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March marks a full year since the World Health Organization announced the pandemic had arrived. Over the year we’ve stopped going to theatres, both live and movie, to concert halls, restaurants, and dance halls. (Did I say, “dance halls”?!)

You get the idea. Now we stream, Zoom, and wallow in games on devices.  How we socialize and find entertainment has been altered. Do you think some of these changes will last beyond our various lockdowns and quarantines? Which ones and why?

Meanwhile, and quickly please, any recommendations for streaming satisfaction? I’ve been compensating for lack of travel and combining it with my love of mysteries by enjoying foreign series such as Murder In . . .  and Blood of the Vine (France), Shetland and Vera (England), Tatort (Germany), Montalbano (Italy), Beck(Sweden), Banking District (Switzerland), and Mammon (Norway).

What are you watching/reading/playing these days? Tell us.

I have been listening to the operas that the Met streams starting every night. One starts at 7:30PM and goes until 6:30PM the next evening. I usually listen to the first couple of acts in the evening and then spend a lovely part of the next day watching the rest and of course, enjoying the curtain calls. These operas are ones recorded in the mid-eighties with Pavarotti and into the 2019 season. I hear the ‘oldies-but-goodies’ as well as contemporary operas and ones that less well known to me. All free. Google Met… live stream.

I’m re- reading all the books I have saved over the years because I felt they had become best friends and had changed my life in some way. I didn’t learn how to read until the 5th grade–I had a teacher tumble to it and got me into a special class and after I got the hang of reading-I have never stopped….May Sarton, Annie Dillard, Linda Hogan, Dorothy Sullivan, Tasha Tudor’s children’s books, Bill Bryson (naughty and funny) Gladys Taber’s Stillmeadow series, and many many more that I can’t remember right now. I have been surrounded by books since the 5th grade-a retired librarian now…and I will be forever grateful to the teacher who changed my life in ways he will never know.

British TV is my go to quarantine channels. I just finished Miss Scarlett and the Duke, she is a 1882 private investigator and he, of course, the handsome police detective, and that he (Stuart Martin) is! All Things Great and Small was heartwarming. Guilty pleasure? My friend and I watched all 26 episodes of The Only Way Is Essex. The show centered around a group of British 25 year olds ups and downs, which had us traveling down memory lane and questioning who would have caught us. James Lock! Onto Doc Martin, 800 Words, The Boomers. Vera, and most memorable Ladies of Letters, etc. etc. So many etc. etc. Between finishing my book (tossed out the first), infrequent walks, dashing in and out of stores, and way too much TV, I do wonder what life will be AFTER this pandemic blows over!

I decided to take a “sabbatical” from Zoom book clubs this year so I could devote myself full time to reading and rereading classics. I began in January with Little Dorrit by Dickens. It drew me in completely and led me to read Claire Tomalin’s excellent biography of the author. Then came the 2008 mini-series of Little Dorrit starring Claire Foy streaming on Amazon Prime Video. I loved it!

Next up was Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, wonderful in the audiobook version narrated by Juliet Stevenson. (If you’ve never heard this actress read, treat yourself. She’s superb!) Afterwards, I watched the 2006 television film of Jane Eyre starring Ruth Wilson, also on Prime Video. Enthusiastically recommended!

My February reading included The Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, to be followed by The Odyssey in the 2017 highly acclaimed first translation by a woman, Emily Wilson. (These are prelude to trying a third time to read Ulysses. We’ll see!) For lighter fare I’m reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and will soon watch the 1945 film on YouTube.

I know, not exactly your typical streaming fare, but it works for me. However, my husband and I just finished watching The Night Manager on Prime Video, a gripping series from 2016. See, I still have a toe in the 21st century!