The Stand, by Stephen King. This is not only one of his best works, but one of my all-time favorite novels. They made a mini-series in 1994, and there’s another miniseries in the work right now for CBS All Access. I would highly recommend reading the novel before watching the series, because the book is always better than TV or movies. Plus, you’ll have a new appreciation for public efforts to “flatten the curve” after you see how fast “Captain Tripps” kills 99% of the population. Yes, the tech is out of date, at least in the beginning, but that doesn’t matter after the world dies. If you’re nervous about it being Stephen King, don’t worry. It’s not his typical work and in fact, has a heavy religious theme of good versus evil.
The Left Behind Series, by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. This 16-book series published between 1995 – 2007 is based on the Book of Revelation in The Bible, but make no mistake: this is not warm and fuzzy reading. In fact, it does get rough in dirty in parts, but it’s manageable. Again the tech is a bit out of date, but it’s a good read that will keep you entertained for a long time.
The Planetfall Series, by Emma Newman. Looking for something with more of a sci-fi bend? I just finished After Atlas, the second book in this series, and I have to admit that her characters and storytelling are captivating. It’s not just her vision of the future, but her grasp of the lengths that leaders will go to in order to “preserve social order” that makes readers realize how one vision can come at a high price for society. Each book in the series focuses on a different part of the Planetfall “universe,” but so far I see a theme evolving of how preservation of social order and hierarchies survive no matter how much man advances – or what effect it has on this planet, or others. There is a reason I put this series on the list, but that would be a major spoiler from the surprise ending of After Atlas. Two books in, and I’m hooked on this series. I can’t wait to read the next two books!
Check out your local county library. A library card is free in the county where you reside, and can open a world of free resources to you. Our county library has several branches that not only carry books, but magazines, newspapers, DVD’s, audiobooks, and ebooks, amongst other resources. If you don’t have a library card, get one now, if yours is open. Best of all, everything is free! Which leads me to my next list --
Check out free apps online, or on Roku or Amazon. This is the time to check out all that Netflix, Disney +, CBS All Access, and other subscription services you have (and cancel the ones that don’t have anything you like). It’s also a great time to check out the free resources through SmartTV like Roku and Amazon Fire Stick. We have a Roku, and I’ve discovered that the Pluto TV app has several channels of free TV. Our digital antenna also has some auxiliary channels with “old school” TV shows along with free access to local channels. And there’s also YouTube.
Clear Out Your DVR. I’ll bet you’ve recorded a lot of shows and movies you forgot about. Check it out. There’s probably a treasure trove in there!
Try out a new TV Series or Genre. Are there any shows you were interested in checking out, but didn’t have time to? Now’s your chance to binge watch something new and different!
For both books and TV, shop your own collections. You’d be amazed at how you can find new messages and joy in books, TV shows, and movies that you haven’t watched in a while.
Do Your Taxes. Get ahead of the curve, and the last minute rush. TurboTax makes filing taxes easy, and takes you through the process step-by-step. If your taxes are simple, do them now. If they aren’t, contact whomever you need to in order to get the process moving.
Write a novel. I hear people say they want to tackle this from time to time. Why wait for November and National Novel Writing Month? Boot up that computer and write it now. It doesn’t have to be great. Just get the ideas and words out for now. You can rewrite, revise, proofread, etc. later. It doesn’t get more ideal than two weeks of no distractions.
And if by chance you are a writer that has a draft of something you shelved, now might be a good time to revisit it and bring it back to life.
Check out Pinterest for DIY, Craft, and/or Cooking Ideas. I don’t check this site nearly as much as I should, probably because I tend to fall down the rabbit hole. If you’ve ever wanted to tackle a minor home improvement or crafting project, or try some new recipes, this is the place to go for ideas and instructions. Just be mindful of the scale of what you want to accomplish, and don’t take on too much. Home improvement and crafting projects tend to take longer than anticipated, and cooking can be limited to ingredients you have available. Start small, and see how things work out.
Tackle the “things I meant to do” list. We all have little things we keep saying we’ll do when we get more time. Maybe it’s clean up the yard, or rearrange the study, or hang a picture that’s been sitting in the garage since Christmas, or go through the closet to purge clothes you no longer wear. Do it now. Bonus points if you fell of a New Year’s Resolution and use this quarantine to get back to it. And speaking of that –
Try an at-home workout routine. I’ve heard the “I was going to go to the gym, but that’s dangerous now.” While this is true, it’s not your only option. There are many at-home workouts you can do that require little or no equipment. I’m particularly fond of the Beach Body T-25 workouts, but there are so many to choose from to fit your personal fitness goals and needs. Plus, you can get them through DVD or on streaming video apps. If you’re worried about “remaining accountable,” form a team with family members of friends to share your Activity app data to stay motivated and stay on track.
See, there’s plenty to do while everything is closed. You just have to open your mind and stretch to find what you don’t see because you look at it every day.
That’s all today. Take care out there, and have a great week.