The Weekend of Personal Leftovers

3 min


Melissa Kirsch

The Weekend of Personal Leftovers

Welcome. The weekend after Thanksgiving is, for many of us, time for leftovers, when the turkey and sides are summoned for their encore: as sandwich fixings, as stuffing croutons, as turkey pho. Of course, Thanksgiving was likely a smaller affair this year, so leftovers might be in short supply in the kitchen.


But even if you’ve polished off the turkey, it’s still a good time to finish up your personal leftovers. Just pull on your “hangaround bangarounds,” as my friend Alice calls them, the cozy indoor clothes that for a good number of us have become our only clothes the past several months, and get to work. Finish the book you’ve been meaning to get back to but kept casting aside for a cable news fix. Wrap up the card game, the Zoom convo, the jigsaw puzzle that’s been half-done for months (or just put the puzzle away without finishing it; you could use the table space).

I’ll be getting back to “All My Puny Sorrows,” a terrific novel by the Canadian writer Miriam Toews about sisters growing up in a Mennonite family. Catching up on the crossword, finally finishing “The Last Dance,” the 10-part documentary series about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls; I think I have two episodes left. I’ll water the plants, parched since we turned the heat on, get the humidifier out of storage to keep them happy until spring. Small things, life’s leftovers.

If you find yourself with some time this weekend, I highly recommend this profile of Adriene Mishler of “Yoga With Adriene” fame. (When we talked about our exercise routines during the pandemic, Mishler’s videos were the ones mentioned most frequently by At Home readers.) What do her fans love about her? According to Molly Young, whose writing I always admire, it’s “a level of empathy so forceful it almost seems like brain damage.”

Speaking of very good writing, I read and then immediately reread “Happiness Won’t Save You,” a devastatingly beautiful essay by Jennifer Senior about the social psychologist Philip Brickman who conducted foundational studies on happiness but, for all his scholarship, couldn’t soothe his own troubled psyche.

And Hurray for the Riff Raff’s mesmerizing performance at Lincoln Center from 2014 is just as emotionally affecting. Check it out.

What personal leftovers are you tending to this weekend? What unfinished business will you finally wrap up? Write to us: We’re here to help you lead a good, cultured life at home, and we’re always looking for suggestions for how to do so ourselves, so drop us a line! We’re At Home and we’d love to hear from you. More ideas for how to pass the time this weekend appear below. See you next week.

Credit…Illustration by Ana Pérez López
  • “When days were long, doctors’ visits were discouraging and the future was uncertain, crossword puzzles gave me a sense of accomplishment, comfort and stability.” Read this lovely essay about how doing puzzles helped a woman during her husband’s long illness.

  • If you’re itching for a ski vacation, we’ve got a bunch of under-the-radar resorts that provide both challenging slopes and room for social distancing.

  • And among the new books coming in December are “Bag Man” by Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz, about Richard Nixon’s vice president Spiro Agnew, and a new novel from Jane Smiley.


  • You’ll want to watch “Christmas in the Square” starring Dolly Parton, even though, as Wesley Morris writes, “It’s bad, the sort of bad that knows what it is — campy rather than camp. ‘Campy’ is camp with a diploma and a martini. And ‘Christmas on the Square’ is a drunk.” It may not be high art but with “a little of everything from the music buffet: Rodgers and Hammerstein, treacle, Ike and Tina,” it sounds like it might be just the family entertainment called for this holiday weekend.

  • On the occasion of the broadcast debut of “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life,” we spoke with the creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and other vets of the series about why its appeal endures.

  • And definitely don’t miss Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott’s interactive feature on the 25 greatest actors of the 21st century (so far).

Credit…Glenn Harvey

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