Optimistic Quarantine Pastimes

When the pandemic started, many people found themselves with extra time to spend on their own. During this time, many found their own ways to make the best out of a bad situation by reading new stories, watching new shows, and learning new things. As lovers of good storytelling, our Optimists have consumed a lot of content over the past year and a half. After asking what shows and movies they’ve watched, what books they’ve read, and what podcasts they’ve listened to, I was overwhelmed with recommendations.


Accounting for overlap, Optimists felt 75 books were worth mentioning. The top genre, with 21 books (or 28%) was fantasy. Some of the recommended books include the Crown of Coral and Pearl series by Mara Rutherford, the A Song of Wraiths and Ruin series by Roseanne A. Brown, and The Locked Tomb series by Tamsyn Muir.  

83% of all the books recommended were fiction. The StoryGraph categorizes books by mood, and according to their statistics, Online Optimism’s top moods for books were “emotional” and “reflective.” Some emotional and reflective recommendations include Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney and The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. A lot of our fantasy books, like Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas and The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern also fell into the adventurous mood. The statistics also suggest that, though we are Optimists, we don’t prioritize inspiring reads.


TV Show Rewatch
  • Office Ladies
  • Buffering the Vampire Slayer
True Crime
  • My Favorite Murder
  • Crime Junkie
  • Morbid
  • Relative Unknown
  • National Park After Dark
  • Mile Higher
  • International Infamy
  • Sword and Scale
  • Somebody
  • Supernatural 
  • Last Podcast on the Left
  • Radio Rental
  • Full Body Chills
  • Lovett or Leave It
Pop Culture
  • Every Single Album: Taylor Swift
  • Infatuated
  • Guilty Pleasures
  • Harmontown
  • Welcome to Nightvale
  • Friends at the Table
  • Boston Globe’s Love Letters
  • Oddvice
  • Ologies
  • The Happiness Lab
  • Southern Gothic
  • Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History
  • Dark History
  • Hindsight
  • The TryPod
  • You Can Sit With Us
  • Only Friends
  • Lady Gang
  • Tiny Meat Gang
  • My Brother, My Brother, and Me

TV Shows

Whether it was because they had extra time, or they needed to focus on literally anything that wasn’t the current state of the world, Optimists found themselves binging TV shows. Ted Lasso is a recent obsession that has taken the world by storm. A show centered around humanity and optimism feels very fitting as a fan favorite for Online Optimism’s staff. Never Have I Ever, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Only Murders in the Building, and The Queen’s Gambit were all mentioned by multiple Optimists.  

Our Optimists watch across a number of genres. Horror was represented with American Horror Story and The Haunting of Bly Manor. Comedy made a showing with Schitt’s Creek and Everything is Going to be Okay and countless others. The ever-reliable serial drama was present in The West Wing and Big Little Lies. Optimists also watch anime like My Hero Academia and Demon Slayer


A lot of Optimists took the past year and a half to watch some throwbacks. Many watched popular classics such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Star Wars trilogy, and the Twilight saga. A few different Optimists watched a number of Studio Ghibli movies. Others named Disney classics as their go-to. Over the course of the pandemic, more and more movies were released directly on streaming platforms, making it easier than ever to watch new things! Cruella, for example, was released straight to Disney+ and a couple of different Optimists enjoyed watching it from the comfort of their home. From Bo Burnham: Inside to Raya and the Last Dragon to Malcolm & Marie, Optimists were watching dozens of films across genres and styles.


Optimists stayed active and learned new things during the pandemic (and also scrolled through a lot of TikTok). 

Sara, our Operations Coordinator, started taking aerial silk classes. She says, “it’s been such a good strength-building and confidence-boosting activity.” Others took up gardening or taking care of succulents. Allyson, one of the Content Specialists, was happy to announce that her succulents haven’t died yet. Like the rest of the world, baking became a popular pastime. One Content Associate, Savannah, learned how to do acrylic and poly gel nails. Another, Casey, learned how to crochet. 

Multiple Optimists have taken the time to get active, some with bicycling, others with running or rock climbing or roller skating. Esteban, the Digital Ads Director, found himself with quite the knack for using a chainsaw in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. 

The past year and a half has been unusually difficult for everyone, it was nice to learn more about what everyone at Online Optimism has done to help the days pass and stay Optimistic. Tastes and hobbies are varied and represent the diverse sensibilities of our staff.