It’s not easy being stuck at home all day. Cultural institutions are doing their best to bring us the world at the touch of a computer key, but sometimes, the greatest form of escape is simply a really long song, or a classic movie, or a compelling book. Here, AIR MAIL editors share their suggestions for what to do when you’re looking for some freedom.

Bat Out of Hell, by Michael Lee Aday

The biggest misstep of Michael Lee Aday’s career was surviving the release of his 1977 debut album, Bat Out of Hell. Yes, we’re talking about Meatloaf here. If he had only allowed life to mirror art, and gotten himself tossed from some speeding motorcycle on a dark, wet night, he would have cemented himself a rare position in the pantheon of rock-and-roll mystique and legendry. But he lived, and despite the clownish flops that followed, Bat Out of Hell remains one of the most outrageously impressive pieces of music ever written. The album is a pornographic powerhouse of rock and roll: an ingenious blending of Phil Spector’s wall of sound, 70s glam rock, and opera itself, all firmly grounded in the mythos of the American teenage psyche. Imagine Born to Run blown apart in a tragic drag-racing accident, and then Frankensteined back together with denim rivets, motorcycle grease, and used condom wrappers. If played at the appropriate volume (the maximum your speakers, not your neighbors, will allow), for 46 flamethrower minutes you will have absolutely no idea where or when you are. What better way to take your mind off a pandemic? —Alex Oliveira

Rear Window

Once upon a time, I went on a date with a young man and noticed that he owned a DVD collection of every Hitchcock film ever made. In short order, we were married; draw your own conclusions. Ever since, in sickness and in health, we’ve returned to The Birds, Vertigo, Psycho, Marnie, Dial M For Murder, and, most frequently, Rear Window. Can forced isolation ever be sexy? A resounding oui. In the film, a dashing photographer (James Stewart) is holed up in a Manhattan apartment while recuperating from a broken leg. Armed with a set of binoculars, he takes advantage of a heat wave to peer through the open windows of his neighbors across the courtyard. As his absurdly beautiful and stylish girlfriend (Grace Kelly) flits in and out in a parade of top-notch fashion by the storied costume designer Edith Head, a mysterious, and potentially criminal, scene unfolds in front of them. Fascinating stuff under normal circumstances, but especially prescient and creepy today. It’s not quite unmitigated escapism, but you’ll enjoy it too much to notice. —Ashley Baker

The Rolling Stones

On these long days, and on seemingly endless runs around Manhattan, my solace takes the form of the Rolling Stones. Grating and melancholic, angry, aggressive, and at times even cheerful, in all their different songs and experiments over the years the Stones have a way of veering away from the cliché (by that I mean the James Blunts of the world) to hit a real, more heart-wrenching note. For me, it’s the guitar that does it, lingering in the background, never hitting a chord you would expect. Their songs don’t strive for the sentimental, they just are. Personally, they represent an escape because they evoke lives lived without restrictions, limitations, or fear. All you have to do is read Keith Richards’s autobiography, Life, to understand that much. Oh, and there’s a fantastic documentary out now on Netflix, Crossfire Hurricane. So my advice is to read and watch before, and get into a good playlist later. Some of their songs, like the lesser known “Dead Flowers,” will surprise you. —Elena Clavarino

Trailer Park Boys

Each season of the Canadian mockumentary series Trailer Park Boys begins the same way: Julian and Ricky, the show’s heroes, return home from prison to the Sunnyvale Trailer Park, an odd and insular place that the pair informally rule. Julian is muscle-y and cool—his main accessory is big gold chains, plus a rum and coke that he holds even when robbing grocery stores for hot dogs—and Ricky is hapless but bombastic, with a chin-strap beard and talents for growing great weed and getting out of run-ins with the cops. The boys are occasionally rivalrous but it’s a genuinely sweet partnership in friendship and selling dope, opening up illegal massage parlors and bars, and stealing car radios. With humor and dignity, Trailer Park Boys manages to make light of dark subjects, leading to some of the most genuine laughs in my experience of television. And it slyly critiques the systems that hold our heroes in a narrative loop from park to prison, over and over again. —Clementine Ford

“Murder Most Foul,” by Bob Dylan

If you find yourself restless during this period of confinement, you might want to listen to “Murder Most Foul,” Bob Dylan’s first original song in almost eight years. Centered on the assassination of John F. Kennedy, it was released just last month. The 18-minute-long song—sweeping, reference-packed—is the closest any writer or artist in the 21st century has come to T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. Like Eliot, Dylan borrows from other writers and artists and, through patchwork, achieves a greater result than all of his sources combined. Considerable effort has been spent analyzing Dylan’s (and Eliot’s) lyrics over the years, but in “Murder Most Foul” the message lies in the title, and the rest of the song is a feeling. It’s that pang you get when you’ve been stuck for a long time, when you see a problem and pray for a solution. Bob Dylan paints a picture of America so true that, by the end of the 18 minutes, you realize the problem and the solution are the same thing. —Nathan King

The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride comprises so many classic lines that you might forget what stands at the movie’s core: a fantastical escape. Fencing, a giant, poison, a Spaniard, revenge, a beautiful princess—it’s hard not to be swept off your feet by this exhilarating story of adventure and true love. I was, and have been every time I’ve watched it since. In these trying moments, it’s hard not to feel stuck—in the news cycle, in one’s apartment—much in the same way The Princess Bride’s young boy is stuck at home, sick, in the movie’s opening scene. And since I really hope no one is getting their grandpa to come read them stories right now—as happens in the movie—use this film as your escape instead. The news will still be there in the morning. —Julia Vitale

Educated, by Tara Westover

It’s well into the pages of the remarkable memoir Educated that we learn Tara Westover was 17 the first time she entered a classroom. She later went on to earn a doctorate in intellectual history from Cambridge University. By now, this sensational survivalist story of growing up in an unflinching Mormon household in Idaho is well-known, having been perfectly unfurled in Westover’s 2018 bestseller. With a worldview shaped entirely by her father, it took hours pouring through philosophy and history textbooks for Westover to begin to see in focus. Education is possibly the greatest of escapes. It was only when I first arrived at Oxford University in 2008, having grown up in Nova Scotia, Canada, that I realized my upbringing was so conventional it was almost unconventional. While Westover takes us on a momentous journey that is far from the experience of most, the themes and insecurities she articulates are universal. —Bridget Arsenault