Step Inside My Parlour
All my viewing, reading, exploring, eating, and
drinking finds that are fit to share.
Come sit down, stay awhile.
I loved Catriona Ward's latest novel Sundial. She's a master at crafting utterly absorbing dread and characterizations that twist and stretch like taffy. This is a disquieting, compelling horror story about how intergenerational trauma manifests, with a climax that made my heart beat so hard I mistook it for the sound of an intruder in my house. I’m still in awe of Ward’s terrifying, illuminating prior novel, The Last House on Needless Street, and this one deserves a coveted spot right alongside it on any horror or psychological thriller lover’s shelf.
On a similarly menacing but far less intense note, I recently read Evie Wyld's All the Birds, Singing while farmsitting in the Catskills for a week, and it was the perfect book to accompany my solitude while tending to livestock on the remote 100-acre property. Shot through with evocative, lyrical writing, it explores how the past hunts no matter how much you isolate, and feels like a spiritual sibling to Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead. I'm excited to dive into Wyld's other work!
I also devoured Skottie Young and Jorge Corona's graphic novel The Me You Love in the Dark, about an artist who rents a haunted manor house and enters into a curious relationship with its ghost (Katie Catnip, basically). Folded within its gorgeously-illustrated pages is a message about the insidious, doomed nature of forced creativity. It hurts really, really good.
I've lightened up my TV fare with the seasons, embracing bubblier, less serious shows—the second season of Bridgerton being a prime example. I found it far, far superior to the first—the chemistry between the leads is crackling, and it's chock full of my very favorite romance trope: y-e-a-r-n-i-n-g. It also contains numerous nods to the 2005 Pride & Prejudice (the book's best adaptation shhhhhh) and my favorite fiery Eloise is back in raucously fine form.
Another second season that nailed the landing and surpassed its predecessor is Starstruck. The show about a normie navigating her relationship with a famous actor is cringey, incisive, and charming as ever—as far as I'm concerned, Rose Matafeo should be a meteoric star by now.
And while we're on the subject of New Zealand-born comedians, another new series obsession is Taika Waititi's Our Flag Means Death. It's a heartwarming, hilarious, tender, queer, brilliantly-costumed, massively entertaining show about utterly ineffective pirates. I love it so much I wish I could Eternal Sunshine my brain and watch it again for the first time.
As for film fare, I made a trepidatious, ultimately triumphant return back to theaters for the sake of two brilliant films: The Worst Person in the World (which perfectly encapsulates the feeling of being a freshly-30-year-old woman), and Everything Everywhere All at Once (a multiverse Kung Fu movie that is wondrously weird and ingenious and heart-crackingly beautiful).
This is the time of year when the lawn is dotted with deep purple violets, transforming it into a sweeping green galaxy. I love harvesting the tiny petaled beauties and making violet flower lemonade—it’s fairly simple, and involves a fun little science experiment on the side. Violets are pH sensitive, so adding them to a base (high pH) will turn liquid blue, while adding them to an acid (low pH) makes liquid pink. I always feel like mother nature’s mad scientist when I pour the blue flower infusion into the yellow lemon water and set off a fuchsia-rific transformation. Here’s an Instagram reel I made detailing how to whip up a batch