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Step Inside My Parlour

All my viewing, reading, exploring, eating, and

drinking finds that are fit to share.

Come sit down, stay awhile.

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Enrichments

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I read I'm Glad My Mom Died in one sitting. It's utterly wrenching, but—especially for those of us raised by deeply narcissistic mothers—it's revelatory. (Added trigger warning for my fellow eating disorder sufferers and those who've lost a loved one to cancer.) It's introspective, honest, and brave as hell. Deep gratitude to Jennette McCurdy for her strength and voice.

For lighter, wackier, fantastically transportive fare, The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy is the perfect page-turner. Megan Bannen's unique and absorbing fantasy romance boasts wildly imaginative worldbuilding and gloriously complicated characters. It's the first M/F romance I've read where I identified most with the male lead; Hart's story has something of a Mandalorian quality. It's a weird, fun, affecting breath of fresh air. 

 

Our Wives Under the Sea is a firm new favorite and solidifies Julia Armfield's status as one of my most beloved litfic writers. Internal, haunting, and filled with dread, it delves into the trauma of crumbling relationships through the lens of a slow-burn deep-sea expedition gone awry and some truly gnarly, affecting body horror. The prose is so exquisite, so evocative, I want to slide into it and tread. 

For me, spooky knows no season—I tend to turn to darker-themed reads all winter, so if you're of the same persuasion, I wrote a round-up of the 15 scary and atmospheric books I constantly reach for this time of year.

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Diversions

I finally got around to watching Jordan Peele's latest, Nope, and—controversial opinion alert—I think it's his best film yet. It brilliantly blends sci-fi, western, and horror elements and crescendos to a deeply satisfying brother and sister character arc (Keke Palmer is a national treasure!). I especially appreciate Peele's light touch with gore in this—it's dread-filled, to be sure, which only underscores the impressive craftsmanship behind the lens.

A new Mike Flanagan Netflix series is always cause for celebration in my house—in The Midnight Club, he takes on the YA genre with his signature moody, jump-scare-filled, psychologically affecting flair. Bonus points for the remix of Possum Kingdom in the trailer

In my car Debra (named after a key lyric in Beck's titular song. Hint: she's a Hyundai), I keep coming back to Beyoncé's new album Renaissance. It's a mood-lifting, dance-inducing, brilliantly produced listen from start to finish. I'm afraid to look at my play count for Cozy.

And on my walks, the podcast that I always rush to play is Spooked. It features interviews with people who've had unexplained paranormal experiences that are backed with original scores and expertly-dispensed sound effects. I'm completely addicted—I pay for a Luminary subscription solely because of this show. Listen to one of their free episodes and you'll find yourself blazing through them all. 

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Refreshments

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It's ovens-on weather, which means my sourdough starter Lorna is no longer weeping hooch at me from the back corner of my refrigerator and I can dip a flour-coated finger back into heavier stovetop cooking and baking (strictly as self-care—a devout measurer, I am not, which makes for ... unconventional ... creations). My favorite no-fail recipe is for these sourdough pumpkin pancakes (my only alteration is to increase the pumpkin purée to a full can). I usually make a big production out of it—I turn on a playlist that matches my mood (this spooky piano one is in high demand for me well beyond October) and bring a book into the kitchen so I can read as the pancakes cook. They freeze really well—I store them in a large round pyrex container with wax paper slices between each. A quick zap in the microwave or turn in the toaster oven and I can savor a delicious fall-themed breakfast any day of the week!

The activity of slowing down to make myself something lovely is just one of the many things I dub a Romanticize—an exercise that brings out your inner romantic. I launched a Substack series that offers a new Romancitize every week—you can read all about it here and find an overview of my free and paid subscription offerings here