Health & Wellness

Books and Podcasts for the Winter Break

By Judith Mewhort on December, 15 2020
4 minute read

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With the holidays right around the corner and social distancing restrictions remaining in place in BC until January 8th, employees will be wondering what to do with their time off. While we can’t tell you what to do, we can share with you how we’ve been keeping ourselves entertained recently. Here are some of our favourite books, podcasts, movies, and TV shows right now. Some are educational and some are just plain fun. 

Movies and TV Shows

Queen’s Gambit. Of all the strange twists and turns that 2020 has brought, a mini-series about chess becoming one of Netflix’s most popular releases of all-time is certainly up there. The series follows Beth Harmon, a young chess prodigy, as she climbs up the ranks in the chess world. After just the first episode, you’ll see why it is so popular. 

 

The Crown. Audiences always enjoy a peek into the world of royalty and power whether it's fictitious or not. The show chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II from the 1940s until the present day. In royal fashion, it is one of the most expensive shows ever created. Given how popular it has been, the pennies were well spent.

 

Schitt’s Creek. What happens when an upper class family, fully accustomed to trappings of their luxurious lifestyle, suddenly goes bankrupt? This comedy answers that question. 

 

His Dark Materials. Based on the “His Dark Materials” trilogy by Phillip Pullman, this HBO series takes you to a multiverse reality where humans have daemons, animal companions that represent the human soul. This is a great holiday choice for fantasy-loving adults and children alike. 

 

The Blacklist. Those of us that consider Die Hard to be a Christmas movie may also consider Blacklist a good choice for the holidays. A wanted fugitive begins working with the FBI to help them catch most wanted criminals. Nothing quite says holiday cheer like that.

 

Books

The Rooster Bar by John Grisham. Inspired by the Atlantic article, “The Law-School Scam” this legal thriller follows three third-year law students who discover they’ve been duped of their tuition. 

 

A Song for the Dark Times by Ian Rankin. Another addition to the riveting John Rebus thriller series. This time, there’s a phone call in the middle of the night, a missing husband, and Rebus’ daughter is the prime suspect.

 

The Force by Don Winslow. Considered by some to be the best cop novel ever written, this novel follows Denny Malone, a high decorated NYPD sergeant detective, who happens to be corrupt. 

 

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel. This novel begins at the Hotel Caiette on an island in British Columbia and sits at the intersection between an international ponzi scheme and the disappearance of a woman from a ship. 

 

The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson. Winston Churchill is one of the world’s most written about people, and this year adds another addition to the list. The book draws on diaries, original research, and intelligence reports—some released only recently. Lawson walks readers through London’s darkest year as it was viewed through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family.

 

Podcasts

Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard. Dax Shepard created his podcast with the goal of untangling the mess that is human experience. And that’s what he does each episode when he sits down with celebrities, journalists, academics, and politicians to talk about what it means to be human. 

Last Podcast on the Left. If you like horror stories for the holidays, this is the podcast for you. The weekly show covers everyone from the world of horror, both real and fictional. The grim details and spooky stories are juxtaposed with the hosts’ humour and tangential story telling, maxing for a truly entertaining listen.

Our Fake History. Most people have heard of Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, one of the most popular podcasts in the world. But what if all the stories, biographies and monumental events were made up? That’s exactly what this podcast is all about: documenting the historical events that never happened. 

Fireside Mystery Theatre. Old time radio brought to modern audiences. They feature a full cast, improvised score, and musical acts that compliment the main narrative. Each episode is part of an anthology, so make sure to start from the beginning.

99% Invisible. When it comes to design and architecture (among other subjects), it’s often what you don’t see that matters. That’s the perspective this podcast takes each week as they discuss the hidden mechanics and inner workings of famous designs and architectures. 

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