Random Silliness

Summer Break!

Hi all — hope everyone’s enjoying longer days, plethoras (plethorae? plethorata?) of tulips, and lots and lots of tv, comic books, regular books, and all of the other pop culture that floats your boat.

TTLP’s posting schedule’s going to be a bit more haphazard this summer, because I’m taking my grad school prelims exams soon and won’t have quite as much regular time for pop culture consumption until I’m doing preparing for them. But I’ll be popping in every once in a while, and will plan to start up again with a more regular schedule in the fall. In the meantime, take some time to amuse yourself with something silly you found at a bookstore, watching the awesomely good Behind the Lights on Netflix, or just curl up with a good podcast!


Jewel Tones, Damasks, and Ninja Turtles: A Vision Board for a Chilly April Afternoon

In which Emily recommends that you take gorgeous costumes, stunning music videos, and happy podcasts as inspiration on this surprisingly chilly day.

So, change of plans. I totally announced last post that I was starting a series of posts about title sequences. But really, I should have known better than to announce future plans for TTLP’s oh-so-spontaneous content-production. This Monday I find myself still overly excited about the Outlander costumes I praised last time, and really very much in the mood to curate bubbly and bad-ass awesome things to improve a brisk spring afternoon. This week, then, in the name of happy-making pop culture, silly links, and powering through the busyness of the last month of the semester, I present: A Vision Board for a Chilly April Afternoon.

Outlander Costumes

Holy Madame de Pompadour, the costumes on Outlander are STUNNING, whether you love knitwear, kilts, and wool

or whether you’re fascinated by the gorgeous fashions of pre-Revolutionary France on display in all the publicity stills for the nascent second season.

John Oliver Sending Ninja Turtles to Yankees Games

While we’re talking about people wearing fantastic things at famous locales…

Dude Watchin’ With the Brontes

Because Kate Beaton is glorious and Anne Bronte is tragically underappreciated.

Pop Culture Happy Hour: The Romance Novel Special

I’m completely in love with this hour of smart ladies amusing themselves, talking romance novels, and taking a very silly quiz.

Another Round: Our First Year

In which awesome ladies Heben and Tracy reflect on a year of podcasting, giggle lots, and discuss the evils of mongooses — mongeese?

“Atomic Number,” case/lang/veirs

After laughing along with the PCHH and Another Round ladies, perhaps it’s time for moody acoustic-y music from the new collaboration between Neko Case, k.d. Lang, and Laura Veirs.

Denzel Washington Is the Greatest Actor of All Time Period

Or if you’re really digging the bubbly-ness of silly but sincere podcasts, I highly recommend Denzel Washington Is the Greatest Actor of All Time Period. Honestly, I just found this podcast (thanks NPR One!) and haven’t listened to much of it yet. But that title’s just the most charming thing ever.

Beyonce’s Formation Video

You know you’ve watched this a few dozen times already. But is it possible to watch it too many times?

Enjoy your afternoon!

Because Few Things Are More Fun than Excavating Ancient Desert Civilizations (So Long As You’re Not Actually Dealing with Sandstorms and Sunstroke)

In which Emily encourages you to take a weekend to immerse yourself in all that’s new and exciting in the world of board games.

I’ve always liked board games. Even through those awkward years when I was too old to get excited about Candy Land but not yet old enough to wax pedantic about Scrabble, board games have always been a good way to while away an afternoon and engage in some friendly competition with siblings, friends, and passersby. Obviously, there’s quite a range of board games and quite a spectrum of strategy- and skill-levels: you can master Sorry! in about five minutes, while my sisters and I STILL make up rules for Risk because we haven’t yet gotten bored enough to read through the entire rule book. But somewhere between Sorry! and Risk, there’s an awesome category of board games that reward attention and strategy yet also understand that their primary purpose is amusement. And that category has fantastically expanded in the last couple years.

Having spent a considerable portion of TTLP’s December-January hiatus deep in the midst of a board game marathon, this week I want to recommend a couple of fantastic  games — and to encourage you to seek out one of these the next time you’re trying to think of something social but geeky to do on a slow weekend.

Ticket to Ride

Holy Nellie Bly, this game is fun. According to the box, it’s based loosely on Phileas Fogg’s adventures in Around the World in 80 Days, but that connection is tied more to a steampunky, 19th-century American aesthetic and less to game play. (Not that I’m complaining — the board and cards are GORGEOUS.) If you’re playing the USA version (different continents have different boards), you’re given a map of America that has a bunch of railways and major hub cities depicted on it. You’re also given destination cards which promise you varying amounts of bonus points if you manage to claim railway routes to connect cities with each other. Then you play a weird version of rummy, finding sets of cards so that you can claim your railways and connect your cities. Game play isn’t ostensibly difficult, but it’s complicated by the fact that 19th-century America only has so many railways, and your opponents are also trying to claim railways. And seriously — the board is steampunky and just beautiful.

7 Wonders

Having control of one of the ancient civilizations that birthed one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World? Getting to decide whether to invest in cultural institutions, arts and sciences, or military might? Balancing trade, natural resources, and the desire to cement your legacy by building your Wonder? Seriously. If you don’t geek out about getting to be an ancient civilization, then you and I have vastly different ideas about what constitutes a fun afternoon.


At this point, Settlers of Catan (now apparently just called Catan?) is a classic — the first edition came out in Germany 21 years ago. But it’s also an awesome gate way for anyone curious about this new boom in tabletop games. If 7 Wonders is about building a civilization, Catan is about colonialism — or at least, about expansion into a new land. With roads, armies, resources, and a charming, honey-comb-shaped board, you compete against your fellow settlers to achieve the most stable, prosperous settlement on the uninhabited island. Like the rest of the games listed here, game play progresses according to both your decisions and the decisions of your opponents, so your strategy evolves and mutates from game to game and replay-ability is massive.

Castles of Mad King Ludwig

(Seriously. I can’t get over just how gorgeous the artwork on these boxes and games is.)

Castles is basically The-Winchester-Mystery-House-Meets-Cinderella’s-Castle: The Game. Ludwig was a Bavarian king who built extravagant faux-medieval castles in 19th-century Germany. Now he’s commissioned you (and your competitors) to build him a new castle — and he’s got some weird requests. You work to build the castle that’s closest to his specifications while remaining within your means. Your competitors work to build better castles and to keep you from getting the pieces (rooms) that you most want. Everyone makes weird and elaborate floor plans for castles with three root cellars and five astronomy towers — or two conservatories and four dungeons — and the like.

Forbidden Desert

You and your compatriots are explorers and scientists looking for an ancient civilization in the desert — but your plane crash-landed! Now you have limited time to excavate the civilization and find its ancient fancy flying machine before you all die from a sand storm or dehydration. In this awesome game by the maker of Pandemic and Forbidden Island you have to team up with your fellow game-players to explore the desert, share water, and collect the scattered pieces of the ancient flying ship before the storm buries you or someone runs out of water. This game is surprisingly hard to win — but it’s SO smartly designed. You get the feeling that if you just logicked it out, you could absolutely figure out how to make everyone play their parts to get through the desert and win. (This one’s probably my favorite of the aforementioned bunch.)

Of course, there are dozens of other wonderful games — I recommended Dominion in one of our first posts, and there’s a whole new world of tabletop games ripe for exploration. But regardless of what you choose to play, take some time in the next week or so and enjoy getting overly competitive about fictional railroads and cities and towers.

Because few things are more fun than squabbling over which one of you has the best plan for getting to the airplane’s propeller before someone dies of dehydration.

Happy Gaming!

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Programming…

In which Emily announces TTLP’s semi-annual, end-of-semester hiatus.

December’s a lovely time of year. There’s snow, and anticipation of the holidays, and cheesy movies, and gingerbread, and all sorts of delightful things. For those of us in grad school, though, there’s also grading, and seminar papers, and end-of-semester busyness. Now I don’t want to say that seminar papers aren’t delightful (perish the thought!), but the chaos of the end of the semester does put a damper on Kazia’s and my ability to consume new media and write about it. So we at TTLP will be taking our holiday break a little bit early this year — although we encourage you to take this time to catch up on the awesome albeit dark (so we hear) A.K.A. Jessica Jones, the fantastic and clever (we promise) You Must Remember This, or the utterly charming and adorable (and we promise we’ll write about it at some point) Great British Baking Show.

We’ll see you back in 2016, though, with lots of new television shows, books, musicals, comics, podcasts, board games, etc. to have lots of thoughts about!

We hope you enjoy your holidays and have a happy and safe December!

Seven Interviews for a Cold November Afternoon

This week, Emily recommends some insightful interviews to keep you company on a slow autumnal afternoon.

If April is the cruelest month and July is the most exuberant, then November, I think, is the most introspective. It’s cold outside, and the days are getting shorter, and everyone’s looking forward to getting together with friends and family for Thanksgiving (here in the States at least) and then the holidays. It’s not so much a time of going out to picnics and barbecues and meeting new people — it’s a time of huddling up with a good book or album (see our list from last year for recommendations!) and checking-in with yourself.

It’s no surprise, then, that the main November-y quote that’s been going around my social media feeds this week is from Famous Introvert Emily Dickinson:

It is also November. The noons are more laconic and the sunsets sterner, and Gibraltar lights make the village foreign. November always seemed to me the Norway of the year.

(Note: that link is TOTALLY worth your time. Not to over-promote my own curatorial attempts or anything, but seriously. It’s awesome.)

Whatever Famous Introvert Emily Dickinson might have to say about it, though, introspection isn’t just about sitting alone, though. It’s about good conversation and meaningful dialogue and emotional intimacy. It’s about thinking about yourself, but not in a totally narcissistic way. It’s about taking stock. So this week, in honor of good conversations, and meaningful dialogue, and grey November afternoons, I’m recommending seven interviews to keep you company as you cuddle up with wool blankets and kitty cats and long novels and all of the other accoutrements of slow autumnal days.

1. Joel Lovell Interviews Stephen Colbert for GQ

Lovell turns a gorgeous interview with Colbert (about the then-forthcoming Late Show) into a profile that covers show biz, politics, silliness, Tolkien, religion, and grief.

“The next thing he said I wrote on a slip of paper in his office and have carried it around with me since. It’s our choice, whether to hate something in our lives or to love every moment of them, even the parts that bring us pain. ‘At every moment, we are volunteers.’”

2. Marilynne Robinson and Barack Obama Converse, in Two Parts

Obama and Robinson interview each other — or maybe just chat — for the New York Review of Books.

“And it [Hamilton: An American Musical] is brilliant, and so much so that I’m pretty sure this is the only thing that Dick Cheney and I have agreed on—during my entire political career—it speaks to this vibrancy of American democracy, but also the fact that it was made by these living, breathing, flawed individuals who were brilliant.”

(Sorry, you guys. I’m really really not done connecting everything in my life back to Hamilton. But, in my defense, Barack Obama isn’t either.)

3. Matt Gourley Interviews Stephen Tobolowsky on I Was There Too

On a film podcast dedicated to interviewing people who were also in famous moments in cinema history, Matt Gourley sits down to talk with Stephen Tobolowsky about Groundhog Day, Harold Ramis, and Deadwood.

4. Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton Interview Hillary Clinton on Another Round

The hosts of the excellent podcast Another Round talk to Hillary Clinton about politics, sexism, Black Lives Matter, and squirrels.

5. Miranda July Interviews Rihanna

Miranda July turns an interview with Rihanna — in which they talk about Instagram, guys, and race — into a meditation on what it means to feel connected to celebrities.

“‘Rihanna. I’m going to meet her, to interview her. That’s where we’re going.’’

‘‘You kidding? That’s my girl,’’ he said. ‘‘I love her. She’s so down-to-earth. She always keep it cool with her friend and her family. Her and Melissa, I think they are the best celebrity friends. I always say that.’’

6. Susan Burton Interviews Terry Gross for The New York Times

Susan Burton talks to Terry Gross about what it means to have an intimate conversation with a stranger.

‘‘I try not to confuse the two. I try not to equate the interview with real life. But at the same time, there’s an intimacy in the interview — like, I’m telling you things that people I work with probably don’t know, because it doesn’t come up. I would tell them if they asked, but it’s just not a part of what you talk about in day-to-day work life necessarily.’’

7. Terry Gross Interviews Maurice Sendak on Fresh Air

Terry Gross, the Queen of Interviews herself, talks with Maurice Sendak about life, death and children’s literature.

“Live your life. Live your life. Live your life.”

Happy Reading!

Emily and Kazia Waste Time on the Internet

This week, we continue a series of posts devoted to summertime entertainment, including delightful beach-reads, road-trip-friendly podcasts, splashy summer movies, and oh-so-binge-able TV, as Emily and Kazia recommend some of their favorite internet finds from the past few months.

Summer, of course, can be the perfect time to tackle long-form pop culture. The days are longer, the responsibilities are fewer, and vacations are often the perfect excuse to sit down and binge The Wire or Friday Night Lights or to finally get around to reading Infinite Jest or Anna Karenina — or whatever else you’ve been promising people for years that you’ll read it or watch it just as soon as you have some free time. There’s no better time to read the entire Chris Claremont run on X-Men or to watch every Hitchcock film or to listen to the entire back catalog of This American Life.

But sometimes it’s nice to relax with absolutely NO plans for your afternoon, and just while away time amusing yourself on the internet. It’s not exactly a sustainable long-term lifestyle choice — we know that. But sometimes you’ve got to sit down with a piece of lemon meringue pie or a bowl of rainbow sherbet and just enjoy some silliness from the vast ether of the internet. So this week, we’re indulging our love of random internet ephemera by recommending some of our favorite things that we’ve seen online recently. We highly encourage you to find your dessert of choice and a deck chair within reach of wi-fi access to enjoy our link round-up!

Sir Patrick Stewart Gives Dramatic Reading of Taylor Swift Lyrics

You know you needed this in your life.

“No-Man’s Land

A contemplative, earnest exploration of race and gentrification in the Midwest, which Eula Biss considers through the perspective of Laura Ingalls Wilder and western expansion.

These Suffragette Posters Make Us Wanna Go Out and Exercise Our Rights

Get your tissues ready: fierce posters and a trailer featuring Landslide ahead (might as well start sobbing now).

A Surprisingly Deep Article About Re-Watching Lost

Because it’s okay to get invested in things that might ultimately end up disappointing you.

Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain and the Gendering of Martyrdom

A thoughtful piece on sexism in pop culture.

Every Single Word

In which Dylan Marron (Carlos from Welcome to Night Vale) splices together every scene with a speaking person of color in popular movies, making for horrifyingly short films.

“Fun Home” Is Bringing Butch Lesbians Into The Mainstream

On the musical adaptation of Fun Home and the mainstreaming of Otherness.

A Complete Curmudgeon’s Guide to The Sound of Music

“When Mother Abbess tells Maria, ‘Climb ev’ry mountain,’ she is setting a very unrealistic expectation of success, especially since they are in the Alps.”

On the 800-Year History of Women and Whiskey

Ladies and booze and bootleggers.

Why Won’t Orange Is The New Black Acknowledge That Bisexuals Exist?

On bisexual erasure in Orange is the New Black and other popular media.

Key and Peele, “Pirate Shanty”

Key and Peele turn their attention to feminism with an AMAZING send-up of rape culture and every gender norm that you expected to be perpetuated by general piraticalness.

The Original Ghostwriter Behind Nancy Drew Was One of The Most Interesting YA Writers of All Time

An intriguing post about one of the first authors of Nancy Drew (yet to be fully perused by us, but too cool not to include).

The Pitch Meeting for Wishbone, as Imagined by The Toast

“VISIONARY: My winsome Jack Russell Terrier is no mere peddler of phonics. He is the bard, the scop, the muse. He is the flame that lights the cave.”

Have We Mentioned that Mallory Ortberg is The Best?

Happy Internet-ing!

A Brief Programming Update

Hi all — Emily here!

Since we’ve once again hit the truly entropic part of our respective grad school semesters, Kazia and I are going to take a couple of weeks off to get our grades submitted, our seminar papers and conference papers written, and our lives back in some semblance of order. We’re so very delighted that you’ve stuck with us, and we’ll be back soon — just as soon as the semester’s done and we can get back to watching fun tv and reading books that aren’t on syllabi! (We might post in the meantime, but our schedule will be a lot looser for the next few weeks.)

In the meantime, we hope you all have a delightful May. If you’re not yourself buried under papers and books and all of the accoutrements of the end of the semester, here are a few recommendations to amuse yourself with until we come back:

Have fun — we’ll be back soon!

A Basket of Pop Culture Easter Eggs

This week, in honor of the myriad Easter egg hunts that will be happening in the next few days, we’ve decided to collect our own set of pop culture Easter eggs. Plenty of other places on the internet have collected those traditional “Easter eggs” from your favorite pieces of pop culture — there are tons of articles that talk about that time that a Firefly-class ship showed up in Battlestar Galactica, that time that time that the Millennium Falcon showed up in Blade Runner, and those dozens of times that Han Solo in carbonite can be seen in Firefly itself. So instead, we decided to collect some of our favorite delightful little snippets of the internet: a set of eclectic Easter eggs to make your week more fun and colorful.

(Source: Melanie, delightfully wonderful -- and wonderfully creative -- friend of the blog)

(Source: Melanie, delightfully wonderful — and wonderfully creative — friend of the blog)

Two Bossy Dames

Margaret and Sophie curate the internet via blog posts and a newsletter that they’ll send to your email inbox. They’re utterly snazzy and fabulous, and their website wallpaper is Lauren Bacall doing a little shimmy dance.


“Sorry, I can’t get a ride.”

Women on 20s Campaign

Because why should we look at Andrew Jackson all the time when we could be honoring Margaret Sanger, Patsy Mink, or Harriet Tubman?

New Trailer for HBO’s Bessie

Blues. 1920s. Queen Latifah.

Super Awesome Wonder Woman Sweater Pattern

All the world is waiting for you / And the wonders that you do / In your cozy sweater!

Jim Cantore Gets Blissfully Happy about Thundersnow

Because everyone should find the thundersnow for their inner Jim Cantore.

Chris Hemsworth, Sexiest Man Alive, As Imagined by The Toast

“‘Why do we have to kill the old one?’ he’d asked once.”

Founding Fathers (in a Mall)

A perfect comic by the impeccable Kate Beaton in which the Founding Fathers discover such modern novelties as Burger King and Billy the Bass.

Sesame Street Live at NerdHQ

Grover, Cookie Monster, Ernie, Murray, and their Muppeteers make an appearance at last year’s San Diego Comic Con in a heartwarming, funny, cheerful interview conducted by Zachary Levi.

Don Draper 101

Because we all wish we went to a college that offered this course, and not all of us were so lucky.

A Gospel Cover of the “Ballad of Serenity”

The Flash stars Jesse L. Martin, Carlos Valdes, and Rick Cosnett made a gospel a capella cover of the theme song to Joss Whedon’s much beloved sci fi hit Firefly. It’s pretty cunning.

Racebent Hermione Granger

Because it’s time to question our assumptions that all characters are white until described otherwise.

Jess Mariano Is Josie Pye: Your Definitive Character Guide To Stars Hollow and Avonlea

Stars Hollow, Avonlea, and Mallory Ortberg converge in a Venn Diagram of kindred spirits

A Fantastic Profile of Tatiana Maslany

Before Orphan Black comes back for (huzzah!) season three, check out this fabulous profile in the New York Times Magazine by Lili Loofbourow. It’s a really smart piece on Orphan Black, fame, and femininity.

Giles Gets Knocked Down

The greatest montage of Buffy clips set to a ‘90s novelty song that you will ever see.

Happy Procrastinating!

Pop Culture That Makes Us Want to Cook (and Eat)

As we look towards our own Thanksgiving celebrations with friends and family, we’ve gotten thinking about food in pop culture. Thanksgiving has a huge presence in pop culture, and TV all weekend will be focused on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, football games, and marathons of cheesy movies leading into the holiday season. We love all of these aspects of Thanksgiving-y pop culture, but as we prepare for our own Thanksgiving feasts and try to motivate ourselves to plan ambitious menus, we wanted to look at at pop culture that makes us hungry! Here, then, are ten things that are making us want to cook and eat this holiday season:

1. Pushing Daisies

Ned can bring the dead back to life (temporarily, at least) by touching them. He’s also a pie-maker and runs The Pie-Hole, the twee-est of all the twee restaurants in the history of television. Although episodes of Pushing Daisies inevitably pull Ned away from his pie shop so that he can solve weirdly quirky crimes with an eccentric cast of supporting characters, it’s easy to forget about the mystery and just get distracted by the utter gorgeousness of those pies.

(Source: http://vanishingpointchronicles.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/pushing-daisies.jpg)

2. If You Give A Moose a Muffin

“If you give a moose a muffin,” Laura Numeroff notes, “he’ll want some jam to go with it.” Thus begins Numeroff’s circular tale of a distractible moose and his quest for dessert. One of many in a series (If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, If You Give a Cat a Cupcake, etc.), If You Give a Moose a Muffin is particularly hard to resist with Felicia Bond’s cozy autumnal illustrations.

(Source: http://www.harpercollinschildrens.com/harperchildrensImages/isbn/large/7/9780060244057.jpg)

3. Ratatouille

Ratatouille is, in so many ways, a love-letter to good cooking. The climactic scene, in which dour restaurant critic Anton Ego is transported back to fond memories of his childhood by a simple dish of ratatouille, is just so incredibly happy-making. Throughout, with scenes of busy restaurant life and with Remy fantasizing about good food as bursts of color and light, the Pixar team presents an incredibly sensory and gorgeous depiction of both cooking and eating.




(Source: http://maelstrommist.tumblr.com/post/103403952637)

4. Redwall

A community of woodland creatures lives in an abbey in the midst of Mossflower Woods in Brian Jacques’s long-running series. Each book involves heroic journeys, quests, kidnappings, and sieges as the abbey-dwellers inevitably come into conflict with rogue vermin. Each book, however, also includes a number of woodland feasts, with food so lovingly described that it inspired a cookbook. With Deeper’n’Ever Turnip’n’Tater’n’Beetroot Pie, a bowl of Hotroot Soup, and a nice glass of Dandelion Cordial, who wouldn’t want to sit down to a Redwall feast?


(Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/3/34/GreatRedwallFeast.jpg/200px-GreatRedwallFeast.jpg)

5. Parks and Recreation

“We have to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles, work. Or waffles, friends, work. Doesn’t matter, but work is third,” Leslie Knope states. That Leslie Knope – who prides herself in caring about her friends over all other things – can waffle (see what I did there?) between friends and breakfast food shows her dedication to delicious meals. The love that characters on Parks and Rec feel for food knows no bounds, whether it’s Leslie’s passion for waffles and whipped cream, Ron’s obsession with meat, or Ben’s adoration for calzones.

tumblr_n4r8vjcoPp1r4yh8wo3_250 tumblr_n4r8vjcoPp1r4yh8wo7_r2_250

tumblr_n4r8vjcoPp1r4yh8wo4_250 tumblr_n4r8vjcoPp1r4yh8wo8_r2_250

(Source: http://thelittlesnicketlass.tumblr.com/post/85421387002/why-would-anybody-ever-eat-anything-besides)

6. Harry Potter

J.K. Rowling’s descriptions of meals that spring up in the Great Hall, butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks, and Mrs. Weasley’s home-cooked meals have no rival.


(Source: http://unworthyofmyname.tumblr.com/post/18509385701)  

7. Relish

Although we’ve talked about Relish before, this list would be incomplete without another shout-out to Lucy Knisley’s food memoir. Knisley’s descriptions of meals and her beautifully illustrated recipes are sure to make any reader head to the kitchen.


(Source: https://tothelamppost.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/b2563-relishscan.jpg)

8. Gilmore Girls – A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving

Rory and Lorelai Gilmore are notorious for their eating habits. A huge amount of the action of the show centers around food-related locations: Luke’s Diner, Lorelai’s parents’ house for Friday Night dinners (so much drama!), or Sookie’s kitchen at the Inn. Although the Gilmore girls may be able to consume inhuman amounts of food in virtually every episode, far and away the most impressive episode is “A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving” in which the Gilmore girls navigate the tricky world of Thanksgiving dinner-hopping. It’s impossible not get hungry while watching this (or any other) episode!




(Source: http://chickenfingerkid.tumblr.com/post/36075186237/ready-for-thanksgiving)

9. The Lord of the Rings

Sam Gamgee is often figured as the comic-relief-with-a-heart-of-gold in The Lord of the Rings (both Tolkien’s books and Jackson’s films). But there’s something so incredibly noble about his determination to cook crispy bacon on Weathertop and to find some nice conies outside of Mordor. After all, what’s the point of going on a world-saving quest if you can’t still plan to make a nice dinner?

tumblr_n9kx5nSoZz1qmgwmbo8_250tumblr_n9kx5nSoZz1qmgwmbo5_250 tumblr_n9kx5nSoZz1qmgwmbo7_250 tumblr_n9kx5nSoZz1qmgwmbo4_250 tumblr_n9kx5nSoZz1qmgwmbo3_250 tumblr_n9kx5nSoZz1qmgwmbo1_250

(Source: http://maelstrommist.tumblr.com/post/103403580782)

10. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

When the Peanuts gang is left alone to fend for themselves for Thanksgiving dinner, Charlie Brown makes a feast of toast, pretzels, popcorn, and jelly beans. Once we get over our ambition to make cakes worthy of Gilmore Girls’s Sookie St. James, waffles worthy of Parks and Rec’s Leslie Knope, and French comfort food worthy of Ratatouille’s Remy the rat, it’s nice to at least assure ourselves of our ability to make a feast equal to that of Charlie Brown and his friends.

tumblr_mwyf6qIU9x1rpf2e8o5_250 tumblr_mwyf6qIU9x1rpf2e8o6_250

(Source: http://maelstrommist.tumblr.com/post/103403736062/shefadestoblack-we-should-just-be-thankful-for)

Happy Eating!

Ten Autumnal Favorites

As the season continues to change and the brisk days of autumn get colder and shorter, we thought it was time to take a look at some of our favorite autumnal media – the cozy, melancholy, hopeful things we love to pair with thick sweaters and apple cider. Here are our picks!

Kazia’s Picks:

1. Sense and Sensibility. I know we’ve mentioned Jane Austen a time or two before on this blog, but Austen’s first published book is my favorite gloomy-yet-hopeful story and a must-read for me each fall. Each character holds so much emotion – internal Elinor, “prone to these dark moods from time to time” Edward, and heart-on-her-sleeve Marianne. Their ways of making do under new and trying circumstances combined with the intense melancholy and the cold but cozy feeling of cottage life make it the ideal book to curl up with in the fall, when things are changing and feel uncertain.

2. Inkheart. Meggie has always loved books, a love she shares with her bookbinder father Mo. When, on a dark and stormy night, a mysterious man named Dustfinger arrives on their doorstep, Meggie is thrust into an adventure that tests her understanding of herself and her family. Filled with magic, delicious names like Silvertongue and Capricorn, and quotes and sketches (done by the author herself!) that bookend each chapter, Cornelia Funke’s book about books is the perfect autumn treat – and just the right thickness – to cozy up with as the leaves change.

3. Sylvia Plath, especially The Bell Jar. With equal parts despair and hope, The Bell Jar has the huge range of emotions that I associate both with school and the fall.

4. The 1994 adaptation of Little Women. I know that this is a very contentious adaptation, but I love it to no end. Although I have tons of personal familial nostalgia wrapped up in my love for the film, I also think it has all the autumn feelings. There’s birth, death, good relationships, bad relationships, and family. There’s the New England locale (bonus: very close to my hometown!), the simultaneous desire for everything to stay the same and everything to change, and the Marmee pep talk I need to hear consistently throughout each school year. There are also glorious costumes, a wonderful cast, and a beautiful Thomas Newman score.

5. When autumn rolls around, I’m always in the mood for folky, melancholic, comfortable songs like Lily & Madeleine’s “Sounds like Somewhere,” Mumford & Sons’s “Winter Winds,” Alexi Murdoch’s “All My Days,” and Joni Mitchell’s “Urge for Going.”


Emily’s Picks:

1. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. An alternate-history fantasy novel about rival magicians, faerie kingdoms, the Napoleonic Wars, and the mid-nineteenth-century renaissance of practical magic in England, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is just the sort of book I love curling up with on a cold autumn afternoon. It’s spooky and dark, with madness, war, and faerie abductions, but it’s also delightful and comforting, with a series of footnotes which are charmingly pedantic about the “history” of British magic and an utterly wonderful narrator who seems like what might result if history had made it possible for Edgar Allan Poe to have asked Jane Austen to ghost-write his short stories. At 782 pages, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell isn’t a fast read, but it’s a perfect novel to get absorbed in when the days are getting shorter and all you want is a blanket, hot cider, and a good book.

2. December. Okay, I admit that this album contains a lot of Christmas music for a list about autumnal media, but George Winston’s album of solo piano music inspired by the start of the holiday season is calm and meditative and gorgeous. Because we listened to this album a lot when I was growing up, my reaction to December is very much colored by nostalgia and childhood memories of pumpkin bread, family, and togetherness. But Winston’s quiet, beautiful music seems so perfectly in tune with this increasingly cold and dark – but also expectant and hopeful – time of year. Regardless of your personal opinion about the propriety of listening to Christmas music before the month of December actually begins, I very much recommend that you at least check out the opening track, “Thanksgiving.”

3. A Wrinkle in Time. Fall also seems like the perfect time to revisit old favorites, and to that end, I keep coming back to Madeleine L’Engle’s science fiction novel about a smart and awkward teenage girl who comes into her own as she saves her father and brother from a terrifyingly powerful telepathic force. In telling this story about an interplanetary evil, A Wrinkle in Time plays with the balance between darkness and hope that seems central to so many of our autumnal media selections. Although Mallory Ortberg of The Toast has recently – and hilariously – pointed out how truly obnoxious one of the supporting characters is, L’Engle’s book about the power of nonconformity, the strength of familial love, and the awesomeness of geek girls has a special place in my heart.

4. Friends: Season 1, Episode 9. “The One Where Underdog Gets Away.” Of course, as much as autumnal pop culture embraces the gloominess of short, cold November days, this media also focuses on the communal gatherings which keep the cold at bay. Friends always had fun with its Thanksgiving episodes, perhaps because the central conceit of Friends – that twentysomethings turn their friend groups into their own surrogate families – fits so well with the holiday. But the show’s first Thanksgiving foray, “The One Where Underdog Gets Away,” is a particularly delightful episode. Monica decides to host her first Thanksgiving dinner after finding out that her parents are going out of town for the holiday: through a series of sit-com mishaps, the rest of the gang ends up joining her for dinner. Although the dinner itself ends up ruined, the friends all gather in Monica’s apartment to celebrate the holiday together – albeit with grilled cheese. It’s a charming and cozy episode with funny character beats (Phoebe celebrates Thanksgiving on a lunar schedule, while Chandler boycotts all the Pilgrim holidays) and genuine heart.

5. Anne of Green Gables series. Finally, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables books (and the 1980s miniseries which dramatized them) are delightfully autumnal in all the best ways. Anne Shirley is an orphan girl who gets adopted by a pair of elderly siblings and goes to live on the gorgeously picturesque Prince Edward Island. There, she grows up while basking in the glorious Romanticism of the world around her and the whimsy of her own imaginings. Anne’s intensely optimistic approach to the world — coupled with her fascination with a certain sort of artistic, dramatic tragedy — just makes me want to go outside and enjoy the brisk fall air and everything it might symbolize. After all, these are books in which Anne announces how glad she is that she lives in a world in which there are Octobers and in which the narrator calls November “the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines.” It’s somehow a lot harder to grumble about how windy it is outside when you’re thinking about Anne’s deep, sad hymns of the sea.

Anyway, we hope you enjoy finding some new recommendations!

Happy Autumn!