What to Watch, Read and Listen To During Your Coronavirus Self-Quarantine

You’re staying home and you need a distraction. We’re updating this recommendation list every weekday.

Comments: 75

  1. Instead, how about activity suggestions that do not require going online? There already is concern about overloading the system.

  2. Reading, especially engrossing literature, is a direct wellspring of our deeper imagination, creativity and resilience. By oneself or aloud with loved ones.

  3. @SLB Remember when we read books, America?

  4. @SLB -- yes,what about reading books?!

  5. Don’t know if it was the volume of traffic or a bandwidth issue, but streaming on Netflix was nearly impossible last night.

  6. @Bello I’m not sure about this but I think you can download shows on Netflix and then watch them later. Maybe pick a time when the Internet is less crowded

  7. Amazon's supply of jigsaw puzzles is selling out !

  8. Cannot recommend Knives Out enough. It's filled with talent, a great story line and is joyous, escapist entertainment.

  9. @Ann Berry, yes, Knives Out is a great whodunnit mystery!

  10. How about a list of cheery movies? These are stressful times!

  11. There are so many live streams and virtual experiences from museums, zoos, and aquariums. The animals still have to be fed and taken care of, so many of these places are digitizing the experiences they offer. You can watch sea lion feeds, watch penguins meet stingrays, explore an art gallery, and watch a fossil restoration. Explore from home and enjoy!

  12. My wife and I are reasonably satisfied with Kanopy and Hoopla, as long as the Municipal Library is closed. As to food, we have a great disagreement on what are "staples". To my wife, the basics are oat meal, canned beans, polenta, and morning coffee. To me, they are plenty of strong coffee, cigars, smoked salmon, duck mousse, and red caviar on crusty ficelle (thin baguette) made by my wife. My wish to go out shopping puts my wife into a crisis of nerves and vocal opposition to my plans.

  13. @Tuvw Xyz You're so lucky to have Kanopy!! Enjoy it! My library stopped being able to afford it.

  14. @George Entenman Try to find another library if possible in another county. It’s too great to lose.

  15. @Tuvw Xyz "made by my wife" --- seriously????? how about you make your food yourself?

  16. Jigsaw puzzles are great for everyone. You can order them online, they help teach visual spatial skills, patience, and perseverance. And they are quiet activity so they don't bother others around you. Knitting and crafts in general are productive uses of time now as well. If, when this is over, you can point to some accomplishment like a new hat and scarf for next winter you will feel you used the time well.

  17. @CJ, those are great suggestions. Some of my friends are avid knitters, though I don't have the knack for that. Depending on what supplies the family has on hand, kids might enjoy coloring, drawing, painting, or making a collage. I'd suggest making a collage out of dried pasta, after it's no longer being stockpiled.... :)

  18. We just enjoyed Yesterday, which is now on HBO.

  19. @Pat, what's Coke? Hilarious.

  20. I'm looking for simple, old fashioned games (like scrabble) that can be played from a computer with multiple players. I want to do some online games with elderly relatives as another way to connect without seeing each other. Any suggestions?

  21. @Rebecca Words with Friends is good, same concept as Scrabble, I've been playing with my 80 year old mother who lives thousands of miles away for years.

  22. Words With Friends...online app/scrabble-type game.

  23. @Rebecca Spite & Malice will consume you! I don't have a link but surely you will find a partner. Spades is great as well. Good luck!

  24. There is a whole universe of online learning to take advantage of. If you can't afford the courses, you tube has lots of free learning opportunities. Play an instrument, learn one or more languages, ebooks make it unnecessary to go to the bookstores or libraries. learn to cook really good meals.(I a am still doing simple stuff, but am starting a grocery list that will be stuff that is in the store, unlike the heat and eat stuff that I used to fall back on.) Having time on your hands is an opportunity. Puzzles and games are fun, but often leave you feeling that you wasted a whole day. Enjoy. Cabin fever is a choice in this day and age.

  25. And re opera: there’s an ongoing free streaming site called operavision.eu, that has recent European productions, most with subtitles. It keeps them up for six months. Plus the Metropolitan Opera is streaming productions for free this week, on its site.

  26. @Jumblegym If you have a library card or more than one there are a lot of steaming or music or book services.

  27. @Reva Cooper Thank you! That sounds great!

  28. A friend on facebook posted a free yoga on-line class in the US (you pay after 2 weeks...maybe). I was really touched that, here in France, the Paris Opera is putting a different opera on-line every six days, free to all. A subscription channel (Canal+) has opened its large range of movies free to all with basic cable (which costs about $40 here, with phone and wifi). A list of local small businesses who will deliver within the region (local butcher, cheese shop, Italian grocery, produce market, etc.) was posted along with a few cafes who will deliver pre-ordered meals. Neighbors in my large building are going to share an 'apero' one afternoon this week, from our balconies that face each other over a courtyard. In a crisis such as this, one appreciates every little kindness, every gesture of community.

  29. Gosh not one mention of that earliest of all human activities for "down time," -- story telling. And for those of us who aren't good story tellers, there are .. ta dum .. Books. Read books out loud to children, young people, old people. My favorite for young people, from ages of about 5 or 6 up, is The Hobbit, followed by all three volumes of Lord of the Rings. (Spoiler alert, the books are better -- much better -- than the movies.) Followed by The Iliad and The Odyssey. That ought to get you through the first month. Have fun.

  30. @Allan Lindh Great suggestion. For those who aren't good story tellers, there are great story podcasts like Circle Round.

  31. If your community library is still open, please continue to support them. Our library director sent all patrons an email listing the steps they were taking to reduce contact, including reduced hours, disinfecting computer stations after each use, etc. They have everything you need for weeks of enjoyment and enrichment. Also, many libraries offer free streaming material through Hoopla, and I forget the other one. Take sensible precautions (I am using disposable nitrile gloves), wash your hands, keep your distance, call your loved ones, and make that sourdough starter you've been talking about for five years ;-)

  32. @Miss Dovey - we have Hoopla and Libby through our library system. I broadcast stories on a Bluetooth speaker from my phone so may kids can listen from their room (and play LEGOs at the same time :)

  33. Good suggestion, but my local library is closed indefinitely. Our Mayor quite appropriately issued an emergency declaration which closed some city departments. Fortunately, the library has online ebook and movie access.

  34. My painting class and bird watching hikes have been canceled. And my spouse is out of the country. )-: The moping about could all have gone south in a hurry. So I am painting on my own (looks horrible, but it is entertaining). I am *finally* teaching myself to play ukulele (sounds horrible, but it is entertaining). I still get outside for birdwatching, which includes lots of muttering “what is that” with no expert to answer. I am cooking cod cakes, soups, and spaghetti sauce with fresh ingredients for freezing. Today I am making corned beef with cabbage, and aran soid, both of which will freeze well after dinner. Point is, do something!

  35. These are all indoor activities. America already has a terrible disease called obesity. Let's encourage people to get outdoors, take in nature, and breathe the fresh air. We should also be very wary of how easy it is to gain weight in these new times, and how important it is NOT to...

  36. @marywho I just came back from a long walk on my beautiful, two-mile street, which I do every day. Now I'm online and about to continue watching "The Young Pope" with Judge Law on Prime. It's possible to "do" Nature and the unnatural as well, lol. Nature, technology and kittens are a few of my favorite things.

  37. How about going for a walk?

  38. Thanks! This article has a lot of great ideas. The local fitness center sent this link to free [maybe for a limited time?] fitness programs: https://watch.lesmillsondemand.com/free-content Our library system also provides free access to online books and courses. I would add activities that are "off screen". For example, going for a walk in the park or riding bikes; drawing / painting / coloring; and [ahem, this one is for me] cleaning the apartment. Grocery shopping is also much more interesting than it used to be. It's like a scavenger hunt at times.

  39. How about read some books?

  40. @Nat I know this is going to sound "off" to some of the intelligentsia out there, but I have read thousands of books in my life, and now I like to watch streaming series, listen to podcasts, stuff on YouTube, etc. I do also listen to books on CD because, frankly, audiobook apps aren't easy to stop/start where you left off. My bad.

  41. Every suggestion here is for consumption. Cooking and eating is the only thing that people can do at home? I like to read, write little stories and poems, paint. They aren't much good, but I am entertained and happy with it. Among my many cousins and friends there are people who sew, make art, play the trumpet, compose, garden, build models, guitars. Ride horses. Practice Kung Fu. Make jewelry. Draw pictures of insects. Bird watch. Carve totem poles. I like a movie in the evening, but don't people have hobbies anymore? The suggestions for distractions offered here are for passive consumers of other people's creativity, except for cooking and eating. It's depressing.

  42. @mary bardmess I'm a stay at home artist, novelist and poet, but I still love to watch series on Netflix and Prime, podcasts, etc. It's possible to do lots of things that are fun, interesting and amusing. But I don't call my poetry and my art "hobbies." I guess foreign thrillers, detective stories and mysteries are my "hobby."

  43. Something to watch while waiting for the world to stop spinning? Great concert on @Bernie.com with Neil Young. Darryl Hanah "The Freedom Nationals" music is fantastic.

  44. How about shutting of the television, and Faceblah, and reading some things for a suggestion.

  45. Beans? The best thinking today for dinner is beans?

  46. @Tom And the problem with beans is ... ? They are a wonderful shelf-stable plant protein that can be added to soups, salads, pasta & rice dishes. They freeze well too. Pinto beans are my favorite, fresh or refried in a burrito with cheese and green chile.

  47. What about sharing a book with family?

  48. I think some people might want to read (or listen to) the Decameron: some aristocrats retreat to a villa outside Florence to escape from the Black Death (killed maybe a third of the world's population). They tell themselves amusing, scary or depressing stories to distract themselves and relieve the boredom. Which (updated) is, of course, the theme of this new Times series...

  49. This is a great feature! Thank you NY Times!

  50. It's great that you are posting recipes for "lunch at home". But as I'm reading through the list...Tagliatelle with Prosciutto? Yeah, when I was rushing to Stop and Shop to grab the last loaf of bread and the last package of ground beef, I forgot to get my stash of Prosciutto.

  51. No books??????????

  52. Rather then engage in idle excitement such as watching television or streaming, I would recommend Americans pick up and actually start to read one the Great Books of the Western World during the crisis. We will all be better for it. Start with volume 1 - the Great Conversation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Books_of_the_Western_World

  53. The original War of the Worlds. When the world is faced with something fearful it can’t stop and doesn’t understand and when people do what they’ve been told not to do. 10 minutes before the end a very scary scene where society breaks down and selfish people nearly end it for everyone.

  54. I spent Sunday cooking anti-viral soups, both from NYT Cooking: Spicy Corn and Coconut Soup, and Ginger-Cauliflower Soup. If you don't have a subscription, try googling 'ginger soup' -- there are lots of recipes out there -- and then double the amount of ginger and garlic called for. Take that, Covid-19!

  55. I have a radical idea: read a book. Better yet, write a story or poem. Draw or learn how. Do something productive and creative (cooking of course counts) rather than consumptive only. Sure, I like consuming stuff, too, and perhaps reading is a form thereof. But you all know what I'm talking about. Take a course online for free. If you're lucky enough to be this privileged, trust me, this is your big chance to read that book, learn that language, do that thing you always wanted to do. Order an instrument if you can swing it, and learn it. (I'm not saying this disaster is good in any way, mind you.) Don't mean to be "elitist" -- don't do anything that risks injury, because med care may not be there, but build birdhouses if you like. Make a garden: outside is good if far enough from people. We plan to do a veggie garden. Whatever, but creation is higher-yield, psychologically, than consumption (usually). My wife is knitting up a storm. In fact, judging from the amount of yarn she ordered, I believe she is knitting a 1-to-1 scale model of the universe in the bedroom. (Don't ask me how it fits; my cat, who claims to be a physicist, said it had something to do with string theory. But then again, he likes string.) And volunteer to help the second you get, and survive, this disease. Probably at a hospital, but anywhere would do. The Irishman is a good suggestion. Since we'll all be locked down for months, you'll be able to watch at least the first half. (It's great!)

  56. My wife is a primary care provider in the Bay Area who has been assigned to work from home with phone calls and video chats with her patients. Right now, our internet is at a standstill and she is having an impossible time accessing charts remotely and doing her job. Information will not load. Maybe Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple, and HBO aren't really what we need to be using our communications technology for right now?

  57. @T, is your service provider Comcast?

  58. Subscribe to Brit Box. Lots of classic British comedy. Unfortunately, someone decided that Till Death Do Us Part and Steptoe and Son are no longer acceptable. Too bad. The former was the inspiration for All in the Family and the latter was the inspiration for Sanford and Son. If you donate to your local PBS station, you probably have access to PBS Passport with a huge selection of PBS programs. If you're an Amazon Prime member, you have access to lots of programs, including such classics as the original Star Trek and Perry Mason as part of your Prime membership. My local library has apps to download films, ebooks, and audiobooks. You're set if you have a library card. Your local library probably has something similar.

  59. Go outdoors if at all possible. Go walk in the woods, dig in your garden, wander around a park if you don't have your own yard, listening to the sounds of the birds and the rustling trees, and feeling the sun on your face. It's the very best antidote to this all-pervading anxiety.

  60. How about taking a break from staring passively at the flickering screen and reading some books? Read aloud with the people you live with. Independent booksellers work hard just to survive in the best of times. Many are currently offering free delivery. If you don’t know what to read, ask for suggestions. Buy bookstore gift cards to give to people who are staying at home. BTW-I’m not a bookseller. I’m a retired librarian.

  61. Great how many have said READ A BOOK! Absolutely. I am rereading Jane Austen's EMMA, and we are also rewatching the wonderful Austen-based many miniseries, on DVDs when we could get them before the library closed, otherwise streaming. Austen is perfect for a combination of grown-up substance and good cheer.

  62. Baking and cooking here, freezing for later (stash of frozen bananas for several mini loaves of banana bread; leftover veggies in pasta sauce; 'aged' sour cream and milk in cornbread; pitas; biscuits; red chile sauce). Helps so much to have an extra freezer! Also making jars of dry granola mix to make it much easier to bake up a batch (we eat it daily for breakfast). It's a little bit of extra effort and clean up now but for me it's totally worth it to have meals these next two weeks that involve less prep and clean up. I hope to stretch the time between shopping trips as much as possible and use up much of what I have on hand. Cooking what we can now to freeze for later works well for us. I have a bit of practice, I did this also before some major foot surgeries. Read if that's your thing, and I do that too, but I also enjoy cooking and baking so why not?

  63. Dear NYT: Thanks for covering home entertainment during this anxious time. However, when you publish an article offering COOKING suggestions, why not make access to the NYT recipes mentioned in the article free for the duration of the article's front page presence. Otherwise, what's the point? Long time subscriber.

  64. You forgot to mention the whole series of Babylon Berlin on Netflix!

  65. Enough of this self destruction! Send Doctor Fauci back to his office to cure his partients. We bought into his Mantra: “out of an abundance of caution,” The large corporations have less difficulty, but few small businesses can shut down for two months. Would no degree of bankruptcies, and no severity of a financial depression, suggest that less “abundantly cautious” solutions are preferable? And then “abundance of caution” comes actually to mean various unsavory things, associated with social signaling and pressure. https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2020/03/17/an-abundance-of-caution/?utm_source=The+Catholic+Thing+Daily&utm_campaign=ebb94bf9ea-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_12_07_01_02_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_769a14e16a-ebb94bf9ea-244130701

  66. This is the ultimate "Groundhog Day," moment, right?

  67. How about some TV or movie suggestions from free streaming sites.

  68. Bake sourdough bread...takes about the 14 day quarantine

  69. I am getting tired of even our greatest newspaper ignoring the many delicious foreign film series on Netflix, Prime, etc. Here are my guaranteed fabulous pics: Series - Netflix: "The Good Bandit" adorable, genius comedy, also spiritually uplifting and yes spiritually funny - for all ages because the two breakout stars are the Good Bandit's kids. 'Velvet' (beyond plush 'fifties romantic telenovela about the (fictional) first designer-oriented, art deco department store in Spain (Madrid) . On Prime: "Blood Pact", new crime thriller series that never stops being surprising, shocking, and an unexpected, adorable "buddy" movie about two little girls and their daddies; one a straight arrow tax executive, the other a bent, just-released-from-prison gangster. "Sr. Avila" - my all-time favorite series. As an artist, I did more screen shots of this Spanish hit-man series than any other show, ever. Dali could have created it. Never fails to surprise, shock and delight; quirky/hip to its deathly bones. Also: the sexy hit man's boss is the vampire-like owner of Mexico City's largest mortuary. Spanish, Turkish, Scandinavian, French, Icelandic, Finnish, German - these countries' thrillers, detective and mystery series are the bomb! Unfortunately, however, they will eat up your life, because once you are hooked you can never go back, and never stop watching.

  70. There is also a great free film streaming service called Kanopy. You get in via your local library card or school. Classics and recent films.

  71. Clean your closet and then you will find too many old clothing, then you tear some of them you no longer need into yarn and then you crochet them into rug or bag or basket or other things. It is easy to learn from Youtube. All free. It will fill your time and keep your creativity spirit and good for you eyes.

  72. Arrgggghhh! Hawking a game called Pandemic???? Pass!!!!

  73. For everyone who has felt the need to condescendingly tell people who deliberately clicked on an article for television and movie recommendations, “why don’t you just read a book?”... move your cursor to sections, click, find the tab that says “books” (right above “movies”), and click. There, maybe you can calm down.