JJ Kavanagh & Sons Recommendations: Feel Good & Switch Off

After what seems to be a lifetime of being at home and the potential return to the work looming on the horizon nobody can blame you for needing a little inspiration to regain that pep in your step. So, here are some recommendations from the world of books, Netflix, and podcasts to help you recapture your motivation and get that productivity mindset back in gear.  


1. Netflix


You may not be able to travel (or even leave the neighborhood right now), but that doesn’t mean you can’t live vicariously through other people or start planning your next journey. It’s quite likely that you’ve had some summer plans cancelled this year, be it a music festival, a trip abroad or a countryside retreat, but never fear: it’s not so bad staying at home when there’s so much good stuff on the telly!


Netflix can get you inspired has become the preferred option among many, due to the staggering number of television shows available on the service, both original productions, and acquired favourites.


Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father

Would you travel through foreign countries with your dad? Comedian Jake Whitehall drags his father, Michael, around on unlikely adventures that force them both out of their comfort zones. Their difference in tastes causes some interesting (and often funny) disagreements. For example, one of them wants to stay in a hostel. The other wants to stay in a five-star hotel. Who do you think wins?



With such a selection from the sci-fi thrills of Stranger Things to the historical insight of  The Crown and the suspenseful crime drama of Better Call Saul. There are also belly laughs to be had from the likes of The Good Place and Brooklyn Nine-Nike.


If you like your television to be a bit more factual, Netflix has become the home of true crime documentaries, ranging from outlandish cases like worldwide phenomenon Tiger King as well as the hard-hitting personal accounts seen in Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich.


You can use secret codes to explore different genres of TV shows – but to make things easy for you, we’ve brought together some of our favourites in the list below. There’s something here for everyone.


2. Podcasts 


Grounded with Louis Theroux


Theroux puts his lockdown to good use with his most recent project and interviews celebrities from Rose McGowan to Helena Bonham Carter to Jon Ronson as only Louis can do.  McGowan in particular offers illuminating insights into a life that many would deem unusual, to say the least. Specifically, she details her upbringing in a cult in Italy, her family’s return to the US, and how her story of assault and rape at the hands of Harvey Weinstein was one of the sparks that led to the fire that is the #MeToo movement. Once again, Louis has created a compelling and immensely interesting series that you are sure to get lost in.  



Off The Ball, Newstalk

Covering all facets of sport – mixed in with a heavy helping of sporting anecdotes and humour – the lads from Off the Ball are always an educational force for when you want to learn the lingo to bluff your way through the next big live game. Whether you’re sports mad or just a passing observer, Off the Ball is as good as it gets when looking to quench that thirst for sport. The show is a one-stop-shop for all sports news, covering everything from soccer to GAA and rugby to boxing with contributions from experts in every sport. A must-listen for anyone looking to keep up-to-date with the goings-on of their chosen sport. 




Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend


As the title suggests, Conan is in need of a friend and his intentions are clear from each episodeWith no products to advertise and no projects to plug from his guests, the podcast offers a refreshing feeling of being a fly on the wall during a chat between friends His most recent conversations with Russell Brand and Rob Lowe are a must-listen for anyone with an interest in comedy and will have you laughing out loud as they share stories from their journeys through Hollywood and the comedy world. 



Sleepy, Otis Grey

Now after all that productivity talk and seeking to regain that focus for your return to work, here’s our top suggestion for switching off at the end of the day. Sleepy is packed full of your favourite classical fiction and  read by host Otis Grey  this podcast is made solely for you to fall asleep to. From Alice in Wonderland to Moby Dick to The Jungle Book, Grey’s relaxing voice is sure to take your mind on a journey to relaxation and send you off to a night of deep sleep. 


From memoir to award-winning literary fiction, these books can provide you a way to escape and feel less isolated during COVID-19!

Wow, No Thank You…Essays by Samantha Irby


If you’re feeling lonely or can’t sleep at night, Samantha Irby is always there to make me laugh — and think. Her sharp wit and raunchy humor cover everything from the ire of home improvements to falling in love in this collection of personal essays. Wow, No Thank You. is like a long conversation with your brilliant, hilarious best friend — one you won’t want to end. —Morgan Smith, Editorial Assistant 



Normal People by Sally Rooney

Sally Rooney’s acclaimed second novel follows two teenagers, from two very different backgrounds, falling in something approximating love, as they continue a delicate but complicated on/off entanglement for years. The characters became real to me, like people I valued and understood, and the book was hard to put down. Rooney draws you so tightly into Connell and Marianne’s relationship bubble that it starts feeling like YOUR bubble, too—and it was one I didn’t want to leave on the last page.



Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe


Tracing the courage, crimes, and betrayals of real-life figures more complex and compelling than any fictional thriller’s, this acclaimed 2019 bestseller about the Troubles in Northern Ireland is one of the best-written nonfiction books. Why spend time with a book about such a violent history during our current troubles? The insights into human nature — idealistic, stubborn, yet capable of change — are timeless. 


Becoming by Michelle Obama

Among the reasons the former First Lady’s memoir became 2018’s bestselling book: She’s lived a life like no other, yet she knows how to make you relate. 


Stay Inside. Stay Inspired ?