Books? Books.

It’s September and that means I have a list of wonderful books you should read, including this month’s Fantastic Strangeling Book Club pick, The Fortunes of Jaded Women by Carolyn Huynh. It was exactly the zany, dramatic, messy, hopeful tale that I needed and it had me hooked from the very first line:

Everyone in Orange County’s Little Saigon knew that the Duong sisters were cursed.

And if you’ve been waiting to join the Fantastic Strangelings this is the perfect time to do it because I’ve been a bit lonely so I’ve started doing ridiculous online crafting hours where you can zoom in and watch me glue myself to my desk. Last night I tried to make a ghost out of a mannequin and both his arms fell off. Who doesn’t want to see that?

If you’re anything like me you might need more than one book to get you through the month so here are the new September books that I loved:

Thistlefoot by GennaRose Nethercott – A modern fairytale about the ancestral hauntings that stalk us, and the uncanny power of story, seeped with Eastern European folklore.

American Demon by Daniel Stashower – This historical true crime book explores Elliot Ness and the hunt for America’s Jack the Ripper.  HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS STORY? SO MANY TORSOS.

Ghost Eaters by Clay McLeod Chapman– A terrifying and haunting page-turner that explores ghost, grief and god complexes.

Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands by Kate Beaton –This graphic novel by Kate Beaton (who wrote HARK! A VAGRANT, which is one of my fave books ever) goes a whole new way and vividly presents the untold story of Canada and the years in which she worked in the harsh realities of the oil sands.

The Devil Takes You Home by Gabino Iglesias – A genre-defying thriller about a father desperate to salvage what’s left of his family, even if it means a descent into a supernatural world. Dark as hell.

Cryptid Club by Sarah Anderson – A freaking adorable little comic compilation of spooky cuteness.

Motherthing by Ainslie Hogarth – This is the weird-ass mother-in-law from hell (literally) book you’ve been looking for.  This book is fully nuts, y’all.

Anything calling to you? Happy reading!

PS. I’m about to open up the discussion thread for last month’s book (THE BOOK EATERS by Sunyi Dean) on the Fantastic Strangelings Facebook page but if you don’t do facebook I’ll leave my thoughts here in the comments. It may take me a minute though because I have a lot of thoughts about this one. 🙂

21 thoughts on “Books? Books.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. DUCKS! Oh, my, yes.

    that is all.


    Oh. Also, everything about you is wonderful. And who’s a guy gotta flirt with to get his book on lists like that? I don’t mind if it’s even books your mom recommends or books from sad middle-aged men. I just like being on lists.


    My thoughts on Book Eaters…ooh I loved this one. Such a fascinating sort of vampire tale with so much deeper symbolism and so many questions.

    Things I loved:
    The idea that you are what you read, or who you spend time with or what you choose to spend your time and energy on.
    The focus on how the patriarchal systems lead to abuse of power even when sometimes the people being abused weren’t aware of it.
    The idea that it’s hard to imagine a thing you’ve never seen – like having a loving parental relationship if you’ve never witnessed one. I love the idea that it’s so hard to make our own stories but that we have to in order to move forward and have positive change.
    The way different types of trafficking were explored, both of humans, immigrants, women, of brides, of dragons and of knights…we often become the very monsters who hurt us. There’s such a cyclical pattern to abuse and it’s not able to stop unless we stop it.
    The “ghost” of Ramsey admitting that he was harmed by the knights and that his pain made him lash out at his sister but that he couldn’t admit it while he was alive…I think that’s not so unusual – the things we don’t want to admit to ourselves. I’m glad they got closure.
    The idea of neurodivergence and how different minds work in different ways. I especially enjoyed reading about it from the perspective of an autistic author.

    Things I liked:
    The idea that we can make our own families and that you don’t have to stay with people who hurt you.
    The study of obligations and duties and how we need to examine them to decide if they’re actually helpful or not.
    The relationship between Jarrow and Vic and how they loved each other.
    The fact that I was never entirely certain who was the real monster. I’m still not sure I know.

    Things I didn’t like:
    How Salem wasn’t rescued. Maybe there will be a follow-up book and that will be explored? Or maybe it was open-ended so you could come up with your own thoughts?

    One of the biggest things I was fascinated by was the idea of ethics when it came to Bookeaters and mindeaters. I wondered if I would have done the same thing in Devon’s spot. I can’t imagine what I wouldn’t do for my child, but I don’t know that I would have been able to kill for them. (At least not innocent children. I’d be fine feeding them serial killers and evil people, but then you’d just make your kid evil…it’s such a runaway trolley problem and I don’t know the answer.)

    What were your thoughts?

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  4. In August I manage to read 3 books and that’s because I started up on the 31st and got a book finished at 11:56pm. It was an ARC so I wanted to get the review in. But I loved it. I’m rambling. I’m going to stop. Really. Now. Right now. This minute. STOP!!!!!

  5. We need Elizabeth to share the scary/horror book list from last night’s Zoom. I was laughing and enjoying myself too much to write them all down.

  6. Did you remember the name of the podcast you could remember the name of last night during crafting zoom?

    (YES! In Another Room – presented by The Violet Hour. ~ Jenny)

  7. I go hit and miss. Most of your selections I LOVE. I devoured Mrs. March – OMG! Like a newly published Shirley Jackson book. Heaven. And thank you for introducing me to Grady Hendrix (!!!) and Sarah Gailey.
    But, Book Eaters I just could not get into. Something about the writing. I’m willing to wait a while and give it a second try. Have you noticed sometimes you don’t like a book because you’re not in “the right mood” and when you try again you love it. For instance, Eleanor Oliphant is Totally Fine. Trying it a second time I thought, How could I not have loved this book the first time? Same with Daughter of Doctor Moreau – I waited a week and tried again…and it was the right time. I LOVE having a long list of books you have recommended…with your latest post that list just got longer…

    (I have the exact same issue with books. Sometimes I’ll read something and hate it and then come back to it later and it’s perfect. SO STRANGE. ~ Jenny)

  8. Living in the Cleveland area for my entire life I’ve known about Eliot Ness and the Torso Murders forever. I’ve never had the opportunity to do it but every once in awhile tours are offered of the locations where the body parts were found. Of course there are claims that some of the locations are haunted.

  9. I do love the feel of a book- turning the pages, the new book and musty used book smell of the paper and ink. But,alas, I’ve been drawn to audio books. Which is awesome during the work hours. But, I completely blame that Jenny Lawson chick for my new muse🙃. September will be long past for the audios of Fortune and Mexican Gothic if I wait for Libby….it took a month for Broken 😡 (totally worth it. Had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing while listening at work!)…shmmm🙄

    I read another bk on Ness and the Torso murders – Eliot Ness and the Mad Butcher..I was fascinated about his moves to modernize policing and the innovations like a centralized emergency phone number…

    Going to add several of those to my list.

    Book Eaters. V much agree on all of it. I closed it hoping there’d be a sequel for Salem. Another issue that bugged me but doesn’t make me love it less – I don’t think the timeline always made sense. There were some discrepancies and there was one other fact check type thing that annoyed me but I can’t remember now what it was. But otherwise the smashing of the patriarchy, the power of imagination to free us were great themes.

  11. Thank you for the great book suggestions every month. I add the titles to my Want-to-Read list and (eventually) I actually read them. I’ve enjoyed so many of the books I find here.

  12. I’d love to be part of the Strangelings book club, but I refuse to go back to facebook. I quit it about three years ago and do not miss that cesspool. Also wish I could visit your bookstore, but I don’t travel…and if I did, Texas will not be on my list until it cleans up its act. 🙁

    (No facebook or texas travels necessary. You can still join the zooms and leave your thoughts here. 🙂 ~ Jenny)

  13. I also loved the closure Cai offered Devon by relaying Ramsay’s admission; I wonder, though . . . Did the apology truly come from memory-Ramsay in Cai’s mind? Or was it an insight from Cai himself, made possible by a) the connection made to Ramsay by absorbing him, and b) the decidedly non-5-year-old wisdom he gains from containing 25 other adults? (Plus having learned to interact with those eaten selves, while always finding his way back to his own identity.) I would almost appreciate that angle more, because it would be such a wonderful act of love Cai would be extending to his mum . . . by seeing Ramsay’s life, understanding those dynamics and their lifelong impact on Devon and Ramsay; and then choosing to tell Devon the truth she needed to hear, framed in a way that it could be the most healing.

    (I love that interpretation. And that sounds way more possible. It’s not like people would automatically become more self-aware the instant they die. ~ Jenny)

  14. I’ve been wanting to join the Fantastic Strangelings book club for a LONG time, but I’m afraid I read way too slow. I don’t think I’d fit in. I wouldn’t be able to keep up. 🙁

  15. If you want to join, you’d fit in! A lot of us (myself included) mainly read and lurk, which you can do on any schedule. I’ve read the books several months late, and it’s still fun to go back to the comments and read what everyone says later. Also, if Jenny does any Zoom discussion/author interviews, etc, she always records and archives them. So even when I haven’t been able to participate live, I’ve always enjoyed pulling them up later and watching them whenever I actually finish the book. Tldr: whether you “keep up” or not, it’s still fun, and the book club would love to have you. <3

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