Category Archives: bloggess book club

Book club time!

Hey.  I was going to write this all yesterday but then I didn’t because yesterday was very not good.  Nothing really bad happened but I fell into a full meltdown of depression and I basically just cried and curled up into a ball and waited for it to pass.

And it did.  A little.

All day yesterday I felt so bad for not finishing this post, because how fucked up do you have to be to not be able to blog?  And then today I woke up and my heavy meltdown turned to mild depression with spots of okayness and I realized that it literally makes no real difference that I’m posting a day later than I planned and that I’m behind on emails and deadlines and other bullshit because first of all, we’re all behind and probably the people waiting to hear from me are just as relieved to have an extra day, and also my depression was making everything seem much more horrible and bleak in the same way that it always does because it lies so impossibly well.

This intro has nothing to do with what I’m writing about, but maybe you are having a no-good, very-bad day right now and need to hear this: it’s okay.  Everyone is struggling.  You will get through this.  Don’t let your worst days tell you lies about who you really are.

Okay, so…time for the Fantastic Strangeling Book Club!  As always, keep in mind that there are no rules to book club and so it’s totally okay if you haven’t read this month’s book yet.  Lots of people read it immediately.  Lots of people save it for when they have time and come to the discussion later.   Lots of people save up all the books for a summer of reading or lend the books to other people and forget to get them back.   Most people read the book and lurk in the discussion but never actually talk because most of us are introverts who like to be part of a group that expects nothing from them.   The only real guideline to this book club is that you feel special when the book is delivered to your hands because it is a gift to yourself.  The end.

So this month’s book is Samantha Irby’s WOW, NO THANK YOU and I really hope you loved it as much as I did.  She is magic and writes dark and real stuff that also makes me laugh out loud and that feels so rare sometimes.  I’m always so happy when a new book of hers comes out because when I read it I feel like I’m having a conversation with her and when she writes something particularly inappropriate I always say (in my head), “OH MY GOD THAT REMINDS OF THE TIME -” and then suddenly I’m having an actual conversation with an invisible person who is not listening but I often end up writing down those tangents and then sometimes those tangents become chapters in my own books. I wonder if that’s weird or normal?  I wonder if there are books that talk to each other and you don’t even know it until the authors point it out?  Ignore me…I’m rambling and I’m not sure this is making sense.  If we were having a book club irl I’d be like, “Talk amongst yourselves” and you would say smart things about metaphors and authenticity and I would nod and drink too much rum but you aren’t physically here so all I can do is the rum part.

BUT!  I’m also announcing this month’s book and I think you’re going to like it because it’s weird as hell:

A taste of the novel, Catherine House:

“A gothic-infused debut of literary suspense, set within a secluded, elite university and following a dangerously curious, rebellious undergraduate who uncovers a shocking secret about an exclusive circle of students . . . and the dark truth beneath her school’s promise of prestige.

Trust us, you belong here.”

And in case you missed it, for those of you who – like me- need constant distractions from your own brains in the form of books I’m doing an optional extra book club read of HORRORSTÖR later this month if you want to pick it up.  If you buy it through the Nowhere Bookshop portal we get credit and it super helps us but no worries if you want to support your local indie shop or library or if it’s not for you and you want to just skip it.

Sidenote: Some of you asked how you can help Nowhere Bookshop, and ordering through our bookshop portal makes a giant difference and has been enough to help us buy a sign for the store.  WHOOP!  (No pictures yet but it’s in the process of being made and I’ll share when it’s up.)   Everyone needs a boost right now so no worries if you change our affiliate code to any other participating indie bookstore.

SO…I’m opening up a discussion post on the Fantastic Strangelings Facebook page if you want to discuss Samantha’s book but if you hate Facebook you can always leave your thoughts here.

Remember, I super crazy love you.

Yes, you.

Strangelings bonus post!

Hello, and welcome to one of two Fantastic Strangelings Book Club discussions for this month!

What is the Fantastic Strangelings Book Club and how can I join?”  Just click here, sweet baby angel face.

This discussion though is about a bonus book we announced a few weeks ago so if you don’t have it, no worries.  And if you’re a member we’re sending out Samantha Irby’s book, Wow, No Thank You this week and we’re including a special present in your package too because you deserve a nice surprise.  And if you just want to buy Sam’s book and not be a member you can just go here and your orders will help us another other indie bookshops.   And as always, you don’t have to be a paid member to join the discussion.  Everyone is welcome.

So today we’re opening up discussions for The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires:

photo of vampire book. Cat is behind.

Most of the discussion happens on our Facebook page (just search for Fantastic Strangelings Book Club and you’ll find it)  but I always leave a blog post open in case you hate Facebook but still want to talk.  And as always, feel free to leave suggestions for book club reads because we’re all a little stir-crazy so having optional bonus books for awhile might be a good thing for everyone.

What’s a book we should all read right now?

Discussion open in comments.  Here there be spoilers….

 

This plague needs more vampires.

Hello, everyone!  Do you want to read some kick-ass books while helping Nowhere Bookshop and other indie bookshops?  Are you wondering where to get books right now since so many of the big stores aren’t shipping them?  Then this is the post you need to read.

If you’re a member of the Fantastic Strangelings Book Club I already emailed you about this because you are my favorite pen pal/hostage but skip down to the last several paragraphs because I have a question for you.

So.  How are you feeling? Me too. Like, literally any answer you have I would say, “me too” because everything fluctuates so much from minute to minute that I’m like if a mood ring could be people. One thing that’s helping me? Day drinking. Wait, no, reading. I meant reading. Also binge-watching tv while I work. Did you watch that Tiger King show on Netflix? HOLY CRAP, WAS THAT BAT SHIT BANANAS OR WHAT???  How are all those people even real? Wait…I got distracted. Reading.  That’s what I was talking about.

I’ve been reading a lot lately and I know I am not alone. It is a kick-ass healthy distraction that can give you perspective and comfort, while accidentally making you feel smarter than everyone else for the moment and one small advantage of living through this plague year is that suddenly those of us who have to stay home have no excuse not to read all the books in the world.

We’ve had such great response on the book club (seriously, thank you. You are keeping us in business even when we’re not able to be in business) and the biggest complaint I’ve seen so far is that you actually need more book suggestions right now because you’re going through them like crazy and need distractions. RELATABLE.

So…if you’re a member of the book club then next month’s book (Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby) will be headed to you in April but if you want a double helping of goodness to weather the storm of slow-moving-crisis we’re offering a extra book in case you need to double up.  And if you’re not already part of the bookclub you can buy this extra book and see what it’s like to be part of the team of weirdos reading together around the world.

BUT HOW, JENNY?

Easy. I just finished a book that was the perfect distraction and it comes out next month too so if you want to order it and read along with us you totally can. And we’ll open a discussion on it and do everything basically the same as the normal Strangelings Club.

SO WHAT BOOK IS IT?

I’m so glad you asked. It’s The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix.

picture of vampire book

I was sucked in with the fantastic cover and stayed fully riveted with a horror story that was odd, terrifying, funny, and so completely different from what’s going on in the world that I was able to exercise my anxiety on a world where the worst thing going on is predatory vampires and 1980’s era patriarchy.

We should come up with a name for this but I can’t think of one. Quaranreads? Isoliteracy? Con(Fine-I’ll-Just-Read)ment? Fict-Shun Everyone Who Doesn’t Practice Proper Handwashing Techniques? Silent-Sequestered-Reading? Oh wait. I like that one. Silent-Sequestered-Reading. Because when I was a kid the best thing that ever happened in school was when the teacher would call for Silent-Sustained-Reading (that’s not just a rural Texas thing, right?) and it got quiet and everyone was reading together but at their own pace and for the readers and introverts in the class it was pure heaven.

Yep. That’s the one.

“BUT DIDN’T YOU SAY SOMETHING ABOUT HELPING BOOKSTORES?”

Oh, fuck.  Yes, I did.  Sorry.  Okay, there’s a website called bookshop that will send books out for us (and other indie bookshops) which is incredibly helpful when me and the team are all sheltering in place.  If you buy books through the Nowhere Bookshop portal of Bookshop then it raises money for our store and all indie stores that use it divide up a portion of the profits at the end of the month so that means if we do well it helps other indie stores too.  This is also great for authors who are struggling with selling books right now since Amazon isn’t shipping books for at least 2-3 weeks.  So click here to go to our portal.   Or click here to order our extra book club book for next month.  We have suggestions, or if you’re looking for something particular you can search for it in the search bar at the top of the page.  I bought a book yesterday from them and it was super easy.  As long as the Nowhere logo shows up on top of the page we get credit but if you have a local indie store you want to support you can change it to any one that is listed on the site.

So if you want an extra book for Silent-Sequestered-Reading next month you can get it here to support our store. Or you can pick it up from the library if they are open or buy it from your local indie store because a lot of them are offering curbside delivery and that’s pretty awesome. No pressure either way. We have enough of that already.

Right now I’m reading a bunch of books to find the perfect one for May.  I finished one that was great but a little to close to what’s going on in the world right now to feel escapy enough, and then another one that I liked but wasn’t quite perfect and now I’m reading a dark fairy tale that I think it going to be the perfect choice.  Here’s the thing though.  There is something about reading these books to choose for you that makes me feel like I’m reading them to you.  Like when Hailey was little and I’d find the perfect book and I couldn’t wait to share it with her.  It makes me feel like we’re all together, in the dark, sharing stories and opening minds and escaping.  I wouldn’t have that without you and it’s given me a strange new way to read and to enjoy books.  These books have saved me, recently.  And you have saved me by giving me reason to read them.  Thank you.

And now I have another favor to ask you.  Right now I think we all need a little comfort and so will you share in the comments what your go-to book is when you need comfort?  Maybe it’s horror, or comedy or a children’s book…what is the one book that the rest of the world might need right now?

For me, it’s anything by Ray Bradbury.  He is the warmest blanket in my library.  If you click here and scroll down to “Jenny Recommends” you’ll see some more of my comfort reads.

Your turn.

HELLO, STRANGELINGS!

me:  Hello, and welcome to the first ever meeting of the Fantastic Strangelings Book Club!

You:  Wait…what happened?  I just walked in and everyone is staring and I didn’t even know I had reading assigned and THIS IS MY NIGHTMARE.

me:  No, it’s cool.  This is a super laid-back book club.  I’m not even wearing pants.

You:  I see.  Well, now it’s even more awkward.

me:  It’s a talent.  So here’s what you missed.  I started a book club for introverts who want to read strange, wonderful books.  The first one went out last week (along with book club stickers and pins and signed bookplates for the first 1200 people who signed up) and I just published a post on the Facebook page where people can discuss the book but some people hate Facebook so I’m also posting this right here in case people want to discuss in the comments of this blog post.  Or if you want to just read it and never discuss it at all that’s totally cool too.

You:  Oh.  Well, that actually sounds like something I’d very much be into.  How do I get in on this?

me:  Well.  We’re all sold out of January’s book but you can still get it from other indie bookshops or from the library.  It’s called FOLLOW ME TO GROUND by Sue Rainsford, and it is deliciously weird.  We actually had so many people interested in the book club that we had to stop offering new memberships for a bit but we are now adding more for February so you can click here to join if you haven’t already.

You:  Oh wait.  I just remembered that I already joined this club in a drunken haze last month.  I guess that explains why that book arrived in mail today?

me:  Hello, soulmate.  Welcome.

You:  So…what now?

me:  Now you read the book and if you want to discuss it you can do that here or over here on the Facebook page but no pressure if you just like to lurk or save up all of the years books until summer vacation or leave them in Little Free Libraries.  THERE ARE NO RULES.

You:  This sounds amazing.  So…can you tell me what next month’s book is going to be?

me:  OMG I’M SO GLAD YOU ASKED. (Although technically since you’re a member you should already have an email from me from last week where I spilled the beans early to members.)

Next month’s book is AMERICAN SHERLOCK: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI, by Kate Winkler Dawson.  I devoured it in one night.  If you are a true crime aficionado like me you will LOVE it and even if you aren’t it is such a fascinating book.  It’s all about the life of Edward Oscar Heinrich, one of America’s first forensic scientists who cracked at least two thousand cases starting in the 1930’s.

You:  Oh.  That does look good.

me:  And the author is from Texas so she’s coming down this week and signing copies of the book for us, so as a member you’ll be getting a signed edition of  the book.*

You:  What.

me: I KNOW RIGHT?

You:  And what’s the book pick for March?

me:  I’m still working on March but I can tell you that April is a humor memoir/essay and the author is one of my favorite writers of all time and I love her IRL.

You:  Hmm…I think I can guess.  Is it-

me:  THE FIRST RULE OF BOOK CLUB IS THAT WE DON’T SAY WHAT THE NEXT BOOK IS UNTIL THE MONTH BEFORE.

You:  You literally just told me there were no rules.

me:  I am a complicated woman.

You: So will the authors ever show up in the comments of the book discussions?

me:  They’re all invited to but some are introverts too so no pressure on them.  I do though send them questions and I’ll share the answers here and on the Facebook page.  Sue is working on hers right now so look for them in the comments when she’s done.  And as a special thank you members will get an email with answers to THE WEIRD FIVE, which is a special five-question list every author will be given.

You:  Thank you.  I feel very important.

me:  You should.  You’re literally helping to create an entire bookshop just by being a member.  That is some heavy magic.

You:  Okay.  I’ve got a book to curl up with.  Any suggestion as to which cocktail to pair it with?

me:  Hmmm… since the main character is a magic vegetable creature maybe a bloody mary with lots of root veggies in it?  Tomato juice, celery, blood thinner….It’s practically a health drink.

You:  I’m sorry, did you say “magical vegetable creature“?

me:  Yes.  And this is exactly why you need to read the book because it is like nothing I’ve ever read before and I need to discuss it right now.

You:  I am both scared and intrigued.

me:  Then I’ve done my job.  Happy reading, friend.

*Just a note here that while we are currently accepting new members, only the first 2,000 members will get a signed copy of this book because that’s all we bought so if you are already a member you’re golden and if you aren’t yet but want to be just do it as soon as you can.  🙂  As always, if you have any questions just email us at orders@nowherebookshop.com.  This post will stay open for months so no worries if your book hasn’t arrived yet or if you’re a slow reader.

PS.  A few people are saying they can’t get access to the Facebook page when they click on the links.  It’s open to anyone so if you have issues just search for “fantastic strangelings book club” in Facebook and that should work.

The first meeting of the Bloggess Book Club

Remember when we started a book club but then I forgot about it?  Well I remembered again so today we’re totally doing it.  Get your wine out.

Our first book club read was The Haunted Vagina by Carlton Mellick III and IMHO it was pretty amazing.

(Also, some people seem to think that IMHO means “In My Honest Opinion” but those people are super wrong because the H stands for “Humble” and it always has so quit it.)

I shared few of my favorite excerpts from the book on instagram but most of the best ones contains spoilers so you’ll have to read them for yourself.

View this post on Instagram

Part 2 of #bloggessbookclub. Details on the blog.

A post shared by Jenny Lawson (@thebloggess) on

 

Overall, I give The Haunted Vagina four out of five stars.  My only complaint is that it was too short and that Victor wouldn’t let me read it out loud to him in bed.

Next up for Bloggess Book Club?  Every Time We Meet at the Dairy Queen Your Whole Fucking Face Explodes.