What to Do This Weekend

It’s best-of season.,


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Welcome. It’s the most wonderful time of the year: “best of” season, when critics of all stripes set forth their favorite books, movies, podcasts, you-name-it of the past 12 months. Everywhere you turn, there’s a list offering a wealth of new recommendations, or one affirming your own good taste or prompting your ardent disagreement, refining your sensibility. I wish everyone I know would send me a best-of list for their year, including the stuff they watched and read and listened to, but also the best advice they received, the best meals they ate, the best things they bought, the best changes they’ve made.

Reggie Ugwu’s list of the best podcasts of 2021 is a good one to start with. It includes “Welcome to Your Fantasy,” the true crime series about the Chippendales dance troupe in the 1980s, as well as “9/12,” Dan Taberski’s (“Missing Richard Simmons”) podcast about how 9/11 affected American culture. (“9/12” is the #1 recommendation on Time’s list, which includes a bunch of podcasts I hadn’t heard of that sound great, as well as one that I loved and recommended a couple of months ago, “The Just Enough Family.” Cross-referencing lists from multiple publications is an essential part of best-of season!)

The Book Review’s 10 Best Books were announced this week (“Intimacies” by Katie Kitamura was already on my list; now it’s at the top). The music critics Jon Pareles, Jon Caramanica and Lindsay Zoladz have selected the best albums of the year (Olivia Rodrigo’s “Sour” and Tyler, the Creator’s “Call Me if You Get Lost” are on all three lists). Eric Asimov has selected the year’s best wine books. The Well desk has a list of the best books on healthy living. You could easily pass the weekend updating your queues and holiday shopping carts with good stuff from these lists.

Of course, there are lots of movies and TV shows to stream (Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog,” please) and a full day of college football on Saturday. And you could make at least two of the recipes in our “24 Days of Cookies” collection (or just watch the animation of the cookies rotating hypnotically, which is its own kind of delicious entertainment).

  • Remember Orbitz soda? It had these tiny gelatinous balls floating in it? Or Life Savers Holes, the Munchkins of the candy world? What about Crystal Pepsi? These historic edibles all appear in the food collection of the Museum of Failure. The site include tech failures, health failures and oh-so-many-more failures that will jog your memory and possibly make you feel a little better about your own big ideas run aground.

  • “Ambivalence isn’t always bad; it just means you’re thinking.” Read “If You See Something,” by Adalena Kavanagh in The Believer, a lovely essay about, among other things, the ethics of street photography.

  • From Buzzfeed, here are “23 Anonymous Confessions Left on a Public Typewriter.” #11: “I spent 22 years telling her to do great things. Now that she has gone to do them I am sad.”

What’s on your best of 2021 list? What books, movies, shows, recipes did you love? And for that matter, what’s the best advice you received, the best change you made in your life? Write and tell us: athome@nytimes.com. Be sure to include your full name and location and we might feature your response in a future newsletter. We’re At Home and Away. We’ll read every letter sent. As always, more good ideas for passing the time this weekend appear below. I’ll be back next week.

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