Winter is almost behind us, but lockdown is not. Filling the days is becoming harder than ever and finding new things to do is almost impossible. Netflix is becoming background noise and even new music quickly grows repetitive. We must also remind ourselves to step away from a screen for a while. Books and podcasts can be a way out of this cycle, allowing us to ignore our phones and computers, without forfeiting entertainment.
Books provide a sense of escapism that even hours of Netflix binging could never achieve. The focus of reading means the temptation of scrolling mindlessly on your phone is taken away. These books may not be to everyone’s taste, but they can help immensely to take our minds off the never-ending stream of Coronavirus news.
Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling
This series is not new or ground-breaking so the story will not surprise you. However, the nostalgia of reading these books helps to transport the reader to a much simpler time. You could find yourself enjoying the fun of these books and the small aspects of the story which you had forgotten over time. Or, fall in love with the characters again, understanding them far more than you ever had before, and become invested in their stories. Sometimes, something familiar like Harry Potter is exactly what we need to escape reality for a little while.
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass
Reading a fantasy novel is one of the easiest ways to take your mind off things. The Throne of Glass series combines the strong female lead trope of books like The Hunger Games with the magical setting of Lord of the Rings, all while remaining easy to read. Yes, this series will not challenge you and it might seem far fetched, but the story is strong and unpredictable, unlike many others of the same genre. The main character is witty, strong willed and, while romance does feature, is not defined by her love interests.
Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper
If you are looking for something more real, this biography will keep you firmly in the world we know, whilst also revealing a way of living which is foreign to most of us. Megan Phelps-Roper, formerly a member of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, recounts her life as part of the family considered to be the most hated in America. From a young age, Megan followed the ideals of the church and was involved in protests against anything and everything which could be seen to defy God’s will. In 2012, Megan left her family and the church behind. This book describes some of the best, and worst, features of humanity, giving an insider account of a group many have struggled to understand.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This is a classic and a book you have likely already read during your education. However, if you haven’t read it yet, Radar massively recommends that you do. To Kill a Mockingbird is heart-warmingly simple and funny, yet still delves into many of the serious issues existing in America, all through the eyes of an innocent little girl.
If reading is not your thing, podcasts are also great to help you bring down your screen time, without resorting to staring at your bedroom ceiling for a few hours. Many use podcasts as a personal excuse to carry out daily chores if lacking motivation.
Help I Sexted my Boss
This podcast has made me laugh out loud countless times. BBC Radio 1 presenter Jordan North is joined by one of the UK’s leading etiquette experts, William Hanson. After a long friendship, co-hosts William and Jordan (along with the allusive ‘Producer Ben’) decided to become the most unconventional agony aunts in the UK. Answering listeners questions, William and Jordan’s differing views and opinions make for a massively entertaining listen, only emphasised by the copious amounts of G&D (Gin and Dubonet, a drink beloved by Mr. Hanson and the royal family alike) consumed during recording. The podcast is currently on its seventh series and while we remain in lockdown, uploads twice a week. You can start from the beginning or jump right in, though it may take a while to catch on to the numerous inside jokes.
David Tennant Does a Podcast With … and Grounded With Louis Theroux
Podcasts created to fill the hosts’ time during lockdown, both David Tennant and Louis Theroux follow similar frameworks. In their respective podcasts Tennant and Theroux sit down with fellow celebs, talking fame, lockdown and everything in between. These podcasts are really insightful, reminding us that even celebrities are shut up indoors. Theroux’s conversation with FKA Twigs sparked conversation about emotional abuse over the past few weeks, as she opened up about her relationship with actor, Shia LaBeouf. The familiarity of Tennant and Theroux make these podcasts really easy and comfortable listens to have on in the background or whilst you’re out and about on your daily walk.
My Favorite Murder
This American podcast is perfect if you cannot get enough of true crime stories. If you have burned through Netflix’s supply of murder documentaries, then this is an absolute must. The co-hosts Karen and Georgia make the conversation feel casual and light, despite the serious subject matter. There are 71 episodes of this podcast to listen back to and they are often quite long, so will easily keep you occupied over the next few weeks of lockdown.