• Brett Hayden

Reading & Streaming during Quarantine

Updated: Jul 5, 2020

Here are my thoughts on some popular and some older books, TV shows, and DocuSeries that I’ve been binging this year!

Austin and I have had a lot of extra time to spend on Netflix during quarantine, and I was able to squeeze in a book here & there while he snuck in some ESPN. Some of these were purely entertainment and others provoked serious emotions for me. Quarantine may be buttoning up, but our Netflix & reading needs are never ending. Maybe you can find your next source of entertainment here!

Books

1. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware 3 words for this book: twists. and. turns. This was my first book this year and boy did it set the bar! The main character has a seriously traumatic experience early on and has to deal with the aftermath while trying to advance her career as a travel journalist on a luxurious cruise on the North Sea. Sounds like a pretty therapeutic escape, right? It could be, until she wakes up in the middle of the night to a woman’s scream and a splash in the water. She has to determine if what’s she’s witnessed is paranoia or reality. She knows someone was thrown overboard, but everyone who boarded the boat is accounted for. Now she feels compelled to find out the truth and uncovers a dark side to some of the passengers. This one will keep you on your toes!

2. Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman Seriously guys, this one will make you think! What would you do if you found millions of dollars? Would you ever place the value of millions of dollars over that of a loved one? What if you’re going through hard times, would you answer differently? Can you really trust those closest to you entirely? This book makes you think about all of that and more, and that’s why I think it would make a great book club read & discussion.

3. The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian Who else always thought that being a Flight Attendant was one of the more glamorous jobs you can have? A job that would literally take you all over the world. Bohjalian’s novel portrays a darker side of the career. I was hooked when the main character woke up sleeping next to a dead body within the first chapter. Talk about hangover anxiety. I had so many questions, I knew I had to keep going. I really enjoyed going through the motions with the protagonist, Cassie, as she questioned her actions during a blackout, her capabilities, and how to navigate being the part of a major murder investigation (*minor spoiler*: she didn’t always handle it well, lol).

4. The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena They could probably rename this one, “A Series of Unfortunate Decisions." This was another book where something completely crazy happened in the first chapter: Anne & Marco’s baby was taken from her crib in the middle of the night while they were next door at a party. From there, one of the main characters kept making poor choice after poor choice. There's plenty of backstabbing and trying to figure out who is trustworthy. If you’re looking for a quick intriguing read, I’d suggest this novel. It was easy to breeze through in a few days and it definitely wasn’t boring.

Currently reading: Untamed by Glennon Doyle; review TBD.

TV Shows


1. Schitt’s Creek Oh my goodness, Schitt’s Creek. To be honest, we started this one a while ago and only caught up on it during quarantine, but I will take any excuse to talk about this show! So far, we’ve only seen the seasons that are on Netflix, but I know there is a final season being aired on TV that isn’t available for streaming yet. This will be one of those shows I put off watching the finale because I don’t want it to end. Really & truly, this show is the BEST, and I fell in love with the characters. This show is heartwarming, seriously funny, and so feel-good. Plus, David & Patrick arguably have the best relationship on TV today.

If you’re looking for something easy and super enjoyable, I’d put Schitt’s Creek up there with Friends (& if you know me, you know my love for Friends).

2. Ozark Austin loved this one, but it took me a while to get into. The first season started off really dark (murder, affairs, bad choices, etc.) and that was hard for me to enjoy. But, by season 2 I started to really like it.

It’s about a fairly normal family that gets caught up in the Mexican Cartel. And then the Kansas City Mafia. And then a super crazy Missouri drug lord’s wife. There are so many twists & turns with this show, and things turn really bad, really quickly, really often. You'll find yourself rooting for criminals, while gaining some serious knowledge on money laundering.

Also, the Missouri accents are fabulous - Ruth single handedly makes this show worth it.

Added bonus if you’re a fan of The Bachelor: Ruth sound exactly like Tia Booth.

3. Mindhunter If you’re into true crime/find serial killers fascinating, watch this show. If you want a glimpse of what an interview with Ed Kemper or Charlie Manson would look like, watch this show. If you’re interested in psychology, watch this show. The main characters Holden and Bill are FBI agents who look into the minds of some very infamous serial killers before behavioral science was studied or utilized by investigators.

Obviously, this show gets a little dark, as murder is the primary theme. I find this super fascinating and even though Austin usually doesn’t he was able to really enjoy the show too.

My one caution with this show is that it hasn’t been renewed for a 3rd season yet because the director is working on other projects, based on what I’ve read online. There is still a major plot line going on at the end of season 2 that we were really looking forward to seeing more of, so fingers crossed we hear some good news on it continuing.

4. Outer Banks Who among us didn’t love the idea of hunting traysure (S/O My Favorite Murder) with our best friends as a kid? Top that with an epic story of first love and you’ve got a hit. Outer Banks is so entertaining, and you will absolutely find yourself rooting for these kids. If you’re like me and watched Ozark first, you may find yourself thinking that they are in way over their heads because they know absolutely nothing about the IRS and money laundering (such rookies compared to Marty).

5. Hollywood I probably struggled more with this show than any other to get into BUT there was a silver lining in the end. The beginning is raunchy, the middle is a bit slow, but the last episode is pure gold, making it worth the one season watch. This show is a story of race, sexuality, and breaking boundaries. I even teared up at the end. To put that in perspective, I don’t really cry much at TV shows and movies (to put that in perspective: I didn’t cry at Titanic, but I had rolling tears at the end of Wonder Woman and wept for the last episode of season 3 of the The Handmaid’s Tale). Push through for this one.

Docuseries


1. Making a Murderer Can you say, “late to the party?” Because that’s what we were on this. Austin and I had both previously started this one but never got into it. Being from Wisconsin, I felt very disappointed in how our justice system handled the case after watching this series. But I felt like there had to be something they weren’t telling us because it seemed almost too obvious that Steven Avery didn’t do it. Overall, I didn’t gain a strong opinion on whether or not Steven Avery was the murderer, but I appreciate a series that can make me think critically about blindly trusting those in authority.

2. Tiger King (of course) If I had to summarize this series in one word it would be “cringey.” Seriously, cringey the whole time. That’s all I have to say about that.

3. Waco

I have all of the emotions for this series. So many that I had to reach out to some close friends and family minutes after finishing it to tell them my thoughts. It was hard to watch at times, but so important.

Based off of 2 books, Waco tells the story of the Branch Davidians “cult” down in Waco, Texas in the 1990’s. One of the books was written by a member of the group and the other was written by the hostage negotiator of the FBI. 2 pretty creditable sources in my opinion, especially when they are explaining the events in similar ways.

I had heard about this group many times before I had seen the series and everything I had heard previously was that the group was fanatical and ended up dying by mass suicide. This series tells a whole different story, where the members of the group were peaceful and had plans to give in to FBI requests during a 2-month standoff. They weren’t standing down quick enough for the FBI, and then all hell broke loose.

If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend this series. It will make you question what our government tells us and be able to look at situations more critically. It’s my personal belief that critical thinking is something we should all practice a little more of.

Added bonus: catch Julia Garner, the actress who plays Ruth in Ozark, in here as well!

Well there ya have it! The next time you’re searching Netflix for something new to watch or want a new book to read, feel free to take an idea or two from this list. & if you do, let me know what you think!


Entirely,

B

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