Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) talks to reporters after the Senate Democrats' weekly policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol Dec. 11, 2012 in Washington, D.C. - 

President Obama and some members of Congress have returned to Washington from their respective holidays to discuss the impending fiscal cliff and debt ceiling deadlines. As the talks continue, our Weekly Wrappers have suggestions for other topics to explore during this last weekend of 2012.

Wall Street Journal reporter Sudeep Reddy has these picks:

And The Guardian's Heidi Moore suggests these longreads: "All three of my picks this week are about New York, my hometown and a city that has been through a lot in 2012."

  • In the New York Review of Books, Zadie Smith has penned a lovely essay on the small, fleeting nature of joy. Like her, I love looking at people's faces and trying to read their experiences. New York City is a great place for this.

  • And finally, the MTA is creating its own subway app! This will achieve what every New Yorker has always dreamed of: knowing when the next subway is supposed to arrive.

President Obama spoke this afternoon about the continued talks over the fiscal cliff. "The American people are watching what we do here," he said. "Obviously their patience is already thin. This is deja vu all over again."

Reddy and Moore think a deal could still be possible.

"I do think there is a chance; whenever you get the two Senate leaders in a room, it's possible they can come up with something that works; that's kind of how the Senate tends to function in the end," says Reddy. "But the president sounded somewhat downbeat coming out of this meeting. And it sounded like he was laying the groundwork for damage control. He is setting this up to basically dare Congress with a final challenge -- that if Republicans want to block him on the fiscal cliff, they'll have to do it in a big public spectacle."

"I agree with Sudeep," said Moore. "It sounded like the president was basically trying to do damage control, and that he was preparing people for the eventuality that Washington just doesn't work like the rest of the country -- it doesn't meet its deadlines, it doesn't agree. And another reason to be pessimistic is even if the Senate gets something done, the Senate has never been the problem -- the House is. And the House doesn't meet until Sunday, and it's very unlikely that all of a sudden they're going to sleep on it and wake up new men who want this fiscal cliff deal to happen. They've been very firm about what they want -- which is no tax hikes for the rich -- and they're willing to go over the cliff if they don't get it. So I don't see how that's going to change overnight."

Listen to the full audio for more analysis on the fiscal cliff deadline and how the markets are reacting.

Follow Jeremy Hobson at @jeremyhobson