Those damned drug-addicted reading trains are at it again.

I honestly thought being an indie bookshop proprietress would be a pretty tame sort job but turns out I was totally wrong as this week we ended up involved in an ongoing banned book issue that makes me both sad for Texas and even more focused on staying here and fighting the good fight.

You can click here to read all the details including NEISD’s response.

PS. I have a copy of UNSPEAKABLE myself and can attest that it is beautifully written and illustrated, and perfectly acceptable for 3rd-6th grade readers as would be expected from any book that has won a shit-ton of honors, including the Caldecott Medal, the Coretta Scott King Book Award and was long-listed for the National Book Award.

PPS. Slightly related, some of our booksellers shared their favorite banned books this week, including Vicki Liendo who highlighted Charlotte’s Web, and this particular angry ( and questionable in SO MANY WAYS) comment on our facebook page is now a store favorite after we were finally able to decipher it.

Now we just need to find an artist who can draw us a train covered in pills reading a book because that shit needs to be on a tote bag immediately.

PPS. “But why was Charlotte’s Web banned?” you may ask. Dude, I had to look it up too. Apparently it was banned in some schools because “talking animals are blasphemous and unnatural” and I guess I could see that but weren’t there talking bushes in the Bible? Seems like if foliage can speak all bets are off, but I’m not that religious so who knows.

3 o’clock in the morning me has a point. But I’m not sure what it is.

I often write notes to myself at 3am that I think are pretty brilliant at the time and then the next morning I read these same notes which seem to be from some sort of psychopath, but I thought I’d share the one I found on my nightstand this morning:


Why do the words “whose” and “shoes” rhyme if they’re spelled differently?
Like…Who’s gonna choose to light the fuze on whose shoes to lose the booze if Ms Cruz pays her dues as a ruse to take a cruise with kangaroos and ewes while drinking Mountain Dews?

I mean, that whole sentence is exactly why we shouldn’t have been allowed to invent a written language. Both because it features 14 different words with violently random spellings for the exact same sound and also because the sentence itself is ridiculous.

Anyway, this is why all spelling bees should be cancelled going forward.

Don’t yell at me for being a good mother.

Victor just yelled at me for sleeping on the floor in the sunbeam with Ferris Mewler in the middle of the day because “Don’t you have a job?” or something crazy like that, and I explained that it’s important to share your son’s interests so that they don’t start doing drugs or vaping, and then Victor was like, “…He’s a cat” and I was like, “He’s a cat with beautifully healthy lungs and a strong relationship with his mother” and then Victor walked away shaking his head as I whispered to Ferris, “But seriously, you have to lay off the vaping.”

Bitch, it’s Halloween Eve. LET US HAVE THIS.

So last week Aedan and I built the Halloween windows for Nowhere Bookshop, and the floating candles made of papertowel rolls looked fantastic but we also tried to make a ghost out of chicken wire and after several hours we had scratches all over us, a new appreciation for why people wear gloves, and a vaguely ghost shaped thing that seemed ready to give out free tetanus to anyone interested.

We both decided that it was not exactly what we’d imagined and hid her in the backroom. (If you’re interested in a lightly bloody, vaguely ghost-shaped hen house that will shank the shit out of your chickens you can probably steal it out of our dumpster whenever we get around to getting a dumpster.)

But then a friend on twitter was like, “You know you can make ghosts out of cling-wrap and packing tape that won’t make you look like you’ve been attacked by bobcats, right?” so for our first ever Fantastic Strangelings Crafting Hour I got on zoom and used a mannequin (I didn’t have a girl-equin) to make the torso and then I used a birdcage to make the dress…

…and ended up with the most jacked ghost ever, but I don’t subscribe to gender norms for ghosts or alive people, so whatever.

And then when I hung her up people in the store were like, “COOL GHOST” so I felt very good about it, or at least good that we had exactly the kind of wonderful customers who would humor me.

And then I overheard one girl say that she liked the windows but that it seemed too early for Halloween and her friend was like, “Brandy, you put up Christmas decorations on Thanksgiving. All of September is just Halloween Eve. LET US HAVE THIS.” And then Brandy was like, “Fair enough. Let’s have a drink.” And then I knew that we had the best customers in the world.

Also, Jodie the pig got a halloween costume because I thought she would be an adorable ghost, but the only twin sheets I have had superhero cats all over them.

And they were perfect.

PS. The online crafting hour was super fun so we are definitely going to do it on a regular basis. Next time we’re going to make pasties for cats, I think, so check your email for details in the near future. And if you haven’t joined yet you can do that here. It’s ridiculous. All the best things are.

Books? Books.

It’s September and that means I have a list of wonderful books you should read, including this month’s Fantastic Strangeling Book Club pick, The Fortunes of Jaded Women by Carolyn Huynh. It was exactly the zany, dramatic, messy, hopeful tale that I needed and it had me hooked from the very first line:

Everyone in Orange County’s Little Saigon knew that the Duong sisters were cursed.

And if you’ve been waiting to join the Fantastic Strangelings this is the perfect time to do it because I’ve been a bit lonely so I’ve started doing ridiculous online crafting hours where you can zoom in and watch me glue myself to my desk. Last night I tried to make a ghost out of a mannequin and both his arms fell off. Who doesn’t want to see that?

If you’re anything like me you might need more than one book to get you through the month so here are the new September books that I loved:

Thistlefoot by GennaRose Nethercott – A modern fairytale about the ancestral hauntings that stalk us, and the uncanny power of story, seeped with Eastern European folklore.

American Demon by Daniel Stashower – This historical true crime book explores Elliot Ness and the hunt for America’s Jack the Ripper.  HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS STORY? SO MANY TORSOS.

Ghost Eaters by Clay McLeod Chapman– A terrifying and haunting page-turner that explores ghost, grief and god complexes.

Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands by Kate Beaton –This graphic novel by Kate Beaton (who wrote HARK! A VAGRANT, which is one of my fave books ever) goes a whole new way and vividly presents the untold story of Canada and the years in which she worked in the harsh realities of the oil sands.

The Devil Takes You Home by Gabino Iglesias – A genre-defying thriller about a father desperate to salvage what’s left of his family, even if it means a descent into a supernatural world. Dark as hell.

Cryptid Club by Sarah Anderson – A freaking adorable little comic compilation of spooky cuteness.

Motherthing by Ainslie Hogarth – This is the weird-ass mother-in-law from hell (literally) book you’ve been looking for.  This book is fully nuts, y’all.

Anything calling to you? Happy reading!

PS. I’m about to open up the discussion thread for last month’s book (THE BOOK EATERS by Sunyi Dean) on the Fantastic Strangelings Facebook page but if you don’t do facebook I’ll leave my thoughts here in the comments. It may take me a minute though because I have a lot of thoughts about this one. 🙂

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