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. 🙂