Step Inside My Parlour
All my viewing, reading, exploring, eating, and
drinking finds that are fit to share.
Come sit down, stay awhile.
T. Kingfisher’s novella What Moves the Dead hooked me from the first page. It’s a sharp reimagining of Edgar Allan Poe’s Fall of the House of Usher that manages to be both cozy and foreboding, includes delightful mycology horror, and even throws in a Beatrix Potter nod for good measure. I bought two more of Kingfisher’s books before I even finished this one—she has such a confident, approachable voice and engaging writing style.
Small Game is an utterly engrossing and beautifully written debut about a group of contestants on a wilderness survival reality TV show gone very, very wrong. It’s deeply moving, occasionally disturbing, and highly enlightening regarding foraging and off-grid living. I’ve followed author Blair Braverman on Twitter for years—she’s a dogsledder and survivalist and, no surprise, an incredibly talented writer.
Becky Chambers' novella duo A Psalm for the Wild-Built and A Prayer for the Crown-Shy are so very lovely. I'm generally not a SFF fan, but Chambers creates a cozy, gentle, hopeful science fiction world that is a true balm for the soul. These books are essentially about a tea monk and a robot discussing humanity and nature, but they are so very deep and optimistic and I looove them.
Damn, did Lisa Taddeo's Animal mess me up—I wish I didn't relate to it so intensely. It's a feral, triggering (fair warning, fellow SA survivors) yet deeply empathetic story about how the echoes of trauma reverberate through every choice we make in our lives, and sometimes those decisions inadvertently lead us toward healing. It's absolutely filthy with piercing observations about the power dynamics between men and women; every sentance is a sharply-honed weapon.
I'm flat-out obsessed with Prey, a simple story well told (and yes, a Predator movie—the first one is a classic for a reason!) It's set in 1719 among the Comanches and it follows a brilliantly badass native girl protecting her tribe. It's gorgeously shot, features some amazing physical action (plus one extremely good girl pup) and Amber Midthunder absolutely crushes it in the lead role.
I double-featured Malignant and M3GAN and hooo boy, those are some bonkers fun horror films. I'm really psyched to see what screenwriter Akela Cooper does next—she really knows how to turn tropes on their heads. I highly recommend Akela's episode on the Kingcast podcast.
I put off watching the new version of Persuasion because it's my favorite Austen (the "half agony half hope" bit is theee most romantic declaration in all of romance ugggh) and I heard it's not at all faithful. But lord help me, I actually loved it?? It's semi anachronistic and Dakota Johnson is crazy charismatic and it takes a page from Fleabag's fourth wall breaking that also somehow works. If you go in expecting it to be a unique interpretation, you won't be disappointed. Though it in no way unseats the incredible 2007 Sally Hawkins version.
I've been mainlining two new albums on my recent rural drives. Boygenius' The Record, which is a stunning follow-up to their glorious 2018 self-titled EP (check out their Kristen Stewart-directed music video, which debuted the same day The Record was released). And Lana Del Rey's Did You Know That There's a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd, which is my favorite of hers behind 2019's Norman Fucking Rockwell!
As far as TV goes, I've finally undertaken the project of reading each Sandman issue alongside its corresponding episode of the season one Netflix series. I'm not generally great with fantasy/heavy CGI, but the spooky elements and Neil Gaiman's brilliant writing and world-building outweigh all that. I can feel a bit of an obsession blossoming when it comes to that graphic novel series—I even ordered the Death of the Endless spinoff volume.
I have an insatiable sweet tooth, which I'm desperately trying to get a handle on. I've found the recipes in model and wellness influencer Abigail O'Neill's book Model Chocolate to be the most satisfying, mood-boosting option for curbing my cravings. The breakfasts, baked goods, and confections are sweetened with maple syrup, honey, agave, or coconut sugar, and they all feature one perfect uniting ingredient: chocolate.
My current favorite is this Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding, which I top with whatever I have on hand (pictured here: fresh raspberries, shredded coconut, and pistachio kernels—I always need crunch on anything with a custard-like consistency). I usually whip up a double or triple batch so I have enough for weekday mornings. Stocking my freezer with these goodies is meditative—I love to put on music, melt cocoa butter over a double boiler, and measure and stir in varying ingredients. Some of my favorites are Abigail's dark chocolate bar (featuring any add-in's that strike my fancy), Tangerine Almond Pralines, Pecan Brownies, and Lemon Sour Cherry Thins.