2018 was quite a year. Immortal Perfumes saw a 30% increase in business (THANK YOU!). My hope is to keep that forward momentum into 2019 and offer you fun new content in both blog and audio form, new perfumed products, and of course, new historical perfumes that hopefully become your new signature scents.
This past year was a journey for me. I had to re-identify my priorities and chart a course into unknown waters. So basically LIFE. I’m feeling stronger and more fierce than I have in two years and a lot of that was thanks to some pretty great books, movies, TV shows, and podcasts that helped me get out of my head.
So I present to you all of my loves of 2018. Hope you find something you like!
Gods Behaving Badly
This was published in 2007 and yet I only found it this year. I listened on audio (actually I’ve listened twice!). In the novel, all of the major gods and goddesses of ancient Greece are now living their immortal lives in a decrepit house in London. They have millennial tastes and deal with waning fame and popularity. This book is hilarious in a dry, British sense of humor type manner. Everyone in the book is extremely selfish and awful, yet I loved them for it.
Published in 2016, Eligible has been on my list ever since it came out. This is another book I listened to (also twice!) and is a supremely modern take on Pride and Prejudice. In the book, Longbourn is in Cincinnati, all the Bennet sisters are considerably older (ranging from 23 to almost 40), and this is another instance where all the characters are horrible. I think this take actually made me realize that they’re all kind of terrible in Jane Austen’s original work but it was more hidden behind the gentility. I’m not sure if this is better to read or listen to but the originality of a well-worn story made it enjoyable for me.
Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession
This was the third book in the Tudor Queens series by Alison Weir. I absolutely love these books because they are extremely well researched and told from the perspective of those who have been vilified or cast aside by history. Anne is an early feminist in this book and as delicious as ever. That said, it is possible to OD on the Tudor literature so I’m actually taking a break. I still haven’t gotten to the Jane Seymore book that came out in May. Here’s my full review of this book.
This is another variation on Pride and Prejudice that came out in 2013. The writing is beautiful, clearly modeled on Austen’s tone and pacing. This story is a downstairs retelling and I enjoyed the glimpses of the Bennets from the other side. I will admit part of the appeal of this was I had no idea where it was going when it started so I was intrigued. I think it was good throughout but I was kind of thinking there would be more to the story.
The Rules of Magic
Here is a prequel that I think is better than the original. The Rules of Magic is a witchy coming of age of the Aunts in Practical Magic. Family curses, hexes, tragic deaths, this book had it all. The writing was gorgeous throughout and I loved having more backstory to the mysterious characters of the original.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon
I can no longer handle children’s music and I need something to listen to when I’m shuttling my kindergartner around to school and her various activities. We both enjoy magic, witches, and darker fairy tales so this book fit the bill. Even if you don’t have kids, this book is highly original and intriguing for those who enjoy some Neil Gaiman or Holly Black.
Stephen Frye narrates this dark history of Victorian oddities. I LOVED IT. I listened while I worked and it gave me a whole new context for some of the weird stuff Victorians were into. My favorite episodes were the ones about Spiritualists, Sherlock Holmes, and Afro-British history. This show is peculiar and intriguing with high production value. You can get the whole thing on Audible.
Another podcast by Aaron Mahnke of Lore fame, this is an exploration of the context behind the Salem Witch trials. It’s well researched, produced and very interesting.
Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness
JVN is the grooming expert on the latest iteration of Queen Eye (I meant to write Queer Eye but I’m going to leave this typo because I think Jonathan would have wanted it this way). He’s hilarious and over the top but also really smart and interested in fascinating things. Some of my favorite episodes were about Brexit, the science of bees, and of course, Who Was the Beyoncé of Renaissance Art?
The rest of my podcast recommendations can be found here.
Movies and TV Shows
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
I love this show so much that as soon as I finished watching it I got depressed because I felt like my friends were gone. Then they had a Midwinter special and I was SO HAPPY…until it was over. But Netflix has already approved it through season 4 so now it’s a matter of waiting.
This take on Sabrina The Teenaged Witch is based on a horror revamp of the original comic. There is a whole lot of Satan in this show and these are bad, scary witches. Sabrina herself is torn between two worlds and is also a little feminist growing up in an ultra-patriarchal world. The costumes, makeup and cinematography are DIVINE. I hope the series remains strong because this was probably my favorite thing this year.
The Haunting of Hill House
I LOVE Shirley Jackson and Stephen King and Stephen King said this was stellar. So I checked it out and…I’m only on the third episode because I get too scared. The Bent Neck Lady I’ve only seen once or twice so far yet cannot stop thinking about and anytime I wake up in the middle of the night I’m convinced she will be there staring down at me. I will finish the show eventually, but I will be watching one episode at a time at 2 o’clock in the afternoon.
Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling was a real thing in the 1980s. This delightful Netflix show is both hilarious and dramatic and features quirky characters with messy relationships. Superb acting and ridiculous 80s costumes and makeup make this one a hit for me.
The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell
This is not historical it is just plain weird and twisted. Think Martha Stewart meets Tim Burton with murderous Jim Henson puppets thrown in the mix. I can’t look away.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
On this the year that I developed a taste for terrible Hallmark Christmas movies, this felt like a World War II Hallmark movie. Great actors and very well done in terms of cinematography and costumes, but a bit cheesy. I had never read the book so didn’t know what to expect but I enjoyed it.
This is a Canadian show with horrible production quality but I could not look away. The premise is that Wynona is a descendent of Wyatt Earp and she has to kill all the demon Revenants (bad guys Wyatt put away who are now in human form in the 21st century). Undead Doc Holiday is her friend. It combines a lot of things I enjoy: westerns, demons, history, badass ladies and undead Doc Holiday. It’s terrible and I love it.
I had no idea this was a Margaret Atwood book and wow. Loved it. I watched this at the very beginning of 2018 so to be honest I can’t quite remember everything that happened but I loved that it was dark, brooding and had both the who dunnit and the spiritualist aspect to it. This was also one of the first pieces of media I consumed after a dark period and as I was watching all I could think was, “wow I feel like myself again because I like this.” I don’t know what that means, but there you go.
American Horror Story Apocalypse
This show is hit or miss. The first four to five episodes are usually pretty fun and then it’s a whole lot of filler until the final episode where you remember why you loved it in the first place. This season is just fantastic throughout. Mostly because they just took the two best seasons, Murder House and Coven, and combined them together. This is another show with OUTSTANDING costumes and makeup. It too has a lot of Satan. Don’t make the same mistake as me and watch both Apocalypse and Sabrina at the same time. I had some pretty disturbing dreams for a few months.
Things I Wanted More Out Of
Season 2 of The Crown
Unpopular opinion, but I just couldn’t get into it. I found it boring this time around.
The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel
Ok, as you may remember from my blog post, this was my most anticipated read of 2018. And I did like it and I plowed through it pretty fast. But I guess my issue was that I didn’t know it was romance. I loved that Katrina got a voice and was feminist in an ultra-rigid Puritanical society. But three things bugged me. 1. Katrina is just world’s worst friend. Her best friend in the story is the daughter of the town midwife and everyone thinks she’s a witch. Katrina basically orders her around and guilts her anytime she doesn’t do exactly what Katrina wants exactly when she wants it. That really bothered me. 2. I’m not anti-romance novel but I am also a prude and found the sex scenes uncomfortable. Mostly because the whole time I was like “GIRL, YOUR DAD IS GONNA FIND OUT AND YOUR’RE GONNA BE SCARLET LETTERED!” and also because the name Ichabod is not sexy and reading people moan that or say sexy things about it is just so so weird. 3. I felt like the Sleepy Hollow story was just kind of thrown in every so often so it could be said this was a Sleepy Hollow story. However, I thought the writer was very talented. It was well-written and I think it definitely has an audience.
Here’s to 2019 and the media we shall soon consume!