Quarantine survival: culture in chaos

Books, movies, podcasts, and pastimes for self-isolation mindfulness

Social Distancing – a term we’ve all come to understand; a meme, a first-strike, a desperate attempt to rein in the ferocity of Covid-19, a necessary step the public must take for global benefit. However you see it, you’re doing it, or you’re not and you should be.

It’s been difficult to find solace in anything as of recently, but one constant in our lives is the fact that we’re all staying in. As inconvenient and boring as it has proved, it’s become increasingly necessary with the chaos of living on a day-to-day basis. Based on the fact that we are all living in a limbo state, with little to no concept of the future or even the past, we rely heavily on hearsay of news reports and social media platforms to guide us through the chaos. And unfortunately, there’s not a lot we can do about everything that’s happening. But we can learn to master the art of staying in. If there’s one benefit to this global catastrophe, it’s the act of being still for the first time in a very long while. Carbon emissions and environmental impacts aside, people all over the world are staying in for “the greater good” as Leo Varadkar put it in his March 17th address to the country. We as people are putting the lives of those at risk ahead of our own, an idea previously unprecedented on a global scale. We are being challenged to find comfort in the little things. As we all slow down to a standstill, we are learning to value time spent in solitude and reevaluate the necessities in life.

Take a look at some of the staff’s favourite movies, books, and pastimes for some inspiration for your daily distance grind.


Milkman – Anna Burns

A chilling novel about a teenage girl who is stalked by a member of her community during the troubles in Northern Ireland. The Irish Independent called the book, “…an astute, exquisite account of Northern Ireland’s social landscape, but Milkman is much more than that, too… [It is a potent and urgent book, with more than a hint of barely contained fury.” A must read.

Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut’s most popular book and a very quick read. Chances are you have this book in your house already. The novel is renowned as an anti-war(?) book about an American veteran who fought in WW2 and frequently time-travels between moments in his life. A psychological perspective on the everlasting effects of war with the dark comedy omnipresent in Vonnegut’s literature.

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

A book which might put a few things in perspective. A dystopian novel, or utopian, depending on your point of view, exploring how social hierarchies and scientific research engineer the future of the human race. A society devoid of dissatisfaction and negativity serves less ideal than one would assume.

Uncommon Type – Tom Hanks

Thankfully recovering from having the virus, Tom Hanks is a worthy man on the minds of many, but did you know about his collection of 17 short stories he wrote on his various typewriters? Hanks’ book explores many themes and introduces relatable characters and is infinitely readable.

TV Shows

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK

The coveted season can be found on reddit streams with relative ease. No prior watching is necessary so dive right into what is perhaps the most entertaining show on television. The same drag race you know and love but with the added benefit of crude British humour.


A seven-season Netflix show set in the fifties. Perfect for binging. Jon Hamm at his finest and NY in its prime. A series exploring the advertisement industry in the mid 20th century and the social tendencies of 50’s American culture.

True Detective Season One

Strongly recommended to me by many. An HBO series exploring homicide cases in America. Each season presents an entirely new cast and new criminal case; perfect for Law and Order fanatics.


Kind of like an American take on the series Skins but with a much bigger budget. The HBO series, which is currently filming its second season, explores the high school social lives of various characters. Aspects of the show include, but are not limited to, drug use, sexual conduct, mental health issues, and more potentially triggering material. Each of the show’s features, from the costume design, to the cinematography and soundtrack, work together to create surreal entertainment.

Gilmore Girls

Comfort in a nutshell. If you don’t want to live in Stars Hollow and be torn between Jess (Milo Ventimiglia), Dean (Jared Padalecki) and Logan (Matt Czuchry) you’re either lying or missing out on a wholesome and witty series that will make you smile as much as it’ll make you cry.



This movie really speaks for itself. The score, the animation, and the physical comedy work together to create one of the best movies ever made. Fun for all.


A terrifying movie showcasing Toni Collette’s boundless talent and director Ari Aster’s cryptic creative trajectory. The film has received praise for its shockingly creepy cinematography and its gifted cast. One to watch through trembling hands.

The Commitments

An irish film set in the 90’s in Dublin. The movie follows a motley crew of exclusively working-class people who join together to form a soul band. Filled with comedy, jazz, and 90’s Irish fashion, the movie beautifully showcases Dublin life 30 years ago and is a shockingly accurate representation of Irish life in the late 20th century.

The Princess Diaries

Let’s acknowledge what is for many, a cult classic. This 2001 film with a very young Anne Hathaway as Mia Thermopolis, a soon to be  princess of a (sadly) fictional european country between Portugal and Spain and her grandmother Julie Andrews as Queen Clarice, this film is much more than a typical teenage rom com and explores identity, family and teen culture in the early 2000s.


Serial – Season One

An investigative journalist podcast which explores the disappearance and later death of a Baltimore high school student, Hae Min Lee, in the 90’s. Consistent with the binge-ability of Making a Murderer but free from the obvious confirmation bias present in the Netflix series.

You Must Remember Manson

A twelve-part series detailing the infamous Manson cases — pretty self-explanatory.


A seven part podcast series from TheJournal.ie sheds light on one of the worst disasters in recent times in Ireland – the fire at the Stardust nightclub in Artane, Dublin that claimed the lives of 48 people and injured 200 more. A harrowing but important listen.

Maeve Harris

Maeve Harris is the Life Editor of Trinity News, and a Senior Sophister student of English Literature.