Home Life Style Episode #159: Our All-Time Favorite Spooky Movies

Episode #159: Our All-Time Favorite Spooky Movies



Happy Halloween! Today, we are discussing our all-time favorite spooky movies. We are also talking about one of our book club selections, Sea of Tranquility.

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Show Notes:

Favorite spooky movies:

Emma – Practical Magic, Harry Potter series, Van Helsing, and House

Elsie – Rosemary’s Baby, The Addams Family, Casper, Phantom of the Paradise, and Audrey Rose

Tell us in the comments what books you would like included in our next book club selection!

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Episode 159 Transcript:

Elsie: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess Podcast. Happy Halloween to everyone who listens to our podcast every Monday. Today we’re going to discuss some of our all-time favorite spooky movies. And we’re also going to discuss one of our book club selections, Sea of Tranquility. I am so excited for this. There is nothing I love more than talking about movies on the podcast. I almost feel like we should have just started a movie podcast because we talk about them so often. 

Emma: Who says we didn’t?

Elsie: Right, but it’s fine.  Movies add so much joy to my life because to me, out of all of the forms of entertainment, and I love music, and I love TV. I love all of it. I feel like movies are  full expression of a vision, you know, like, I feel like you really get to live in the world but just for a moment.  The story can be perfect because you don’t have to write a long, you know, it’s just, it’s wonderful. 

Emma: I agree. 

Elsie: So this week, we’re going to do our top three favorite spooky movies, plus honorable mentions, because, you know, we had to, and I tried to put movies that are not actually scary. So I’m just putting that out there at the beginning, the movies that I picked, none of them are terribly scary. Because I know a lot of people just don’t watch any horror movies because they’re turned off from the whole category.  I think it’s such a shame, and I have to advocate for my horror BFFs because they’re actually wonderful movies, and some of them are barely scary at all. 

Emma: Yeah, to be honest, I didn’t even put any horror movies on mine. I mean, technically, my honorable mention is one, I guess, but it’s more just silly. You’ll see.  I thought you would because you’re kind of my horror movie friend. So yeah, all of mine are not really scary. They’re PG-13 or something like that.

Elsie: I think it’s pretty hard to say what’s horror, and what’s spooky. You know what I mean? 

Emma: That’s true. 

Elsie: Yeah. I don’t know. But yeah, let’s jump into it. This is so much fun. Okay, so do you want to share your first one? 

Emma: Yes.  So we’re doing top three and I decided that each of my three was going to be kind of a different genre, all spooky, but different genres. So my first one is kind of my favorite rom-com of the spooky movies. Practical Magic.

Elsie: Practical Magic is so good. I watched it recently, in my office while I was working. Sometime last year, I don’t even think it was in the fall, we watched it together.  That was actually my first time to see it. So for anyone who hasn’t watched it, it is a very old movie.  It ages very well. It holds up. It’s still excellent. It’s so much fun. So I definitely recommend it. I kinda stole your moment.  

Emma: No, you’re good, you’re good.  It has a great movie house. So if you don’t even care about witches or great movies, it at least has a great movie house so you can get into that. And then also a listener reminded me of this one of the last times we mentioned Practical Magic, but it’s based off of an Alice Hoffman book series. 

Elsie: I just found that out. I actually did not know that it was based off a book series. So I put that on my to read.  Have you read one?

Emma: I’ve read that author before but not the series, which I didn’t even realize this movie… Once someone said it, I was like, Oh, yeah. Did I already know that and I’d forgotten?  Or is it just like, totally fits in my mind? I don’t totally know but at any rate, I was like, oh, yeah, that makes sense because a lot of her books, one of the themes tends to be domestic violence. That’s something that happens in this movie, too.  There’s always very strong female characters and female characters helping each other out and creating their own family at times, or they are a family sometimes. Anyway, so as soon as someone said it, I was like, oh, yeah, it makes sense that this is one of her books, and it’s really fun. And it’s very spooky, too. It’s got spells and all sorts of things in it.

Elsie: Rising from the dead. 

Emma: Yeah.  A-huh a-huh.

Elsie: It’s my absolute fantasy that someday when we’re having a family holiday weekend or something where we’re all staying in the same house that we can do midnight margaritas. 

Emma: Yes. Let’s do it. I know our sister-in-law will do it with us. 

Elsie: I love it.  All right. So my first movie, why am I like this? I just put Rosemary’s Baby. Why am I like this? Okay, so is it a horror movie? Sure, a little bit, but it is not that scary at all. It’s not gory. It’s not gross.  It’s a little bit spooky. 

Emma: It’s spooky. 

Elsie: It’s not extremely violent. It has, you know, the one part. 

Emma: Yeah, I’d say it’s a little violent. 

Elsie: It seems extremely unrealistic if that helps. I don’t know, for me, I guess minus the one part, it’s a pretty nostalgic, nice, happy movie that I just enjoy watching as actually a comfort movie. So I watch it every year. Yeah, no, honestly, I watch it like five times a year. I watch it all the time.  I love the movie house, the movie house is very special and there’s other movie houses in it. The neighbors have an amazing home.  It has New York from I think it was late 60s, which I always love to see. I love any historic movie, or older movie that has New York, it’s just wonderful. So anyway, it’s my favorite.  I have been envisioning how I can make sort of a fan art in my life. I’ve been planning that in the future. When I have a fireplace to remodel that I’m going to exactly replicate the fireplace from the Rosemary’s Baby apartment, which is an amazing molded fireplace and the molding in the very center is like a seashell. And it’s fantastic.  I think it’ll actually be a pretty easy project to pull off because you can buy wood moldings like that on Etsy and stuff, and I just think it’d be really fun. So what’s your next one? 

Emma: I love it. My next one is a series, family-friendly overall. It’s the Harry Potter series.  I think of them as both Halloween and Christmas movies, because they take place over a school year. So I feel like they count for both. But you know, just for fun. I thought I’d say what some of my favorites of the series are.  These are my favorite movies, not necessarily books, although I don’t really have a favorite book, but I really love Goblet of Fire. That’s when there’s the Tri-wizard Tournament and there’s dragons and I love the dragons. I love that part. And then I also love Half-Blood Prince. We were talking in the last episode about Horcruxes and in that one, it’s actually the second Horcrux but the first one they didn’t even realize was in Chamber of Secrets.  On that one Dumbledore and Harry go to this cliff area and into the spooky cave and have to uncover this Horcrux and that whole scene I just think is really lovely.  I love how they did it in the movies. I think it’s really on the line of creepy for a kid’s movie and just really sticks with you, something of nightmares. I love it very much.

Elsie: Well, yeah, from a Halloween perspective the pumpkin dining room in the first Harry Potter movie is everything to me. 

Emma: True 

Elsie: It is EVERYTHING that I want in my life for my kids’ childhood, for my own memories, for everything, there’s just nothing more beautiful or more perfect than that scene and I love that the movie. The first movie has Halloween and Christmas both represented in the big dining room scenes because those are kind of always my favorite.  It’s just overwhelmingly gorgeous.  I don’t think you watched the recent little reunion special that they did but they said that a lot of the candles were real candles. 

Emma: Oh wow. 

Elsie: They were real dripping candles tied up there. Which is mind-blowing.

Emma: No, I love the cafeteria scenes, that Great Hall. All those scenes are so good. I think I love any movie scene where there’s lots and lots of food, there’s a feast happening or whatever.  Those are my favorite scenes from Hook too, whenever there’s that colorful feast. I don’t know what it is. It feels like a Thanksgiving scene. You know? It’s just like this big fun. I like food. What can I say? 

Elsie: That’s true. Okay, my next movie is one of the greatest movie houses of all time. Of any movie of all time of any category. It is a children’s movie and it is The Addams Family. The Addams Family, the set design, the costumes, the casting, everything about it is perfect. I don’t think there’s anything about the movies that aren’t perfect.  Angelica Houston as Morticia Addams is my celebrity crush if I have to pick just one. So anyway, I love to watch The Addams Family every, I would say once a year, once every two years. I watch them both and they’re so beautiful.  Just the aesthetic is, it’s kind of like what everyone on Tiktok and Instagram wishes they could be at Halloween. 

Emma: Well, yeah, of course. 

Elsie: Yeah, it’s gorgeous. So I’m very in love with it. I would love to do an Addams Family dollhouse someday. 

Emma: Oh, you should, that would be so fun. Yes, you should do that for yourself for hobbies. Yes, yes. The kids can play with it, but you know, it’s for you.

Elsie: The kids are desecrating my spooky dollhouse, right now, and that’s fine. 

Emma: Yeah. Well, and that’s what kids do they mess up your stuff. That’s how it goes. 

Elsie: Yeah, I like it. Okay, what’s your third one?

Emma: Yes. Okay, my third one. So I actually love action movies. 

Elsie: Okay, this is where we part ways.

Emma: Elsie’s like, no to the action movies. And I’m like, I’ve seen every Marvel movie. I love action movies. I don’t know. So not even necessarily superheroes, I like superhero movies but I generally just like action movies. I think they’re fun. I like the pacing. So I was like, Okay, well, what’s a spooky action movie that’s not necessarily horror, per se? And so of course, most of the ones I thought of were monster movies, so I was like, oh, yeah, we gotta have a monster movie on the list. So I decided to put on my list, Van Helsing.  I think it came out when I was in high school, or I had just graduated high school. It’s pretty old.  My all-time favorite celebrity crushes in it, Mr. Hugh Jackman.  I also think it’s fun. Oh, by the way, this is not spooky. It’s very campy. It is kind of a little gory but it’s like PG-13. So just if you’ve never seen it and you’re curious, it’s not really scary, but it does have violence. So Van Helsing is like a famous Monster Hunter historically.  What I like about this movie is a number of things, but it has a lot of monsters in it. So he’s hunting Dracula, and Dracula’s three brides in the movie.  Dracula is using the Frankenstein monster to raise an undead army. There’s also Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the very beginning of the movie. So there’s just a whole, it’s like they were like, anything you can think of that’s old-timey, spooky. Let’s put that in this movie. So it’s a bit of a mash-up. It’s kind of wild. It’s very campy and silly and Hugh Jackman is gorgeous in it.  There’s a werewolf. Yeah, it’s just wild. So it’s pretty fun.

Elsie: That sounds amazing. I’ve never seen it. But I think it sounds hilarious. And I think it’s absolutely a trip that you put it on the list. 

Emma: Yeah, I love it. 

Elsie: Okay. My third movie is also a children’s movie classic, never to be f@$k#$ with and it is Casper. Casper is magical. I have been trying, this year will be my third year in a row to try to get my kids into it. And I will die on this hill. I will do anything. I don’t care how many years it takes. Eventually, they will feel the magic because they will feel everything I felt when I was a little kid. 

Emma: They will feel the magic whether they want to or not.

Elsie: But I think I was a little bit older. So that’s probably why they’re still very in the cartoon age. So anyway, the other thing, we were talking on the podcast a couple of weeks ago about the Light and Magic Docu series on Disney Plus and Casper was also a part of that, showing how they made all the ghost and at the time it was very innovative. And I think that’s very fun to think about too because it was a big step for digital animation.  I think anytime you watch a movie like that or also like Jurassic Park and you think how early they were to that new technology and how good it still looks because a lot of things obviously look so bad. They still look amazing!  So I have to also give them props for that. It’s a work of art. 

Emma: Oh, yeah. Old school special effects are just so cool.  Just so creative. Just yeah. Really, really neat. Really neat engineering. 

Elsie: Okay, honorable mention.

Emma: I only put one down but you can have as many as you want, just so you know.  I wanted to put a horror movie just so I could seem cool but I can’t handle horror movies, because I’m actually not cool. So the one that I wanted to put on here is just kind of wild and wacky and it’s called House.  I watched this with Elsie and Jeremy and my husband, I think last year or the year before.  I believe it’s Japanese. 

Elsie: It’s Japanese. 

Emma: It’s just about a group of young women who end up at this weird house, and they’re kind of getting killed one by one.  

Elsie: It’s extremely silly. 

Emma: Yeah. 

Elsie: And the effects are extremely, like at one point, they’re riding on a raft and the house is filling up with blood, things like that. 

Emma: Blood is squirting and it’s kind of silly. Things like that happen.  Or there’s a piano that eats someone’s fingers. 

Elsie: It’s a great movie to watch if you want to watch something that is light-hearted and kind of a lot of funny moments. And it also you know, fits the spooky season. And it’s also a classic so if you say that you like it, you’ll sound cool if you’re around snobs. 

Emma: Exactly, that’s why I’m bringing it up. So in case there’s any snobs listening, they can be like Emma’s cool. So…

Elsie: There’s no snobs listening, I promise you that. 

Emma: Yeah, well, I had to follow Van Helsing with something. So, what’s your honorable mention? 

Elsie: This year, okay, so every year, we find a few obscure 70s horror movies that we’ve never seen before.  It gets harder and harder every year to find more but that’s how we found, House, and we found so many others. And to be completely honest, most of them aren’t good because obviously, we’re watching movies that no one’s ever recommended.  We’re looking at these lists of 100 best movies from the 70s, or things like that.  Then we’re finding movies that just have kind of never been recommended by anyone in this decade.  Movies that people forgot about, right? 

Emma: Yeah, yeah. 

Elsie: But for me, personally, I would watch any movie from the 70s, no matter what it was about because I just like to look at it, I like to see the houses, see the set design. It’s something that I’m visually very inspired by and very interested in. So yeah, if it’s from the 60s or 70s, I will watch it no matter what the content. But this year, we actually found two new movies that we had never heard of before, that were both pretty good.  So I’m going to tell you about those, which it’s seriously a small miracle because we’ve been doing this for like 10 years, a small miracle to find two in one year that are noteworthy. So the first one is called, Phantom of the Paradise. Phantom of the Paradise, I would say it aligns with anyone who enjoyed the Rocky Horror Picture Show, kind of goes into that category. It’s very 70s. It is a musical. The music in it is amazing.  After we watched it, and we were about, I would say three-fourths through it, we were like, Oh my God, I want to know everything about this movie, because why don’t people recommend it all the time.  We read that in the box office statistics, it was a failure but it won a lot of awards for the music and was nominated a lot. So it did get recognition and it is totally worth it if you like musicals, if you like the 70s. And if you just generally like costumes, then I would highly recommend it. It’s very fun.  It’s very silly. It has some other actors from other 70s horror movies like Suspiria. So it feels like all your friends are here. And then the second one is called, Audrey Rose. Have you ever heard of this? 

Emma: No. 

Elsie: Okay, so Audrey Rose is from a book.  It is starring a young Anthony Hopkins, which was so interesting because I’ve never seen him at this age before in a movie.  He was probably in his 30s maybe, and he was adorable. Anyway, it’s a movie about reincarnation.  So since it’s from the 70s, something that I’ll say upfront about it is that you have to forgive the fact that they spent a lot of time explaining to you what reincarnation is.  That part of the movie did not age well, because you’re like ah-duh, but at the time, people probably needed that basic education. So that part is a little cheesy for me and if they redid it for now, it could be much better.  The good thing about it, I will say is first of all the apartment and restaurants. It’s 1970s in New York City, there was an all red booth Steakhouse, like everything I love to look at that pleases my eyes. And also, the story is, I kind of feel like you could use it as a jumping off board to make a really fun fan-fiction or something because it’s actually a really cool story. It just doesn’t quite work if you believe in reincarnation, which I do, but it’s still pretty good. And I think the fact that I’ve never heard of it before, as such a huge fan, I just want to put it out there. I would definitely recommend watching it if you like 70s horror movies. 

Emma: Hmm. Sounds interesting. 

Elsie: Jeremy said he was not bored.  The whole time he was curious what they were going to do with it. 

Emma: Yeah, that’s a good review. Jeremy said he was not bored. 

Elsie: It is a good review. Yeah, cuz sometimes, some horror movies are boring. You know, if it’s predictable if it’s one note. 

Emma: No, totally, those are good honorable mentions. 

Elsie: It was so exciting to find two in one year, I can’t tell you.  So if anyone has obscure horror movie recommendations, send them to me at any time. You never know. I would love to hear them.

Emma: I love it. Let’s discuss one of our book selections from our book club this season, which is Sea of Tranquility, by Emily St. John Mandel. 

Elsie: Yes. Okay.  So before we jump in, I want to say I have enjoyed all three of her books. I think she only has three books, is that correct? 

Emma: I’m not really sure I know of three. 

Elsie: So this year, I read, Station 11, and then The Glass Hotel, and then Sea of Tranquility.  They are all very good.  For me, they’re all five stars. I really enjoyed them. This one I even would rate is my favorite or a tie with station 11. So it’s very good.  I’ve told everyone to read it. I think that it has everything I liked from Station 11 because it has a world ending pandemic, which I love in a novel.  I just love end of the world. When I first heard about Station 11.. Can I tell you how I heard about station 11? 

Emma: Yeah.  We got a super fan, everyone. 

Elsie: When I heard about Station 11, it was from the TV show and I didn’t know it was a book.  I guess it was a bestseller 10 years ago. Well, I didn’t know that.  I just watched the TV show and I loved it. It gave me a bad, a horrible nightmare so I felt like it was very effective, and a very good TV show.  Then when I found out it was a book, I read it because I heard it was a little bit different. And I was like, Okay, I’m still in, I still want more and I totally enjoyed that. So pretty much anything she does, she can do no wrong. One of the questions people always ask me is if you have to read these in a certain order, so I want to address that. So these are not sequels and is not a series and you do not have to read them in a certain order. I almost think it wouldn’t matter but there are easter eggs, there’s a lot of easter eggs, and a lot of characters overlapping in all her books.  I think that’s just her thing as a writer, but I don’t think it is going to ruin or spoil any of the books. 

Emma: Yeah, for example, I read Station 11 in probably 2018 or maybe even before that, long before 2020.  So yeah, and I loved it, loved Station 11. I’ve never read The Glass Hotel, and I just read a Sea of Tranquility and I loved it.  There were little things that I was like, oh, yeah, this is a little bit Station 11, but I didn’t think it really mattered. I very much enjoyed this book without really even remembering Station 11 that well, because again, it’s been years since I read it and then I haven’t even read The Glass Hotel.  So if you’re nervous about that, I mean, go ahead and read all three because this author is awesome. But if you happen to have this book, and you’re just on a plane and you’re like, oh, maybe I shouldn’t read it. It’s like, you’re good, go ahead and read it. You’ll love it. So I did it’s not a big deal. 

Elsie: Yeah, I think that no matter what order you read them in the character overlaps are interesting. And you know, cool. It’s just, think of it as an Easter egg. Don’t think of it as a spoiler.

Emma: Yeah, I think that’s a good way to put it. I was gonna let Elsie give a synopsis of the book, which is a little hard because this book deals with time travel and a number of other themes, but I think it’s the time travel for me, that gives the synopsis a bit of a pickle to explain it. So good luck.

Elsie: Okay, I’m just gonna read a few lines from the inside flap of the book. 

Emma: Smart. 

Elsie: Yeah. Okay, so it’s saying Edwin St. Andrew is 18 years old when he crosses the Atlantic by steamship exiled from polite English society following an ill conceived something at a dinner party. He enters the forest spellbound by the beauty of the Canadian wilderness and suddenly hears notes of violin echoing in an airship terminal. So that’s the first storyline. Two centuries later, a famous writer Olive Llewellyn is on a book tour. She’s traveling all over Earth, but her home is on the second moon colony, a place of white stones, spires, towers, and artificial beauty within the text of all his best-selling pandemic novel lies a strange passage.  A man plays his violin for spare change in the echoing corridor of an airship terminal as the trees of the forest rise around him. And then the last one is when Gaspery Roberts, a hotel detective. In the black sky, the Night City is hired to investigate an anomaly in the North American wilderness. He uncovers a series of lives upended. Okay, so yeah, I don’t know if that really gives you anything, I will tell you what I think the book is about. 

Emma: Okay.  

Elsie: So there’s a lot of different storylines, a lot of different characters. This is why I would recommend the audiobook because they do the thing where different people perform the different characters, which I think makes it easier to follow this type of story.  I listened to it pretty quickly, I think in a day or two.  It’s kind of a short book compared to, I think it was maybe seven hours or something like that, which is short for a novel. And I thought it was captivating.  Everyone’s gonna have their favorite characters. My favorite was the Olive Llewellyn character, for sure, because she has an end of the world storyline where she’s trying to get back to a child. So, can’t not love that, that is a very lovable storyline. But there’s just a lot of other things that tie together in very interesting ways. And it’s weird, it’s a weird book. And that’s something that I have found a hard to find quality in novels, is just weird, like weird, and it works. And you love it. And it’s good. And it’s still a contagious book that you can’t put down. So that’s how I would describe it.

Emma: Yeah, I agree. So there’s mainly one thing in the book that I would consider a spoiler. Okay, so let’s just go ahead and say that we’re now moving into a section where we may or may not talk about that. So if you haven’t read this book yet, and you’re worried about a spoiler, then go ahead and skip this part until you’ve read the book. Okay, so I think we should definitely talk about simulation hypothesis, or sometimes I think it’s called simulation theory. I don’t know if it’s a theme in the book, but essentially, the folks who are at the Time Institute, so they’re doing time traveling, they’re doing an investigation across all these different times with meeting up with some of these different characters. And you as a reader don’t realize that until later in the book, and then you kind of revisit scenes that you’ve already read with a new lens. So what they’re trying to uncover is they think that the thing that Elsie just read to you about the synopsis, the violin music in the Air Terminal, is a glitch in the time system and that glitch kind of uncovers the fact that we’re all living in a simulation, which is what simulation hypothesis is, it’s the belief or the hypothesis, that we’re living in a computer simulation that life isn’t real, that some other being has created this and this is sort, you know, The Matrix.

Elsie: Or like it’s real but there’s another layer behind it. 

Emma: Yeah, yeah. Something like that. So I always think of Elon Musk on the Joe Rogan podcast when anyone says, simulation theory. 

Elsie: Let’s not give a Joe Rogan shout-out. 

Emma: I don’t know if it’s a shout-out.

Elsie: But let me just say this, that is not a shout-out. So it was four or five years ago or so, Emma and I were at, we were at our friend’s house having a bottle of Rosae and the husband started explaining to us how we’re living in a simulation. And I was a little tiny bit drunk but I just was like listening to him. And I would say it was a defining moment in my life. I’ve always believed that we’re living in a simulation since that day. I find it very easy to believe and it doesn’t ruin my life that I’m living at all. I think it’s very interesting to think about. So yeah, I think it’s highly probable thing, and very fun to explore.

Emma: From my perspective, which whatever my opinion is worth, which is probably nothing. But it seems more likely to me that we’re living in a simulation than say God exists. So I feel like it’s pretty possible. But I don’t know, I have no evidence one way or another in a similar way with God, which I think God is more about faith. So it’s not supposed to be proven, 

Elsie: I mean God can exist but also there’s a simulation. Okay?

Emma: Sure. Maybe there’s both? I don’t really know. Yeah, I think it could be whatever.  To me, if we are living in a simulation, that doesn’t really, like you said, ruin it for me. Because so what. 

Elsie: Yes, definitely a theme I want more of in more novels. It’s just so interesting to think about, just because I don’t know, I never really considered it before. 

Emma: When I think about simulation hypothesis or simulation theory, I usually just think of The Matrix, which is to me, one of the most famous movies that somewhat delves into it. 

Elsie: But the matrix is kind of dumb. And it never got me interested in it. You know, yeah, that’s the problem.  I think that it made it less believable to me.

Elsie: So I will say I do like The Matrix movie, especially the first one. I just think it’s a whole vibe, and for when it came out, it’s a whole thing.

Elsie: It’s definitely a whole vibe. 

Emma: I mean, yeah, leather trench coats. It’s just a whole thing. So that’s really cool but as far as exploring the idea of this theory, I don’t necessarily feel like Matrix was it for me. So I really like that she explores it in this book. 

Elsie: That’s more diplomatic.

Emma: I just, you know me, I like action movies, but I just feel like in this book, the way that she approaches it is interesting. It’s almost like a foregone conclusion that it is true. And, you know, do we want people to know that or not? Or do we need to make sure that the simulation stays intact and doesn’t fall apart and have a bunch of glitches and be something that people can’t believe in or live inside anymore.  And I think that that’s kind of an interesting way to approach it. Like it’s a foregone conclusion and people are kind of okay with it, or at least the people who are aware of it are kind of like, Yeah, that’s fine. We are, but we’ve got to keep this going. 

Elsie: It’s the facts from the group. Yeah. 

Emma: Yeah, I like that. So I liked that approach to it. I think, generally, the Time Institute the way that she sets that up, that’s an interesting organization, and the secrecy behind, it’s kind of like a secret society, but it’s also kind of just like a government, you know, state run operation. That’s just very bureaucratic, I guess. So I thought that was very interesting.  I generally liked all of the worlds that she created, some of them are in the past. So I think that was more like, she’s probably drawing on a bit more truth. But then some of her worlds are cities that have been created on the moon. So obviously, those aren’t real yet, or ever or who knows. But they’re not something that she’s drawing on from the real world. But I really loved them, I thought they were beautiful. One of the cities on the moon, their sky kind of gets all messed up. So all of a sudden it’s dark and that’s why they call it the Night City.  I thought that was really interesting to think about, systems failing, and then that just becomes kind of the not as desirable city to live in, essentially. So it’s like cheaper for people to get housing there and things like that. I don’t know. It’s like these problems that we sort of already have now but seen through the lens of the future and on the moon and moon colonies. And so I really liked that. And I love this author. So I think she’s just very inventive in ways that feel very real, even when it’s clear that the world is very much not real. It’s not that it’s necessarily a fantasy with dragons. But it’s something that certainly doesn’t exist.

Elsie: Yeah, I thought it was very inventive too, and combined so many different things that I love.  Because it’s like when do you get to read a futuristic thing, a time-traveling thing, and a pandemic world ending thing, all in one book, like, it’s so perfect. 

Emma: So you already mentioned you really liked Olive, who is the author, and kind of living in sort of the middle time, I guess.

Elsie: I loved Olive’s character because you get to see her from the future and the past and the present, I guess. I guess, just actually the present and the future, not the past. That doesn’t make sense. 

Emma: Well, it’s the past for some of the characters.

Elsie: Anyway, something I loved about this character, is that the author wrote a character who was an author who was specifically a pandemic expert. And knew everything about the history of pandemics, which is obviously the same experience of the real life author, because she’s writing her second pandemic novel. And it is such an interesting thing for this time in history to be an expert in.  Throughout my childhood, I know that when we heard about pandemics of the past, I kinda zoned out and wasn’t very interested in the details of them. But now I’m very interested, all of a sudden, in what all the things that can possibly happen and all the variations of pandemics that exist. So I thought that was a really nice touch because she wrote a pandemic novel, I guess right before and then right after our lifetime pandemic experience. 

Emma: Yes. And I loved all those things about that character, too. I love that character.  I really felt like the author was basically pulling back the curtain and letting us see her a little bit. And in many ways, you could say every character is the author because that’s how it is. But this one in particular, I thought it was very fun. Another thing is with Olive’s character, I think she’s a woman who’s caught between two worlds, which is a career that she loves, and is passionate about, and then having a child. So in the book, she’s on a book tour, and she’s on Earth, talking about her book and giving lectures and meeting people and signing books.  Her child and her partner are on the moon, at their home and that’s when the pandemic breaks out. And there’s even like this line, I can’t remember it, I should have wrote it down to say in this episode, but something like someone’s interviewing her and they’re like, isn’t it so difficult to be away from your child? And I think the character says something diplomatic, but in her mind, she’s like, do you ask all the male authors that? She’s just a very, like, you know, just a quick little like, AHH.  It’s like one of those problems where here’s a character who is visiting the Earth, lives on the moon, is a famous author, and is about to live through a pandemic, so a lot of things, but that was the thing about her that I was like, Oh, I see this and it rings so true to me because I happen to be a parent who has a career I love and it also pulls me away from my young child at times. And that’s hard. And I think most parents probably feel that at times, and it’s difficult and it’s a thing that I think makes her exceptionally relatable and I just really empathize for and then I think you kind of realized that she’s maybe going to get stuck away from her child with the sickness breaking out.  I felt myself panicking as I’m reading the book, because I’m like, she’s got to get out of there. She’s not going to see her child ever again. If she doesn’t, you know, but she doesn’t know that. So it was a really effective way to get readers interested in her because I was really sweating as I’m like, Olive get on the plane! 

Elsie: Yeah, yeah, definitely. 

Emma: So a couple other characters that I think are kind of interesting are Gaspery’s character and Edwin which in some ways, they felt very similar to me, they’re not actually the same character, they do meet at a certain point, but they both kind of are very directionless in their life pursuits.  They both seem very adrift.  Edwin ends up just kind of being adrift and, you know, has some sadness happen in his life and a lot of loss. And Gaspery does, too. But I feel like he, in some ways, finds his mission. And it’s not what he was intending. But I think he finds a lot of purpose with it. And so it was kind of nice to see two characters where, I found myself feeling almost kind of sorry for them in that they just seem to drift in kind of unhappy. And then you see Gaspery, although he ends up kind of having a strange ending, I guess. I don’t know if I’d call it a happily ever after but I wouldn’t not call it that. But at any rate, he finds a purpose. And I think that he’s happy with it. He’s surefooted with it and that made me happy for him. And it just seemed very hopeful. And I liked that about him. 

Elsie: Yeah, so I think in terms of the time travel, I think it’s interesting how in some books, you can affect a change in history, that changes history. And in some books, you can’t do anything.  You know what I mean? 

Emma: Like it erases it, anything you do, it gets erased in a way. 

Elsie: Right. So then you never try. And in this book, you can. So they have very strict laws and rules and consequences for doing anything that changes the future outcome. And I thought that was pretty interesting. And different from other books.

Emma: Yeah. And I felt that her use of time travel was very effective in that. So time travel always naturally kind of has some problems, because is it actually possible, right? But I never have a problem with that as a reader, because I’m like, I read books with dragons and I’m all in. So I don’t really have a problem with this personally. But I know some readers do. So I felt her depiction of it was actually very believable. 

Elsie: Interesting so you think some people wouldn’t enjoy it just because they don’t think it’s possible?

Emma: I just noticed sometimes people really picking apart any element of time travel, because there’s usually some flaw with it, where it can’t quite work. But I don’t usually see people doing that with characters that are fairies, so I’m kind of like, well, what’s up, man? Like, why do you gotta pick apart time travel, but you’re cool with letting in dragons? That doesn’t make any sense to me. So it’s like, why not just let it all in? Why not?  It’s just a device for moving the story in a way that she feels like moving it. So anyways, but I do think her use of time travel is really believable and effective. 

Elsie: I loved it.

Emma: I have a hard time pulling it apart or finding holes in it personally. But you know, so I thought it was really good. And I liked all the rules around it and the consequences that some of the characters face when they do inevitably break the rules. And it’s almost like the time Institute kind of lays out that it’s nearly impossible not to break the rules, not because you just accidentally will, but because you just as a human will want to. And I think that’s kind of interesting to think too like you’re about to go into some type of journey or some type of quest, and you know the red button you’re not supposed to push and then seeing that character be like, but I have to push it. I think that’s an interesting journey for an author to take you on, especially if you get to the place where you’re like, Yeah, I would have pressed the button too, it’s a journey. And it’s interesting. 

Elsie: Yes, I loved it. I will say to close this out that I think that this book and say Shalom, and also were like the two books that I read this year that I thought the most about her just date obsessed about it for so long. It’s like replaying it and replaying it. So I think that she’s a wonderful author. It’s very Canadian. If you have any kind of Canadian pride, you’re going to feel very proud when you read these books. And yeah, I just really enjoyed them. So I hope that everyone will give it a chance because I don’t think that this book has like gotten I haven’t just seen as many people posting about this book as I feel like it does

Emma: herbs. Yeah, I just hope people enjoy it because it was this book thought provoking and very fun to read and a nice little escape a bit melancholy. So if you don’t want it to sugary sweet, you’re gonna love this.

Elsie: Perfect Yeah. bitter, sweet way to describe it. It’s like a great glass of wine. Yes, that’s great. Okay, so we have one more book that we are going to talk about for our fall quarter. And then we will be starting fresh in the new year with more books. So if you have suggestions about what you would like to hear us talk about, I would love to hear them. We want to do a mix of fiction and nonfiction. And we are kind of loosey goosey about how many books we’ll do it just to pay on how

Emma: much time we have to read. Pretty much. It’s almost winter, so maybe we’ll do more will be home.

Elsie: Yeah, maybe it would be a good time of year to do a little bit more. But I hope that everyone gets a chance to read this book because it was very special.

Emma: Thanks so much for listening, I have a very random request for the upcoming season. So personally, I’m about to start holiday shopping for friends and family and I have a feeling many of you probably are too unless you’re one of the people that’s already done good for you. Did you know that one of the ways that you can support online content creators, whether that’s podcast bloggers or just influencers you like to follow whoever not just us anyone, is to shop their affiliate links. Now I’m not saying that you should shop more or buy unnecessary things. Just if you’re already going to be making purchases at certain retailers or certain products because it’s on your list for like family or friends that you’re buying this upcoming season, then using an affiliate link actually makes a big difference in people’s businesses. Not just us, but every online creator. So you don’t have to do for us you could do for anyone, but I just kind of want to throw it out there. So here’s a little random story real quick. I once had a personal friend tell me how she was already planning to buy the certain pair of boots that she wanted. And she went out of her way to click through on a beautiful mess affiliate link to make her purchase. She didn’t spend any extra money than what she was already planning to spend. She wasn’t buying something that she wasn’t already planning to buy. But she just took a little extra time to use one of our affiliate links. And then she told me about it and actually really meant a lot to me it was really sweet and really thoughtful. And it just really supportive. So it’s just one way that you can support online content creators if you want no obligation, but thank you in advance

Elsie: I’ll be doing it for all of my favorite people. 

Emma: Yep, me too. Whenever I’m about to buy something, I’m like, well, what friend has posted about that store lately? So yeah, it’s just something easy that you can do if you’re already shopping and if not, then just stay and listen to our podcasts. We love that too. So thank you. 

Elsie: All right, be back next week.


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