Welcome. This weekend, in the hours under your control, when you’re not tending to the too-numerous things that need tending to, I challenge you to go screen-free. And when I challenge you, I mean it as a dare to myself, to all of us, to stop streaming and scrolling, to muster our attention and devote it, singularly, to a book. To “Song of Solomon” or “Sula,” both featured in Veronica Chambers’ “The Essential Toni Morrison.” To a memoir: Tina Fey’s “Bossypants” or Charlie Gilmour’s “Featherhood,” subtitled, alluringly, “A Memoir of Two Fathers and a Magpie.” Find a good spot, shut the door if you can, take the time.
If you’re one of the people who’s found quarantine conducive to reading, you don’t need this exhortation. If you’re like me and have found the completion of books challenging, your attention inconstant, then join me. Last night I stayed up late with “Detransition, Baby,” a new novel about gender and parenthood by Torrey Peters. I was relieved to be rapt, to have chosen the Kindle over the iPad for once. (OK, a Kindle is a screen, the only admissible kind in this otherwise analog pursuit! Keep the internet on your e-reader turned off!) This profile of Peters in New York Magazine is what got me excited about her book.
Chores might intrude, in which case, audiobooks are the answer. Carpooling or commuting, shoveling snow or making lunch, you can still be reading. I recently listened to “Such a Fun Age,” by Kiley Reid, and “Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl,” by Carrie Brownstein, while running errands, while showering. Whatever works.