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Welcome. I suggest starting your weekend with this Wesley Morris essay, which surveys the 2021 Oscar nominees and reflects on how the pandemic has changed the way we consume entertainment. He isn’t a fan of most of the films being feted, but he does single out one: “‘Sound of Metal,’ starring Riz Ahmed, feels like a miracle nominee — delicate without a trace of fragility; imaginatively directed; naturally, observantly acted; surprising. It’s the nominee that sneaks up and wrecks you.” That’s a recommendation I can’t resist. (It’s streaming on Amazon Prime Video.)
As I contemplate another weekend spent mostly at home, I’m thinking about the Manhattanite George Hahn, subject of this week’s “Sunday Routine,” in his “chic little shoe box” of an apartment, a 360-square-foot converted hotel room on the Upper West Side that he shares with his two dogs, Smokey and Lenore. No dogs, but Katherine Campagna was living in a 175-square-foot “R.V. camper of an apartment” on the Lower East Side. Home for the musician Adrianne Lenker was an actual camper trailer in the California desert last fall; this Tiny Desk (Home) Concert offers a glimpse of her hideaway.
I’m curious about these small spaces. Even those of us in larger digs might feel like our spaces can’t contain us lately; it’s been a long, cloistered 13 months. My colleague Nick drew my attention to Amanda Mull’s Atlantic essay about “pandemic senioritis,” that second-semester feeling when you’re almost done but the distance from here to the finish line seems maddeningly vast.
Not everyone’s sweat-panted and couchbound, however. I’m inspired by these dispatches from Times correspondents in seven different countries on what people around the world have been wearing this year. If you need further encouragement to up your fashion game, consider that in many parts of the United States, migratory birds are returning from their winter haunts in fine feather. Don’t be outdone by the painted bunting. It just flew nonstop for 500 miles and still looks dazzling.
Do yourself and everyone in your conversational orbit a favor and read Tara Parker-Pope’s latest Ask Well column, “Can the Covid Vaccine Protect Me Against Virus Variants?” She demystifies what Dr. Eric Topol, a professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research in La Jolla, Calif., refers to as “scariants.” “If you’re fully vaccinated, two weeks post dose, you shouldn’t have to worry about variants at all,” he told her.
We had a rainy week in New York City, so I didn’t get a chance to pick up any spring asparagus, but I plan to do so at the first hint of sun. If it’s nice enough, I’ll stay outside and read Patrick Radden Keefe’s “Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty,” one of 10 new books our Books desk recommends this week. I’ve downloaded the first episode of “The Improvement Association,” a new podcast from Serial Productions about election fraud, so a long walk’s definitely on my schedule. What’s on yours?
A reader recommends.
Carlos A. Rubi Molina in Mérida, Mexico, is staying in touch with friends via the video game Fortnite.
I’ve never been much of a gamer, but I’ve always prided myself as being the most supportive friend in my group of pals from college. We haven’t seen each other in over 9 months, but as the pandemic went on, we reconnected over playing online battle royale games as a team. “I miss you,” is seldom said with words. Instead, I keep saving their backs from enemy fire. Turns out, I’m a lousy gunslinger, but I make for good cannon fodder. Digital actions speak louder than digital words.
Is there a baby in your family that newly vaccinated relatives are finally getting to meet? Use this form to upload your photos and videos of those moments for possible inclusion in a forthcoming story. And you can always write to us: firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your full name and location and we might use your contribution in a future newsletter. We’re At Home. We’ll read every letter sent. More ideas for leading a full and cultured life at home or near it appear below. See you next week.