Here are some of our suggestions for what to read and watch while you’re practicing social distancing.

Mar 25, 2020

There is work to be done, but, if you’re like us, you’ve found yourself with some extra time while staying inside in an effort to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19. Here are some of our suggestions for what to read and watch while you’re practicing social distancing.

Listen to these recommendations and others as audiobooks and you won’t even need to leave your home to get a copy. is an audiobook seller that supports local bookstores. OverDrive and Libby both provide free audiobooks and e-books by partnering with local libraries.

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

This is a book I just started, but it is a good one. It came to me highly recommended by the teachers who attended our last book club gathering. The reviews talk about our inability to talk to strangers and, as a result, meaning can get lost in translation and conflict ensues. What I have read so far will make it a book that I might include in the Executive Director’s Book Club rotation next year. -Kathy Wiebke, Executive Director

Heart Talk by Cleo Wade

Notes, advice, and poems are what you will find here! Wade writes to confront fears, remind us of our resilience, and connect us back to self! Wade states that this book is meant to be more than something you read, rather like a friend or a companion. The beautiful words that flow through this book are both relatable and necessary! - Danielle Brown, Professional Learning Director

The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante

This is a four-book series that follows two girls, Elena and Raffaella, from childhood to adulthood as they navigate coming of age and life in a community outside of Naples, Italy. It’s emotional and relatable. Pair these books with a TV binge of HBO’s adapted series, My Brilliant Friend. The second season just aired March 16. -Cecilia Calleros, Professional Learning Coordinator

How To Be Fine by Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer

Greenberg and Meinzer host one of my favorite podcasts, By the Book, where they read a self-help book and live by its tenets for two weeks before reviewing just how helpful each book really is. They’ve encountered plenty of flawed advice in their experiments, but How To Be Fine, just released Tuesday, highlights what they’ve learned that did add positivity and joy to their lives. Though I’m only a few chapters in, I’m finding this book a great read for these unprecedented times. It’s mostly a lighthearted read, though the authors do address some heavier and adult themes at times. -Marlys Weaver-Stoesz, Communications Director 

Other suggestions

The Amazing Adventure of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon, Educated by Tara Westover, Becoming by Michelle Obama, Where to Begin by Cleo Wade, and Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

TV and Movies

Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution

This is a documentary on Netflix about the impact that a small group of folks can have on so many others. Check out a heartwarming informational and educational story about the evolution that led to the Americans with Disabilities Act. -Mary Field, Professional Learning Director

Either of these Mr. Rogers-focused films

I saw the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? in theaters in 2018 and was stunned by both Fred Rogers’ approach to showing comfort during difficult times and how well the film captured that. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is now available on Amazon Prime. I definitely used a few tissues when I first saw this movie, so be prepared to possibly dive into your toilet paper and tissue stash. I was also able to see A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood in theaters when it came to Phoenix venues last November. This movie is loosely based on Fred Rogers’ actual interactions with an investigative reporter. I could argue that the reporter is actually the main character of this film, though you feel the presence of Tom Hanks’ portrayal of Fred Rogers throughout. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is available to rent on Amazon Prime. -Marlys Weaver-Stoesz, Communications Director

Dark Waters

First, this is a movie starring Mark Ruffalo, one of my favorite actors. So, as far as I am concerned, we are off to a good start. It is based on the true story of DuPont poisoning the waters of West Virginia. You will never look at non-stick pans or the Dupont label the same ever again. Dark Waters is currently available through Cox on Demand and to rent on Amazon Prime: -Kathy Wiebke, Executive Director

Mad Men

There is no better time than now to re-visit Peggy, Don, and the gang and experience Madison Avenue in the 1960s. And, if you’ve never taken the time to watch Mad Men, even better! This is my favorite show of all time; period-piece, incredible character development, and an impressive soundtrack. Find it on Netflix. -Cecilia Calleros, Professional Learning Coordinator

Other suggestions

Homeland on Showtime and via Amazon or Hulu, The West Wing on Netflix, My Brilliant Friend on HBO (see book review above of The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante), and The Great British Baking Show on Netflix

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