SparkNotes Blog

Bored and Stuck at Home Because of the Quarantine? We’ve Got You Covered

Look, we’re just going to level with you: it’s not great out there. 

This is a scary, uncertain time for a lot of people. Right now, everyone’s staying home to help curb the spread of COVID-19, which is awesome! It’s awesome that people are doing that! However, everyone’s also super stressed and already bored of watching the same Parks & Rec episodes over and over again, which is less awesome. Thankfully, that’s where we come in. We’ve got quizzes, posts, and more for anyone who needs a quick five-minute distraction from the fact that we’re currently living life one CNN news alert to the next.

Remember: wash your hands and stay inside if you can. Even if you’re young and healthy, you almost certainly know someone who isn’t, and they’re relying on you to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. And if you’re feeling particularly anxious, you’re not alone. What with social distancing, the disruption of regular routines, and the general unpredictability of everything that’s going on, we’d be more surprised if you weren’t! This New York Times article has 10 tips for pumping the brakes on your anxiety. You might also consider checking #anxietyhelp on Instagram, where thousands of users are posting ways to cope with the fear that a lot of us are feeling.

Now, let’s make with the escapism!

First and Foremost, We Have Tons of Free Books Available Online
If losing access to your local library and Barnes & Noble has left the bookworm in you feeling bereft, we have just the thing: entire books, on our site, for free. Below are a few of our faves:

Quizzes
It’s been scientifically proven that there’s no better cure for boredom than an Internet quiz. Finishing all of these should take you approximately 960 hours. Think we’re exaggerating? PROVE US WRONG.

A few to start with:

If Fictional Characters Had Tinder
Maybe your ideal type is a guy with the perfect hair, chiseled jawline, and rakish grin of someone who bargained away his soul in exchange for eternal youth and now keeps a portrait in his attic. Or maybe it’s a kind-hearted, disillusioned millionaire who’s obsessed with reliving the past and says the phrase “old sport” every 17 seconds. If you, like us, think that Tinder would be a better place were it populated with the likes of Dorian Gray, Jay Gatsby, and other fictional characters, this slideshow is for you. Prepare to swipe right.

Others you might like:

If Fictional Characters Could Text
Gone are the days of messenger pigeons, smoke signals, telepathy, and actually talking with our mouths. If you’re going to bother calling somebody on the phone, you’d better be a) willing to suffer through a lot of excruciatingly awkward silences, or b) actually, literally on fire. These days, it’s all texting, all the time, and we think the world of literature should adjust accordingly in this slideshow.

Others you might like:

Our Hilarious The Office Slideshow Series
It’s pretty easy to sum up characters and plots from literature. We have a whole website about it. What’s DIFFICULT is summing up characters and plots from literature using nothing but quotes from The Office. You think just anyone can watch the various antics of Michael Scott on Netflix every day for three weeks straight? Think again. It takes guts. It takes stamina. It takes an unrelenting commitment to truth and a willingness to lose everything.

We know what you’re thinking, but no. We’re not heroes. We just did what anyone would do, which was to make a bunch of slideshows of all the most important books, plays, and characters in literature, summed up in quotes from The Office.

Other Miscellaneous Odds and Ends We Think You Might Enjoy

  • Every Book on Your English Syllabus, Summed Up in Marvel Quotes: Like most people, we sold our souls to Marvel long ago in exchange for cool fight sequences, hot outfits, and (spoiler alert) the utter heartbreak of watching half the characters we’ve come to know and love fade away into dust and nothingness. Unlike most people, our job is to make classic literature accessible to the modern reader—and what better way to make the classics accessible that than by summing them up in quotes from the most culturally ubiquitous and universally adored superhero franchise? (Sorry DC, but you know what you did.)
  • All the Novels on Your English Syllabus Summed Up in Satirical Headlines: There is objectively nothing funnier than taking a relevant headline from The Onion and slapping it on a still from a TV show or movie. And since there’s no reason this same principle shouldn’t also apply to books, we figured we’d combine a few of the greatest literary classics with some Onion-style headlines of our own.
  • All the Times Nick Describes Gatsby’s Smile, Ranked in Order of How Platonic They Are: A common motif in The Great Gatsby is Gatsby smiling, which is immediately followed by Nick swooning so hard he just about dies. We decided to make a note of this whenever it happened during our latest read-through, so here’s every instance of Gatsby smiling and Nick ascending to another realm as a result, ranked from most to least platonic.
  • Great American Novels, Ranked from “Pretty Great, Actually” to “Meh”: In the 20th century, everybody and his grandmother was writing the Great American Novel, and the tradition continues still today. Some of these books are enjoyable. Others, however, appear to have been written by people with a rather dubious definition of the word “great.”