Quarantine Reads & Sees II


Ashna Satpathy, Staff Writer

After about two months of a shelter in place consisting of binge watching, binge reading, and binge baking, alas – we still have a couple more weeks! But even after that, the summer still presents itself as a time to enjoy some good quality books and TV. 

Therefore, The Forum is here with round two of quarantine reads and sees! As usual, many of these picks are somewhat educational while also binge-worthy.

Like before, all nonfiction picks are marked with an asterisk. Enjoy!


Extraction: Chris Hemsworth plays a black-market mercenary sent to Bangladesh to rescue a drug lord’s kidnapped son.

Inglourious Basterds: Directed by Quentin Tarantino, this film centers around a group of Americans, “The Basterds,” sent to Germany to kill Nazi SS officers.

*The Aviator: Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal of the eccentric and unconventional Howard Hughes is like nothing else. Spanning the time period between Hughes’s first onscreen major motion picture, Hell’s Angels, to his testifying in front of the Senate for war profiteering, Hughes’s successful career and troubled mental state makes this film a captivating watch.

If Beale Street Could Talk: Based on the novel by James Baldwin, this poignant film sets itself in 1970’s Harlem and follows a black young couple, Tish and Alonzo Hunt, as they are pulled apart by injustices in the criminal justice system.

The Talented Mr. Ripley: This thriller about a man taking the identity of various people and struggling with his own identity will make you fall in love with the carefree life of 1950’s Italy.

TV Shows

*Waco: A six part mini series that sheds light on the 1993 fifty one days siege by the FBI and ATF of a religious compound in Waco, Texas in which 76 people were killed. 

Hollywood: Created by Ryan Murphy, Hollywood displays the glamour and scandal of post WWII Hollywood and what people will do to become a star. Presenting the audience with the power of film over society and the trailblazers that made show business a more inclusive space, this miniseries is both upbeat and thought provoking. 

Normal People: The TV show adaptation of the novel mentioned in the books section. This show turns the thoughts in Connells and Marianne’s heads written about so beautifully in the book into captivating visuals. It’s a rarity when an on screen adaption does justice to the book, but this one certainly does.

*Chernobyl: An HBO miniseries delineating the 1986 catastrophe of the Chernobyl nuclear accident. 

*Manhunt Unabomber: Another miniseries recounting the FBI’s hunt for the unabomber in the 1990’s.

The Politician: Another Ryan Murphy show, junior Olivia Katz says, “I love The Politician because it’s so funny, but also relatable to some extent just being a Latin student in this intense academic environment. It was funny to see an environment somewhat similar to Latin in a TV show and it gave me some perspective.”

Never Have I Ever: A show created by Mindy Kaling that any teenager will find relatable. The show deals with fitting in, trauma, and being a first generation Indian-American. 


Normal People by Sally Rooney: This coming of age novel spanning four years follows the lives of young Irish couple Mariannne and Connell. Starting from the end of their senior year to their shift to university, this book is entirely raw and unfiltered. We can all find bits of ourselves in both Marianne and Connell, and through their story find that we are not alone in our own struggles. This book was also brilliantly adapted into a series on Hulu, which was recommended in the TV show section. 

*Born a Crime by Trevor Noah: A heartfelt memoir by comedian and political commentator, Trevor Noah. His novel discusses his childhood in South Africa through aparthied and what it is like to be born half black and half white. 

*Educated by Tara Westover: Tara Westover discusses her childhood in rural Idaho with an extremist father skeptical of the government and how she eventually got an education. *Note: this book is read by some junior year English classes.

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Sallinger: A must-read for any teenager, this classic 1950’s novel follows a sixteen year old Holden Caulfield through 4 days of his life as he flees boarding school and dilly-dallys around New York. Junior Lily Prostic says, “Miraculously, Holden Caulfield appeared to be stealing thoughts directly from my mind. His outlook on life is fascinatingly relatable, often involuntarily plunging into philosophy and existentialism.”

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri: A coming-of-age novel that starts with a young couple as they move from India to America and their struggles of assimilation. Lahiri quickly jumps to the life of their son, Gogol, who struggles with his own identity as he navigates his way through childhood, college, and his career.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: Another coming of age novel that follows a protagonist forced to raise herself in the marsh of the North Carolina coast. Owens’s idyllic descriptions of the marsh and the beach force the reader to take notes of the nature around them. Meticulous imagery complemented by the thrill of a murder case, Where the Crawdads Sing will be one that you can’t put down.