Lost in translation. (AND CELEBRATION!)

I’m always very excited with a new translation of one of my books comes out, mostly because it gives me a chance to use google-translate to try (and fail) to determine what what the cover says. I just got the Polish version of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and it did not disappoint:

And now I just turn on the google translate camera and it’ll automatically try to translate the text even though it seems to be in cursive. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG.

First try:

Huh. Let’s try again.

Hmm.

I mean, it’s not inaccurate.

You can’t tell me what to do.

Well, that’s a little insulting. But actually really close. One more time?

Yup. Nailed it.

And speaking of books, I don’t know how it happened but I’m beyond thrilled to tell you that Broken (in the best possible way) somehow won Best Humor Book of the Year in the Goodreads Choice Award and I can’t even tell you how much that means! This book came out during pandemics and shortages and lockdowns but with your support it’s still finding a way out into the world and I’m so lucky. Thank you!

PS. I’m going to sign books at Nowhere sometime this weekend so if you want a personalized copies for the holidays you can order them here and we’ll ship anywhere. Also, if you write “surprise me” in the comments of the order form I may implicate you in an exciting crime just to make life more mysterious when your grandchildren find the book later.

Hello, Strangelings!

A quick note before I get started to say that yes, I am doing the James Garfield Miracle again this year and I’ll probably do it later this week or early next week. It’ll be like last year, a stuffed animal sent to anyone struggling to buy a present for each kiddo until the funds run out. 🙂 Check back for details on how to help and how to ask for help.

But now, I totally want to discuss last month’s Fantastic Strangelings book club pick (Still Life by Sarah Winman) because it was one of my favorite books of the whole year and I need to talk about it. I’m going to open up the Fantastic Strangeling facebook page for discussion but my thoughts on the book are also in the comments here in case you don’t do facebook. (And as always, no worries if you’re behind…the threads stay open forever so just drop in or lurk whenever you want.)

And in case you missed it, this month’s book is A History of Wild Places, a novel by Shea Earnshaw, a hauntingly beautiful, hypnotic, and bewitching story about fairy tales, our fear of the dark, and losing yourself within the wilderness of your mind. Twisty-turny…I picked it up to read the first page and didn’t put it down until I was done. I think you’re gonna like it.

And if you’re like me and need more than one book to get you through the month, here are the other books I read that come out this month that I loved:

Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim (an epic, sprawling story of love, war and redemption set against the backdrop of the Korean independence movement, following the fates of a young girl sold to a courtesan school and a poor son of a hunter. Great historical fiction on a fascinating subject I’m embarrassed to say I knew nothing about before.)

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan (Such a tiny book with such a powerful story. Again, historical fiction teaching me how dumb I am…this story is dedicated to the women and children who suffered time in Ireland’s Magdalen laundries, which I didn’t even know existed until I read this book. Both heartbreaking and optimistic. I only wish it was longer because I immediately wanted to know all of the stories that were lost to time.)


The Midnight Girls by Alicia Jasinska (Okay, ignore the cover which makes it look very 80s middle-school because the actual story is so very good. A Polish folklore sapphic fairy tale where rival witches make beautiful and complicated monsters? YES PLEASE.)


No Beauties or Monsters by Tara Goedjen (Twisty, turny YA novel that kept me guessing until the end.)


Lost & Found: A Memoir by Kathryn Schulz (I struggled a little with this one because it was quite sad, but a true book on grief probably should be. But also uplifting in a different sort of way? Death, gratitude and grief is always tough to mix but this book does it.)


Vivian Maier Developed: The Untold Story of the Photographer Nanny by Ann Marks (I loved the documentary about this amazing photographer whose work was famously only discovered in a Chicago storage locker after her death, but this book goes much deeper into who she probably was.)

And if you’ve been putting off joining the club, let me just say that a membership makes an excellent gift for yourself or for others and includes a Nowhere pin and lots of little surprises including bizarre emails from me and live zooms and Q&As with authors while supporting strange and wonderful books that might not get the attention that they deserve. And January’s book is DIVINE and uplifting and suspenseful and shines a light on people society often ignores and I can’t tell you any more because it’s a surprise but oh, I think you’ll love it. Click here to join.

Do you remember these?

Texts with my sister this morning:

Lisa: Do you remember these cards that we got that we weren’t allowed to use because we were supposed to save them? Well, I saved them. So at what point can I spend this $1.90? And what to spend it on at this point? A single meximelt at Taco Bell? Less than a half gallon of gas? “Yes, sir, I’d like to buy $1.90 of gas in loose change that I’ve been carrying around since 1981.”

The snowman one? Not even signed.

me: I remember having one with a kitty on it that had 20 dimes. I think I did actually spend it on gas in the 90s.

Lisa: Smart. Back when that bought more than 14 drops of gas. But actually read the snowman text. It’s oddly threatening. About what I’d expect from a hostile snow person.

me: Frosty: I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE. I’M INSIDE YOUR HOUSE.

Lisa: Yes, but it’s warm here so I think he’s the puddle I just stepped in and thought was dog pee. Way to commit, Frosty.

Me: THIS IS A CRIME SCENE, MA’AM. STEP OUT OF THE CORPSE.

Lisa: But here’s the $1.90 that he left you for your trouble. He’s not a monster. Only misunderstood. Like Frankenstien.

me: A buck 90 in dimes that might be soaked in dog urine or snowman remains. MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Lisa: ‘Tis the season.

me: I just asked Victor if he ever got coin cards when he was a kid and he was like, “I’ve never even seen those before. What kind of shitty-ass gift is ‘dimes on paper’?

Lisa: My husband said he got them but the were “collector’s coins”. He’s bougie.

me: Victor just said he got cards with slots for dollars. Fuckin’ Daddy Warbucks over here.

This is all going on the blog.

Lisa: I might know where you can get $1.90 to pay the hosting service.

me: IT’S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.

Not a very impressive one, but still.

Lisa: You take what YOU get and YOU like it.

Sorry. Hostile snowman text is contagious.

There are two kinds of people

So I have this recurring nightmare where I’m running away from some unseen dread but I’m always moving in slow motion because my feet are stuck in quicksand, but I recently discovered that in my dream I can grab onto bushes or trees beside me and pull myself forward so that I can run away slightly less slowly and I was telling Victor about this and he looked at me like I was insane because basically I was just proud of finding a way to prolong my nightmare and he was like, “Why don’t you just fight the monster?” and I looked at him like he was insane because 1. there is no monster…there is some unseen terribleness that I’ve never actually looked at because I’m too busy running away from it, and 2. WHAT THE FUCK, VICTOR.

And it was then that I realized that there are two kinds of people in the world. Those who run from monsters in their dreams and those who fight them (WHICH I NEVER EVEN REALIZED WAS AN OPTION) and I think this probably says something about each of us and I’d like to say that this inspired me to turn around and face the nameless dread but I keep having the dream and it never occurs to me to do anything other than postpone the inevitable. Meanwhile, Victor is having dreams where he has claws and a fucking theme song (no joke, y’all) and is killing the final boss every night.

So when my mom was here I asked her if she was a person who fought the monsters or ran from the monsters and turns out she’s had the exact same recurring nightmare as me (and also never looks at the unseen monster) but whereas I’m in a quick-sandy street she’s in a house and there’s a weird smell. And then I was like, “I have questions” because I suddenly realized that I’ve never smelled anything in my dreams and Victor was like, “Huh. I guess I haven’t either?” so I guess there are three kinds of people.

PS. I asked Hailey and they were like, “I’m actually blind in all my dreams. I just sense things and hear them” and now I’ve decided that all bets are off and dreams are just fucking weird.

PPS. Unrelated, but Broken (in the best possible way) just made it to the finals in the Goodreads Choice Awards for best humor book of the year and I know I’m not winning it because there are too many heavy hitters so I’m just going to celebrate being a finalist now. Whoop! Thank you for voting, y’all.

Do you *want* ants? Because that’s how you get ants.

So when I was growing up my mom never made my sister and I clean anything except our rooms because she said that it was too much trouble because she’d just have to go back and fix everything behind us because she was very particular in her cleaning, and so that’s pretty much how I parent too but today my parents are coming to visit and I just found a shitload of ants in my kitchen which is always a sign that I’ve waited too long to clean so I was like, “Hailey, you have to help me clean” and I told them to unload the coke cans from their box and put them in the fridge but they had the box sideways so when they took the first two cans from the box and walked away all of the other cans rolled out of the box and off the bar and smashed into the kitchen floor and projectile sprayed coke all over the entire kitchen and also part of the living room and probably the ants are like, “FUCK YEAH” and now I see that my mother was right all along.

Or possibly very wrong.

Hard to say.

If you accidentally got here by googling “hot, horny coeds” you’re going to be disappointed.

So I was outside walking Dorothy Barker while holding my phone to turn on the podcast I’d been listening to and didn’t think anything about the fact that it was about the phone sex industry in the 90s until my neighbor walked out of their house right as a sultry-sounding woman loudly said, “If you’re calling for hot, horny coeds, press one now. Then stick it in. Your credit card, that is” and I realized it looked like I was calling a phone sex line…on speaker phone…with my dog…outside. And then I decided to never leave the house again but turns out leaving the house isn’t even necessary to mortify myself because right after that I was on a zoom call with a book club and I was answering a really serious question right when Victor decided to use the soda stream to make carbonated water and if you have one you know that it makes a series of incredibly loud, wet fart noises when you inject the carbonation into the water and so I had to explain to everyone listening that I did not just fart loudly four times in succession and they were like, “Hey, it’s a judgement free zone” and that is really nice but also probably code for, “We totally don’t believe you and also we heard about the public phone sex, you big freak.”

And that’s how my week is going.

You?

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