Curiosities // April 2024

April 3, 2024

Hi all! It’s been a while since we’ve done a Curiosities check-in post with the two of us, so let’s go!


What I’m Reading: I’ve always been a big reader, but I’ve never actually tracked my reading before. So for funsies, I decided to track it this year using StoryGraph (no power on earth is dragging me over to Goodreads), and I finished my 38th book of the year earlier this afternoon. Book 38 was The Butcher of the Forest by Premee Mohamed (beautifully written, brutal), 37 was The Angel of the Crows by Sarah Monette/ Katherine Addison (Sherlock Holmes with a fantasy twist – it was exquisite, wonderfully familiar and wildly creative at the same time, which is not easy to pull off with a property as done-to-death as Sherlock Holmes), 36 was How to Break Up with Your Phone by Catherine Price (snappy, well-researched, thought-provoking.) Next up is This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, which I’ve been meaning to read for, oh, FIVE YEARS. (It is one of the great frustrations of my life that no matter how much I read, there is SO MUCH MORE I want to read! But on the plus side: we’ll never run out of reading material!)

What I’m Listening To: Last week, I saw the Beetlejuice musical for the first time since I saw it in previews in DC, when they were still figuring things out before the Broadway run! It’s been toned down a bit (less swearing, and the Maitlands’ miscarriage seems to have been removed, among other changes), but it’s still hilarious, with some really bizarre and delightful songs. Plus, you know, giant snake puppets. I’ve been listening to the original Broadway cast recording pretty much on repeat. Standout tracks include “The Whole ‘Being Dead’ Thing,” “Dead Mom,” “Say My Name,” and “No Reason.” I cannot overstate how personally attacked I feel by this musical. When Beetlejuice asks the Maitlands for the scariest things they can think of, they say “The Trader Joe’s parking lot!” and “The Electoral College!!” at which point I started cry-laughing.

What I’m Watching: Honestly? Mostly rewatching Brooklyn 99, which makes me laugh SO HARD, especially the Pontiac Bandit episodes. Before that, I tore through Komi Can’t Communicate, which I mostly adored (caveat that a prominent non-binary character is portrayed extremely tastelessly, so proceed with caution). I’m also watching The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad on Wondrium since I’m headed to Spain and Portugal later this year!

Something That Made Me Think: Natalie Wynn of ContraPoints dropped a 3 hour video on Twilight last month, and there was much rejoicing in House Cleto-Jones. (As far as I’m concerned, her video drops should be national holidays.) The starting point is, indeed, the Twilight Saga, but the video essay is also about the history of romance (and the novel) as a genre, what desire even is, how power complicates our understanding of desire, why people are sometimes attracted to vampires/ serial killers, and SO MUCH MORE. It’s glorious. Go watch it.

Something That Made Me Laugh: This perfect cartoon about dog domestication vs cat domestication by Sarah Andersen of Sarah’s Scribbles.


What I’m Reading: Right now I’m almost done with the novel Cackle by Rachel Harrison, and honestly if all goes well through the end it might wind up being an all-time favorite for me. I’m a TOTAL sucker for “girl moves to a strange town and meets a wonderfully eccentric person who may or may not be a witch who then teaches her to embrace her own magic” stories. And there is a little spider-friend named Ralph! Omg Ralph, I love you so. I also recently finished A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers, which we’re actually reading for book club this month, and it was just wonderful, like a warm cup of herbal tea. I really enjoy solar/hope-punk stories. I think I got a bit burnt out on hard sci-fi a while back, but this new-ish shift is just endlessly delightful. P.S. Sara also got me to join StoryGraph, but I do not get through NEARLY the amount of books she does. I wish I did!

What I’m Listening To: The lovely Jen Parrish of Parrish Relics Jewelry made a post about the artist Allysen Callery and oh my gosh, I am SO thrilled that she did. Her latest album, Witch’s Hand, with doom metal band Mother Bear is so very good. Her older work is just amazing too. She describes her sound as “ghost folk” (also the name of one of her albums), and that is the perfect descriptor. Definitely go check her out immediately!! Jen and I had already bonded over our mutual Patrick Wolf obsession too, so if you haven’t heard his work, please, please go listen to that as well. Oh, and I’m also still completely obsessed with Taylor Swift’s ode to the Romantic Lake poets, “The Lakes”! 

What I’m Watching: Josh recently introduced me to an older show called Limitless, and I’m so bummed it was canceled after only 22 episodes, because I’m really enjoying it. It has a really off-beat style that I find hilarious… like, it’s a fairly serious sci-fi show about a drug that can basically make you the smartest person in the world while you’re on it, but they also had an episode completely modeled after Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Upon saying that, I realize that that disconnect is probably why it was canceled, but I think it’s great! I also discovered that Paramount+ has all the old Nickelodeon shows, so I’ve been re-watching Clarissa Explains It All, which remains flawless. Actually, speaking of that, I also watched a great Nickelodeon documentary – no, NOT Quiet on Set, the new documentary that’s getting all the press right now that reveals all the terrible things that happened at the studio during the late 1990s/early 2000s – but an older one called The Orange Years about when they were first starting up and creating the wonderful things that I remember, like Clarissa and Doug. It made me even sadder about what happened after that, how far the studio fell after the original visionaries were gone. 

Something That Made Me Think: I’ve been thinking a lot about social media nonsense lately, it seems to keep popping up in my life. Sara told me a bit about the How to Break Up With Your Phone book she mentioned above, I read Charlie Jane Ander’s “How To Build Your Online ‘Brand’ Without Burning Out” post, I read several articles from Alexandra Franzen about marketing online without social media, and Mike Allen literally just re-posted this fascinating article called “Influencer Creep.” It’s all very thought provoking, but it’s also wildly difficult to detach from that stuff when you have an online business. Or at least it seems that way. That said, I’ve been noticing the “creep,” and it does not spark joy. I don’t want to be thinking about how I should be filming everything I do. I mean, I caught myself yesterday thinking about how I should be filming myself folding my laundry so that I could make a TikTok video out of it, because apparently “chore monetization” is a big thing now (I guess people are more likely to pay attention to your videos if you’re doing something else while you’re talking? I don’t know!!) I’m not quitting anything yet, but there has to be a better way.    

Something That Made Me Laugh: Sara knows I absolutely love silly animal posts where something is said in a very serious way. This is the image I first used to try to explain this to her through my delighted giggles – 

“He is causing a SCENE” 😂😂😂

Josh sent me this most recent one, which obviously totally cracked me up too – 

😂😂😂… it’s the “sir” that really gets me!

What are you reading, listening to, watching, thinking about, and laughing at lately? Let us know in the comments!

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