In the midst of the unprecedented times we live in right now, life has felt uniquely suspended and devoid of its usual simple joys. With the entire college swept into a semester without the usual excitement of a bustling campus, adjusting to recent changes has been an uncomfortable experience for many. In these strange and confusing times, we hope we can provide a much needed break from the humdrum of social distancing and self-isolation. As some levity and distraction, The Student’s arts & living editors have compiled a list of the books, TV shows, music and more that have kept ourselves engaged during the recent break. Enjoy and please stay safe.
Natalie De Rosa ’21 (Editor-in-Chief)
I spent the first half of spring break still on campus, savoring my last few moments as a Seligman resident (RIP Seligman 309, the end of an era indeed). With all of my newfound free time and an excuse to not leave my room for days on end (read: procrastinating on packing), I indulged in the Bon Appetit YouTube channel, a new discovery for me, though I am admittedly late to the game on this one. In particular, their “Gourmet Makes” series, in which pastry chef Claire Saffitz reverse engineers supermarket aisle favorites into more elegant recreations, struck the right balance between baking inspiration and humor I needed in this unprecedented time.
Since returning home at the tail end of spring break, an array of books have served as some good quarantine company upon. Every time I’ve visited a book store in the last year, I’ve seen “Severance” by Ling Ma on the bestsellers shelf. It’s been on my “to-read” list for a while now, but another book always wins out when I go to pick up my next read. This time, I couldn’t not read it. Why, you might ask? It’s not just any book, but a book about a pandemic rampaging New York City, 20 minutes away from my current quarantine. I am also picking back up “Swing Time” by Zadie Smith, which I started at the end of winter break but affectionately abandoned at the start of the semester in favor of schoolwork (or rather, more realistically, Netflix) .
Olivia Gieger ’21 (Editor-in-Chief)
Something I’ve found myself revisiting with all the downtime social distancing has brought is an essay from a book my mom gave me when I graduated high school. It’s Marina Keegan’s “Opposite of Loneliness,” which ran in the Yale Daily News and was then published in her book by the same name. It’s been an odd comfort to read her distant words about the warmth and community of a college campus, while we’ve been prematurely removed from ours.
Of course, reading an essay fills only a fraction of the seemingly endless hours of isolation, and I’ve been making up for many of those by watching “Schitt’s Creek.” It feels like the perfect life-turns upside down sitcom for the real-life turned upside down situation we’re in. I’ve had a hard time with the cognitive dissonance of watching characters in other shows sit in bars, work in offices or even go over to a friend’s house, but the struggles that David and Alexis Rose face as they’re forced to move back in with their parents, share a room with each other and manage the anxiety that comes with being pulled out of their normal environment feels the perfect amount of familiar. At the same time, the show is light and funny and so over-the-top ridiculous that it is still a refreshing break from reality.
Zach Jonas ’22 (News)
As soon as I got home, I started reading two books that I bought on Amazon: John Scalzi’s “Old Man’s War” and Cixin Liu’s “The Three-Body Problem.” I’m watching a lot of “Elite” on Netflix, as well as “Avenue 5” and “Westworld” on HBO. I’ve also been playing a lot of Call of Duty Warzone.
Ryan Yu ’22 (News)
I’ve been reading from a few essay collections lately: Esmé Wang’s “The Collected Schizophrenias,” Jorge Luis Borges’ “Dreamtigers” and Virginia Woolf’s “Moments of Being,” as well as some pieces from the sites Longform and Longreads. Besides that, I’ve enjoyed Sheri Fink’s “Five Days at Memorial” and Victoria Lee’s “The Electric Heir.” I haven’t been watching much TV these days, but I have recently caught up on some “Letterkenny,” “Los Espookys” and “Neon Genesis Evangelion.” I’ve also spent a lot of time catching up on video games: “Fire Emblem: Three Houses,” “Stardew Valley,” “Sunless Skies,” “Trails From Zero,” “Baba Is You,” “Gris” and “Cities: Skylines,” among others.
Rebecca Picciotto ’22 (Opinion)
I’ve picked back up some of the books I put on pause after winter break. Specifically, I’ve been reading a collection of David Foster Wallace’s essays on tennis and rereading a couple of my favorite shorts from Jenny Slate’s “Little Weirds.” I also watched a Joan Didion documentary and just finished binge-watching “The Circle” on Netflix, which is truly an emotional rollercoaster.
Dylan Momplaisir ’21 (Digital)
I’ve been a little bored, so I started watching operas like “La Traviata,” since the Metropolitan Opera has free live streams every night. I’ve also watched a lot of TED talks on personal growth and healing, and I’ve been downloading books on urbanism that I otherwise wouldn’t have the bandwidth to read!
Theo Hamilton ’22 (Arts & Living)
I’ve been using this sudden burst of free time to start reading the “Wolf Hall” trilogy, a series of historical fiction novels set in Henry VIII’s England. I’ve also been reading “A Nation Forged by Crisis,” a brief history describing how moments of crisis have shaped American politics and culture. On the side, I’ve been binge-watching “Succession” and playing a potentially unhealthy amount of “Stellaris.”
Arielle Kirven ‘21 (Arts & Living)
Lately, I’ve been reading “The Argonauts” by Maggie Nelson, listening to “The Suburbs” by Arcade Fire and watching Tik-Toks (unfortunately).
Lauren Kisare ’22 ( Arts & Living)
As of late, I’ve been steadily rewatching “The Office” while also getting into the latest season of “All American” on Netflix. I’ve developed an interesting obsession with watching song association YouTube interviews, and I spend most of my days scouring Twitter’s trending page.