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Just Some Really Perfect Ways To Zone Out This Week

What to watch, play, read, and more.

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1. Watch La La Land.

Warner Bros

Louise says: "As the world falls down around us, there is nothing more reviving than a dose of pure fantasy. La La Land is the story of a Hollywood romance between a pianist obsessed with the golden era of jazz and a struggling actress, and whether both can succeed in a city filled with disappointment as well as magic. The music is fantastic, as are stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling (he learned to play piano like that in three months – what?). It's visually stunning, hopelessly romantic, and at times ridiculous – just the indulgence many of us need."

If you'd rather stay home and watch something on the couch, The first episode of Riverdale on Netflix is sure to draw you in.

2. Read Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin.

My usual policy is to avoid speculative Hitler-won-the-war fiction (the world has enough Nazis as it is, right?), but I really, really enjoyed this. Even though it wasn't a genre I'd typically choose, even though the premise raised my eyebrows a little (Hitler wins + shape-shifting + cross-country motorcycle racing), I loved every second of it. Ryan Graudin has a killer gift for atmosphere and suspense, and her writing really made the book for me.

Get a copy here.

For something shorter, how about this lovely essay about lipstick and self-love?


3. Listen to Baby Boomers 2 by Recreations.

Rebecca Hendin / Xtra Mile

Rebecca says: "Full disclosure: I created the artwork for this album and its videos, so I've got a personal attachment to it. But if I had no connection whatsoever, I'd still think the recent album by Recreations (aka musician Sam Duckworth, f.k.a. Get Cape Wear Cape Fly), Baby Boomers 2, is wonderful. It's filled with music and lyrics beautiful and inspiring – at once sad and hopeful, political and personal. My appreciation of the record developed and deepened over listening to it in the course of making the art, during which time I absolutely fell in love with everything in it. I've spun it more time than I can count, and I'm not sick of it yet; I don't imagine I ever will be. Big recommendation."

Listen here.

Or check out the excellent BookRiot podcast.

4. Download Duolingo.

Chelsey Pippin / Duolingo

If you haven't tried learning a new language via Duolingo, I strongly recommend it. Learn vocab and grammar through short bursts of rapid-fire exercises that feel almost game-like, earn points toward bonus rounds, and watch your fluency percentage go up consistently by meeting goals with anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes of practice a day. My favourite part is the app's new "bot" feature, which lets you practise conversation skills in real time.

Get it for iOS and Android.

Or enjoy some nostalgic city-planning with SimCity BuildIt.

5. Cook these falafel waffles.

I made these last weekend and they were a) delicious, b) cheap, c) healthy, and d) super quick-and-easy to make. Serve with a cucumber side salad and yoghurt, lemon, and dill dressing and you've got a homemade novelty meal in about the same time it takes to microwave a bowl of soup.

Get the recipe here.

Or how about this cookies-and-cream banana bread?

7. Follow Dounia Tazi on Twitter and Instagram.

Amna says: "I came upon Moroccan-American Dounia Tazi on Twitter. I scrolled through her timeline and was instantly drawn to her.

"Not only is Dounia a gifted lyricist, she is an activist. She uses her social media to dispel myths of the perfect body and encourages her followers on Twitter and Instagram to look beyond Photoshop and embrace themselves. She is generally woke AF and she's only 19.

"Her best friend and fellow activist Mina, a Pakistani-American, is just as fire, and as a team they take on the task of educating the young adult world on misogyny, race, and self-love. In these uncertain times seeing young girls unapologetically take the reins is a site to behold and cherish."

Or checkout @glitteringlibrary on Instagram for some lovely book snaps!