A Guide to Escapist Entertainment

Sometimes, you just have to sink your teeth into something that can make you forget about everything around you. I don’t think that’s what entertainment should always do, but when you need it, there’s nothing that feels better.

I’ve been thinking a fair amount about this lately and thought I would share my favorite “escapist” books, movies, and music to turn to when I feel like I need to lose myself in another world for an evening.

Books:

Harry Potter–Will I ever make a list without these books? Probably not. But when you’re looking for something escapist, it doesn’t get any better.

The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner–These are definitely a good ol’ comfort read for me. They are so fun, so engrossing, and they only improve on repeat readings. (What more can you ask for?)

Macbeth or Hamlet–I try to avoid works that are too heavy when I’m looking for something uber-escapist. (Otherwise this list would not really be any different from my usual list of favorite books.) For some reason, though, these two plays are always enormously comforting to me. They draw me out of whatever situation I’m in.

Movies:

The Scarlet Pimpernel (the version with Jane Seymour)–I will admit that the first time you watch this movie, Sir Percy’s voice is…more than a bit grating. But it didn’t take me long to get over that and thoroughly fall in love with this movie.

Lord of the Rings–I don’t usually go for a whole 16-hour marathon (or however long they clock in), but watching one of them, or even just part of one, gets my mind off of things faster than almost anything else!

Treasure Planet–With such lines as, “It’s the suit, isn’t it? I knew I shouldn’t have listened to that pushy two-headed saleswoman. This one said it fit, that one said it was my color; I didn’t know what to do, I get so flustered,” you really can’t go wrong. And Emma Thompson as the fast-talking captain is amazing. If you haven’t seen this gem, you’re really missing out.

Music:

Wicked–Musicals (on film or just the soundtrack) in general are a great way of escaping the here and now. Wicked is a particular favorite of mine for times when I just want to get out of my own head. There are such beautifully powerful moments, and plenty of hilarious moments as well.

Billy Joel, specifically “The Piano Man”–For whatever reason, this song is such a huge pick-me-up for me. It’s impossible for me to listen to Billy Joel without smiling and rocking/swaying/singing along.

Taylor Swift–No apologies. At the end of a bad day, turn on 1989 (pretending that the first track, “Welcome to New York,” doesn’t exist), and sit there without smiling, singing (into a fake microphone, of course), and/or dancing. I dare you.

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