Well *that* was a hell of a morning

So. Wow. This morning was a whirlwind of emotions. I may have cried a little bit when they announced Biden’s win (our first female Vice President and our first Black and first South Asian Vice President??) and then my mom called, I assumed to give me a high-five over the phone, but she was calling because my granny is in the hospital with covid and isn’t expected to make it. I have mixed feelings because I love my granny and I hate that she is alone in the hospital and that we can’t be there and that people still aren’t taking this seriously, but I also am grateful that she’s unconscious and is not suffering. She has dementia and in the last year she’s asked for her parents over and over so we know she’s ready and it will be a blessing if it’s fast and easy. The strange and terribly complicated feelings of living through this time…I dunno. I don’t think I have the right words. The world is complicated. And so am I. And so are you.

On the Fantastic Strangelings Facebook page yesterday I said we’d start discussing Deadly Education but then all this happened and I thought I’d put it off until tomorrow but then I remembered that I’ve already told you that the very person who inspires the choices of books for this club? Is my granny. And she would be like, “Jenny-girl, get to work and do something fun!” and then she’d swat me outside so that she could get on with her own strange book. And she’s totally right.

So let’s start talking. If you don’t use Facebook you can totally leave your thoughts in the comments here. And, as always, no worries if you haven’t read the book yet. There are no rules in book club. The discussion stays open forever. And my thoughts on the book are in the comments.

PS. Did I tell you what November’s book is? Because it is FABULOUS. And I know it sounds weird but TRUST ME that it is fascinating and smart and oddly funny at times and the discussion we’re going to have will even involve the time I tried to rescue a decapitated head from my work. WHO DOESN’T WANT TO HEAR THAT? Answer: Probably a lot of people. But pretty much all of the people who listen to true-crime podcasts will want to hear it and those are my people.

It’s Dark Archives (A Librarian’s Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin) by Megan Rosenbloom.

And I may have bought too many for the shop considering we are still not open to the public because of the plague, so if you are an honorary strangeling and buy your books one at a time we totally have some in stock that we can ship to you if you can’t find it at your local bookstore. Click here for a summary and to read all the praise it’s getting because I’m not doing it justice.

Happy reading!

And take care of each other out there.

Wanna hang out? Me too.

This isn’t a real post but if I don’t write it down I’ll forget to mention it.

So first off, I’m doing a virtual hang-out for Richland Library on Friday night and you can come and it’s free and you don’t have to wear pants. YAY FOR NO PANTS. Maybe I’ll read a little bit from my next book. WHO KNOWS. I AM BAD AT PLANNING. Click here to reserve a spot.

Secondly, you know how you asked me if we could make a Nowhere Bookshop hoodie and I was like, “Maybe?” because I want one too but also that sounds like a lot of work but then this company named Bonfire started helping indie bookstores by doing campaigns to help them raise money and we’re totally doing it. Mostly so that I can buy my own hoodie with our passport stamp. (I bought the dark heather one for myself because cat fur doesn’t show up on it. I also bought it in 2X because maybe the hand pouch will be big enough to put Hunter S. Thomcat in because I think he would really love that. Victor disagrees.)

If you want one just click here. They have hoodies, adult shirts and youth shirts in four different colors. If you don’t want one that is totally okay.

Third, today is Dorothy Barker’s birthday!

To celebrate you should do something nice for yourself. Or for your dog. Or cat. Or random pigeon. There are not wrong answers.

Friday distractions

It’s Friday, so let’s take a five-minute break and look at some of my favorite small things I bookmarked for you this week.

Worth the five minutes?

Adventures in cleaning

Things we’ve learned in the past few days:

It’s only when rearranging furniture that hasn’t moved in eight years that you realize how really disgusting you are.

When eight years of cat fur tumbleweeds accumulate behind a bookshelf and are suddenly loosened in the breeze it can look a lot like some kinda rodent of unusual size is running straight at you.

When attempting to move a bookshelf you should probably take all the shit off of it first.

Ask me how I know.

PS. Still needs a lot of work but the “after” picture is worth it.

Our house is haunted.

Since we moved into our house eight years ago Victor, Hailey and I have each seen a ghost here. It’s not a person though. It’s a large, dark dog that hangs out upstairs and it doesn’t bother us. We just see a glimpse of it around our legs once or twice a year and we always tell it, “Good dog” because I assume it belonged to one of the families who live here before us. But other than that this house is very peaceful.

Until a few weeks ago when we were woken up in the middle of the night by someone loudly knocking in our bathroom. We tiptoed around until we figured out it was coming from the bathroom window but there was no one there. We went back to bed. It started again.


Then we’d look…and silence. No one was there. No footprints outside the window.

And the next night it happened again.

Then again a few days later.

We’d lift the blinds but there was no one there. And it kept happening. Every time we thought it was finished it would come back.

Then, it happened in the daytime.

I was stepping out of the shower and I heard the tapping. I didn’t have my glasses on but I knew no one was there because I would have seen their silhouette through the blinds. So I screamed, “THIS IS NOT YOUR HOUSE, PEEPING TOM FUCKER” and then it stopped. And I relaxed and then it immediately started again so I grabbed my glasses and saw this.

I can only assume it’s taunting the ghost dog or that birds are getting perverted now too.

These are a few of my favorite things: DAY 5 – The unexpected positives

So every day this week we all shared our favorite things. We did podcasts, tv, internet haunts and books. And today we’re doing something a little different. This pandemic is bullshit and hard as hell for everyone. Victor and Hailey and I haven’t seen anyone but us in real life in close to seven months and god only knows when this will be over, but one thing keeping me sane is looking at the positives.

Things I’m happy about:

Because Hailey is staying virtual she can sleep in later and that’s great for her mental health.

So many of the rules that we thought were set in stone are becoming more lax. The level of acceptance and compassion is on the rise if you know where to look for it.

Every time I see someone walk by my window with a mask I am reminded that they are doing it to protect others.

Reading is keeping me sane right now. I have not read this much since I was in high school and it’s made me rediscover the joys of hiding in my stacks of books.

I get asked to speak at a lot of places but I say no to almost all of them because my anxiety is just too overwhelming. But in the last six months I’ve been able to speak to libraries and on zoom calls with my book club and at conferences that I’ve always wanted to go to but never could before. I still can’t do as many as I want because even online it’s overwhelming but this week I got to meet Allie Brosh (of Hyperbole and a Half) online when we had a live keynote conversation especially for independent booksellers. She was in her blanket fort and I was hiding in my office and after so many years of being friends it was the first time we’d ever really “met”.

I’m just noticing that you can literally see my bra because the neckline of my dress is too low and I can only hope people thought it was an intentional fashion choice rather than me flashing everyone on purpose.

We’re both naturally reclusive so I’m not sure we ever would have met without this strange time and so it’s moments like these when I try to appreciate that there are some golden spots that shine. (PS. You should read her new book. SO GOOD.) I suspect we won’t be asked back as we ended up going way over our allotted hour and talked about completely inappropriate things but it was too much fun to stop. She says “hi” by the way.

So how about you? What’s something lovely that’s keeping you going right now? Someone who inspires you? Something you’re grateful for? A product or person or moment that makes this weird time a little easier?

Thank you for being one of those golden spots for me. Even introverts are struggling and I can’t tell you how much your interaction means to me.

PS. I’m not doing a lot of events at the moment because I got overwhelmed and need a tiny break but I am doing a virtual event at the Richland Library in November if you want to check it out. It’s free and I think there are still spots available. 🙂

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