This week, rather than giving you a rundown of events going on locally, we’re offering some of our favorite books, podcasts and movies and TV shows to watch while you’re at home. Because let’s be honest, you should probably be staying at home. For ways to help out local businesses, check out our list of ways to help each other out and our food piece on ways to help local restaurants.

Book suggestions:

The Birds of Opulence by Crystal Wilkinson

The Birds of Opulence, Crystal Wilkinson’s 2016 novel, follows five generations of women in a black family in small-town Appalachia. What’s striking to me about The Birds of Opulence, beyond the racial identity of the characters, is how strongly the novel conveys a familiar theme of Appalachian literature — the attachment to land. What’s particular about this novel is Wilkinson’s examination of intergenerational mental illness and sexual trauma. Each line is simultaneously poetic and devastating. — Jordan

My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Short but punchy, this novel by Nigerian author Oyinkan Braithwaite follows protagonist Korede, as she becomes increasingly involved in cleaning up after her sister’s…murders. Deadpan, witty and pulpy, this 2018 award-winner asks questions about the depth of familial bonds in the face of absurd adversity. — Sayaka

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

The author of The Underground Railroad brings us this fictionalized tale of an actual boys home in Florida during the Jim Crow era, as seen through the eyes of its African-American wards. It’s a quick-ish read, loaded with all-too-real horrors and an overwhelming theme of despair. I’m not quite done with it yet, but I’m pretty sure there won’t be a happy ending. — Brian

Podcast suggestions:

“Science Vs.”

Science is more important than ever now with everyone and their mother posting what they think they know about the coronavirus. This podcast covers everything from abortions to climate change to coronavirus and digs into the facts. Easy to listen to and plus, you’ll be smarter than everyone on your Facebook feed. — Sayaka

“Yo, Is This Racist?”

Hosted by comedians Andrew Yang and Tawny Newsome, this hour-ish long podcast delves into everyday people’s questions about racism. Yang, Newsome, plus one or two guests, pick questions from callers who ask things like whether their dad trying to speak Spanish at Mexican restaurants is racist and then laugh it out. Funny despite the topic while being informative. — Sayaka

“Office Ladies”

Co-stars of “The Office,” Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey run through every episode of the award-winning sitcom, deconstructing themes, clocking character development and sharing inside stories from more memorable episodes and scenes. It’s lighthearted and funny, probably just what we all need right now. — Brian

Shows/movies suggestions:

“Explained” (Netflix)

Created by a team at Vox, this educational TV show has 20-minute episodes ranging from what giving birth is actually like to society’s current fascination with athleisure. Easy to digest and watch while you’re folding laundry or cooking dinner. — Sayaka

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (Hulu and NBC)

Created by the minds behind The Office and Parks and Recreation, this sit-com follows a Brooklyn police precinct in its day-to-day operations, with a focus on Jake Peralta, the show’s infuriating but lovable male lead. Unlike The Office’s Michael Scott however, Brooklyn Nine-Nine manages to avoid making Peralta an absolutely unbearable bafoon by being self-aware and having other characters call him out repeatedly for his antics. Plus the show has Terry Crews pretty much playing himself. Why wouldn’t you want to watch that? — Sayaka

American Factory (Netflix)

With the Coronavirus pandemic establishing another fraught linkage between Americans and China, it’s interesting to revisit a different kind of connection between the two countries. When the GM plant in Dayton, Ohio closed in 2008, 2,400 jobs evaporated. Two years later, the plant reopened under the ownership of a Chinese company, Fuyao. Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, who live in nearby Yellow Springs, track the workers’ uneasy relationship with their new employer in this Oscar-winning documentary, which was produced by Barack and Michelle Obama. — Jordan

“McMillions” (HBO)

I’m a few episodes into HBO’s documentary about McDonald’s crooked Monopoly promotion. It’s an amazing tale of organized crime, tenacious FBI agents and Big Macs, and a scheme so elaborate, but also so poorly executed, that it eventually crumbled — quietly, if you remember. I used to eat a lot of McDonald’s, and I loved the Monopoly promotion, so this one hits home. — Brian

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