Welcome. This weekend, in the hours under your control, when you’re not busy with too many things to do, I challenge you to run out of screens. And when I challenge you, I hear it as a challenge for myself, for all of us, to stop streaming and scrolling, to capture our attention and devote it, singularly, to a book. To “Song of Solomon” or “Sula”, both featured in “The Essential Toni Morrison” by Veronica Chambers. To a memoir: “Bossypants” by Tina Fey or “Featherhood” by Charlie Gilmour, seductively subtitled “A Memoir of Two Fathers and a Magpie”. Find a good place, close the door if you can, take the time.
If you’re one of those people who found your 40s to be good for reading, you don’t need this exhortation. If you are like me and have found the completion of books difficult, your attention inconstant, join me. Last night, I stayed up late with “Detransition, Baby,” a new gender and parenting novel by Torrey Peters. I was relieved to be delighted, to have chosen the Kindle over the iPad for once. (OK, a Kindle is a screen, the only type eligible in this otherwise analog lawsuit! Keep the internet on your e-reader turned off!) This profile of Peters in New York Magazine is what got me excited about his book.
Chores can intrude, in which case audiobooks are the answer. Carpool or commute, shovel snow or prepare lunch, you can always read. I recently listened to “Such a Fun Age” by Kiley Reid and “Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl” by Carrie Brownstein, while shopping, in the shower. Everything that works.
If a book isn’t in the cards this weekend, Chloe Zhao’s new film “Nomadland,” starring Frances McDormand, is on Hulu. “The Muppet Show” is on Disney +.