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Need some stuck-inside suggestions? This is what we’re reading, watching and listening to at Boston.com.



Even if you’re lucky enough to have a job you can do from the comfort of your own abode, let’s face it: You’re bound to have more indoors “me time” than you’re probably used to during this extended stay-at-home period we find ourselves in. Fortunately, thanks to streaming services, e-readers, and online options like Boston Public Library’s virtual library card, you have a lot of ways to while away those inside hours — and if you need some ideas as to exactly how, the Boston.com staff is happy to help. Check out the list of the books, movies, shows, albums, podcasts, and indoor activities currently keeping us occupied below.

What we’re reading:

“Why We’re Polarized,” by Ezra Klein. Don’t read it if you’re looking for an optimistic outlook on the near-term future of American government, but this books explains a lot about our current political moment — and got we got here. — Nik DeCosta-Klipa, Staff Writer

I’ve been reading, and loving, “Leadership in Turbulent Times” (2018) by Boston’s own Doris Kearns-Goodwin. The legendary historian, in alternating chapters, traces the lives of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson — dissecting the qualities that fed into their historic successes and evaluating how they overcame their failures, which in some cases were crushing. It’s fascinating, informative and, as always with Kearns-Goodwin, beautifully told. (Even if it does serve as a sobering reminder that in our own turbulent times, that kind of leadership can be awfully hard to come by.) — Peter Chianca, General Assignment Editor

I just finished “Little Women,” by Louisa May Alcott. That was a welcome escape, and now I can finally watch Greta Gerwig’s 2019 film adaptation. I’m also starting a YA coming-of-age novel, “Frankly in Love,” by David Yoon. I haven’t really gotten into this genre yet, but this book came highly recommended by my 45-year-old sister (!) and her book group. — Emily Turner, Community Editor

I recently picked up “The Night Watchman” by Louise Erdrich, and it has quickly pulled me in. The novel is based on the life of Erdrich’s grandfather, who worked as a night watchman while serving as a tribal chairman and fighting against Native dispossession. Erdrich’s prose is captivating — I can’t put it down! — Dialynn Dwyer, Senior Writer

“Dune Messiah” by Frank Herbert. I finally got around to reading the sci-fi classic “Dune” for a book group last year, and immediately fell in love with the vivid and detailed universe the author had created much the way I did when I first started J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” series, Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” books, and J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” franchise. For those who haven’t read the original, it concerns young aristocrat Paul Atreides, whose family has accepted stewardship of Arrakis, an inhospitable desert planet that is also the sole supplier of “spice,” a highly powerful and addictive substance coveted by most of the known universe. Also, there’s sand worms. Big ones.

Now that I’m stuck in the house for the foreseeable future, I’m diving head-first into the first of the book’s five official sequels, with the hope of finishing them before the star-studded film adaptation due later this year. I might even have time for the 13 additional sequels his son wrote after Herbert’s death in 1986 if this keeps up. — Kevin Slane, Staff Writer

I’m mostly catching up on long reads that I’ve had bookmarked for a while, but I also recently read Out There” by Kate Folk, a great New Yorker short story set in a not-so-distant future where dating might actually be … worse? Fans of “Cat Person,” this one’s for you. — Erin Kuschner, Food Writer

“Crusaders: The Epic History of the Wars for the Holy Lands” by Dan Jones. I read Jones’s “The Templars” not too long ago and, as someone who enjoys medieval history, I liked it, so had to start reading “Crusaders” when it came out. It’s really good, and Jones pulls out some really funny aspects of the history. — Arianna MacNeill, Staff Writer

“Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘N’ Roll” by Peter Guralnick. Consider this the definitive story of Sam Phillips, the man behind legendary Sun Records in Memphis, who discovered music pillars Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Howlin’ Wolf, Ike Turner, and other roaring pioneers. Guralnick writes with excitement, wonder, and a deep respect for his subject, who he knew personally for decades. Quintessentially American, this is the tale of the spark that ignited rock ‘n’ roll and changed the world as we know it. — Christopher Gavin, Staff Writer

I’m reading the gripping historical fiction novel “Homegoing,” a New York Times best seller by Yaa Gyasi that details the impact of slavery upon several generations of one family in both Africa and America over the span of 250 years. — Kristi Palma, Staff Writer

If you’re a fan of crime and mystery novels, check out “In the Woods,” by Tana French. It follows two Irish detectives in Dublin as they investigate a murder, and it’s also the first book in a series that focuses on a new character with each sequel. If you get hooked after the first book, the second follows an undercover detective who takes the place of her dead doppelgänger. — Ainslie Cromar, Writer

What we’re watching:

“Briarpatch.” Probably the most cleverly written series to ever appear on USA Network (with all due respect to “Psych” and “Suits)”, this crime mystery features a Senate staffer played Rosario Dawson returning to her home town in Texas to investigate her sister’s death. Also, there are giraffes. — Nik DeCosta-Klipa, Staff Writer

I’m halfway through the first season of Amazon Prime’s “Hunters,” the show where Al Pacino plays a Holocaust survivor leading a group of Jewish vigilantes hunting Nazis in America in the 1970s. It’s not what you’d call a great show, or even really a good show — for one thing, it’s vaguely offensive except for those parts when it’s REALLY offensive. And yet there’s something about its Grand Guignol excess and Al Pacino’s Tevye-meets-Jackie Mason accent that makes you unable to turn away. Or at least me. — Peter Chianca, General Assignment Editor

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” Season 10 has me giggling after a long day. I love how much Larry David and Susie Essman’s characters hate each other. Is it weird I find their on-screen fights cathartic? “High Maintenance” is also getting me through these weird times by following The Guy (Ben Sinclair) as he encounters the bizarre, yet relatable lives of New Yorkers. Last movie I watched was Midsommar. At least we’re not living in that story. — Emily Turner, Community Editor

“Little Fires Everywhere” on Hulu. The new series is based on a novel of the same name by Cambridge author Celeste Ng. (Note: If you haven’t read the book yet, you should because it’s amazing! But you definitely don’t need to have read the book to enjoy the show.) The TV show stars Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, who are also executive producing the series, and so far, it is proving to be just as engrossing as the work it is adapted from. — Dialynn Dwyer, Senior Writer

“Succession” on HBO. After spending most of 2019 watching nothing but movies, I’m using the first half of 2020 to catch up on TV shows I’ve been meaning to check out. After knocking out HBO’s “Watchmen” earlier this month, I’ve moved onto the premium cabler’s pitch-black comedy/drama “Succession.” When media and hospitality tycoon Logan Roy (Brian Cox, “X2: X-Men United”) falls ill, it triggers a frantic power grab by those around him, chiefly from his children Kendall (Boston native Jeremy Strong, “The Big Short”), Siobhan (Sarah Snook, “Steve Jobs”), and Roman (Kieran Culkin, “Igby Goes Down”). It’s a delightfully acidic show, one in which no one is above reproach, which makes it all the more compelling. — Kevin Slane, Staff Writer

I just wrapped up season 2 of David Chang’s “Ugly Delicious” on Netflix, and if you’re already experiencing the tremors of cabin fever, this globe-trotting show will help you curb it (at least for a little while). There are only four episodes — a quick binge! — and the season kicks off with an episode dedicated to uncharted territory for Chang: fatherhood, and how the hell he expects to navigate it while living the demanding life of a chef and restaurateur. I also really loved the second episode, which delved into the wildly expansive world of Indian cuisine. — Erin Kuschner, Food Writer

Just watched “Midsommar” and “Apostle.” Both were creepy, both involved cults. It was a coincidence, ha ha. Watching “Parks and Recreation” for balance. — Arianna MacNeill, Staff Writer

I just (finally) finished NBC’s hit show “The Good Place,” starring Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. With everything going on in the world, it seemed as swell a time as any to delve back into Michael Schur’s brilliant take on the afterlife and experiment on how to be a good person modern times. Plus, it’s hilarious. Really. This show has it all. — Christopher Gavin, Staff Writer

I’m finally watching AMC’s Emmy award-winning drama “Mad Men,” set at a New York ad agency in the 1960s. I love everything about this show: the writing, acting, costumes, and sets. — Kristi Palma, Staff Writer

What we’re listening to:

The Longform Podcast. With sports on hiatus, this weekly interview podcast with journalists and writers is a refreshing, meditative escape from the dizzying news cycle. — Nik DeCosta-Klipa, Staff Writer

I’m not ashamed (well, maybe a little) to admit I’ve spent a lot of time listening to “Weather,” the new album from Huey Lewis and The News. Given that a bout with Ménière’s disease may keep Lewis from recording again, I’m grateful they got this one in under the wire — a short (26 minutes) mix of his trademark blue-eyed soul, bluesy rock, catchy hooks, and winking humor, with a little wry nostalgia thrown in for good measure, it’s the winning comeback album we didn’t know we needed. Just try not humming “Her Love Is Killing Me” to yourself all day, I dare you. — Peter Chianca, General Assignment Editor

I’m a daily listener of The Daily podcast from New York Times, but that’s no different in pre-pandemic times. — Emily Turner, Community Editor

“Tapestry” by Carole King and the “Coffee Table Jazz” playlist on Spotify. I initially took my forced at-home time as a chance to catch up on some new albums I’d missed in recent months, listening to Childish Gambino’s “3.15.20” and Jay Electronica’s long-awaited “A Written Testimony.” But just like when I ignore a new movie in order to watch “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” for the umpteenth time, I found myself leaning on familiar tunes to soundtrack my day. On her 1971 magnum opus “Tapestry,” Carole King uses her superpower of making a listener feel good even as she sings about sad topics like pining for a long-distance lover (“So Far Away”) or the end of a relationship (“It’s Too Late”). It’s a faultless album from start to finish, and currently in heavy rotation in my apartment. I’ve also taken to scheduling my day based on which part of my apartment is getting sun at any given moment, which has led to a daily 90-minute reading session sitting by my bedroom window starting around 4 p.m. For that late-afternoon treat, I throw on “Coffee Table Jazz,” a relaxing, down-tempo Spotify playlist featuring artists like Duke Ellington and Wynton Marsalis that soothes as it blends into the background. — Kevin Slane, Staff Writer

On Spotify, Grimes’s “Miss Anthropocene” and Poppy’s “I Disagree,” two releases from this year that I’ve enjoyed. Also, Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s “Luciferian Towers,” and Beach House’s “7,” a favorite from a couple years ago that I haven’t let go of. On vinyl, Weyes Blood’s “Titanic Rising,” my favorite album from last year that I really love. I picked up a physical copy at Newbury Comics before the COVID-19 crisis really ramped up. Weyes Blood is supposed to open for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds this fall in Boston, and I really, really hope we’re all back to enjoying live music by then. — Arianna MacNeill, Staff Writer

What else we’re doing:

Running, preferably outside. — Nik DeCosta-Klipa, Staff Writer

We’ve dug our Wii game system out of the closet. Wii Sports Resort rocks! (Table tennis, anyone?) — Peter Chianca, General Assignment Editor

I’m running outside along the ocean more, which has turned out to be its own form of meditation. I’m still boxing with Peter’s Welch’s Gym through their new streaming workouts on YouTube and Zoom. Punching it out while stuck inside has never felt so good. — Emily Turner, Community Editor

I started a new (and free) “30 Day Yoga Journey” at Yoga with Adrienne. I’ve completed one of her 30-day programs before, which are great for beginners or anyone who enjoys yoga at a snail’s pace. I don’t usually practice yoga, but this incorporates a healthy dose of meditation as well, and I’m trying anything to help manage my anxiety during this chaotic time. — Erin Kuschner, Food Writer

Naps. Lots of naps. — Arianna MacNeill, Staff Writer 


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