What I read in September.

September has some bad-ass new books that you’ll want to see. Ready?

First up is my September pick for the Fantastic Strangeling Book Club:

It’s Land of Milk and Honey by C Pam Zhang (the award-winning author of How Much of these Hills is Gold) and it is haunting and strange and the prose is absolutely gorgeous.

Want a taste?

Set in a dystopian future where a smog has settled over so much of the world that the food chain has been destroyed and the world subsists on bland bean flours, a chef escapes her dying career in a dreary city to take a mysterious job at a decadent mountaintop colony seemingly free of the world’s troubles. But not all is what it seems.

And for the Nightmares from Nowhere Book Club we’re sending you Black Sheep by Rachel Harrison. A cynical twenty-something must confront her unconventional family’s dark secrets in this fiery, irreverent horror novel from the author of Such Sharp Teeth and Cackle.

Rachel Harrison is the queen of the intersection of cozy humor and terrifying and I can’t tell you why I like it because *SPOILERS* but it’s so good.

You need to read it because I need to discuss it. I’m selfish that way.

Need more to get you through the month? I GOT YOU, SUNSHINE.

Here are nine other new releases I read that I can tell you about. I am crushing my yearly reading challenge because yay for productive procrastination!

The September House by Carissa Orlando – When Margaret and her husband bought the large Victorian house on Hawthorn Street—for sale at a surprisingly reasonable price—they couldn’t believe they finally had a home of their own. Then they discovered the hauntings. THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD.

And Then She Fell by Alicia Elliott –  A mind-bending, razor-sharp look at motherhood and mental health that follows a young Indigenous woman who discovers the picture-perfect life she always hoped for may have horrifying consequences.

The Square of Sevens by Laura Shepherd-Robinson  – An orphaned fortune teller in 18th-century England searches for answers about her long-dead mother and uncovers shocking secrets in this immersive and atmospheric saga.

What Kind of Mother by Clay McLeod Chapman – Combining supernatural horror with domestic suspense into a visceral exploration of parental grief.

Playing the Witch Card by KJ Dell’Antonio – If you’re looking for a cozy mystery/romance with a spooky edge this is it.

Black River Orchard by Chuck Wendig – Would you like to be afraid of apples? Because you will be. Chuck Wendig never misses.

Night Watch by Jayne Anne Phillips – Want to visit the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum during the aftermath of the Civil War? (But just in a book rather than in real life?) Here you go.

EarthDivers: Kill Columbus by Stephen Graham Jones – Time hopping horror thriller graphic novel about far-future indigenous outcasts on a mission to kill Christopher Columbus by one of my favorite authors? Yes, please. The only downside is that it’s just the first volume so there’s a lot of unanswered questions. Please finish volume two, Mr. Graham Jones.

Which book is speaking to you the most this month?

PS. We have some spots open if you want to join any of our four book clubs, and if you’re a member of the Fantastic Strangelings make sure you check your email because next week we’re doing an online craft hour where we can just visit and talk about books and make weird shit without ever leaving our homes. Agoraphobic book lovers unite! (But, you know…separately…obviously.)

I have questions.

Facebook is forever giving me bizarre ad recommendations and I probably deserve that because I am an odd person but this one is just…baffling.

And no shame to anyone who can pull this look off and manage to figure out which of these many holes your legs go in because I am very impressed, but the “WORK PANTS FOR WOMEN” part is baffling.

PS. Unless it’s like, “YEAH, GIRL! WORK IT! SLAY, QUEEN.” In which case, touché, Walmart.

PPS. This is not an ad and I’m not being paid by Walmart. But I totally should be.


I just went out to walk Dorothy Barker and an exterminator was outside looking at these beetles and he was like, “Hi, I’m Alan” and I wanted to say something like, “Hi, I’m Jenny but you need to talk to my husband because he’s the one who called you so let me go get him” but my head did that thing were it just got jumbled and panicky and instead I said, “HI I’M…NOT FOR YOU.” And then I gave myself a look of disgust and said, “Nope. Those are not the words I wanted” and he just stared at me so I turned around and went inside and made Dottie hold it until he was gone. My point is, don’t ever feel bad that I’ve forgotten your name because I literally just forgot my own.

(Possibly) haunted dolls needing a good home.

I get a lot of weird mail at Nowhere Bookshop so the team always opens it when it arrives because you never know if something is going to spoil, expire or explode before I come in and with this most recent box they got as far as uncovering possibly human hair before screaming lightly, resealing the box and telling me come get what they hoped was a doll as soon as possible before the curse escaped the box.

I opened the box and pulled out the doll and she made a creaky, sighing noise that made everyone shudder lightly. The team was divided between “She should live at the bar and hand out horror books” and “Take her away immediately before she eats our soft tissue.” Then I was like, “Oh, look…she has teeth” and they pushed me out the door.

I put the box in the back but buckled the doll into the passenger seat because I’ve seen enough movies to know the murderer is always lurking in the backseat, and it was sort of nice to have the company except that she made a disconcerting noise every time I braked too hard and when I stopped at the drive-thru the cashier was like, “Oh, what a sweet…um…oh” and then she left quickly, probably because her shift ended and not because the dolls eyes had rolled back in her head with a strange clicking noise.

When I got home my car’s dash blinked with a warning light telling me to “CHECK THE BACKSEAT” and I was like, “Yeah, nice try but I put the haunted doll in the front seat because I’m not an idiot.” But turns out I am an idiot because, reader, THE BOX WAS NOT EMPTY.

It was filled with all sorts of surprises, including this baby doll who stared at me in exactly the same way I was staring at her.

“like a mirror”

It was at this point that I realized that both dolls were way denser than they should be and I suspected it was because they were all filled up with children’s souls but turns out that both of them have antique voice boxes in their bellies. “THEY CAN TALK” I whispered to Victor who backed out of the room just as quickly as he had entered while making the sign of the cross. I couldn’t get them to talk because I guess they want to take their terrible secrets to the grave or are waiting until nighttime to start screaming. I also pulled bits of broken glass from the box that was presumably once a porcelain creamer but which I can only assume the dolls were using as make-shift weapons. Also included was a doll made of wooden balls, and an old candle which Victor suggested (from the other room) using to set the whole box on fire, which seemed a little over-the-top.

At the bottom of the box was a lovely letter from a woman who assured me she was not some kind of unabomber (exactly what a unabomber would say) and that these were the dolls of her great-grandmother who was born in 1894 and that “The dolls are absolutely not creepy and there’s NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that they’re plotting anything nefarious” (exactly what a unabomber possessed by a bunch of haunted dolls would say).

But then I looked at them with kinder eyes and did a little makeover on the biggest doll (who is marked with an “M” – probably for massacre) and felt she looked much nicer.

Victor disagreed and insisted that he could not sleep until they were all gone. So now (with the permission of my fantastic friend who is absolutely not a unabomber) I need to find a good home for these lovelies. Preferably someone with connections to a doll hospital, or an old priest with a fountain of holy water.

In lieu of comments please feel free to submit bids or otherwise convince me that you would make a good mother to these antique wayward dolls. I would put them on ebay but (true story) they have a rule against selling haunted stuff so these dolls have been banned. In the event anyone is willing to risk their eternal soul, all profits will go to donating (less likely to come alive at night) toys to children this holiday season.

Happy early Christmas, y’all.

This is not a real post.

This is not a real post, but a bunch of people asked for a calendar with all the quotes from my last post so here it is:

Or if you want a notebook with your horoscope quote just look below. You can customize it to change the spiral color, or the insides, or make it hardback if you want.

Also, they all contain a surprise raccoon on the back.




Aries (I changed it to something funnier because everyone deserves to laugh.)









PS. As requested, a double raccoon notebook because nothing cheers up a meeting like a ecstatic surprise raccoon.

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