For some reason I always um and ah doing blog posts like these, simply because it can feel like everyone is doing them. That said, there is no doubt that we’re all consuming a lot more content – whether that be books, podcasts or TV and film – thanks to a certain virus. So it made sense, now more than ever, to share what I’ve been enjoying. Now we’ve been in lockdown a long time, so I’ve condensed my recommendations otherwise we’d all be here a long time. I’m always looking for new recommendations so please do give me some suggestions in the comments!
Little Fires Everywhere
Set in Shaker Heights, Ohio in the 1990s, Little Fires Everywhere follows the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and an enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.
I love most things that Reese Witherspoon stars in (The Morning Show and Big Little Lies included), so I was really excited to watch Little Fires Everywhere, especially as I knew the book has been very popular. I enjoyed the series so much that I actually dragged out the episodes so I wouldn’t finish it too quickly. I liked the setting of Shaker Heights for the plot and the story raises a lot of really interesting questions.
Watch on: Amazon Prime
FBI agents Holden Ford and Bill Tench attempt to understand and catch serial killers by studying their damaged psyches. Along the way, the agents pioneer the development of modern serial-killer profiling.
Mindhunter was one of those TV shows that I constantly saw pop up on Netflix but I never really investigated. And then lockdown happened. Both Matt and I are interested in psychology and how peoples minds work and Mindhunter really appealed to us for these very reasons. It can definitely be disturbing at times but it’s so fascinating and I think most (if not all) of the serial killer characters are modelled on actually criminals. There’s even an episode feature Charles Manson which was particularly interesting.
Watch on: Netflix
When They See Us
Five teens from Harlem become trapped in a nightmare when they’re falsely accused of a brutal attack in Central Park. Based on the true story.
I remember meaning to watch When They See Us when it first came out last year but never got around it for some reason or other. And now? I can’t believe what I was missing. Wow, just wow. The acting, especially that of the five main characters is superb and I was breathless throughout the four-part series, the story staying with me long past switching off the TV. I cannot recommend this programme more highly enough.
Watch on: Netflix
Q by Christina Dalcher
Elena Fairchild is a teacher at one of the state’s new elite schools. Everyone must undergo routine tests for their quotient, Q, and any children who don’t measure up are placed into new government schools. Instead, teachers can focus on the gifted. But when one of her daughters scores lower than expected and is taken away, Elena intentionally fails her own test to go with her. But what Elena discovers is far more terrifying than she ever imagined…
I’ve always been interested in dystopian stories and found it fascinating (and a little freaky) to consider the potential of the future. Q sat on my Kindle ‘shelf’ for quite a few months before I finally started it and wow, what a book. I was completely enthralled from the outset with a cast of brilliant characters. It was written incredibly well and the story covers some really thought-provoking subject matters which I researched immediately after finishing the book. This is a must-read.
Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce
Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise – she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems… Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle. Someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything…
I actually read Blood Orange as part of Beth’s Book Club and immediately made my best friend, mum and one of my sisters read it too. It’s one of those types of books you just can’t put down and I positively inhaled it. A dark, twisted story, it’s a must for any thriller fans.
Playing Nice by J.P Delaney
Pete Riley answers the door one morning to a parent’s worst nightmare. On his doorstep is Miles Lambert, who breaks the devastating news that Pete’s two-year-old, Theo, isn’t Pete’s real son – their babies got mixed up at birth. The two families agree that, rather than swap the boys back, they’ll try to find a more flexible way to share their children’s lives. But a plan to sue the hospital triggers an investigation that unearths disturbing questions about just what happened the day the babies were switched. What secrets lie hidden behind the Lamberts’ smart front door? How much can Pete and his wife Maddie trust the real parents of their child – or even each other?
I love books that make you put yourself in the character’s position and Playing Nice was a scenario I couldn’t help but consider myself in. What on earth do you do if the child you’ve been bringing up isn’t yours? It’s a really unique situation that blew my little mind and I really enjoyed unravelling the story and following the two families through their shocking discovery.
Read: here [out 6th of August]
How To Fail with Elizabeth Day
Every week on How to Fail, a new interviewee explores what their failures taught them, celebrating the things that haven’t gone right. For someone like me, this is a really healthy way to look at failure and something I reckon we could all do with coming to terms with. Two episodes that I really recommend and are very apt right now is entrepreneur Mo Gawdat on how to cope with anxiety in a time of Coronavirus and philosopher Alain De Botton on embracing vulnerability in the age of Coronavirus.
Sh**ged, Married, Annoyed
Easiest the funniest podcast I’ve ever listened to, Sh**gged, Married, Annoyed is hosted by husband and wife, Chris and Rosie Ramsey. A relaxed, easy listen, it’s the perfect tonic right now when we’re all feeling a bit ‘meh.’ Chris and Rosie are so incredibly relatable, chatting through ways they’ve annoyed each other that week and reading questionable and hilarious stories from members of the public that will have you howling.
The High Low
I’ve definitely mentioned The High Low on the blog previously and to this day it remains one of my favourite podcasts to listen to. The two hosts, Dolly and Pandora cover a plethora of highbrow and lowbrow cultural topics which always gets my brain ticking, introducing me to new content each week from books to articles, writers and worldwide news.