Just A Chat #11 – What A Strange Time We Live In

I was planning on doing a very different post, and honestly until yesterday I thought I would just post that one (well, finish taking all the photos, writing all the text and then post it), but I just felt like doing a more chatty post today. Because good grief, it is an absolute crazy situation we’re all in right now.

The Netherlands, like many other places, is pretty much on lock down right now. I was instructed to work from home, although it still remains to be seen how much work there actually is for me to do, as quite a bit of my tasks had something to do with on-location things. Most public places that aren’t stores are closed, and basically everybody is told to stay inside as much as possible. It all kind of feels like the beginning of a dystopian book.

First of all, I hope that everyone is staying safe and healthy, and away from other people as much as possible. I know I will be spending most of my time in and around the house (maybe we’ll pop out to the grocery store if we really need to) working if I can, and otherwise cleaning and tidying, reading and binge watching shows and films. We also desperately need to do something about our garden, so I might start that project as well if the weather stays as nice as it currently is. And then there is also the forever ongoing decluttering, it seems like I always find things in my home that I can get rid of or want to replace, so there is more than enough to do.

I do find that, now that I’ve been working from home for 2 days, that there is just not always a whole lot for me to do. Emails are slow and that is a big part of my job, so it is kind of hard sometimes to stick to my normal work hours, which I am trying to do as much as possible. I do like working from home so far though, the freedom to wake up a little later, have lunch in my garden, do a little bit of house work in between here and there, and of course write a blog post or two when there is nothing else to do. I could get used to the slower days, although I know it is not necessarily a good thing right now. It is just all a little it strange.

Anyways, I thought I would give some book, film and show recommendations for everyone else that’s stuck at home. Although it might not be the best time to race to the bookstore and pick these up, you will probably be able to order things online and have them delivered, buy e-books or listen to audio books. And then of course there’s Netflix and all those streaming servises.

Books

I have many bookish blog posts already, just have a look at the ‘books’ tab here on the blog. To bundle it all a bit, here is a list of some of my book or book series recommendation at the moment:

Rivers Of London – Ben Aaronovitch. If you like magical realism, urban fantasy, and British humor, this book series might be for you. The first book follows Peter Grant, a police officer in London who ends up working for the magical section of the Metropolitan Police and learning magic, as the first apprentice in over 50 years (I believe). There are currently 8 books in the series, plus a short story which is very fun as well, and Aaronivitch has also written a short story about the German equivalent of Peter and that story is great as well. What I like about these books is that you learn so much about the magic, the world around in and the characters involved in the story over the books, and all the things in the books are so connected, even in the German one (called The October Man, by the way). I would highly recommend checking these books out!

Percy Jackson – Rick Riordan. I binge-read this series for the second time and honestly, even though it is a children’s book, or maybe more a teen book, it is very very fun. This book is so easy to read, definitely something you can fly through in a week if you don’t have anything else to do.

Ghost Stories – M.R. James. I know, I know, I have mentioned this book so many times already, but I just really love these scary stories by M.R. James. Their true British vibes, the slight humor that is woven through the stories here and there, the eerie feeling they give the reading without overall being truly scary. I have truly enjoyed all these stories and I think this bundle is a great read in these strange times.

Agatha Christie. Really, any book of hers. There is something about Agatha Christie books that brings me so much joy. I just love her stories and her writing style, her clever cases and her characters. What better way to spend your time diving into her books. There are so many, so you won’t run out of reading material, and they are all such fun, quick and easy reads and so so entertaining. I would highly recommend picking some up right now. Some of my personal favourites are Death On The Nile, Appointment With Death, The ABC Murder and Murder In Mesopotamia, but there are so many more to chose from.

Netflix

Studio Ghibli films. Studio Ghibli animated films are basically my childhood. I remember that we had the DVD of Howl’s Moving Castle and Spirited Away and I don’t know how many times I’ve watched those films. We also had (probably illegally) downloaded versions of Laputa, Castle In The Sky; My Neighbor Totoro and Princess Mononoke and I always loved watching those as well. Recently the Dutch Netflix added a bunch of these films, so you best believe I will be watching them over the coming weeks.

Explained (show). If you want something interesting to watch, watch Explained. It is a docu series with short, 20 minutes episodes, and they cover a different subject each time. The subjects range from diamonds to the pay gap, the female orgasm, music, meat, astrology, there’s so so much and it is a great, fun and interesting show to binge watch. There is also The Mind Explained and Sex Explained, which I haven’t watched yet but I am sure they are great as well.

Broadchurch (show). This is a 3 season British detective show, and it is so so good. The first season follows the investigation into the murder of a young boy in a small town in Devon, the second season follows the trial of the murderer and the third and final season dives into a new case. The actors in this show are amazing, the story line is great and oh my god the scenery is just heaven. What I like about the show is that they did 3 seasons and then they were done, from what I can tell they just wanted to wrap things up after that last season, which works really well for the story line. Definitely a good binge worthy show if you are looking for one.

Stand-up comedy. There are so many great stand up comedy shows on Netflix. If you are Dutch some of my favourites are Ronald Goedemondt (he has 2 shows on there) and Pieter Derks. Some English speaking ones that I love are Russell Howard, Jack Whitehall, John Mulaney, Jo Koy and Dana Carvey, but there are so many more hilarious shows out there on Netflix. If you want a bit of joy in these strange times, definitely browse the stand-up section.

That seems like a good list of recommendations for now. I focused mostly on books, because as a true bibliophile I have decided that now is the perfect time to work my way through my piles of unread books, with an occasional side step to YouTube and Netflix. But it’ll mostly be about books (and whatever work I can do at home).

Do you have any good book/film/series or YouTube recommendations? I’d love to add them to my list! And also let me know what else you are doing during these weird times. Are you working from home? Not working at all? Or do you still have to leave your house to go to work?

Thanks for stopping by ❤

-x