Fantastic Strangelings!

So I’m slightly late on this month’s Fantastic Strangelings book club discussion because Texas. That seems like a sentence fragment until you remember how fucked up Texas was last month. But currently we’re almost totally recovered except for one pipe that froze and burst (luckily right on the outside of our house rather than inside) so yay!

So if you haven’t gotten to last month’s book (The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec) no worries because there are no deadlines in book club, but I’m going to go ahead and open up the discussion on our Fantastic Strangelings Facebook page and here on the blog just in case you’re ready.

And in case you missed it, this month’s book is Luvvie Ajayi Jones’ Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual. I read an advance copy and it was absolutely inspiring and heartening and I think comes at time when we could all use an encouraging pep-talk from a friend. So good.

And I always pick an optional book for people who need more than one to get them through the month so may I recommend Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Shiguro? I was crying on the couch while I was reading it and Victor was like, “What the fuck?” and I could only point at the book and he was like, “I don’t think I understand reading. Maybe you should stop?” and then I filed for divorced and married the book.

Just a reminder that I’m doing a zoom call tonight with Genevieve Gornichec so I can show her how bad I am at pronouncing Norse words so if you RSVPed come and join us! As always, we’ll put the zoom call up on our Nowhere page later so you can watch me embarrass myself in front of so many authors.

My thoughts on her book in the comments.

Happy reading!

18 thoughts on “Fantastic Strangelings!

Read comments below or add one.


    Omg I loved this book. It was the perfect escapism for me and I was a little surprised by that because retellings of Norse Mythology is so hit-or-miss for me. This was definitely a hit, and not just because I have a small thing for Loki. (In all honesty, most of what I know about Norse myths come from Marvel movies and Neil Gaiman.)

    I loved that it told the story of Angrboda, whose story was never really told anywhere else. I always mix up my Norse Gods but the only thing I could find about Boda before I read this book was that she was Loki’s mate, birthed her kids and was “the mother of monsters” who lived in a cave and was considered very evil. It reminded me of the story of Lilith, Adam’s first wife (in some versions of the biblical texts) who was said to be evil and “the mother of monsters” and also lived in a cave and was sort of a badass with a terrible reputation. I’ve always wondered about the real backstories of these sort of forgotten women so this book was perfect for me.

    I loved the witty, flirty banter between Boda and Loki although part of me wanted to shake Boda and be like, “NO, GIRL. HE’S A PROBLEM” but her relationship with Skadi was so healing and positive and healthy I almost wanted Ragnarok to end just so that Boda, Skadi and Loki could be in a fascinating poly love-hate relationship forever.

    I devoured this book multiple times. I don’t know why it’s so comforting hearing retellings of stories where you already know the end, but this was one of those books for me.

    One of my favorite themes was forgiveness. Boda forgiving Loki and her daughter. Sigyn forgiving Boda and vice versa. Her daughter learning to forgive herself. Boda learning the same thing.

    And I loved the repeated patterns of how each time Boda would die she would lose herself completely and become brand new in a way, with only a few hints of things she’d learned from her past selves. When she gave her daughter her own heart it was like she was born again inside her daughter and it way it reminds me of how in each generation we take only a tiny bit of what we learn from our ancestors and start fresh with each new life.

  2. Our entire electric box outside exploded the first night of the Texas snowstorm (The power pole is RIGHT behind our house, which rattled the windows when it blew). 80 homes in our mobile home park were without electricity (we could see the grid online). Hubby and I prefer the cold, but so suddenly and unprepared was not cool. We had no power for nearly 3 days during the peak cold, and our home got to 25 degrees inside. The 1st day, myself and our 4 and 6 yr old watched youtube in the warmth of the car all day, and walmart (we NEVER take them out in public cuz of covid but had no choice!).

    The 2nd day, hubby went and spent half our rent for the next month on camping supplies. We crammed the 4 of us, our Belgian Malinois, and 2 kitties into our room and closed off the house. We then put a twin mattress in the girls’ tent (to keep them off the toe-numbing carpet) with their 30 degree sleeping bags, up to their eyeballs in their biggest stuffed animals to keep in the heat. Our tent went on our bed, and we cuddled our 3 animals in our own 30 degree sleeping bags.

    Thankfully, the candles we bought brought our room temp up to 37-40 degrees.

    I cried so much that 2nd day, feeling like it was going to be like that forever (my depression and anxiety had a grand ole time!). I felt so bad for my lil ones, not understanding why they couldnt leave their tent. Watching Spongebob on my phone, to then go charge it in the car for an hour, to bring it back in and start the process all over again, why the toilets had to be FULL before we could sacrifice a flush, etc.

    OH, and EVERY SINGLE pipe burst LONGWAYS. We had to melt snow on the grill outside for toilet water for the first few days, and scrounge up what water was left at walmart, (the empty shelves of water, juice, milk, and even pizza were EYE OPENING!) We had no pipe water for almost 2 weeks. I couldnt cook, couldnt do dishes… I’ve just BARELY gotten my house back to normal after all of that now that I have the means to clean.

    But, at least we rent, and management paid for the pipes to be replaced, lol.

    Sorry for the rant. We are a bit of shut-ins, and thought someone might be entertained by our texan ordeal (^ – ^;) (we arent on social media also, so yeah) lol.

    But all in all, we survived! Cant wait to get my copy of Fantastic Stranglings!

    Meg (^ v ^)/

  3. This is usually so not my type of book but I loved it and was so glad it was a book club pick! When I was down to 20-30 pages I left it sitting on my sink after my bath and my hubby said “don’t forget your book” (because I had been carrying it with me everywhere) I told him I only had a few pages left and wasn’t ready for it to end yet so I was taking the rest of the night off. He looked at me like I had 2 heads..but I know y’all will understand. This book kept reminding me that people aren’t black and white..we have lots of gray areas and sides and we tend to change over our lives and experiences. There was one particular passage that really resonated with me and some of my past experiences. When the she-wolf tells Angrboda “Just because that time is over with doesn’t mean it didn’t matter” It reminded me that it’s ok to move on. It doesn’t mean my past or the people in my past don’t matter.
    Then 1 passage absolutely cracked me up.. “but Angrboda sighed the long-suffering sigh of someone who had been burned, stabbed, killed, betrayed, hassled for information, woken up, and otherwise continuously bothered by the very same group of people who had stolen her children away from her in the night” I seriously snort laughed as I imagined her giving a HUGE eyeroll, like seriously?!?
    I’m so excited for tonight’s zoom meeting with Genevieve Gornichec and you!

  4. Poster #2 Meg- I’m feeling so sympathetic to your freezing cold Texan nightmare. Don’t worry too much about your kids remembering it in a bad way. The summer my Mom left my Dad she camped out for an entire summer on Cape Cod in a cabin tent in a campground with 3 kids under the age of 6 and my father’s sister babysat us while she worked as a cocktail waitress to pay our bills until she figured out where to move to and how she was going to survive as a single mom of 3. We had a hurricane hit one weekend and the tent was collapsing from the wind and water, and the trench they dug around the tents to draw the water run off away from the tent wasn’t working so we rented a hotel room we couldn’t afford with twin beds for 2 adults and 3 little kids with wet sleeping bags and clothing. The next day we played outside the coin operated laundromat while my mom and aunt dried everything we owned and later propped up the tent on its side in the sun to dry so it wouldn’t get moldy. My brothers don’t remember anything about it, and I remember what a great treat it was to sleep in the hotel room which we never had done before and visiting the 5 and dime store to buy coloring books and crayons and cheap flip flops so we wouldn’t drive the adults crazy while spending the entire day at a laundromat. It was a great adventure to me and I remember it fondly.
    Your kids will remember camping in your bedroom as a memory that they can tell their kids about. Hopefully everything will go back to normal soon. Thinking warm thoughts, and best wishes.

  5. I’m not in the book club, but I just wanted to say that my partner doesn’t understand why I cry when I read, either.

  6. According to Grammar Girl, who is one of my personal heroes, “Because [noun}” is a perfectly acceptable sentence construct. So you are not guilty of fragments in your post.

  7. According to Grammar Girl, who is one of my heroes, the structure “Because [noun]” is a perfectly acceptable sentence. So no fragments here. At least not grammatically.

  8. Dear Meg
    (Poster #2)
    Dawn is absolutely right!!
    Your kids WILL remember it as a Great Adventure & keep on being the wonderful parents you are-
    Good for you & your wonderful strength & resourcefulness!!
    I cry when I read sometimes too 😊

  9. So possibly not my favorite book I’ve read with the strangelings, but I love the idea of retelling the stories of all of these goddesses who were overlooked in the original myths. As Gornichec said in the zoom call, we know nothing about so many of them, and considering Angrboda’s connection to Loki and so many figures of actual Ragnarok, that’s a damn shame.
    Other thoughts I had: Loki is the worst, but like…you don’t blame Angrboda. Like. Yeah, he’s not great, but like, you blame him for all of it, not Angrboda for allowing it.
    Additionally, I do somewhat wish Gornichec had been more explicit about the theme of legacy and what it means at the very end when they’ve all died. Clearly it means a lot to Loki, wanting his story to be told, and it doesnt mean anything to Angrboda until she realizes how powerful she used to be. Sure, the she-wolf can tell her some of it, but like, there’s nothing left of that past but a vague myth of the woman who birthed the wolves who chased after the sun and moon and the foundation of a house.

  10. “because Texas” explains so many things about it at any time. I have family going back over a hundred years there on my mother’s side and spent much of my growing up there and am perpetually confused how it can go to such extremes of awesomeness and fuckedupedness.

  11. I’m sure this post will not go over well but I have to say it. I love you Jenny but it just seem like most of your posts recently are to generate revenue. That’s fine as far as it goes but it’s not why I follow you. Jedi Hugs! Don’t take this as some sort of big hit on you, I’m just sayin it’s not what you usually do.

    (Not offended at all. 🙂 The Strangelings post comes out once a month, my book comes out in weeks and the only place I’m able to go for the last year is my bookstore so I totally get how it might seems like everything revolves around that stuff at the moment. No worries at all if you want to mute me until next month is over because right now my life feels like it’s all books and bookstore stuff. Love! ~ Jenny)

  12. Jenny, I haven’t read the Klara and the Sun yet, but am totally looking forward to it. You might also like Ishiguro’s earlier novel The Buried Giant. I may have had a similar crying experience with that one.

  13. I admit when this title was announced I groaned a “not another fantasy!” groan. But I joined Strangelings to be forced out of my comfort zone, and holy cow I loved this book. I loved Boda thoroughly, and I am holding a grudge still against Loki, Odin, and all who betrayed her. I don’t have any deep thoughts to contribute, because my deep thinking ability has been AWOL this last year – but yes to everything you all said already. 🙂

  14. OMGGG did ya know I just bought that book. REEEE me excited. Im trying not to sacrifice my bills on these books lol. Im new so HIII.

  15. dear meg post #2 I just wanted to let you know that it probably won’t be a bad memory but a fun, adventurous, memory.
    i’m a young teen myself who lived through it, while after the first two days was quite boring and tough it will live in my head as a very fun time.
    p.s. I won’t be wishing for snow for the next few years though

  16. This has been my favorite book by far for Strangelings (although I loved Neil Gaimans Norse Mythology so no surprise 🤗). I also read Klara and the Sun last month (well listened to the audiobook, actually), and it was so good and special.

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