OMG I’m so behind.

This month has been incredibly long and incredibly short all at the same time and now that things are slowing back down I thought I’d open up discussion for last month’s Fantastic Strangeling Book Club pick, Luvvie Ajayi Jones’ Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual. As always, you can go to the Fantastic Strangeling Facebook page to discuss, but I always open up comments here on the blog if you’re not a fan of Facebook.

AND! If you’re already a Fantastic Strangeling you’ve already gotten my email telling you next month’s pick but in case you’re an honorary member or you’re avoiding emails (relatable) then I’m super happy to announce that next month’s book is Sorrowland: A Novel by Rivers Solomon.

“Vern―seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the cult where she was raised―flees for the shelter of the woods. There, she gives birth to twins, and plans to raise them far from the influence of the outside world. 

But even in the forest, Vern is a hunted woman. Forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes.

To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future―outside the woods. Finding the truth will mean uncovering the secrets of the compound she fled but also the violent history in America that produced it.

Rivers Solomon’s Sorrowland is a genre-bending work of Gothic fiction. Here, monsters aren’t just individuals, but entire nations. It is a searing, seminal book that marks the arrival of a bold, unignorable voice in American fiction.”

It is strange and haunting and thoughtful, and unsurprisingly it is getting amazing advance reviews. I really think you’re gonna like it.

And I always pick a bonus book suggestion for those of us who need more than one book to get through the month so may I suggest Madhouse at the End of the Earth by Julian Sancton.  It’s the harrowing true survival story of an early polar expedition that went terribly awry, with the ship frozen in ice and the crew trapped inside for the entire sunless, Antarctic winter.  (The first few chapters feel a bit slow because they’re all backstory but it’s totally worth it for the payoff.) As soon as I finished it I immediately sent it to my mom who devoured it as well.

Speaking of bonus books, did I ever pick a bonus book for this month?  Because I think I forgot to post about it but you should check out I Am a Girl from Africa by Elizabeth Nyamayaro, the inspiring journey of a girl from Africa whose near-death experience sparked a dream that changed the world.

Right now I’m trying to pick a June book but it’s proving impossible because there are SO MANY GOOD JUNE BOOKS. There are two sci-fi/magic realism books that melted my brain (including one that had me convinced I was living in an alternate reality game) but there’s also another book that is so sweet and lovely and unlike what I normally choose but made me cry so much I couldn’t see out of my glasses. But a really good, cleansing, hopeful cry, you know? Like A Man Called Ove or Klara and the Sun. Summer reading is going to be so good, y’all.

PS. We still have copies left of the (signed) special Fantastic Strangelings printing of Broken if you want to sign up for the bookclub, and make sure to check your email because next week I’m doing a zoom just for you. 🙂

18 thoughts on “OMG I’m so behind.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. This is where I’d put a warning for spoilers but it’s hard to spoil a nonfiction book so…

    I loved Professional Troublemaker. I really liked Luvvie’s last book (I’m Judging You) but this one was even better. I was very worried going into it because it’s easy for people who don’t have anxiety disorder to make a misstep when talking about fighting fear but her words really spoke to me and they were like a pep talk from a friend that came at exactly the right time. I think one of my favorite parts was when she talked about her personal mistakes and how she learned from them in spite of the fear that comes with that. It’s interesting because when it comes to background Luvvie and I could not be more different but her writing is still so relatable and that’s really hard to do.

  2. Please tell me you’re working on your next book because OHMYGOD Broken was AMAZING and I couldn’t stop recommending it enough to all my friends and family and sometimes random people I was attempting conversations with who I’m pretty sure were wondering why this guy making awkward conversations with them were so flustered trying to explain why he liked a book so much because it was that good! And I SO appreciate the fact that your book was made out to be just the way I spend my days, sometimes on highs that makes me feel on top of the world and sometimes on lows that makes me question why I’m still alive and I’m certain that if I hadn’t come across Broken, I wouldn’t have been ever able to read a funny book again because they made me feel so bad about myself. It’s the perfect read and reading it just once doesn’t do it justice. And on that note, I have a great feeling about Sorrowland. Also, this is probably the longest run-on sentence I ever wrote, and I’m so glad you taught me to do that.

  3. It’s probably the reason why I couldn’t read Professional Troublemaker but I’m SO gonna read it this month alongside Sorrowland.

  4. I had mixed reactions to ‘Professional Troublemaker’. Her message and suggestions were wonderful and I enjoyed reading about her family. My disappointment was that the author’s style was overly filled with vernacular and abbreviations that unfortunately muddled the content for a broad readership.

    I acknowledge that the author was aiming for a casual ‘girlfriend’ type of communication. However, it’s easy to forget that the language used in social media, on the street, texting, etc. is not part of everyone’s vocabulary. There was too much of that used to keep going online to try understand and appreciate the richness of her meaning.

    That said, I found many of her remarks struck home and I intend to reread it at a later date.

  5. A man called Ove is amazing, so glad that it has arrived in English so more of the world can read and love it 😁
    Just received and read Broken, well done, Jenny! One of the chapters had me cry-laughing in the bathroom.
    Lots of love from Denmark ❤️

  6. So thanks to you I went to support my local indie bookstore Saturday. I wanted to score an oracle card. I already have Broken from the Chris Moore session, and they didn’t have the other books on my list, so I ordered a book and left with one card. Today I went back to get the book and I asked if they had any more of *those*, pointing to one corner of one card peeking out from under a pile of papers. It was the same card I had so I asked if they had the needlepoint card. The store owner said she pulled all those cards bc of the F word. Then she said there were others that had a$$ (whispered) on them and she couldn’t have them out either. Insert emoji of me head banging. I did a hard eye roll and told her to thank one Jenny Lawson for getting me into a store. I really need a “F yes” card dammit.

  7. If we get the book, does a little dog pop up out of it? What a great marketing idea! I just put this on my list. Thx. It has been and incredibly short and long month. I’m always running behind trying to catch up, so I totally understand.

  8. Have you ever considered another track book club for those of us who can’t handle true crime & disturbing fiction set in the real world?
    I can handle zombies and aliens better than murder, abuse, and nuclear war.

  9. Thank you Anonymous person for linking the page with all the FS books!

  10. are you able to share what the mind-bending ‘this is all a simulation’ book was, even if it isn’t a choice for the book club?

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