Three lovely things:
- Did you finish Sorrowland? Did you love it? ME TOO. No worries if you gotten to it yet, because there are no rules in the Fantastic Strangelings Book Club. But I’m going to open it up for discussion here and on the Fantastic Strangelings Facebook page if you want to talk about it because personally I have questions and I suspect someone smarter than me will have answers.
- If you’re a member of the Fantastic Strangelings (THANK YOU! YOU ARE KEEPING US IN BUSINESS!) you’ve already gotten my email about this month’s book but in case you missed it or are an honorary member…here is this month’s choice:
It’s The Chose and the Beautiful and it is divine and on the way to you as we speak.
June was a hard month (in the best way) because there were SO MANY amazing books to choose from. I read 11 and was having a hard time picking the best one because I really adored several but then Elizabeth slipped me The Chosen and the Beautiful. It didn’t seem like my type of book…a reimaging of The Great Gatsby?…because I’m one of those few people who sort of thought The Great Gatsby was overrated, but then I looked a little closer. A reimagining from the viewpoint of Jordan, as a queer, Vietnamese adoptee…where magic literally exists and infernal pacts with the devil, cursed parties and drinking demon blood is just par for the course? And add to that the fact that the author (Nghi Vho) writes in the most gorgeous prose…honestly, I know some people will call it sacrilege but I think this retelling is so much better than the original. (And you don’t have to have read the original to enjoy it.) It’s a lovely, quick and decadent read.
3. I always pick an optional bonus book for those of us who need a few to pass the month and this month I can’t recommend enough The Ugly Cry by Danielle Henderson, a memoir equal parts hysterical and achingly poignant. Want more? My pleasure! Here are some of the June books I loved: Girl One (Orphan Black meets Margaret Atwood in this twisty supernatural thriller about female power). Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch: A Novel (Historical fiction about a society and family undone by superstition, hysteria and fear). The Wolf and the Woodsman (inspired by Hungarian history and Jewish mythology, this book follows a young pagan woman with hidden powers and a one-eyed captain of the Woodsmen as they form an unlikely alliance to thwart a tyrant). Sidecountry: Tales of Death and Life from the Back Roads of Sports (Stories from alligator hunting to wingsuit flying to downhill skiers caught in an avalanche. I don’t like sports but this book was amazing.) Rabbits (A deadly underground game might just be altering reality itself. This book freaked me the fuck out. But in a good way.) The Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot (The sweetest book. An extraordinary friendship. A lifetime of stories. You’ll probably cry but it is 100% worth it.) The Maidens (Dark and twisty psychological suspense). A Sitting in St. James (Three-time National Book Award finalist Rita Williams-Garcia masterwork explores the interwoven lives of those bound to a plantation in antebellum America —empathetic, brutal, and entirely human—and essential reading for both teens and adults grappling with the long history of American racism).
4. I know I said there were just three things but I don’t know how to turn off outnumbering so I’ll just say that I know some of you were sad that we ran out of spots this month to join the Fantastic Strangelings because you tried to join and it wouldn’t let you but actually that was just a technical glitch that I think has been fixed so if you want to join there is no better time. You get a kick-ass Fantastic Strangelings pin just for joining and then we send you a book a month. And most of the time the cover price of the book is higher than the $25 a month so you’re actually saving money while supporting an indie shop. And the books coming up later this year are SO GOOD. I’m not naming names yet but be prepared for a fascinating memoir next month and a Shirley Jackson-esque mystery in August and book in September that ripped my heart out and put it back in me again.
PS. My take on Sorrowland is in the comments. Happy reading!