it was SO good! First of all, the animation is so unique and fun to watch. I can’t really describe it- it’s almost like comic book style on acid? Also, the story was super cute and wholesome. Even though this is marketed as a kids’ movie, I definitely think it’s enjoyable for adults as well.
Road to Perdition: This is a super random one but Greg picked it one night and we went with it. It’s from the early 2000s and it stars Tom Hanks, Daniel Craig, Jude Law, and Paul Newman (yeah, it definitely doesn’t pass the Bechdel Test, lol). It’s kind of a gangster movie and not something I’d ever pick on my own but I actually enjoyed it. The cinematography and music really elevated it, in my opinion. Not like my favorite movie ever but enjoyable enough for a Friday night!
Midsommar: I LOVED Florence Pugh in Little Women (unpopular opinion: I liked her even more than Saoirse Ronan) and heard some good things about this movie so Greg and I decided to check it out. Ummm….it was not good. I’m not super squeamish in movies (like, I legit enjoyed the first couple Saw movies) but there was one scene in this movie that I could not stomach. Really there’s no plot here- it’s about a group of college kids who go to Sweden for a festival that turns really dark. There’s a lot of weird, shock factor stuff in here which I really just cannot stand in movies. In a way it reminded me of “Spring Breakers” because there was no plot but lots of shock to keep people interested. Some people call this art- I call it a gimmick. Not my cup of tea. I would NEVER watch this again and I really can’t recommend it. Not even the cinematography could save it.
Tiger King: I mean, at this point who HASN’T watched this? It’s wild and it’s crazy. I totally think Carole killed her husband. But even if that’s true, she’s still one of the most tame, moral people on the show and if that doesn’t tell you what kind of people are on it, then I don’t know what will!
This is Us: I kept up with This is Us pretty diligently during the first 2-3 seasons and then kind of stopped watching during the middle of season 3 because I got so busy with grad school. I decided to re-watch the series from the beginning and catch up completely. I lost a lot of hours of my life doing this but it was soooo worth it. This is such a great show, probably one of my favorites of all time. All of the actors are incredible, the writing is so creative, and the whole thing is just a great watch from start to finish. I can’t wait for season 5!
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Greg and I have been watching a couple of episodes of this before bed each night for a good laugh. It’s like Seinfeld on steroids. The people on this show are horrible, horrible people. We’re only on season 3 and I’m interested to see how the scripts and storylines evolve as time goes on. The show is still running today but there’s no way that they’re still saying and doing some of the things they said and did back then, even with the premise of them being horrible people- some of the stuff they used to do would NOT fly now. This is the TV version of Cards Against Humanity so if you are easily offended, I’d proceed with caution!
Good Girls: Greg and I have been keeping up with this each week. It’s a fun show about 3 female friends who get into the money laundering business- NBD. The hijinks they get themselves up to are oftentimes really hilarious and outlandish. I think the 3 female leads (Christina Hendricks, Retta, and Mae Whitman) play off of each other so well and that’s really what makes this show shine.
Little Fires Everywhere: I read this book by Celeste Ng a couple years ago and absolutely adored it. She has a gift for creating really complex characters and showing you enough of them that you can sympathize with all of them, even if you don’t agree with them. I know Reese Witherspoon played a huge part in making this miniseries a reality (aside from her starring as one of the lead characters) and as much as I love her, I don’t think the show is working. The characters in the book are so nuanced and written in a way that you empathize with all of them. The characters in the show are very one-dimensional. I stuck with it til the end because it was kind of like watching a trainwreck- in my opinion, the whole thing was not done well at all but I know a lot of people really like it.
The Bold Type: I just started watching this and am only on season one, but so far I’m enjoying it! It’s about 3 best friends who all work for a Cosmo-like magazine together. It’s perfect for anyone who likes The Devil Wears Prada, Gossip Girl, Sex and the City, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, etc (*raises hand for all of those*). I do think the storylines wrap themselves up way too nicely and quickly and as much as I love Melora Hardin as Jacquelyn, the editor-in-chief-, I also think her character is unrealistically nice (she’s no Miranda Priestly). But overall, it’s a fun show to watch.
Never Have I Ever: I just started watching this last night and so far it’s really cute! It’s about an Indian girl growing up in Sherman Oaks California with her mom and cousin (her dad unfortunately passed away about a year before where the show starts). Mindy Kaling is the executive producer and apparently it was inspired by her own adolescence.
Here are some fun albums/playlists I’ve been turning to during quarantine:
I Really, Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Like This Playlist: A nod to the iconic song by Carly Rae Jepsen. This is my “indie/alternative pop” playlist that I’ve been working on for months and I listen to constantly.
After Hours- The Weeknd: Loving this new album from the Weeknd! It’s been said that this album embodies all the sounds he’s experimented with in the past and I have to agree!
Manic- Halsey: It took me a really long time to warm up to Halsey but I actually really love this new album by her! It could do without a few of its tracks (mainly the interludes) but otherwise this is very solid.
I’ve gotten way more into Youtube this past month (and TikTok, but let’s not go down that rabbit hole today- I could write a whole thinkpiece on it!). Here are some channels I’ve been enjoying:
Natacha Oceane: I LOVE this girl! She is a health/fitness youtuber and she is just so cute and real. She has a killer bod but she does a great job at explaining the realistic things she has to do to maintain that bod. She is all about moderation in diet and doing the things you love as workouts. I’ve watched many of her videos and I just adore her! Her videos where she does fitness/health challenges are especially entertaining.
Bon Appetit: This is a very popular Youtube account and for good reason! The videos are just so much fun. I love the “All the Ways You Can Cook a ______” videos (they’ve done chicken breast, salmon, steak, burgers, etc). I’ve actually learned quite a few things from these videos!
The Running Channel: I will watch anything related to running! This is just a great channel with some really lively personalities.
Vogue: Who doesn’t love 73 Questions? I could watch these all day. Obviously I love Taylor Swift’s, but Saoirse Ronan, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, Daniel Radcliffe, and Daisy Ridley are favorites, too!’
Well, if that doesn’t give you recommendations then I don’t know what will! I hope you enjoyed reading this! Let me know what you’ve been reading/watching/listening to in the comments!
Until next time,