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Isolation Entertainment Week 3

Updated: Mar 18, 2021

Hello folks, I hope you're all keeping well and managing to stay sane. We've had two weeks now in isolation and looking back I noticed that in that first week there was a lot of energy bouncing around social media telling us all that now was the time to crack out the craft project, do that DIY, read a million books and re-landscape your garden. During Week 2 the message started changing. The reality of the situation started to dawn and the overwhelm kicked in.

Don't get me wrong, the energy in that first week was fantastic and very infectious. It was a natural reaction - to rise to the occasion, band together and think positively about how to turn this unprecedented situation around. But I think we all realised that this level of energy just wasn't sustainable. We are all adapting to this current way of life, and as humans we actually have the ability to adapt very quickly so it's no wonder everyone is starting to feel tired and rundown. Change on this scale and at such speed is tiring.

So however you're feeling right now, please know it's okay. There is no normal, not now, not ever really. We are all finding our way with this and working out our best way through.

My recommendations lists are not designed to make anyone feel inadequate in any way, they are simply my personal response to an unnerving situation because whenever I feel anxious I turn to my bookshelf or attempt to lose myself in a cosy film. So if anything they are self-indulgent compilations of all the books, shows and films that make me happy. There is little I can physically do to help anyone right now, but I hope to lift your spirits with a good book or a couple of hours of feel-good viewing.

This week is a bit different as I asked a couple of friends what their go-to books and shows were. So the subsequent lists are not just recommendations for the wider audience, but in a lot of cases, for me too!


North & South - Elizabeth Gaskell

Gaskell's compassionate, richly dramatic novel features one of the most original and fully-rounded female characters in Victorian fiction, Margaret Hale. It shows how, forced to move from the country to an industrial northern town, she develops a passionate sense of social justice, and a turbulent relationship with mill-owner John Thornton.

(BBC TV adaptation available on Netflix)

A Room with a View - E. M. Forster

Lucy has her rigid, middle-class life mapped out for her until she visits Florence with her uptight cousin Charlotte, and finds her neatly ordered existence thrown off balance. Her eyes are opened by the unconventional characters she meets at the Pension Bertolini and she finds herself torn between the intensity of life in Italy and the repressed morals of Edwardian England, personified in her terminally dull fiance Cecil Vyse. Will she ever learn to follow her own heart?

(Merchant & Ivory film adaptation available on Netflix)

A Room of One's Own - Virginia Woolf

Based on a lecture given at Cambridge and first published in 1929, ‘A Room of One’s Own’ interweaves Woolf’s personal experience as a female writer with themes ranging from Austen and Brontë to Shakespeare’s gifted (and imaginary) sister. Woolf examines the limitations of womanhood in the early 20th century. With the startling prose and poetic licence of a novelist, she makes a bid for freedom, emphasizing that the lack of an independent income, and the titular ‘room of one’s own’, prevents most women from reaching their full literary potential.

What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions - Randall Munroe

From the creator of the wildly popular, hilarious and informative answers to important questions you probably never thought to ask. In pursuit of answers, Munroe runs computer simulations, pores over stacks of declassified military research memos, solves differential equations and consults nuclear reactor operators. His responses are masterpieces of clarity and hilarity, complemented by comics. They often predict the complete annihilation of humankind, or at least a really big explosion.

Notes From A Small Island: Journey Through Britain - Bill Bryson

In 1995, before leaving his much-loved home in North Yorkshire to move back to the States for a few years with his family, Bill Bryson insisted on taking one last trip around Britain, a sort of valedictory tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home. His aim was to take stock of the nation's public face and private parts (as it were), and to analyse what precisely it was he loved so much about a country that had produced Marmite; a military hero whose dying wish was to be kissed by a fellow named Hardy; place names like Farleigh Wallop, Titsey and Shellow Bowells; people who said 'Mustn't grumble', and 'Ooh lovely' at the sight of a cup of tea and a plate of biscuits; and Gardeners' Question Time.


Black Adder

I'm not sure this pseudohistorical sitcom needs much introduction! Cunning plans and cutting comedy as the Blackadder dynasty plot their way through British history.

(Series 1 & 2 available on Netflix, various series/episodes available on YouTube and Google Play)

Gilmore Girls

The series explores issues of family, romance, education, friendship, disappointment, and ambition, along with generational divides and social class. Creator Sherman-Palladino infused Gilmore Girls with distinctive fast-paced dialogue filled with pop culture references. The series has been praised for its witty dialogue, cross-generational appeal, and effective mix of humour and drama.

(Netflix / YouTube / Google Play)

Planet Earth

David Attenborough celebrates the amazing variety of the natural world in this epic documentary series, filmed over four years across 64 different countries. At the end of each fifty-minute episode, a ten-minute featurette takes a behind-the-scenes look at the challenges of filming the series.

(Netflix / YouTube / Google Play)


Crazy Rich Asians

The story follows Rachel, a Chinese-American professor who travels to meet her boyfriend's family and is surprised to discover they are among the richest in Singapore. It is the first film by a major Hollywood studio to feature a majority cast of Asian descent in a modern setting since The Joy Luck Club in 1993.

(YouTube / Google Play)

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

Benjamin Barry is an advertising executive and ladies' man who, to win a big campaign, bets that he can make a woman fall in love with him in 10 days. Andie Anderson covers the "How To" beat for "Composure" magazine and is assigned to write an article on "How to Lose a Guy in 10 days."

(YouTube / Google Play)

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Comedy-drama film written and directed by Wes Anderson, that explores tragedy, war, fascism, nostalgia, friendship, and loyalty. A writer encounters the owner of an aging high-class hotel, who tells him of his early years serving as a lobby boy in the hotel's glorious years under an exceptional concierge named Gustave H. When Gustave is framed for the mysterious murder of a wealthy dowager, he and his recently-befriended protégé Zero embark on a quest for fortune and a priceless Renaissance painting against the backdrop of encroaching pandemonium.

(YouTube / Google Play)


Australian documentary film, co-written, co-produced and directed by Jennifer Peedom. An exploration of our obsessions with high places and how they have come to capture our imagination. Only three centuries ago, climbing a mountain would have been considered close to lunacy. The idea scarcely existed that wild landscapes might hold any sort of attraction. Peaks were places of peril, not beauty. Willem Dafoe narrates.

(Netflix / YouTube / Google Play)

I hope there's something in there that takes your fancy! But don't forget, if you're just not feeling it at the moment, it's okay. Take a break. Take a nap. Take care of yourself.


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