Unless you’re an essential worker or are working from home, you probably have a lot of time on your hands right now. We’re all trying to find ways to fill our days whether it be spring cleaning, home projects, or a variety of creative outlets. And because we have so much downtime, for at least three more weeks, we’re also looking for entertainment. So in this post, I’m sharing some of my favorite feel-good books and movies (in no particular order) to enjoy while in quarantine.
With our new forced slowdown, it’s the perfect time to incorporate reading into your daily routine if you don’t already. I’ve been setting aside an hour or two every day to read out on our patio. It’s been such a calming, quiet activity. I’ve also listened to a few books on tape so I can multi-task while cleaning, walking, getting ready, or whatever. These are some of my favorite books I’ve read in the last six months.
Educated: A Memoir, by Tara Westover
“Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University.”
A remarkable memoir you that will astound and inspire you. My rating: 5 ⭐
I Feel Bad About My Neck: and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman, by Nora Ephron
“With her disarming, intimate, completely accessible voice, and dry sense of humor, Nora Ephron shares her ups and downs in a candid, hilarious look at women who are getting older and dealing with the tribulations of maintenance, menopause, empty nests, and life itself.”
This is laugh-out-loud funny that any woman over 50 will relate with! My rating: 4 ⭐
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, By Lisa See
“A thrilling novel from number-one New York Times best-selling author Lisa See explores the lives of a Chinese mother and her daughter who has been abandoned and adopted by an American couple. Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. There is ritual and routine, and it has been ever thus for generations. Then one day a jeep appears at the village gate – the first automobile any of them have seen – and a stranger arrives.”
A beautifully written and meticulously researched piece of historical fiction. My rating: 4.5 ⭐
Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee
“A New York Times Top Ten Book of the Year and National Book Award finalist, Pachinko is an “extraordinary epic” of four generations of a poor Korean immigrant family as they fight to control their destiny in 20th-century Japan (San Francisco Chronicle).”
This book will transport you to another time and place. My rating: 4 ⭐
The Idea of You, by Robinne Lee
“Solène Marchand, the thirty-nine-year-old owner of an art gallery in Los Angeles, is reluctant to take her daughter, Isabelle, to meet her favorite boy band. But since her divorce, she’s more eager than ever to be close to Isabelle. The last thing Solène expects is to make a connection with one of the members of the world-famous August Moon. But Hayes Campbell is clever, winning, confident, and posh, and the attraction is immediate. That he is all of twenty years old further complicates things.”
A steamy, page-tuner that literally sucks you in from page one to the last few words. Hard to put down! My rating: 4.5 ⭐
A Stranger on the Beach, by Michele Campbell
“Caroline Stark’s beach house was supposed to be her crowning achievement: a lavish, expensive space to showcase what she thought was her perfect family. But after a very public fight with her husband, she realizes things may not be as perfect as they seem: her husband is lying to her, the money is disappearing, and there’s a stranger on the beach outside her house. As Caroline’s marriage and her carefully constructed lifestyle begin to collapse around her, she turns to Aidan, the stranger, for comfort…and revenge.”
This thriller is going to be on the big screen in the next couple of years. My rating: 4 ⭐
What I’m Reading Next:
The Simple Wild, by K. A. Tucker
“City girl Calla Fletcher attempts to reconnect with her estranged father, and unwittingly finds herself torn between her desire to return to the bustle of Toronto and a budding relationship with a rugged Alaskan pilot in this masterful new romance from acclaimed author K.A. Tucker.”
In Five Years, by Rebecca Serle
“In Five Years is a love story, just not the one you think. After years of hard work and planning, Type A Dannie Cohan finally has it all: she’s aced a job interview at her dream law firm and her boyfriend just proposed to her. She goes to sleep that night and has an extremely vivid (wink, wink) dream set five years in the future involving a strange man she appears to be married to. When she wakes up, she can’t shake the dream, and is further disturbed when she meets her best friend’s new boyfriend, only to discover he’s the mystery man from the dream.”
If I Had Your Face, by Frances Cha
“A riveting debut novel set in contemporary Seoul, Korea, about four young women making their way in a world defined by impossible standards of beauty, after-hours room salons catering to wealthy men, ruthless social hierarchies, and K-pop mania.”
These are my go-to favorite movies…I watch them year after year, and they never get old! All are available to rent on Amazon Prime for $3.99 a piece.
Under the Tuscan Sun, with Diane Lane
Father Goose, from 1964 with Cary Grant, Leslie Caron, and Trevor Howard
Pride and Prejudice, 2005 edition with Keira Knightley, Matthew MacFadyen, and Donald Sutherland
Chocolat, with Juliette Binoche, Johnny Depp, and Judi Dench
Legally Blonde, with Reese Witherspoon and Luke Wilson
The Proposal, with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds
Mrs. Doubtfire, with Robin Williams and Sally Fields
Bridesmaids, with Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, and Maya Rudolph
When Harry Met Sally, with Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan
Roman Holiday, with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck
And there you have it! These are my recommendations for good books and movies while in quarantine. Be sure to share your favorites in the comments below.
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Those are great lists, Lisa! Thank you! I have seen all the movies except Bridesmaids, which is now on my watch list. It will be fun to watch them again. I would add Casablanca, not a romantic comedy, but still romantic and a classic.
Some of my favorite books are Possession by A.S. Byatt, News of the World by Paulette Jiles, A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, Circe by Madeline Miller, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson, The Inn at Lake Devine by Elinor Lipman. As someone said, “So many books, so little time.” Wait, now we have time!
I always enjoy your posts, please keep them coming!
Believe it or not, I’ve only seen Casablanca once! I’ll have to watch it again…I love classics. I’ve read all good reviews on A Gentleman in Moscow. Thanks for adding these and for your kind words.
I hope you are well. I told my mom today to send me a reading list if her favorites recently, so I appreciate this book list too! Some sound up my alley, so I’ll be looking on Amazon to purchase tomorrow. I’ve been reading doing blog work on our deck. Looks like you have a nice patio there!
Hi Jess, all is well here. I hope you find some books you enjoy. Perfect time of the year to read out on the deck.
Take care, Lisa ❤️
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane sounds like my kind of book. Going to download it on my Kindle. And I love your selection of films. I have seen them all and love them. We must have similar taste Lisa. I will be sharing my recent reads soon.
I’m sure you’ll enjoy the book! She’s one of my favorite authors.
Thank you for this Lisa! I may definitely need to read the Nora Ephron book as all I can do is stare at my neck right now lol!
Haha! I can relate all too well, Lisa! You’ll love it.
Oh my we have a lot of common interests in books and movies! Glad I found your blog. I adore When Harry Met Sally – I’ve probably seen it ten times at leads. Also love the Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks movies (Sleepless in Seattle, you’ve got mail). And I just finished In Five Years and loved it! I also read A Good Neighborhood. Saint X, and The Most Fun We Ever Had – all good! I want to read the Elena Ferrante books because I’m obsessed with My Brilliant Friend, and also want to reread the Wally Lamb book I Know This Much Is True- a great read but sad and frustrating at times. The book has been made into a limited series on HBO and comes out in May.
I’ll have to check out your book recommendations. Always looking for good ones! Thanks for reading, Tina!
Wasn’t Educated quite interesting, Lisa? We read that for the Forever Fierce Online BookClub. You ought to join the group because there are some interesting books that are chosen.
Yes! An incredible story. Hard to believe. I’ll check out the group…thanks, Jodie!
I am so going to watch Under the Tuscan Sun tonight!!
Thank you for sharing these incredible nuggets to hold us over for a few more weeks.
It’s been a gift to have so much time to read my stack of books I’ve been collecting.
Oh, yay! Enjoy!
Great tips. I love your list of films you watch every year. Several of them would be on my list. I would add Erin Brokowitch and Sliding doors to mine.
I’ll have to check out Sliding Doors – haven’t seen that one.
I have had Educated on my list for a year now and just haven’t read it. It sounds like it is uplifting and encouraging read, so I may just read that after I finish The Silent Patient. Thanks for the reviews
You definitely should! It’s an incredible story – one you won’t forget.