Weekend Shut-In Worksheet: Chill With Chance The Rapper, Read The People In The Trees, Watch “Southern Rites”



Apparently. I am now a Hanya Yanigahara stan, because after I finished the big, depressing and very good A Little Life, I sniffed out a free copy of her first novel, The People In The Trees last week, and stuffed it in my bag to read on the plane to New Orleans. Instead of sleeping on my very early flight, I tore through this thing. Structured as an anthropological study cum memoir, it’s the story of Dr. Norman Perina, a scientist who discovers a remote tribe in Micronesia that has seemingly found the key to immortal life. Because Yanigahara relishes in the darkest twists and turns of the human experience, and does not shy away from finding the line, crossing it, and then drawing a new one, there’s some fucked up shit that happens. However, I was relieved (??) to find out that the most disturbing parts of this tale are loosely inspired by real life events.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, and did not think I would, so now, I impress her brilliance onto you for a second time.


In an entirely different vein, if I wasn’t committed to going to a baseball game with my sisters this weekend, I would lock myself somewhere air conditioned and re-read a perennial favorite, which is A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. There’s something louche about the Nolan family.  Maybe I am romanticizing the plight of the Irish-German immigrants in tenement Brooklyn. Or maybe I just appreciate vivid descriptions of leg’o’mutton sleeves, tin coin banks nailed to the floor of a closet, and pure pluck. So, read this, if you haven’t, and if you have, join me in reading it again, because it is a delight.


This HBO documentary “Southern Rites” starts out as a simple reporting trip to document the segregated proms that were still held in Mount Vernon, GA in 2008. Once photographer Gillian Laub went back a year later, she stumbled upon something much bigger — a tragic murder that left one young man dead and an entire county in turmoil. This is an extremely well done and wide ranging documentary that examines race and the South, from the perspective of the people that are actually living there. It’s really, really good, and I watched all of it without turning it off once, which is more than I can say for any other documentary I’ve seen recently.

LOL GO WATCH “ALOHA.” Just kidding. Don’t do that.


Chance The Rapper is in a band called The Social Experiment. They dropped a 16-track, completely free album, Surf, Thursday night that features a very talented trumpeter named Donnie Trumpet and a whole slew of people I love, including Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae, Quavo from Migos, and Jeremih. It is chill as hell. It is the summer party comedown to Fetty Wap’s gleeful, yelping “Trap Queen.” It is the kind of music that asks you to dust off the bong, take a hit and then walk somewhere far away, headphones in ears, sunglasses on, iced tea in hand. It is so, so very good. You can stream it below, or if you are so inclined, figure out what your iTunes password is and go get the thing for free.