From Political Memoirs to Netflix Recommendations – Keep Busy At Home This Winter

Promise Me, Dad by Joe Biden

I was overwhelmed with emotion and shed tears all the way through Promise Me, Dad. In this memoir, Joe Biden tells us about his younger life, career, and political choices during his time serving as Vice President in the Obama administration along with some of the devastating personal challenges he endured. When he was a young politician, he lost his wife and baby daughter in an horrible accident and was left to raise his two young sons on his own. Fortunately, he met and married Jill who became an important and loved member of his family, part of his support system and mother to the children. In addition to telling stories about his home life, Biden talks about his career, the political environment and shares his feelings surrounding his government work and being asked to run for VP. We learn about his duties in the White House and his travels around the world. I was thrilled to know that he took his grandchildren on business trips to expose them to different countries.

During Barack Obama’s presidency, Joe Biden’s beloved son, Beau was diagnosed with a deadly cancer and the family agreed to keep their struggles private and out of the spotlight. With only very few people aware of the severity of what was happening, Joe Biden kept up with his work, thriving on being busy. Primarily focused on international affairs and just as things in Iraq were heating up, Beau’s health took a turn for the worse. Enduring the death of his son was incredibly difficult but with dedication to his family and to our country, Joe Biden had unbelievable physical, mental and emotional strength to keep on track during this horrific time.

With stories about his love of family, his compassion toward others, his political objectives and his respect for the process, we learn more about who Biden is as a man, a father, a husband and a leader. President Elect Joe Biden has been through such loss in his life and yet he continues to follow his instinct to make this world a better place. He is a good, kind and honorable man. I loved reading Promise Me, Dad, and highly recommend it.

Other Memoir Recommendations:

I find it fulfilling to read memoirs about public figures because it often gives important background information and helps provide understand to what went on behind the scenes during a specific time. The Obama presidency will go down in history as a United States milestone and there is much to learn by reading Michelle and Barack Obama’s memoirs.

Becoming by Michelle Obama is a great one to listen to.

A Promised Land by Barack Obama just came out and 887,000 books were sold on release day! It is the first of two volumes and at approx. 700 pages, I plan to tackle it this winter.

From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein is a fun memoir written by a young woman who took a job working for the White House during the Obama presidency. I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

Understanding More About Government

Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik tells the story of Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s long and productive life, including her marriage, education, career and her time serving as Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. As the first Jewish woman, and the second woman to serve on the Court, She was a force to be reckoned with who had a huge impact that will be remembered and celebrated throughout history. I listened to this book and enjoyed all the personal anecdotes and tid bits. I also learned so much about how our government works, but because there were so many facts and timelines to keep track of, I do recommend reading a hard copy.

Some Powerful TV Shows With A Political Spin

If you don’t feel like reading all the time, take a break to watch some interesting tv. From monologues and Broadway plays to interviews and history shows, there is plenty to choose from. Here are a few of my favorites.

Coastal Elites (HBO Max) -This comedy satire includes five monologues performed by characters based in California or New York City describing how they are dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. Actors include Bette Midler and Dan Levy.

What the Constitution Means to Me (Amazon Prime) – This is a Broadway play about a fifteen year old student who wins debate competitions about the constitution. It is a wonderful performance that touches on womens’ rights, immigration and how the document has shaped our lives.

Oprah in Conversation with Obama (Apple TV) – Oprah interviews Barack Obama about his new book, A Promised Land. I’m looking forward to reading this book soon.

First Ladies (CNN) – From Jackie Kennedy to Eleanor Roosevelt to Hillary Clinton and others, this tv special gives insight into many of the first ladies, their personal lives and their time in the White House. Each episode focuses on a a different woman and is very enjoyable.

TV For a True Escape

Some may classify these as guilty pleasures, but I don’t feel guilty! Here are some entertaining shows to get you through the long winter.

Schitt’$ Creek (Netflix, 6 seasons) – A rich family loses everything and must move to a motel in a small town that is accepting of all and prejudice free. I love this Canadian sitcom and can’t get enough of David Rose!

The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix limited series) – I am not a chess player but I enjoyed this one based on a book by the same author of The Hustler and The Color of Money.

My Octopus Teacher (Netflix movie) – Follow a man underwater as he observes and befriends an octopus in the rough waters of South Africa. Beautiful.

Emily in Paris (Netflix, 1 season) – A young marketing executive moves to Paris for her job. The food, the clothing and the love interests will keep you hooked in to this comedy drama.

The Undoing (HBO miniseries ) – A slow burn whodunnit with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant has some flaws when it comes to authenticity, but I love the psychological thriller vibe and am hooked!

Dash & Lily (Netflix, 8 episodes) – This teenage rom com takes place during Christmastime in the Strand Bookstore in NYC. Sweet, charming and addictive!

Virgin River (Netflix, 2 seasons) – This romance drama about a nurse who moves to a small town to start fresh is based on a book series by Robyn Carr. The actors have great chemistry and big issues like domestic abuse, PTSD and infertility are addressed. Love it!

American Utopia (HBO) – This is a live recording of the Broadway show produced by Spike Lee and David Byrne. It is about diversity and coming together and is based on his album. I loved watching Byrne perform on stage – he sings effortlessly and is barefoot.

Shows on My Watch List

I try to keep a running list of shows to watch and this is what I have so far. Please comment with your additional suggestions!

The Restaurant (Netflix, series)

Chicago 7 (Netflix)

Teacher Fix (Hulu)

Hillbilly Elegy (Netflix, movie)

Enola Holmes (Netflix, movie)

The Flight Attendant (HBO Max)

Be Entertained

Understanding our government is the first step when it comes to having educated opinions and I have enjoyed learning about the personal stories shared by those in the spotlight. With time on my hands due to being stuck at home so much, I also find educational tv time well spent. And for pure enjoyment there is plenty to read and watch, so this is a continually growing list for me.

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