Adding 'socially distant' or 'quarantine' to anything makes it relevant right? Consider it my excuse to share my recent entertainment obsessions with you.
As normal as #pandemiclife has become, I recognize that it continues to be difficult for many. And, as the laid-back, work-from-home life loses its allure, we're all still searching for ways to stay sane. In downtime that I previously spent going out with friends, I've learned to enjoy the small things like getting lost in a good book, or rewatching all of Gossip Girl (minus the guilt). These books and shows helped me, so I hope you have fun bingeing them too!
Books I'm Bingeing
The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda. Actually, anything by this author is a must-read. I finished this book in 3 days. I could not put it down. The story follows a young ex-journalist on her move to a new, remote town where she rooms with an old friend. She quickly learns that you can't run from your past and sometimes even your closest friends aren't who you think they are. This book will keep you guessing until the very end, and has the perfect amount of mystery and suspense.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. This was a Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club pick, so even though I was skeptical at first, I had to give it a try! Taking place in a small coastal town in North Carolina, Owens tells the story of "The Marsh Girl", an intelligent and misunderstood young girl who experiences coming-of-age all on her own. Most of what she knows, she has learned by observing nature, but her life takes an unexpected turn when she draws the attention of a local boy and finds herself at the center of a possible murder. It's a wonderfully-written and raw story that captured my emotions like few books have before.
Kiss The Girls and Make Them Cry by Mary Higgins Clark. A novel from the "Queen of Suspense" herself that will have you hooked from the start. It chronicles the story of Gina Kane, an investigative reporter who receives an anonymous tip about sexual misconduct at a high-profile news organization. She quickly learns that those involved will stop at nothing to protect their reputation, and finds herself in danger as a result. Clark's book gave me major 'Bombshell' vibes, and details a reality that's all too familiar for many women on the heels of the 'Me Too' movement. I picked this one up from Target on a whim and was pleasantly surprised.
Verity by Colleen Hoover. This is the one I'm currently reading! It's about a little-known author who gets offered the job of a lifetime to become a ghost writer for one of her idols, an incredibly famous author by the name of Verity Crawford. When she begins sorting through Verity's notes and manuscripts, she uncovers a real-life story that's more twisted than any piece of fiction she could write. You'll have to stay tuned for a full review, but so far I'm obsessed. It was recommended on tons of reading lists so I couldn't resist giving it a read!
Shows I'm Bingeing
Queen's Gambit. People have been raving about this Netflix Miniseries for months, but if you haven't seen it, you must drop everything and watch now. I put off watching it for so long because I wasn't sure that a show about chess had much to offer me, but I've never been more wrong. The character development, the Cold War Era setting, the incredible talent tainted by quiet addiction - it all comes together perfectly and beautifully. Plus, it's only 7 episodes so you can binge the whole series in one weekend, and trust me you'll want to.
Emily In Paris. Again, I'm late to the party on this one, but I couldn't think of a better Friday night than curling up with my ice cream and watching a comedy set in the fashion capital of the world. Played by Lily Collins, the lighthearted and endearing Emily Cooper is sent across the world by her marketing firm in Chicago to provide a fresh perspective at their Parisian office. It was created by Darren Star, the mastermind behind 90210, Sex and the City, and Younger, and it lived up to the hype. You can binge all of season 1 on Netflix. Fun fact: Amid the show's instant popularity, Netflix came on the scene to educate us that the title of the show is actually meant to be pronounced in a French accent so that Emil(ee) rhymes with Pari(ee). How fun!
60 Days In. You can find this docuseries on Amazon Prime, but warning, it's not for the faint of heart. It follows an intense program that sends innocent civilians into correctional facilities undercover in order to help chief jailers gain a better understanding of what's happening on the inside. It also sheds light on the conditions inside our system's jails in an effort to advocate for prison reform and rehabilitation for the incarcerated. It keeps me on the edge of my seat, but I can't watch too much at one time because of the intensity. Proceed with caution.
Virgin River. I was a sucker for Hart of Dixie and was crushed when it came to an end. Luckily, Virgin River brings the same storyline of big city hospital doctor meets small town practice. However, I found that Virgin River was a little less comedy and more drama. There's a lot to unpack since the main character struggles with overwhelming guilt and mourning that unfolds as you learn more about her past. Definitely worth the watch and totally binge-able.
Bridgerton. This is the one I'm currently watching! It's all the rage right now and I can't wait to watch. From what I know, it's a Regency Era-set debutante story filled with wealth, lust, and betrayal. Stay tuned for a full review.
Shows I've Seen But Deserve a Re-Binge
These shows have been available to stream for a while, but if you haven't seen them (or it's just been a really long time), I highly recommend giving them a watch.
Gossip Girl, because obviously.
Charmed, badass sister witches, enough said.
The Vampire Diaries, because hot vampires.
Younger, because it's funny and adorable.
New Girl, for the same reason.
Hart Of Dixie, because it's cute, quirky, and makes you feel good.
Keeping Up With The Kardashians, because it's the OG of reality TV & I don't care what anyone says.
White Collar, a great crime drama with a hot lead.
Graceland, also a binge-worthy crime drama.
The OC & One Tree Hill (truly anything from The CW).
Flip or Flop, my absolute favorite home reno show.
Looking back, I wouldn't trade the "me" time I discovered in 2020 for anything. When the outside world becomes too much to handle, I love to escape into another reality through books or shows. So let's drop the guilt trip, grab the remote, and indulge in self care in 2021!