Book club time!

Hey.  I was going to write this all yesterday but then I didn’t because yesterday was very not good.  Nothing really bad happened but I fell into a full meltdown of depression and I basically just cried and curled up into a ball and waited for it to pass.

And it did.  A little.

All day yesterday I felt so bad for not finishing this post, because how fucked up do you have to be to not be able to blog?  And then today I woke up and my heavy meltdown turned to mild depression with spots of okayness and I realized that it literally makes no real difference that I’m posting a day later than I planned and that I’m behind on emails and deadlines and other bullshit because first of all, we’re all behind and probably the people waiting to hear from me are just as relieved to have an extra day, and also my depression was making everything seem much more horrible and bleak in the same way that it always does because it lies so impossibly well.

This intro has nothing to do with what I’m writing about, but maybe you are having a no-good, very-bad day right now and need to hear this: it’s okay.  Everyone is struggling.  You will get through this.  Don’t let your worst days tell you lies about who you really are.

Okay, so…time for the Fantastic Strangeling Book Club!  As always, keep in mind that there are no rules to book club and so it’s totally okay if you haven’t read this month’s book yet.  Lots of people read it immediately.  Lots of people save it for when they have time and come to the discussion later.   Lots of people save up all the books for a summer of reading or lend the books to other people and forget to get them back.   Most people read the book and lurk in the discussion but never actually talk because most of us are introverts who like to be part of a group that expects nothing from them.   The only real guideline to this book club is that you feel special when the book is delivered to your hands because it is a gift to yourself.  The end.

So this month’s book is Samantha Irby’s WOW, NO THANK YOU and I really hope you loved it as much as I did.  She is magic and writes dark and real stuff that also makes me laugh out loud and that feels so rare sometimes.  I’m always so happy when a new book of hers comes out because when I read it I feel like I’m having a conversation with her and when she writes something particularly inappropriate I always say (in my head), “OH MY GOD THAT REMINDS OF THE TIME -” and then suddenly I’m having an actual conversation with an invisible person who is not listening but I often end up writing down those tangents and then sometimes those tangents become chapters in my own books. I wonder if that’s weird or normal?  I wonder if there are books that talk to each other and you don’t even know it until the authors point it out?  Ignore me…I’m rambling and I’m not sure this is making sense.  If we were having a book club irl I’d be like, “Talk amongst yourselves” and you would say smart things about metaphors and authenticity and I would nod and drink too much rum but you aren’t physically here so all I can do is the rum part.

BUT!  I’m also announcing this month’s book and I think you’re going to like it because it’s weird as hell:

A taste of the novel, Catherine House:

“A gothic-infused debut of literary suspense, set within a secluded, elite university and following a dangerously curious, rebellious undergraduate who uncovers a shocking secret about an exclusive circle of students . . . and the dark truth beneath her school’s promise of prestige.

Trust us, you belong here.”

And in case you missed it, for those of you who – like me- need constant distractions from your own brains in the form of books I’m doing an optional extra book club read of HORRORSTÖR later this month if you want to pick it up.  If you buy it through the Nowhere Bookshop portal we get credit and it super helps us but no worries if you want to support your local indie shop or library or if it’s not for you and you want to just skip it.

Sidenote: Some of you asked how you can help Nowhere Bookshop, and ordering through our bookshop portal makes a giant difference and has been enough to help us buy a sign for the store.  WHOOP!  (No pictures yet but it’s in the process of being made and I’ll share when it’s up.)   Everyone needs a boost right now so no worries if you change our affiliate code to any other participating indie bookstore.

SO…I’m opening up a discussion post on the Fantastic Strangelings Facebook page if you want to discuss Samantha’s book but if you hate Facebook you can always leave your thoughts here.

Remember, I super crazy love you.

Yes, you.

60 thoughts on “Book club time!

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Thank you so much! I needed to hear this too, I’ve been so frustrated with myself for not getting more done and lose perspective on what a strange awful time it is. I’m glad you feel a bit better today HUGE hugs being sent your way. I’m a bookclub lurker right now and can’t wait to join once things get back to normal and I have the mental space to read.

  2. I just joined the book club a few days ago and I’m SO EXCITED. Sending lots and lots of love to you!

  3. I needed to hear that too. Bad few days for me. I just have to keep reminding myself that while tomorrow might not be better it will be different.

  4. Jenny we need you to run for president. You can be the nominee for the mental health party. Think of how much more interesting the presidential debates would be. You could be there hiding behind the podium petting Rory with a fake 3rd nipple peaking out.. How could Trump compete with that. Then when it comes to China or Russia foreign policy. Just wear your Rory mask and they will be crying for their mommies. Jenny for Pres. 2020

  5. Was it something about yesterday? Because yesterday I started slowly spiraling and by the end of the work day was a huddled mess under my bed covers. I felt like my nerves were raw and vibrating and I didn’t know why and certainly couldn’t figure out what to do about it. Earplugs and burying myself in the fetal position under so many quilts and blankets was all I could come up with.

    Among the many many many notes files on my phone I have one labeled “Jenny quotes.” I forget its there mostly and until today there were only two quotes in the file, until this “Don’t let your worst days tell you lies about who you really are.” I need someone to come and paint this on my wall. Thank you.

  6. Finally joined, still no job but screw it books will help me escape.

  7. ”Most people read the book and lurk in the discussion but never actually talk because most of us are introverts who like to be part of a group that expects nothing from them.”

    My favorite thing about this book club… the low expectations!

  8. I’m in the middle of changing antidepressants, with CPTSD, and am having a really hard time. Thanks for your honesty. It really does help to know I’m not completely alone.

  9. Love the phrase about depression being able to lie impossibly well it strikes the nail on the head (or rather us on the head) Rather like the person that once said to me regarding depression “it’s all in your head” I actually laughed and said sure is.

  10. Hugs from afar! Thanks as always for your fantastic posts 💖💕❣💞💗

  11. I’m super anxious and having a bad week. One of my cats is sick and the vet can’t figure out what’s wrong with her so they are thinking she might be stressed because I adopted another cat. I’m so worried she is going to just shut down and die and it will be all my fault. I set up the camera to try to keep an eye on her while I was at work but something went wrong and I’ve just been sitting her all day on the verge of tears, hoping she is ok. With everything else going on, I know this might seem small but she is like my child and I don’t know what I will do I lose her, especially right now. I could use some good thoughts and vibes for her if anyone would like to send them our way. On top of that, I think I have to rehome the cat I just adopted, who is super bonded to me and very timid and I found out I will not be able to place the flag on my dad’s grave in the military cemetery because of the virus. So basically this is just a shitty shitty week over here too so I feel you. Hugs.

  12. I think the next product for you to create is a bookmark of Dottie givin’ us that side-eye just like in this picture. Who wouldn’t love THAT peeking out of their books???

  13. Thank you for this! I definitely needed to hear it today after an anxiety attack because our work nurse made me feel like the biggest failure. The Me Too that explode in my head when I read your reactions always bring me a peaceful feeling

  14. Thank you bunches Jen for letting us know we’re not alone in this circus show of life right now. I absolutely love your way with words; no matter what is going on – happy, sad, conflicted, undecided, etc. – you bring me back to my level of sane…xo

  15. OMG there must have been something in the air yesterday. I was super low energy and asleep for like 50% of the day even if my eyes were open but today I feel much better! Knowing I wasn’t alone is basically like a hug?

  16. Thank you Jenny. Every day is rife with potential for a complete meltdown. Famous author was publicly rude to Meghan Markle and I was so very, very angry at them for putting that unnecessary negativity into a world already overflowing with it. Was I overreacting? Yeah, probably. Everything has the potential to send me over the edge at the moment. We’re all stresssed but let’s try not to be mean to each other.

  17. the first rule of the fantastic strangeling book club is that everybody talks about the fantastic strangeling book club.

    but only through the internet. but maybe not then. maybe i’ll just add a comment or two to the discussion. that’s okay, right?

    wait! that’s way too much pressure! i’ll just kind of linger in the group and read what other people think and then talk about it with them… in my head. or not. what do you think?

  18. So far I’ve read the first two essays and it’s so good. Even though I’ve never had most of these experiences she makes everything so relatable. I love it.
    Also, I had to cancel book club because I’ve been on 80% pay and I’m really really really devastated because it was perfect. I’m one of those introverts who like groups with no expectations.
    Love you Jenny.

  19. Yeah, it is so good to know I’m not the only one having not so good days. Weird weird weird in every direction. I am going to wear my T-shirt (every day) that says “I no longer wish to adult. If anyone needs me I will be under my blanket fort, coloring.”

  20. Thank you for reminding me…again…that my brain is good at lying to me. It’s a damn bastard today.

  21. “All day yesterday I felt so bad for not finishing this post, because how fucked up do you have to be to not be able to blog?” Honey, I can’t twitter right now, so don’t beat yourself up about not being able to blog! <3 Hope there’s better times soon.

  22. Yay – a new sign!!! Yesterday must have been a generally no-good-very-bad-day for most of the world. Hope today is a bit better. Remember what you told all of us – depression lies. And yes, we super crazy love you too.

  23. Book ordered through the portal! Sounds like an interesting one, especially being from PA myself. Thank you for the suggestion! 🙂

  24. I had a terrible yesterday too! I ended up really struggling with an assignment and spending like 4x the amount of time I’d planned for it, which then meant I didn’t have any time to get anything else that I’d planned done.

    It was especially frustrating because the weather was so perfect on monday and that had given me high hopes for the week but then it all went downhill instead. But the semester’s almost over, and then I’ll have one less thing to stress over at least.

  25. Horrorstor paperback is sold out!! I was able to buy the ebook YAY!!

  26. So happy that our book purchases have helped buy a sign for the bookshop. I really can’t wait to walk in to Nowhere Bookshop and buy some stuff. Also very excited for the book club’s choice for May.

  27. Dorothy Barker’s side-eye is strong, and adding this book on my wishlist (I have so many in my ‘to read’ pile right now)

  28. OMGawsh, I read HORRORSTÖR when it came out, and it is SO hysterically horrifically appropriately insane for this weird clan. (So glad you’re feeling a bit less awful <3 )

  29. I’m also having a not good time. I have a newly diagnosed kidney infection (which has done plenty of passing😂) which is making me feel pretty ill both physically and mood wise. I’m finding it tough to get out of bed every day, but my dogs keep me going. I also just saw an awesome tweet from Bette Midler ‘At some point I realise I must get out of bed before I wind up being late for the couch again’ that made me smile for the first time today (it’s 10pm here).

  30. Thanks for the reminder that had days happen and we deserve grace not “shoulds.” Horrorstor is a hoot-and-a-half. Hope other folks enjoy it, too

  31. I read Catherine House too and it disturbed me in a really good way. I won my copy. My husband wishes I’d win the lottery but I keep winning books and if I won the lottery I’d buy more books, so joke’s on him. Ha!

  32. Oh honey. Hugs hugs hugs hugs hugs hugs hugs hugs hugs hugs hugs hugs. In regard to the first bit of your post… hugs hugs hugs hugs hugs hugs hugs hugs hugs. The moon is full and it has something to do with Scorpio and…I half-listen to a friend of mine but… I am blaming the moon for my current darkness. The moon can take it. But, in any case, hugs. :(((( 🖤

  33. My guinea pig died today, so it is indeed a terrible-horrible-no good-very bad day. Nothing will get done for a while in this house of grief. And that’s ok.
    We miss her.

  34. Love the idea of books talking to each other! Samantha Irby is incredible and “Wow, No Thank You” has been wonderful reading for This Time. 🙂

  35. Hiya…both my 7 year old & my 40 year old husband could not cope with yesterday. It was a super full moon. It always happens. Keep your eye on the moon phases my dear… from a family of lunatics (I’m quite serious…I’m a university educated company Director – moon effects are real).

  36. It probably feels different in the details for each of us, and may not be much comfort, but you aren’t alone – you have a lot of company in your slog through depression. Sometimes all we can do is keep going with the knowledge in our heads that the present is temporary and things will get better, even if our hearts and guts don’t believe it.
    As for the blog post – I used to write for a blog, and being creative on a timetable is really hard sometimes. The guideline I tried to remember then, and still do in other situations, is not to put expectations on myself that I wouldn’t put on a close friend or loved one, and to cut myself the same slack I’d cut them. I can’t know about anyone else’s internal stuff except for what they say, but sometimes I treat myself worse than I’d ever treat anyone else.
    You’re doing great things, achieving and contributing more than most of us ever will. Thanks for the laughs, the insights, and the honesty when things are hard.

  37. Dang it, I just hate to hear about your depression coming back. Did the TMS quit working? Just curious about that because I’m scheduled to try it when this virus crap is over. Is it worth it? Hugs to you Jenny!!

  38. Kel at #38, I’m SO sorry for your loss. We’ve lost a few handsome piggies over the years, and they’ve each caused grief in our family, I hope you find the healing that you need. Hugs.

  39. I think I really needed to read this today. I teared up at your closing. I crazy love you. Apparently I needed that more than I knew. I crazy love you right back.

  40. The past couple of days have been really hard for me, too. With all the comments expressing the same is amazing to me. I know we all are having challenging days, but to hear today about yesterday’s spiraling down makes me feel like I’m not alone. Thanks for the post!

  41. Jenny, it was a full moon. A full fucking May flower moon or some supermoon shit. My eighteen-year-old daughter and I were both HOWLING at each other, literally feeling the gravitational pull of the moon (or some shit, I don’t really know how that works) and had an full-fledge full moon war during a pandemic about germs and not emotions. You know what, the moon should take a break while this is going on. Today is the day, I know I started freaking menopause because it’s been a year since the moon tugged at my ovaries and I dropped an unfertilized egg into the toilet for six bloated, crampy, zitty, crybaby days. If that’s not how it works, it’s not the time to correct me. I can’t blog either. I haven’t blogged since quarantine. So L-for LOSER city right here. You know what though, I know I’m badass. So is my daughter. And so are you and all of the people who follow you Jenny. Thanks for listening. I hope today is better. How can it not be. Yesterday is done. Peace and love from Part-Time Sunshine (no moonshine here, unless its from Tennessee and apple flavored. That thing in the sky, she needs to cover up her shit with a big ass cloud).

  42. Dear Jenny, it’s perfectly okay to be perfectly un-okay right now. Even people who don’t suffer from depression and anxiety are feeling like they want to curl up in a ball and cry. We are all swimming through mud these days, it’s hard to even shower or brush our teeth, never mind write a blog.
    Mandy, if the vet has checked your primary cat for thyroid, diabetes, FIV, feline leukemia and all the other common cat illnesses, have them check for intestinal blockage and tick born illnesses, Covid-19 because apparently cats and dogs can get it from humans and other pets, ALL of the tick viruses not just Lyme if the cat has been outside at all. Don’t worry about the stress from your new cat, it took my primary cat a month to come out from under the bed and eat normally after I adopted a kitten when she was 10. Eventually she warmed up to him and they became the best of friends. Cats take a really long time to warm up, especially when they’ve been alone for a long while without another cat.
    To everybody I crazy love you all. You keep me sane and make me feel like I’m ok, even when I’m struggling. Thank you for being you,. Remember you are enough just the way you are, and we are in this crazy ride together.

  43. ” I wonder if there are books that talk to each other and you don’t even know it until the authors point it out?” UM YES!!! Totally. and now I am thinking of the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde and want to dive inside all the books.

  44. Hi Everyone. I am hoping someone remembers because I can’t find the post. About a month ago there was a post in the book club about a very funny book, written by a lady who has/d breast cancer. Does any one happen to remember the title?

    Thank you in advance.

  45. Hi Everyone. I am hoping someone remembers because I can’t find the post. About a month ago there was a post in the book club about a very funny book, written by a lady who has/d breast cancer. Does any one happen to remember the title?

    Thank you in advance.

  46. There was definitely something in the air the past few days, but the fog is finally lifting… even if the goddamn snow is falling here in the northeast.

  47. If you’re looking for really odd and interesting, check out the “Thursday Next “ series by Jasper Fforde. It’s hard to describe but she is a library detective who can go into stories to investigate and solve crimes that nefarious individuals have committed by also illegally entering written stories. I said it was hard to describe.

  48. This is off topic, but I seriously thought Dorothy Barker was a bookmark there for a minute. And maybe she needs to be a bookmark. How about it? Book guard dog?

  49. Thanks for the link to your bookstore. My house burned in October so I just bought new copies of your books. With your book club, I’m slowly rebuilding my collection of books (piles of burned book fragments was so sad.) Thanks for all you do.

  50. Very fitting and good points. I always enjoy reading from you and find the coloring pages so helpful. Thank u Jenny , you are like the distant cousin who can relate to me but I never had. ((HUGS)) hang in there. I’m trying not to be hard on myself as I’m way behind on my 2nd book but hey it happens. Time is rather irrelevant. Or at least I keep telling myself that.

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