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This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

The Podcasts, Books, and Shows We're Hooked on Right Now

Recommendations from Departures editors for this time of social distancing, from Hilary Mantel's newest novel to My Brilliant Friend on HBO.


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What should you watch, read, listen to next? While we're all stuck indoors for a while with probably a fair amount more time on our hands than usual, now's when we can dive headfirst and discover our next favorite show, movie, podcast, or book. Luckily, there's an abundance of stellar entertainment to stream, read, and listen to at the moment.

Related: Stream Your Favorite Broadway Shows for Free Right Now

To help edit down your options we asked our fellow Departures editors for their current recommendations—and they delivered. Many of us have Hilary Mantel on our reading list while others are finding solace in cheerier TV shows like The Office and Schitt's Creek.

Whether you're looking for a nail-biting new TV show to add to your Netflix queue, an uplifting book to delve into, or a podcast that'll soothe your anxieties, let us help edit down your entertainment list. Here is what our editors have been enjoying at home while safely practicing social-distancing.

Related: Watch These TV Shows and Movies Featuring Beautiful and Iconic Hotels

Radiolab, My Brilliant Friend and Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann

"Radiolab always makes me feel better. I’m watching Curb your Enthusiasm and High Maintenance in equal measure, and looking forward to the next season of My Brilliant Friend, which is back on HBO. As for books, it feels like a good time to dive into big novels: I am excited to read Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks, Newburyport ($16; And it turns out you can always find solace in Tolstoy: A Public Space is doing a free virtual book club around War and Peace ($18; that began on March 18."

— Alessandra Codinha, Style Director

Hunters, The Office, and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

"I'm watching Hunters on Amazon Prime and loving it even though it's dark, and re-watching The Office on Netflix for some giggles. I just finished reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid and loved it. I'm now reading Nine Perfect Strangers by Big Little Lies author Liane Moriarty ($13;"

— Hannah Belport, Editorial Operations Associate

The Crown and Schitt's Creek

"I’m a bit of a history nerd so I've been getting caught up on The Crown, but when I need a break, Schitt’s Creek is a good light-hearted show that's always good for laughs."

— Sean Flynn, Deputy Digital Editor

Press, Vienna Blood, and The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel

"I liked Press and Vienna Blood on PBS. I’ve gone back to read Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood ($10;, which is strangely prescient. The Mirror & the Light ($21; just came out—the final book in Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy. For podcasts, On the Media is always excellent but especially now."

— Jeffries Blackerby, Editor in Chief

In Our Time, Better Call Saul, and Westworld

"In the middle of the new Mantel myself! As for podcasts, I find solace in BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time podcast with Melvyn Bragg. I'm watching Better Call Saul, Westworld, My Brilliant Friend, and Babylon Berlin."

— Julian Sancton, Senior Features Editor

Normal People by Sally Rooney, Stray by Stephanie Danler, Fresh Air, and Sharp Objects

"I've just re-read Normal People by Sally Rooney ($9; She is amazing, as is her other novel Conversations With Friends ($13; I am also just starting Stray by Stephanie Danler. Additionally, reading Out There: The Wildest Stories from Outside Magazine—I love "getting outdoors" through these stories. In terms of podcasts, I listen to The Daily (NYTimes), Up First (NPR), and Today Explained (Vox) every day for news. I also love Fresh Air (NPR), Armchair Expert with Dax Shephard (I think he is hilarious!), How I Built This, Work in Progress, and The Office Ladies. The Truth is great for short fictional stories. I typically really like Modern Love, too. I just re-watched Sharp Objects on HBO—it's so atmospheric and moody and a terrific modern-day southern gothic thriller. The Spy on Netflix is phenomenal, it's about an Israeli spy and the work he does in Syria (based on a true story). Also, Fleagbag on Amazon Prime is just the best show ever."

— Ellie Nan Storck, Associate Digital Editor

Miss Americana and The Game Changers

"Honestly? Taylor Swift's Miss Americana on Netflix, but also The Game Changers."

— Deanne Kaczerski, Digital Executive Editor

French Vocab Playlists and Burn the Place by Iliana Regan

"I am in a constant state of flux with the French language. I'm from Montreal and I lived in Paris, so my French is decent but it really dips in and out when I don't practice. To try to stay sane while grounded in my apartment, I listen to a ton of French playlists on Spotify, and am extremely partial to the 1994 Brigitte Bardot album Bubble Gum. I also listen to a French vocab playlist by Global Publishers Canada Inc. to keep my language skills sharp for the day I get to run back to Paris. I've been rereading Burn the Place by Iliana Regan ($17; She runs a Michelin-starred restaurant in Chicago, Elizabeth, and the memoir is about her childhood and becoming a self-taught chef. She just has one of those writing styles where her words are so strong that the world around you can really melt away."

— Maya Kachroo-Levine, Contributor

Emma and Dior Talks

"My husband produced this book, Tom Clancy's The Division: New York Collapse: (Tom Clancy Books, Books for Men, Video Game Companion Book) ($25; I would say rent Emma the new movie and listen to the new Dior podcast, Dior Talks."

— Dan Rubinstein, Home & Design Director

Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, With Recipes by Elizabeth Bard and Cooking for Picasso by Camille Aubray

"I've recently finished reading Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, With Recipes by Elizabeth Bard ($10;, Cooking for Picasso by Camille Aubray ($8;—a fun non-fiction story based around a real mysterious Picasso painting and his summer in a small French town—and The Italian Party by Christina Lynch ($11; about American spies in communist Italy trying to work on the inside to change the political view of the city. I'm about to start Picnic in Provence also by Elizabeth Bard ($10; It’s a memoir with more tasty recipes."

— Alessandra Amodio, Photo Editor

La Casa De Las Flores

"La Casa De Las Flores on Netflix, it's a Netflix original."

— Davian Rodriguez, Assistant Fashion Editor

High Fidelity, Desert Islands Discs, and The Stranger

"I loved High Fidelity, the new Hulu series based on Nick Hornby’s 1995 novel. Zoë Kravitz played a fantastic Rob, the crate-digging Brooklyn record-shop owner. The Stranger on Netflix also had me hooked. So. Many. Twists. In times of stress, I always turn to BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs—the intro music alone soothes the soul. Books-wise, I've started reading A Million Little Pieces by James Frey ($9;, an oldie that I've not had the chance to read yet. I'll most definitely be dipping back into A.A Gill's Pour Me, A Life ($23; His writing style and observations are like no other. Just some light-hearted reading for me, then."

— Tal Dekel Daks, Audience Engagement Editor

What has you hooked right now? Share your recommendations with us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.


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