Curiosities // September 2020
It’s time for another round of “curiosities” from yours truly! It’s way overdue, the first one we did was back in April and it was supposed to be a regular thing? Kind of? But we’re back!
To remind you, these lists from the two of us are meant to bring some laughter and enchantment into your day and also give you a little behind-the-scenes peek into the everyday magic of Carterhaugh.
What I’m Reading: You know how when people (and by “people,” I mostly mean “Sara”) are like “OMG YOU GOTTA READ THIS BOOK,” and there’s something in you that resists a little bit? You’re like “oh gosh, they want me to like this so much, what if I don’t…? What if they HATE ME FOREVER” and so you delay reading it for a while? Is this just me? I can’t believe this is just me… right? Well Sara (and our other friend Meenoo actually!) was on me forever to read this book called Fingersmith by Sarah Waters and it got to the point where Meenoo actually GAVE me a copy of the book the last time I was in Atlanta for Carterhaugh Camp before Covid hit. So I had this huge book, and I finally decide to read it, and… OMG IT’S AMAZING.
I’m sure at this point you’re like “THEY TOLD YOU IT WAS AMAZING, YOU DINGBAT!” But, seriously, this book is fantastic. I’m reluctant to say too much about it, because I went into it knowing almost nothing and it blew my dang mind, so suffice it to say that if you love long, Gothic, Neo-Victorian mystery/thrillers full of insane twists you will love this book.
What I’m Listening To: Sargent House, a record studio packed with artists I really like, had a HUGE sale for Labor Day where like every album was $4. I definitely picked up a few missing albums from old favorites Chelsea Wolfe and Emma Ruth Rundle, but I also got Ioanna Gika’s album Thalassa after listening to just a bit of it, and I’m so glad I did. It’s like… mythic goth dance music?
What I’m Watching: I’m slowly working my way through The Dragon Prince on Netflix and am absolutely loving it! I’m moving slow, because I just have so much to DO all the time, but I just love the characters. They each SO well developed and interesting… I’m very impressed! This is what kids shows should be.
Something That Made Me Think: Dana Bauerle-Knight’s Tiny Minotaur pop up bar/fantasy tavern! Here’s the link to read a bit about it if you missed when I reposted it in the Carterhaugh group on Facebook. Yes, it’s incredibly cool and fun, but it’s also really making me think. Here is someone who went out and made something special in her world, who really embraced the concept of what she calls “radical adult play” through quests and dressing up and immersive art and and installation art and make believe. We need more of this in the world, especially now. We need more fantasy, more magic, more unexpected delights to stumble upon. And if you want these things, YOU can make them. Honestly, that’s part of what Carterhaugh is all about. Check out the bar’s website here and, if you’re in Austin, please please please go for me!
Something That Made Me Laugh: This made me giggle wildly.
What I’m Reading: I used to call myself a secret romantic, but after putting together blog posts like this one, I think the secret is probably out. For the last few months, I’ve been slowly reading (and sometimes re-reading) the novels listed in Sarah Rees Brennan’s roundup of The Best Couples in Books Ever. Spoiler: I love ALL of them. Especially Howl’s Moving Castle (Secret wishes! Sneaky portals to Wales! A crusty fire demon!) and Fingersmith (Murder! Betrayal! Mayhem! Love, in a library!). I’m finally on the last item on the list: Megan Walen Turner’s The Queen’s Thief series. It’s uh-MAZING. If you, like me, are feeling a little forlorn that The Kingkiller Chronicle remains unfinished, The Queen’s Thief is the perfect pick-me-up. There are twists and turns and reveals galore, a slippery brilliant trickster protagonist, and, best of all, TWO QUEENS who are major political players. I’m enjoying the hell out of all the puzzles and court intrigue. And if you have any good recommendations for other best couples in books, pass them along, pretty please?
What I’m Listening To: The music in my house this month has been the soundtracks for Hamilton and Hadestown. We finish one and then put on the other. I’m sure we’ll get sick of them eventually, but for now, it’s all Schuyler sisters and the road to hell, all the time. I know you’ve already heard it a million times, but can we talk about how amazing “Wait For It” it?
What I’m Watching: Have you watched Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts on Netflix yet? I started it in January with my friend Shveta, and I’m finally getting around to watching season 2. It’s kind of the spiritual inheritor of Adventure Time. The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world in which humans live underground in burrows because the surface has been taken over by “mutes” – gigantic mutant animals. (Many of whom can talk!) It’s wildly creative and zany, but, like Adventure Time, it makes great use of music and has a huge emotional range. My favorite episode so far involves “timber cats” – massive, plaid-wearing, lumberjack cats who sing folk songs and are led by their fearless leader, Yumyan Hammerpaw. It’s every bit as awesome as that sentence promises.
Something That Made Me Think: I just read Susanna Clarke’s Fantasy World of Interiors in the New Yorker, and it’s still settling in my mind. I’d had no idea that Clarke, the author of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell,had been so ill, and housebound. There’s a lot in this piece about writing, creativity, health, quarantine, and convalescence. A lot about what happens when the world pushes you past your limit. And about returning to yourself and to your craft. As someone with a chronic illness, I felt uneasy, familiar, and hopeful in turns as I read. At any rate, if you’re feeling burned out or that you’re being pushed past your limits this year, you might find something here that resonates for you, too.
Something That Made Me Laugh: It’s like looking into a mirror.
So now we’re dying to know – what “curiosities” have you been obsessed with lately? Let us know via e-mail or in the comments!