What to Read and Watch to Escape the Isolation

Reviewer Zack DeBruyne recommends two books and a movie that have given him life-giving perspectives amidst lockdown.

In a time when meeting and interacting with anyone new (outside of my new friends behind the grocery counter of course) seems to be far from commonplace, reading through Malcolm Gladwell’s Talking to Strangers has been a life-giving and challenging read on our presuppositions when interacting with individuals who are new to us. I very much look forward to putting into practice some of Gladwell’s insights once our current isolated state comes to an end.

I’ve also been reading through the lesser-known science fiction series by C.S. Lewis, beginning with Out of the Silent Planet. It’s transported me from my same spot on the couch, to a world of fantastical and wonderfully imaginative colours and creatures. It has been a refreshing taste of both the wisdom and endless creativity that Lewis is so known for.

I also enjoyed The Way Back. Starring Ben Affleck, it’s a look into the life of a former basketball star, turned alcoholic and divorcé after the loss of his daughter. Although heavy in content, this story of redemption and overcoming in both the main character’s personal life, and coaching career, had me teary-eyed at a number of scenes. It is a beautiful story amidst the pain and struggle of human fault, one that reminds us that no person is too far gone; instead, with the right support, compassion and effort there is always a way back.

Read more of our writers’ recommendations:

These are atypical times, and we thought it fitting to publish an atypical review section in this issue. Instead of our normal format, we’ve gathered some reflections from regular contributors on what’s helping them through social distancing, social upheaval, and, well, just the strange state of affairs in which we find ourselves. Music, books, TV, and film are such great helps in trying times. They help us escape to new worlds and far-off places, while also offering wisdom and insight to help us understand this sad and beautiful world. All that and more. Maybe you’ll find something here that’ll help you, too! – Brian Bork, Reviews Editor


  • Zack is a Christian Reformed Pastor and Chaplain at Brock University, in St. Catharines, Ont., where he lives with his wonderful wife Malorie.

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