With the wave of the coronavirus pandemic we were suddenly hit with back in March, we've had a lot more time than usual on our hands while staying at home. Daniel and I are usually pretty busy people but the coronavirus quarantine temporarily changed that. Social distancing was new for us, as we love to spend time eating out with friends, riding our bikes, adventuring, and hiking. While we've still spent a lot of time outdoors in isolation, we've enjoyed staying in and reading, painting, listening to music, and watching documentaries. Below is a quick list of some of our favorite finds that have helped us maintain our mental health during these turbulent times. We'd love to hear any suggestions you have of books, tv, music, or podcasts that you've enjoyed during the pandemic.
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
Set in a coastal Indian town in 1975, A Fine Balance follows the interwoven lives of a teenager from a mountain town, a widow, and two tailors who recently moved from their small village to a big city. The government declared a State of Emergency, forcing the strangers to all live together in a small space.
The book touches on the horrific caste system and shows its readers what it's really like to live in the slums. After traveling India and seeing some of the poverty first hand, I found this novel to be educational and entertaining.
The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
I can't believe this novel was released in 2009 and I just now read it. The Lacuna is a story of a US-born man, Harrison Shepherd, who ends up meeting Diego Riviera in Mexico City by chance. He then becomes friends with Frida Kahlo and works in her family's home for political leader Lev Trotsky. Caught between his old life in the US and his current life in Mexico, Kingsolver takes her readers through art, politics, and World War II. In Mexico City, Daniel and I toured Frida Kahlo's home that is thoroughly described in the story. It was fascinating to gain an insider perspective into a place that we've seen.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This is a great book to read during the coronavirus pandemic as it carries so many themes of resilience during tumultuous times. The story follows two young individuals living through World War II and overcoming their own adversities in life. It is an inspiring message, especially during times of social distancing -- and you won't want to put it down!
The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates
The work of Melinda Gates is a story that can not be missed. Daniel is a public health professional, so this book was right up his alley. Gates' work to improve public health resources for under-served individuals (especially women) around the world is inspiring. This is also a great read during times of quarantine as it provides hope that we can overcome coronavirus with a great public health mentality.
American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson
This book was recommended to us somewhere on social media and it didn't disappoint. It's a thriller written from the perspective of a black mother, to her children, about her time as an FBI agent. She was recruited by the CIA to overthrow a foreign government by working from within. A real page-turner!
Podcast: The Authentic Audience Podcast by Krista Ripma
Krista is a business coach with passions for music, Nepal, and spirituality. Krista's humbleness and genuine spirit transforms through the microphone and leaves us eagerly waiting for the next episode. Our favorite podcast of hers is Episode 38 featuring photographer and traveler Emory Hall. The two of them lead annual tours together through the remote mountains of Nepal. A total bucket list trip for us!
Podcast: Jungle Prince by The New York Times
This podcast is only three episodes long, but captured both of us from the first couple of minutes. For 40 years, journalists followed the lives of a queen, a prince, and a princess living in a crumbled palace in the forest of Delhi. The three claimed to be the last of the Shite Muslim royal family. Journalist Ellen Berry spent many months in India getting to know the family, touring the decrepit palace, and eventually learning the truth.
Music: Songs to Break Up To by Wild Rivers
Wild Rivers quickly became one of our favorite bands in the past couple of years. This new EP isn't as depressing as the title makes it sound. Their harmonies and lyrics are beautiful.
Music: Time (You and I) by Khruangbin
The ultimate song to instantly improve your mental health. If you're needing a break and want to dance (or clean), put on this song. We bet you can't help but move your body a bit! We're looking forward to hearing a new album from Khruangbin later this summer. Don't forget to post your dance moves on social media and tag Khruangbin. They have been posting people all over the world dancing to this song.
Music: And It's Still Alright by Nathaniel Rateliff
Anyone who knows us knows that we are realllllly into Nathaniel Rateliff. We've seen him probably 20 times in concert over the years. This new solo project from Nathaniel is some of his best work. This is a perfect album to put on while cooking dinner and sipping a glass of red wine.
TV Series: Queer Eye (Netflix)
The Fab 5 are always inspiring us to be better versions of ourselves and they constantly remind us that it is never too late to start taking care of ourselves. Their love for helping people find a better version of themselves, their open-mindedness to all walks of life, and the positivity they create is a recipe for quality viewing content. If you haven't caught this show yet, we promise you won't regret it! You might want to have a box of tissues nearby if you're emotional like me.
TV Series: When They See Us (Netflix)
This series, based on the true story of the famous Central Park 5 court case, was recommended to us after recent events in our country. It is SO well done and the acting is phenomenal. We believe watching this series is so important for everyone to see, but we do have to warn you -- it is heavy.
Movie: The Hate You Give (Netflix)
We really enjoyed this movie and the story that it told about a black family living in between white culture and black culture. Ultimately, they were just trying to create a better situation for themselves in our current world.
Movie: Peanut Butter Falcon (Amazon Prime)
We loved watching this light-hearted drama/comedy about a man living with down syndrome who has big dreams of becoming a professional wrestler. He escapes from state custody and meets some interesting characters along the way. We laughed and we cried!
Documentary: The Weight of Water (Amazon Prime)
Daniel is lucky enough to work for the nonprofit, No Barriers, that Erik Weihenmayer started. He was the first blind man to summit Mt. Everest and the seven major peaks around the world! Erik truly believes that barriers in life are real and that we should acknowledge them and overcome them with the innate willpower we all have within us. In this documentary, Erik takes up a new hobby -- kayaking. He decided to pursue the ultimate challenge and kayak the Grand Canyon. We sat on the edge of our seats watching Erik take on massive rapids without allowing his disability to get in the way.
We hope you're all staying safe and practicing social distancing as much as possible during this coronavirus pandemic. If you feel up to it, we suggest trying something new! A new hobby or something you've always wanted to do but never had the time. In the past few months, we tried our hand at mountain biking. Not saying we were very good at it, but it was a fun challenge and a much needed mental health break!
We'd love to hear about your isolation experience in the comments.
For love and adventure,