In Managing, the weekly column I’ve been writing to share stores about the professional and personal lives of jewelry pros during the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve asked interviewees to share what they’ve been watching, listening to, and reading to soothe, educate, distract, and delight themselves during this scary, socially distanced time.
I’ve discovered so many new and fantastic things to watch, listen to, and read through the answers to this question—and wanted to round up all their suggestions in one big mega-list for your holiday viewing/listening/reading! Here goes:
I’ve been reading The Upside of Being Down: How Mental Health Struggles Led to My Greatest Successes in Work and Life by Jen Gotch and Untamed by Glennon Doyle. I have actually binge-watched (with my husband, shhhh) the whole This Is Us series. I never had time to watch TV before.
I’m reading Becoming by Michelle Obama to my 2-month-old. I also just finished watching the Hulu series Little Fires Everywhere, and I have to say it is a must!
My husband and I spent the first month watching foreign horror films every night. We saw films from Korea, Japan, France, Sweden, Holland, Spain.… My favorite was a French film called Raw. Platform was also great. Initially, I also wanted to find something mindless with lots of seasons that I could binge watch. I went with Married at First Sight. It was perfect—10 seasons, not emotionally draining, I could take breaks and resume easily. It’s a reality show, and the premise is literally the title. Matchmaking experts pair up people to meet at the altar for the first time. Then they are followed on their honeymoon and move in together for two months before deciding if they want to stay married or split. It was exactly what I wanted. But I watched it all. So that’s that.
A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn.
Right now I am loving The Great, Normal People (the book and TV show), and of course The Last Dance. TV and short bouts of reading books are about all I can manage right now—things I can consume in shorter amounts of time. Between being quarantined with a 3-year-old and keeping my business going, I don’t have a lot of time for media consumption!
I read lots. I personally love adventure and spy novels. Lots of new TV shows from Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. I have to admit, we did watch a crazy amount of TV: Fauda, Handmaid’s Tale, Dead to Me, Unorthodox, and many more. Currently we are watching Better Things on Hulu—if you have children, this is a must.
The last book I read was Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin, which takes place during the German occupation of Paris. And Ronan Farrow’s book Catch and Kill. I also enjoyed Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, and Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World by Aja Raden—a must-read for anyone in the jewelry business. But my absolute favorite TV is escapism, and I’ve already watched all the episodes twice of The Durrells in Corfu, based on Gerald Durrell’s trilogy, My Family and Other Animals, about his family’s decision to move from the U.K. to Corfu [Greece], during the mid-1930s. It’s absolutely charming. It’s a PBS series available on Amazon Prime. Another PBS series I can recommend is Poldark, which takes place in the U.K. right after the American Revolution and has many parallels to this time.
Book: My Dark Vanessa
Shows: Schitt’s Creek, Defending Jacob, Unorthodox, Ozark season 3
Podcast: I’ve been listening to Code Switch on NPR about the current shifts in race, ethnicity, and culture playing out in our communities.
Books I’ve read recently and loved: The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates and The Overstory by Richard Powers. Currently I’m reading Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. Fun fact, I love young adult fantasy about as much as I love TV and movies about high school, which is lots! Let’s face it, the TV list is long. But I can say I really enjoyed Mrs. America on Hulu, season two of The Politician on Netflix, and I love Insecure on HBO (this season’s cliff-hanger was crazy!) As for podcasts: Brené Brown’s Unlocking Us is just fabulous—heart-opening and thought-provoking. I’m also regularly listening to NPR’s Code Switch and Missing Witches.
I’m currently reading Letter to My Daughter by Maya Angelou. She is so genuine and has the most comforting voice. I highly recommend it.
I’m a child of the ’80s, so it’s been fun sharing all the John Hughes movies with my teens. I still think I’m Molly Ringwald.
I’m currently reading The Archer by my fellow Brazilian Paulo Coelho. I love his books and the way he writes. I’m in the middle of it, but I already love it. We love watching shows and miniseries together and between the six of us, I think that we watched everything out there! We loved Little Fires Everywhere, The Morning Show, Ozark, Outlander, Animal Kingdom, and Giri/Haji. You can’t go wrong with any of these.
I’ve probably seen more Seinfeld episodes in the past few months than I did in all of the time since Seinfeld ended. (I mean, can you beat the puffy shirt episode?) If you need a good belly laugh and want to check out of the chaos for a few hours, there’s no better show to turn to, in my opinion. I also finished the entire series of Schitt’s Creek. It’s such a feel-good, happy, nonjudgmental show that I actually cried when it was over. I also have a newfound obsession with the series Outlander. I highly recommend it! It’s this time-traveling show where a World War II nurse suddenly finds herself transported to Scotland in 1743. Of course, as I watch it, I’m going, “Oh—wow! She set up an apothecary. I wonder if I could have set up a bead shop? Wait—could I have traded my jewelry for venison? Would that have kept me alive?” My husband laughs and thinks it’s a little crazy that that’s what I’m focused on as we watch. But, what can I say? Once a jewelry designer, always a jewelry designer, regardless of the era. “Will design bracelets for deer meat.” Is that a bad note to end on?
The last book I read was So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo, and I am currently reading Fear Is a Four-Letter Word by Tracy Tutor for my book club with my girlfriends. I’m obsessed with Million Dollar Listing LA and Selling Sunset. A girl’s gotta escape sometimes, you know? I also just finished Painkiller: America’s Fentanyl Crisis. Mind blown.
Podcasts and books have been a big hobby of mine, more than ever during this period. Boss Files With Poppy Harlow is fantastic and raw. Poppy explores the journeys of business and global leaders. There are in-depth interviews featuring leadership advice from entrepreneurs, CEOs, and innovators. My book recommendations are Why Wait To Be Great? It’s Either Now or Too Late by my good friend Terry Hawkins. In the book she explores how we all want to change something about ourselves: lose weight, quit smoking, improve our finances, and so on. But change is hard, even painful, and it’s our nature to avoid pain. In this inspiring how-to guide, Terry provides exactly what we need: a straightforward way to break free of old habits that hold us back and adopt new ones that move us forward. On TV, my new favorite show is the British drama I May Destroy You, which is definitely worth a watch!
I love crime dramas. I will always recommend Law & Order: SVU!
Podcasts: The Modern House, Moral Maze, and Today in Focus. Films: the BBC’s Once Upon a Time in Iraq and Abstract: The Art of Design [on Netflix].
Books: All About Love, The Four Agreements, The Art of Communication, and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.
Some of the TV series I’ve been watching: The Great, Abstract: The Art of Design, Schitt’s Creek, and The Vow.
I listen to a ton of podcasts while I work. Some recent entertaining/escapist favorites: Even the Rich, Armchair Expert, Racket. Every morning I start my day with What a Day and The Daily. My most recent TV binge was Emily in Paris, which was pretty cheesy and pretty cute, and the outfits are incredible! The only time I have to read is before bed, which I do every night and fall asleep after one page. It took me, like, four years to read The Tiffany Touch by Joseph Purtell because it’s pretty long and I passed out after one paragraph. My husband and I used to joke and call it my “good-night book” because it put me right to sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep, I highly recommend a semi-interesting book that won’t keep you up!
Fact: I never listened to a podcast before COVID-19. Having worked from home for years, I didn’t have a commute and always loved reading on flights. So discovering the world of podcasts to listen to during my daily hikes has been such a gift over the last six-plus months. I’m a true crime fan (don’t judge), so a few that I’ve enjoyed are The Vanished, The Dating Game Killer, and Crime Junkie. The Happiness Lab by Dr. Laurie Santos, the Yale professor behind the über-popular online Coursera course The Science of Well-Being is another favorite, as is the New York Times’ The Daily, which is now an everyday must for me!
I just read Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman, which I highly recommend. I also really enjoyed the new documentary Blackpink: Light Up the Sky, on Netflix!
Watch My Octopus Teacher! It’s seriously phenomenal. I love a good podcast too—I keep TED Radio Hour, On Being, and Broken Record on regular rotation.
I’m a recent audiobook convert! Three Women by Lisa Taddeo was wild, and I’m currently listening to Origins by Lewis Dartnell—it’s about how geology has shaped human history. I listen to podcasts all day, and really enjoy a well-researched story. Bodies, Noble Blood, and Throughline are all excellent. I also love reading cookbooks. Tamar Adler’s An Everlasting Feast has been a pandemic favorite.
I’m catching up on the Bowery Boys’ podcasts on the history of New York City, because I also desperately miss visiting the Big Apple. I also listened to a Fall of Rome podcast with historian Patrick Wyman, who explains in simple language how empires fall. Finally, our journalist son Bill [Donahue]’s podcast, called Pro Say, has been great in these fraught times. He and his colleagues take the headline issues of the day and explain their legal aspects in layperson’s terms. It’s nonpolitical and a wonderful antidote to most “news.” He works for Law360, which produces the podcast. My fave fiction books during this time have included Elena Ferrante’s newest, The Lying Life of Adults; Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light; and Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet, an imagined tale about Shakespeare’s family. On streaming services, I’m kind of obsessed with movies from the early 1930s on the Criterion Channel. Everyone was grappling with the Depression, and it’s been inspirational to watch how our forebears handled bad times, as reflected on film. When I want to escape, however, I return again and again to old Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dance sequences from their 1930s movies. Special bonus for jewelry lovers: Their dance to Smoke Gets in Your Eyes features absolutely fabulous diamond jewelry on Ginger: a gorgeous hair ornament, huge brooch, and glittering diamond bracelets! Swoon time! Finally, I went through a Catherine Deneuve jag, especially her films from the 1960s. They are filled with a combo of joy and melancholy that is so uniquely French! It’s just about perfect for this strange time.
I have watched so many shows recently that it became hard to think of just one. I binge-watched The Crown, and I absolutely love it. I have also been listening to all the CoutureTalks [the education series from the Couture show] and learning a lot from my colleagues and other industry experts.
Books: Arundhati Roy, Azadi; Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye; Ronan Farrow, Catch and Kill. Podcasts: Bag Man, Let’s Talk About Sects, TED Radio Hour, Pod Save America, Revisionist History. TV: The Queen’s Gambit, Tehran, The Boys, The Great British Baking Show, The Umbrella Academy, The Crown, Schitt’s Creek. Movies: Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb, Uncut Gems (which nearly gave me a heart attack!), Isle of Dogs, and pretty much anything by Wes Anderson.
I enjoyed watching Lovecraft Country and Fargo. My go-to book to connect with my personal healing is Sacred Woman by Queen Afua.
Top photo: Elle Fanning (center) in Hulu’s The Great (photo: Andrea Pirrello/Hulu)
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