Author Archives: thebloggess

24 years ago this very day

Last week Victor found an old VCR and we watched our wedding video for the first time in 24 years. It seems like it was yesterday. It seems like it was a million years ago.

Today we’ll eat hummus and light sparklers in the backyard and rewatch Hamilton as Hailey and I try (and fail) to not loudly sing along and Victor tries (and fails) to act annoyed with us.

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24 years ago today.

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FYI…James and Jennifer are our legal names. I assure you, this is us even though we both look like we’re 12.

Even in lockdown I’m feeling very lucky today.

Here’s to cake and blind optimism and cake.

And to 24 more with any luck.

Hello, strangelings!

Are you a member of the Fantastic Strangelings Book Club? Because if you are today we are opening up the discussion on June’s book, THEY DID BAD THINGS, by Lauren A. Forry:

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I was never in a real book club. No one asked me to be in one and that was for the best bc I’m a bit hermity and I don’t like to leave my house. But I always wanted to be in one and I hoped that at least a few people would join The Fantastic Strangelings Book Club when I started it even though it’s all just online and there are no deadlines on reading the books. There are now a few thousand members, which I can’t even wrap my head around. We’ve had Q&As with authors and did ridiculous and wonderful zoom meetings with @bitchesgottaeat and @thissielomas. This month I picked a book (so dark and distracting…I think you’ll love it) but the publisher wasn’t really prepared to have sold an unexpected few thousand extra books (which is a wonderful problem to have) right out of the gate but they were so excited that they created a special printing just for us…and when you look inside, this is what you see. It’s probably dumb but I cried when I got my copy today. I’m still hermity and I still am too anxious to join a book club that meets in real life but we’ve created our own bizarre community that is lovely, and fun and is making a real difference to authors during a time when it’s harder to be an author. It’s also sustaining @nowherebookshop and our team even when we can’t open our doors. All this to say, I’m feeling pretty fucking lucky all things considered.

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Did you read it? Did you finish it? Wanna talk about it? ME TOO. I’ll open a discussion thread on the Fantastic Strangeling Facebook page in just a second so we can discuss there but you can also leave your thoughts in the comments here if you don’t do Facebook. As always, there are no deadlines and the posts stay open forever in case you don’t get to it for a few months.

Also, today I’m announcing the book for July. (If you’re a paid member you already get my ridiculous emails and this isn’t news for you, you lucky in-the-know weirdo.)

It’s Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moleno-Garcia and I can’t stop thinking about it.

I struggled a little with this choice because we’ve had a few dark books in a row and I like to jump around to different genres but this book was so haunting I just couldn’t skip it. SO GOOD.

An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic aristocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets. . . . 
  
From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes “a terrifying twist on classic gothic horror” (Kirkus Reviews) set in glamorous 1950s Mexico—“fans of classic novels like Jane Eyre and Rebecca are in for a suspenseful treat” (PopSugar).

We won’t ship it for a week or two so don’t worry if you’re still working on this month’s book.

Also, we’re having a zoom book discussion with this month’s book author (Lauren A. Forry) tomorrow night so if you want to join just check your emails from me and it’ll give you all the info. It’s a special free perk for paid members and I think we still have spots left so RSVP if you want to drop in.

And, as always, if you want to join the Fantastic Strangelings Book Club you are so very welcome. This book club is literally sustaining Nowhere Bookshop as we still haven’t opened our doors to customers. We can’t wait to see people in real life at the store, but we are so incredibly lucky to be able to keep our team and our community safe and working and reading. Click here to join!

What’s your favorite book quote?

Want some updates on Nowhere Bookshop?

So, Nowhere Bookshop remains in that strange liminal space where our doors aren’t open to customers because the plague won’t go away and we don’t want to contribute to that, but we’ve had a lot of local San Antonians ask if they could pick up books from the store so this week we’re going to try out no-contact curbside service. Like, you order and pay online and then call us when you’re at the store and we make sure no one is around and then run your books to a table outside the shop and then when we’re safely back inside you can run up in your mask and grab your books off the table and speed away like you’re doing some sort of wonderful book heist. It’s basically the most introverted sales experience ever and I sort of think we should keep that option forever. Click here for details if you’re local. And we still ship everywhere if you’re like me and don’t ever want to leave the house again.

This weekend Victor and Hailey and I went to the shop and worked while it was empty and I can’t even tell you how many amazing books are there. And tarot cards and stuffed animals and socks and automatons and art and cards and bags and socks and OMG, Y’ALL. I want to do a live feed soon walking through the store with you because it is kind of magic already even though it’s still not really finished.

Poor Elizabeth is feeling Victor’s pain as I sneak bizarre stuff into the store and do ridiculous things that make her probably question ever agreeing to work with me. Like this series of messages I just sent her:

She didn’t quit though and was totally okay with the art because she is good people and also because there is no sense in arguing with me. (Also, the mouse is reading “Of Mice and Men” because of course she is.)

One other thing that I want to do with the store is have little quotes written around on the walls and behind books and in places you might not expect. They’ll be small and semi-hidden…like finding little messages from ghosts…and I’d like them to be either quotes from books or about books. Some will be written on tiny squares of paper and slipped into books. Some will be written under shelves so only tiny children see them. Many will never be found but I sort of like that. Here are a few of my favorite quotes about reading but I need a lot more so will you share yours? Any wonderful quote from or about a book that stuck with you that you want to share with the world.

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” 
― Haruki Murakami

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” 
― Oscar Wilde

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” 
― Toni Morrison

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” 
― Neil Gaiman

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
― Jorge Luis Borges

Suggestions?

I’m pretty sure none of this is legal in Texas.

So today Victor found me in the backyard painting the cantaloupe flowers like some terrible Alice-in-Wonderland and he threatened to call the doctor because clearly I was mad from heatstroke.

But then I explained that I wasn’t “painting flowers” because that’s ridiculous and I explained that I was having sex with the cantaloupes. Then he was more concerned so I explained that the cantaloupe I’d planted was growing like crazy but that the flowers never turned into melons so the internet said that probably the male and female flowers weren’t fertilizing each other and that I should use a paintbrush to scoop out pollen from the male flower and dump it in the female flower, but that I was having a real problem because I couldn’t tell which ones were male or female because none of them seems to have penises or pollen and I explained that I’d found ants in a bunch of the flowers and I wasn’t sure if they were pollinating the flowers or just eating all the penises and I wasn’t sure if I should be getting rid of the ants or thanking them.

Then Victor shook his head and walked back inside as I shouted, “YOU KNEW WHAT YOU WERE GETTING INTO WHEN YOU MARRIED ME,” which isn’t entirely accurate because it’s hard to imagine you’ll ever find your wife sexing up the cantaloupes in her lady garden but honestly, I’m just trying to feed us and save money on fruit so a little less judgement would be nice.

I’m living (part of) my dreams.

So Nowhere Bookshop is still not open to the public because of the plague but instead of being sad about that I’m focusing on the positives, because honestly, there are quite a few…

From last night:

And this morning:

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I was never in a real book club. No one asked me to be in one and that was for the best bc I’m a bit hermity and I don’t like to leave my house. But I always wanted to be in one and I hoped that at least a few people would join The Fantastic Strangelings Book Club when I started it even though it’s all just online and there are no deadlines on reading the books. There are now a few thousand members, which I can’t even wrap my head around. We’ve had Q&As with authors and did ridiculous and wonderful zoom meetings with @bitchesgottaeat and @thissielomas. This month I picked a book (so dark and distracting…I think you’ll love it) but the publisher wasn’t really prepared to have sold an unexpected few thousand extra books (which is a wonderful problem to have) right out of the gate but they were so excited that they created a special printing just for us…and when you look inside, this is what you see. It’s probably dumb but I cried when I got my copy today. I’m still hermity and I still am too anxious to join a book club that meets in real life but we’ve created our own bizarre community that is lovely, and fun and is making a real difference to authors during a time when it’s harder to be an author. It’s also sustaining @nowherebookshop and our team even when we can’t open our doors. All this to say, I’m feeling pretty fucking lucky all things considered.

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So thank you, whether you’re an official member of the Fantastic Strangelings or an honorary one.

I super crazy love you.

********

Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

Shit-you-may-or-may-not-want-to-see:

This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by StoryWorth, who I super love.  It makes an amazing Father’s Day gift and it’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever given my parents. From them:” These days it’s more important than ever to stay in touch with your loved ones. If your phone calls with family are starting to sound repetitive, StoryWorth is a great way to prompt meaningful conversations. Once a week for a year, they’ll receive an email with a question about their life. All they have to do is reply with a story, which is forwarded to you and any other family members you invite. After a year, their stories are bound in a beautiful keepsake book your family will cherish!”  For real, I’ve done it for both my parents and it is fantastic.  Plus it’s a really good distraction.  Click here and you’ll get $10 off.  

I’ve also learned how to set the stove on fire. True story.

A quarter of a year in and we’re still hiding from the plague in our house and that has meant that I’ve had to learn a number of new skills, including dog grooming, vacuum repair, amateur plumbing, how to turn on a stove and (on two occasions) light firefighting inside the kitchen.

Victor asked me to cut his hair but I don’t anything about hair cutting so I got an electric trimmer and practiced on the dog and I’m pretty sure the terrible job I did on Dorothy Barker should have been a good warning but Victor was desperate so we sat on the porch as I buzzed off inches of hair and I was very grateful that he has super bushy hair because it’s a bit more forgiving but then the wind picked up the clumps of his hair on the ground and out of the corner of my eye it looked exactly like a giant horde of spiders was skittering toward me and I may have screamed and dropped the clippers directly onto Victor’s head and he sort of glared at me but in my defense he is the reason I’m going grey so it’s only fair that I’m the reason he’s temporarily balding on just one side of his head.

And how is your quarantine going?