Hello, sweet strangeling!

If you’re a member of the Fantastic Strangeling Bookclub you got an email from me earlier this week telling you what next month’s book is but in case you haven’t joined yet or you’re an honorary member get ready because next month’s book is probably my favorite one of the year and that’s really saying something.

It’s A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik and it’s SO good. Here’s a little taste: 

A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets. There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate or die. The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere. El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.

If you’ve been waiting to pull the trigger on joining the book club this is the right time. It’s just dark enough for a Halloween book, but not really scary and it is so wonderfully written I couldn’t put it down. In fact, after I finished it I immediately bought several of Naomi’s other books because she just became one of my new favorite authors. I realize a lot of you are rolling your eyes at me because you already love her and I am late to this party. Better late than never.  

And I always suggest a bonus book in case one isn’t enough for the month (I feel you – books are keeping me sane right now) so may I recommend The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab, which comes out in a few weeks? (France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.) It’s really lovely and I highly recommend it. A sort of tragic, romantic fairy tale that sprawls over hundreds of years.

Have you started this month’s book, Andrea Stewart’s The Bone Shard DaughterDid you love it? I’m opening the discussion here and on Facebook if you’ve finished it but as always, no rush! The discussion post will stay up on my blog and the fantastic strangelings facebook page so you can always lurk or drop in whenever you want in the future. 

You have no idea how much your support helps an authors and publishers and indie stores, especially during these times when bookshops aren’t able to fully open.

I super crazy love you guys. I can’t say thank you enough for supporting Nowhere Bookshop. But I can try.

Thank you.

It made sense at the time.

me: I feel like I’ve spent half of quarantine trying to decide if I’m hungry or just bored.

Victor: Same.

me: But then turns out I’m both hungry and bored. I’m…hored? Is that a word

Victor: Pretty sure it shouldn’t be.

me: But “bungry” sounds gross. Sounds like you’re hungry for bungholes.

Victor: It does not sound like that but now I’m definitely not hungry anymore.

me: And I’m not bored. PANDEMIC SOLVED! (But only the hored part and only for a few minutes because then I remembered that I’d hidden a bunch of gummy rings in the back of the pantry.)

It’s Friday! You deserve this.

It’s Friday! I think? Who fucking knows. Time is meaningless. But still, you should take a quick break and watch these instagram videos I saved specifically for you because I think you need a good distraction. Let’s go!

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Quarantine life. Credits to owners.

A post shared by Memes That Make You Go 🤣 (@bossmemesquad) on

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A post shared by Animal Humors (@animalhumors) on

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😳😳😳 (via: @lizziejane_)

A post shared by Memes | Comedy | Culture (@visualhype) on

Same, Bear Patrol.

Love y’all.

I’m not sure if it’s a curse or a blessing. Maybe both.

It’s now been over half of a year since we started our version of isolation. Ours is more strict than most because of all of my auto-immune issues so that means half a year with no going anywhere other than our house, our car, and Nowhere Bookshop once a week when no one else is there. We are very, very lucky that we have the ability to work and take classes from home and that we can have groceries delivered and that no one can see the bald-spots on the back of Victor’s head from where I continually slip up trying to learn to use clippers.

It’s not all bad. We three have been our only company with no breaks for 6 months and we still love each other slightly more than we want to strangle each other. Hailey learned to bake and joined an online D&D group and started writing and coding video games. Victor works too much and meets online with fellow japanese sword collectors to study and learn. We forget that Hailey is on a zoom class in the next room and laugh too loud as we yell inappropriate things at each other until Hailey comes out to make us behave. We make dumb jokes and search for shows to watch together and fight about the best way to load the dishwasher and wonder if this is a good thing or a bad thing. It’s both, I think.

And as for me? I read.

I work too. Not as much as I should because my head is everywhere and my ADD meds give me anxiety and I still haven’t conquered this stir-crazy cabin fever. You’d think that I would. I am an introvert. I love being home. I’m equally anxious for and anxious about a time when there is a vaccine and we can return to normal. I wonder if this is curing my agoraphobia or exacerbating it. I wonder if my friends and family are doing as well as they say they are. I wonder if I am as well.

But I’m lucky. For many reasons but also because I have an escape. I spend hours every day outside, reading. It has to be outside. I can escape from the house and feel the sun and forget that everything is strange. I sit in the swing in the backyard or the rocking chair on the porch or I put Dorothy Barker on a leash and go walk her as I read.

This was dangerous at first. You can’t watch for unmasked joggers if your head is in a book so instead I slowly pace my driveway as I read and Dorothy Barker pulls me from one side of the lawn to the other.

This morning a women and her small children walked by and the boy excited said, “Look! It’s the reading girl!”

It took a second to realize he was talking about me. I’ve become a small landmark in this strange time. I wondered if he thinks I’ve been cursed to read forever….some strange witch’s spell that makes me forever trapped in this too-small world. It’s not a curse though. I look down into other worlds. I visit with friends who only exist in books. I travel and delight and cry. I get to not be me…or be a better me. So maybe it’s a curse. But it’s also a blessing.

I try to remind myself that this six months has been the same. Some curse. More blessing. It makes it easier.

I hope you find it the same.

This is not my fault

So I was working on turning an old broken tv into a display for the bookstore and I had a bunch of papertowels draped on the ground because I was decoupaging book pages on the sides (from a badly damaged paperback – don’t yell at me) and I kept dripping the glue on the floor and I was so busy I didn’t notice when Ferris Mewler laid down on the paper towels but as soon as I did I nudged him off so I wouldn’t drop glue on him but apparently there was already glue on the paper towel because when he got up he looked at me weird and then tore off across the house with the paper towels stuck to him because apparently the glue had dried to his butthole and so I was chasing him through the house trying to pull off the paper towels but he wouldn’t stop so I was just stomping on the paper towel butt veil he was dragging behind him and only managing to pull small sections off because it was a longish roll and also I think I was maybe scaring him by chasing him and stomping what I can only imagine he thought was some sort of inappropriate ghost with serious boundary issues and I finally got the paper towel off but Ferris was still all wild-eyed and tried to lick off the glue and I know it’s non-toxic but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy and he bit me when I tried to wash it off (although technically I was washing him with a wet paper towel and now that I think about it that probably just revisited the trauma) so I just got the electric beard clippers and held him upside down while I shaved off his butt hair and now he refuses to look at me and I’m pretty sure none of this shit happens with Martha Stewart.

But the tv is coming along.

Let’s give the boy a hand. (I’m so sorry.)

me: Dude. LOOK AT THIS.

Victor: What the fuck.

me: I was opening my mail and two totally different people sent me random stuff that made them think of me.

Victor: You’ve got weird readers.

me: I’VE GOT AMAZING READERS. But how weird is it that two random people sent two random gifts and they just so happen to fit together perfectly?

Victor: That’s not really the weirdest thing about this, but okay.

me: I’m gonna try it out on the cats.

Victor: Ew.

me: Not the handbook. The gloves.

Victor: Still confused.

me: They can wear them. Like tiny mad scientists with opposable thumbs!

Victor: Got it. Have fun bleeding to death.


hunter s tomcat wearing gloves like a badass
Once again, Victor is on the wrong side of history. Get this cat a lab coat, y’all. He’s got science to do.

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