#stayathome what to read, listen to and watch in COVID-19 times

What to read, watch and listen to during COVID-19 times

Nikki ParkinsonLife 16 Comments

For those of us self-isolating at home and not working across the Easter long weekend, this list of what to read, watch and listen to during COVID-19 times might help you fill the time.

For our essential, front-line workers, thank YOU. Thank YOU for all that you’re doing. We’re all in this together.

#stayathome what to read, listen to and watch in COVID-19 times

What to read during COVID-19 times

If you haven’t worked your way through my reading list from last year, start HERE.

This is my recommendation list for 2020 to date:

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins: if you think we’re doing it tough right now, read the first chapter of this novel and let the gratitude for your easy life flow. Just don’t read that chapter before bed like I did. It’s full-on, confronting and heartbreaking. But this story of persistence, grit and determination set against a backdrop of Mexican drug cartels is one that will have you turning the pages with hope that the outcome will be a good one. 

Grown Ups by Marian Keyes: I LOVE Marian Keyes and always look forward to getting lost in her novels. Her latest is no exception. It’s long but I loved that. I got to hang out with her dysfunctional characters and be taking on a ride with a tale of families, love and imperfections.

Unexpected Lessons in Love by Lucy Dillon: A romance novel that starts with the bride getting cold feet on the way to her wedding as the groom gets knocked unconscious while stepping across the road? It was difficult to believe there’d be some kind of happy ending. I love Lucy’s way of taking on a voyage of self-discovery through her characters. This one came with a high feel-good factor. 

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: I was late to the party on this one but a push from a friend before Christmas saw me pick it up at the airport. I started it on the flight and promptly made the husband read it while we were away too. I didn’t expect to like it but I was hooked by the life that the “Marsh Girl” was forced (in the beginning) to lead and I was kept guessing until the end as to who was responsible for the murder which rocked the small coastal town.

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert: I’m always here for Gilbert’s way with words and her ability to spin a yarn. City of Girls delivers on both. I loved how the coming-of-age story of Vivian Morris was told by herself but in a reflective and retrospective way, sharing it in her old age to a woman called Angela. We don’t know the connection between the two women until near the end but by then we have a complete and complex picture of a woman who had lived her life in a way that was far from the norm of the time but a life that suited her to a tee.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid: This debut novel from Reid was Reese Witherspoon’s January 2020 bookclub pick and what a pick it is. This will be one book that will sit with me for quite some time. It’s a clever and thought-provoking look at modern day families, race, class and social media through the story of a babysitter, her boss and the scene-stealer, a funny and intelligent toddler. The dynamics between the babysitter and her boss are a train-wreck waiting to happen and you won’t be able to stop reading to see how that plays out.

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes: In and era when we see, hear and read about modern-day feminists, being able to deep dive into a work of fiction focussed around a group of fierce women set in the 1930s in America’s south is an absolute delight. Central to the story is the Packhorse Library initiative of that time, whereby librarians rode on horseback into remote communities, distributing books to adults and children, people who would otherwise not be able to learn to read. In Moyes’ narrative, we meet five women librarians, each from different backgrounds, all gutsy and all risking societal disapproval for their choices. You won’t want to put this one done.

Currently reading (and my list for the long weekend): Phosphorescence by Julia Baird (and uplifting book about finding the light in life again); The Lost Jewels by Kirsty Manning (I love this Australian author’s work and the way she melds history with modern times in a way that leaves you wanting more).

What to read (youth fiction for reluctant readers)

This list was compiled by my eldest son for his little brother (nearly 15 years old) who is being “coached” to read during these iso times.

The Maze Runner (Teens trapped in a maze cause angst)

The Lord Of The Rings (Elves, dwarfs and Sh*&T)

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (Don’t panic when your planet is being destroyed just go on an adventure around the universe )

Eragon (Dragons give you magic and now you must fight evil dragon magic people)

The Name of The Wind (Old man in a pub telling the story of when he was young and good at magic)

Neverwhere (Man saves a girl from a magical underground world underneath London and now no one above ground can remember him)

The Ruins of Gorlan (Fantasy with less magic more medieval also vikings )

Stardust (Man crosses into a fantasy world to collect a shooting star for his fiancé but then falls in love with the star)

The Complete Sherlock Holmes (Cause good mystery)

His Majesty’s Dragon (Napoleon wars but with an airforce of dragon riders)

Storm Front (Wizard PI in Chicago solving magic crimes)

The Final Empire (The bad guys won the war and now rule over the world also people eat metal to get magic powers)

The Recruit (Teen gets recruited to be a team of super spies)

Stormbreaker (Another teen gets recruited to be a lone super spy)

Leviathan (WW1 but large mechas vs colossal biologically engineered monsters)

Narnia (Talking Lions, unqualified kids becoming kings and queens and witches)

Contest (A human gets drafted into an alien Battle Royale)

Battle Royale (A school class gets forced into a Battle Royale)

The Seven Ancient Wonders (Indiana Jones meets Fast and Furious)

Hover Car Racer (A boy races hover cars)

Ice Station (Allied countries fight a secret war in Antarctica over a spaceship)

The Golden Compass (Young girl tries to stop kids from being kidnapped cause the adults are all incompetent or evil also everyone’s soul is a talking animal)

The Colour of Magic (Follow the first tourist in a world on the back of a giant turtle flying through space also he tried to introduce the world to insurance)

The Power of Four (Aliens come to earth as babies after their world is destroyed and start developing super powers)

Maximum Ride (Genetically Engineered Teenagers with wings escape from the lab that changed them and now are on the run)

Daniel X (Teenage Alien bounty hunter on Earth hunts down Alien criminals with super powers)

Percy Jackson (Teenage boy fights monsters and has superpowers cause his dad is Poseidon)

What podcasts to listen to during COVID-19 times

Unlocking Us with Brene Brown: if there ever was a time for Brene to launch a podcast, it’s now. Her calming voice in a world of angst is just what I needed to hear and maybe it will help you too.

What to watch (TV streaming) during COVID-19 times

This list was compiled by my eldest son.


The Witcher (Next GOT)

The Politician (Dark Comedy about high school government election)

Bodyguard (British Action show bodyguard falls in love with politician he was meant to protect)

Master of None (Comedy about modern dating)

Dracula (New retelling of original story by people who did Sherlock)

The Order (Competing magic societies at University)

Living with Yourself (Dark comedy where Paul Rudd has to live with a clone of himself)

You Me Her (Comedy/drama about a married couple that introduce another woman into their relationship)

Daybreak (Post-apocalypse where all adults died and teenage cliques now have gang wars)

Lovesick (Good British rom com)

Unbelievable (Drama/crime about serial rapist)

Schitts Creek (Comedy about rich family who go broke and have to move to small country town inn as it is the last property they own)

Mindhunter (Period drama about FBI starting to profile serial killers)

Big Mouth (Adult comedy about puberty)

Archer (Adult comedy about spies)

Dear White People (Comedy/drama about racism at university)

GLOW (Comedy/drama about start of female wrestling)

The End of the F****ing World (British Dark Comedy about two kids in love that run away from home)

Star Trek Discovery (Modern Star Trek show)

Vikings (Period drama about vikings)

Bojack Horseman (Adult comedy about a depressed has been actor)

Dark (German sci/fi about how time travel warps the lives of a small town over generations)

Atypical (Comedy about a family with a son with autism)

Peaky Blinders (Period drama about British gangsters)

Sex Education (British comedy about a boy who starts a sex help clinic at school)

You (Drama about a boy who becomes obsessed with women quickly and goes to great lengths to insert himself into their lives)

Titans (Dark Superhero show)

Altered Carbon (Futuristic Sci-fi mystery where people can download themselves into new bodies following the man hired to solve a murder of a rich client)

Ozark (Drama – family gets caught up with cartels and gets pressured into money laundering)

Money Heist (Spanish drama about a heist to top the federal reserve)

Shameless (US cmedy following a poor family with low morals who do everything they need to to survive)

The Good Place (Ensemble comedy about the afterlife)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Comedy set in a police station)

Elite (Spanish Drama about murder mystery in an elite private school)

Nobody’s Looking (Brazilian Comedy about a Guardian Angel that falls in love with the person he is meant to be protecting)


The Detour (Comedy about a family that gets into a lot of trouble on a road trip)

The Other Guy (Australian Comedy starring Matt Okine after his long term girlfriend cheats on him)

Billions (Drama about a rich lawyer who is trying to put a man on Wall Street in jail, who his wife also works for)

Everything’s Going To Be Ok (Josh Thomas’ new dark comedy where his dad dies and he becomes the guardian for his two half sisters even though he is trying to still figure out his own life)

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist ( Musical Comedy where a girl gains the power to see people’s internal thoughts in song)

The Office US ( Comedy set in an office lots of famous comedy actors before they were big)

Parks and Recreation (Comedy set in a small town local parks and rec department)

Amazon Prime

The Magicians (Adult Harry Potter/ Narnia)

The Marvellous Mrs Maisel (Period comedy/drama about a female stand up comic in the 60s)

Fleabag (British comedy about modern dating)

Jack Ryan (Good spy show)

The Boys (Dark adult superhero show)

The Tick (Light superhero show)

Treadstone (TV show set in Jason Bourne Universe)

The Man in High Castle (Alternative history where Japan and Germany won the war and split USA between them)

Sneaky Pete (Comedy/drama about a con man who gets out of jail and pretends to be his cell mate so that he can hide from the people he is after with his cell mates family)

Red Oaks (Period comedy/drama set in a country club)

Apple TV +

For All Mankind (Alternative history where Russia got to the moon first and the space race never ended)

Morning Wars (Like The Newsroom but a morning TV show)

See (Fantasy set in the future starring Jason Momoa were everyone went blind due to a plague and people are beginning to see again and are hunted as witches)

Mythic Quest: Ravens Banquet (Comedy about a game design team)

What to watch (family movies) during COVID-19 times

This list was compiled by my eldest son.

ET (Kids make a cool magic space friend, adults don’t like it)

Holes (Kids are forced into manual labour for adult profit)

Night At The Museum (History is fun through the power of magic)

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Man uses candy to tempt kids into his magical factory and then punishes them for eating said candy)

Finding Nemo (Rebellious kid touches the butt and gets kidnapped, father must travel to Sydney to rescue him)

The Incredibles (Don’t tell a kid they can’t achieve their dreams they might devote their lives to destroying you)

Up (Amazing engineering makes his house fly cause airline tickets were too expensive, also talking dogs)

Short Circuit (Robot thinks he’s a real boy)

The Parent Trap (Twins sabotage their fathers current relationship to get their parents back together after 10 years, cause true love)

The Wizard of Oz (A young women visits a magical land with her dog and kills two sisters)

The Sound of Music (Failed nun embeds herself in family and steals wealthy man from his fiancé with the power of song)

Home Alone (Two professional robbers outsmarted by kid abandoned by his family)

The Truman Show (Reality TV turned up to 11)

Honey I Shrunk the Kids (Bumbling inventor endangers his family with his inventions)

Matilda (Abusive parents and principal awakens magical powers in a little girl)

Mrs Doubtfire (Dad experiments with drag and becomes closer to his family)

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Little girl wins hide and seek by travelling to a fantasy world)

The Goonies (Kids fight professional criminals and hunt for buried treasure)

Agent Cody Banks (Teenager is recruited to be a super spy without his family realising)

Nanny McPhee (Nanny plays matchmaker while magically becoming beautiful by disciplining children)

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (Child abused by his guardians is rescued to go to a magical school, but then must save the world cause adults are incompetent)

The NeverEnding Story (A bullied kid escapes reality through the power of books)

Life of Pi (Old man tells a story of how he survived a shipwreck as a kid)

Dead Poets Society (Parents don’t like a teacher inspiring their kids to like the arts)

Forest Gump (The biography of the man who embodies right place at the right time)

The Karate Kid (Bullied kid follows stranger home to do his chores)

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (Family disapproves of the daughter not marrying a Greek man)

The Princess Bride (Hero hunts down the man who killed his father and something about princesses and brides)

Raiders of the Lost Ark (Overqualified Archaeologist saves the world from Nazis)

Babe (Pig steals a dogs job and gets rewarded for it)

Beetlejuice (Former homeowners enlist magical stranger to help scare new tenets from their old house)

Big Fat Liar (Adult steals high schoolers move idea and takes all the credit)

Charlottes Web (Spider saves pig from becoming bacon)

Cool Runnings (Jamaica sources a bobsled team)

Despicable Me (Supervillain adopts kids and uses them to steal the moon)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Selfish introvert doesn’t like to see other people happy)

Ella Enchanted (Fairy Godmother curses young girl to always do as she’s told)

Ender’s Game (Young boy recruited to fight war with aliens because adults incompetent)

Footloose (Young man saves boring town by dancing)

Free Willy (Young man plans elaborate prison break to save his friend from death row)

Hook (Peter Pan forgot his one rule and gre up)

How to Train Your Dragon (False advertising, my dragon is still misbehaving)

Howls Moving Castle (Young women is cursed to be old and starts working for a wizard to save herself)

A Knights Tale (An under-qualified peasant is immediately better than everyone else who has trained to be a knight for years)

The Mighty Ducks (A ragtag group learn the power of teamwork from their selfish coach)

National Treasure (Overqualified Archaeologist steals national artifices for personal gain and doesn’t fight Nazis)

The Princess Diaries (Nerdy becomes popular through the power of money and makeovers)

Ratatouille (Restaurant employs rat because adults are incompetent and health inspections aren’t a thing)

The Road to Eldorado (Two conmen strike it big when they find a map to the city of gold)

Sister Act (Singer saves church while pretending to be a nun)

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Magical Clothes help four friends discover themselves)

Sky High (Kid lets down his parents by not being gifted in the family business)

Stuart Little (Family adopts a mouse instead of a second child)

Mulan (Girl proves she is just as capable at saving the day as the boys)

Labyrinth (Terrible sister must rescue her  brother after being a terrible babysitter)

Monsters Inc (A documentary on the economics of monsters that live under your bed)

Peter Pan (Magical boy kidnaps young children and teaches them never to grow up)

The Emperors New Groove (Emperor is taught humility when he is turned into a llama and must rely on a peasant for help)

Hercules (Jealous brother kidnaps nephew so that he can steal his brothers job)

Tarzan (Man raises by gorillas has surprising game when he meets the first female of his species)

Lilo and Stitch (Girl adopt best dog in the shelter)

Anastasia (Documentary about how Rasputin used demons to overthrow Russian royalty)

Surf’s Up (A documentary about surfing penguins and a chicken that knows what chicken tastes like)

Over the Hedge (A group of wild friends find the benefits of suburban life)

Instant Family (New foster parents get three kids for the price of one)

Sing (An unrealistic amount of undiscovered pop-stars live in the same town hold a talent show)

Ready Player One (Boy says the day through being really good at video games and because adults are incompetent)

The Greatest Showman (Entrepreneur fools banks so he can follow his dreams)

What to watch (chick flicks)

Mamma Mia (Best ABBA music video)

Pretty Woman (Money cannot buy you love, but it helps)

How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days (Good relationships are built on ulterior motives)

Coyote Ugly (Move to New York they said, you’d be a star they said this girl just ends up dancing on bars for money)

About Time (Man uses his superpowers to get his dream girl)

Me Before You (Khaleesi with less rage and dragons falling in love with her employer)

Dirty Dancing (Here for the iconic lift)

Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion (Two friends decided to pretend they have amazing lives for their high school reunion, Social Media would ruin this movie)

Bridesmaids (Maid of Honours dysfunctional life gets in the way of her friends wedding)

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Magic Pants change four lives)

Clueless (Girl pretends too be good and becomes good through osmosis)

The Notebook (Man builds a house to get the girl)

To All The Boys I Loved Before (Girl writes letters to all the boys she has a crush on and then is surprised when they are inevitably sent out)

Pride and Prejudice (Parents try to marry off their daughters to maintain their wealth)

Sex and the City (Enjoyable if you’ve invested the time to watch the 94 half hour trailers for this movie)

Girls Trip (Four friends reconnect after years by going to a music festival during Mardi Gras in New Orleans, what could go wrong)

Hitch (Pick up artist finds the one girl he can’t pick up)

The Princess Diaries (I’m lazy, see my previous list)

The Devil Wears Prada (Girl gets brainwashed into the fashion industry)

Crazy Rich Asians (Best tourism ad for Singapore)

Miss Congeniality (Women saves lives by entering a beauty pageant)

Mean Girls (Movie about the mean girls in high school, basically you can’t sit with us)

Legally Blonde (Girl uses her unique perspective to get into Harvard Law rather than any legal know how)

13 Going on 30 (13 year old tries to pretend she is 30)

Seventeen Again (Man in his 40s tries to pretend he is 17)

She’s the Man (Girl shines a light on the double standards of the sports industry when it comes to gender)

Bring It On (Cheerleading is serious business, movie business they managed to milk this formula for 5 sequels)

Someone Great (Jane the Virgin moved to NY and got wild)

A Cinderella Story (They stole this plot from Disney)

Never Been Kissed (Woman pretends to be a teenager a falls in love with her Engoish teacher)

50 First Dates (Forgetful Woman is wooed by overly persistent guy)

How To Be Single (A movie about single people getting into a surprising amount of relationships)

27 Dresses (Hoarder keeps dresses she never plans to wear again)

Made Of Honour (Woman makes her guy best friend her Made of a Honour and he ruins the wedding)

You’ve Got Mail (Catfishing with AOL)

Sierra Burgess is a Loser (Catfishing with Social Media)

Lady Bird (Young girl lives the life she wants not the life she was given)

Step Up (Boy from the streets learns ballet to get the girl)

Enchanted (Disney princess lands in the magical world of NY has more luck than in Coyote Ugly)

Hairspray (Teenager embraces her flaws and becomes a television star, also John Travolta is in drag)

Grease (Girl coincidently moves to the school of her summer fling, romance and drama ensure)

Stick It (Troubled teen is forced to compete in gymnastics to reform her bad attitude)

Twilight (Old man acts aloof and seduces teenage girl)

Freaky Friday (Daughter learns some of what her mothers life is like, mother is forced to deal with high school drama for the second time in her life)

The Duff (Girl realises she is the least popular friend in her group and makes her mission to rework her image to get the boy cause materialism)

10 Things I Hate About You (Boy pays the school bad boy to date his girlfriends sister)

Pitch Perfect (Girl goes to University and joins a club to make friends the musical)

Easy A (Young Woman embraces her sexuality and is shunned by her friends and family)

Love Actually (Best Christmas Movie)

Valentines Day (Trying to be on Love Actually, but with more roses)

New Year’s Eve (Trying to be Love Actually but a week late to Christmas)

Cruel Intentions (Siblings who are weirdly obsessed with each other drag an unknowing girl into their twisted relationship)

Bridget Jones’ Diary (Woman takes strangers insults very personally and remakes herself to find love)

Stardust (See Princess Diaries)

The Proposal (Boss pressures employee to be her boyfriend to impress her parents)

The Holiday (Two women swap lives and it solves all their problems)

Love, Rosie (Teenage pregnancy complicates a friendship)

Sweet Home Alabama (Woman is inconveniently still married to her ex and must travel home to her hometown she wants to forget so that she can divorce him and marry her new successful man)

The Time Traveller’s Wife (Man uses his superpower to groom young girl)

The Age of Adeline (Old woman pretends to be young and discovers love again)

Wild Child (Rebellious girl corrupts private school)

The Vow (Man convinces woman that they are married even though she has no memory of their relationship)

The Ugly Truth (Man pushes his misogynistic views about woman on his coworker to help her get a man)

What Women Want (Man uses his superpower to devolve the gift of empathy)

Bend it like Beckham (Girl breaks family expectations for her by playing football)

He’s Just Not That Into You (A series of stories that highlight that men really don’t know how relationships work)

Definitely, Maybe (Father brags about all his ex girlfriends to his daughter)

Crazy Stupid Love (Middle Age Divorcee receives dating advice from young player)

Silver Linings Playbook (Man obsessed wit his ex struggles to see new love in front of him)

John Tucker Must Die (Boy dates three girls at the same time and is surprised when this backfires on him)

I’ll keep adding to this blog post when I read more and discover more podcasts … and when I can convince my eldest son to create some more lists for us. I’ve saved them all HERE

Remember, whatever you’re doing during COVID-19 times, please, please #stayathome

Comments 16

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  1. Thank you Nikki for this list,I’ve been reading two books a week lately so always need recommendations for more.
    Will check out the Netflix selections as well.
    Happy Easter xx

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  2. Thank you that’s a great list. We are watching The Breeders on foxtel very funny. . Have a lovely Easter weekend.

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  3. That is an awesome list, Nikki! Something for everyone. As a Teacher Librarian, I am impressed by your son’s choices!

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