What to watch/read while stuck at home?

Published 4:18 pm Friday, April 3, 2020

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I rarely watch regular television programming, except for the nightly news and the CBS Sunday morning broadcast from 9:30 to 11 a.m. It is a collage of history, off the beaten path stories ranging from politics and current events to personal interviews and I have watched it for years.

My other TV viewing comes through Netflix, or Amazon Prime.

Currently I am hooked on an Emmy award winning series called The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

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It takes place in New York City in the 1950’s. It is an hilarious portrayal of life in the “old” world knocking heads with the “new.” Maisel is the daughter of a very old, established and proper Jewish family living on the Upper West side of Manhattan. She is the mother of two young children and recently separated from her husband.

She “accidentally” finds her niche in the world of stand-up comedy in the bars and late night clubs of the Village.

The dialogue is sharp and crisp if you are able to overlook the prominent profanity and adult language that pervades the show. The acting is superb and the story line soon gets you hooked. The “proper” clothing styles of the 50’s are very interesting as well.

I enjoy a couple of episodes per evening, as I partake of an adult beverage along with some cheese and crackers.

When I am not working around the house and garden I love reading from my Kindle book. It is great to have immediate access to so many books, all ordered from Amazon and downloaded instantly.

I have quite a collection of 155 books. My tastes run from English mysteries to biographies, historical novels, and best sellers.

My book of choice right now is one of a series authored by Donna Leon, who writes about Italian Police Commissario Brunetti and his colleagues as they investigate a crime. But more than that it is a modern day reflection of every day life in Venice, with a slightly cynical commentary regarding evidence of corruption and inefficiency in governmental agencies and life in general. It is very well written and contains subtle humor with tongue in cheek commentary I enjoy as a diversion.

Carolyn Iamon Lifestyle Editor

During my quarantine period, I’ve found myself watching show after show on Hulu and catching up on the novels I had pre-bought, but hadn’t quite gotten the chance to read yet.

I’m a fan of the app, GoodReads, where readers select books they like and recommend them to friends, who enjoy similar book genres. That’s when it occurred to me, I should recommend a show and a read for people like me, while they’re holed up with nothing to do.

So, without further adieu my go-to binge watching show is Gossip Girl.

Yes, I know it’s already had its day in the sun, but I have actually watched this show twice prior to quarantine, and am considering going for round three.

There is no character, in my humble opinion, more iconic than Serena Van Der Woodsen, and no friendship duo quite like that of hers and Queen B, Blair Waldorf.

For those who don’t know about the show, Serena returns from boarding school to her all girls prep school on the Upper East Side of New York, where a boy named Dan Humprey is crushing on her- hard. He’s not the only one, though, Blair’s boyfriend, Nate Archibald is also crushing on Serena, while his best friend, Chuck Bass has the hots for Blair.

If the love rectangle doesn’t make things hard enough, there is anonymous blogger posting their most intimate details for everyone, including their parents to see.

This show will give you every feel- you’ll be mad, you’ll be jumping off your couch and on the final episode you may even cry.

While the show features dozens of martinis and waffles, I suggest this show with a good glass of Cupcake’s Moscato DiAsti wine and some popcorn, specifically movie theatre butter.

This combo may not feel Upper East Side glamorous, but who even needs a snack when you’re watching the HOTTEST couple of all times be created right before your very eyes?

Once the show is over, you’ll very much be rooting for one couple or the other, so once you watch it I fully expect an email telling me if you ‘ship Serena or Blair.

If you’re not much a show fanatic and more into reading, I have my latest reading suggestion also handy.

There are the Gossip Girl book series, however they divert from the show and heavily read amongst middle schoolers.

If you’re looking for something more Young Adult/Adult, I suggest Good Girls Lie.

This book also features a prep school, but is much different than Gossip Girl.

Young Ash Carlisle moves from across the pond after her parents pass away to attend an all girls’ school, known as the Goode School. The one rule at Goode is no lying.

While at Goode, Ash makes friends with the head senior girl, or it seems they are only friends. Much to Ash’s dismay, she wakes up one morning to find her “friend” has hung herself outside the gates to the school, but if Ash is surprised then who did it?

It is a page-turner that still has me reeling. I truly am still not over the ending. If you see this ending coming, then you need to work for the FBI.

Those are my two recommendations for you, but don’t hesitate to reach out for more or suggest your own back to me. I wish you nothing but happy reading and watching during this time of uncertainty.

However, if there is one thing I’m certain about, it’s good girls lie, but Goode girls don’t.

Jill Holloway Reporter

My favorite show to watch on TV right now is Yellowstone. You can’t go wrong with a cold beer and some pretzels while watching it.

Also, Tom Clancy is one my favorite writers. I have a bookshelf filled with his works. One of my favorites is Rainbow Six. I highly recommend giving it a read if you enjoy thriller novels.

Mark Pope Publisher

Just about everybody is subscribed to Netflix, so I’ll recommend my favorite show to binge on there. Coincidentally, it’s also recognized as one of the greatest, most groundbreaking television shows of all time: “Mad Men”.

Set at an advertising agency on Madison Avenue in the 1960s, “Mad Men” focuses on the character Don Draper, a handsome exec with an aptitude for sales, the respect of his contemporaries and a beautiful family. He also lies, cheats, drinks (nonstop, actually) and battles his dark past on a daily basis. Characters feel real and develop naturally over the 7-season drama, culminating in the most satisfying final episode I’ve ever seen. “Mad Men” is the closest thing to a time machine you’ll find on TV. I recommend watching it with a box of Cheez-Its and a Coke, or if you really want to immerse yourself, a stiff Manhattan cocktail.

You also can’t go wrong with “Parks and Recreation” when you need something a little more lighthearted.

If you’re more in the mood for a great read, I’d like to recommend the “Calvin & Hobbes, Tenth Anniversary Book”. If you know me, you know how much I treasure Bill Watterson’s brilliant cartoon strip about a not-so-typical 6-year-old boy and his stuffed Tiger. The strips range from funny games that Calvin and Hobbes create to pass the time during a long summer day, all the way to deep, philosophical debates about the meaning of life. It may sound bizarre, but if you’ve read the comic, you know how well it works.

This particular volume collects Watterson’s favorite strips from the cartoon’s 10-year run (1985-1995), with commentary from Watterson himself on various influences, artistic choices and inside jokes that give many of the strip’s moments a whole new context. It really is a great look inside the cartoonist’s mind, especially for someone as private and reclusive as Watterson. It can be had for less than $10 on Amazon. I would let you borrow mine, but I guess it isn’t exactly a time for sharing. Check it out!

Powell Cobb Managing Editor