I’m complicated so this post has two titles: “SO EXCITED TO BE SICK” and also “What to read in February”

You know how I’ve been feeling like shit lately and I’ve been that sort of exhausted that is either “definitely dying” or “clinically depressed” and I can’t make myself get up and my brain is a brick and I lay down on the floor and think, “if only I could stop breathing for a little bit maybe that would be helpful” and not in a “I want to die” way but in a “just breathing is fucking exhausted and I would cry about how frustrating this is but I don’t have the energy to”? So I went to the doctor and was like, “Please tell me I’m very sick because if not it means I need to start doing TMS or ketamine treatments again even though I don’t have the strength to do either” and the doctor did some tests and was like, “Looks like your Epstein-Barr reactivated” and I was like, “I don’t even know her” and he was like, “Bitch, you got mono again” and I have never been more relieved to be diseased. And then he was like, “I mean, looks like you’re over the worst of it now, so if you still feel shitty in a few weeks it might also be depression” but I just ignored that part because it is such a relief to be like, “Oh, this is ‘normal person sick’ that ‘normal people’ understand and I don’t have to feel bad saying ‘I have to cancel that meeting because my brain is sad’”. But also? I SHOULD TOTALLY BE ABLE TO CANCEL MEETINGS BECAUSE MY BRAIN IS SAD. Why is it after so many years of knowing that mental illness is JUST as disabling (if not more so) than physical illness I still feel like one is more valid to the outside world? So now I’m mad at myself for not being more understanding of myself and this is exactly why my brain is an asshole even when it’s not soaking in depression. Get it together, me.

In vaguely related news, I am opening the discussion for the Fantastic Strangelings Book Club several days late because I’m feeling human today and I am incredibly thankful to have an amazing community of people who totally understand and I am sending you all giant hugs (but no kisses with tongue, just in case my saliva is poison).

And if you missed it, this month’s Fantastic Strangeling Book Club pick is:

It’s MAAME by Jessica George and I think Celeste Ng put it best when she called it “ “An utterly charming and deeply moving portrait of the joys––and the guilt––of trying to find your own way in life.”

It’s a coming-of-age story dealing with familial duty, racism, grief and finding yourself.  Want more details?  Of course you do.

“Maame (ma-meh) has many meanings in Twi but in my case, it means woman.”

It’s fair to say that Maddie’s life in London is far from rewarding. With a mother who spends most of her time in Ghana (yet still somehow manages to be overbearing), Maddie is the primary caretaker for her father, who has advanced stage Parkinson’s. At work, her boss is a nightmare and Maddie is tired of always being the only Black person in every meeting.

When her mum returns from her latest trip to Ghana, Maddie leaps at the chance to get out of the family home and finally start living. A self-acknowledged late bloomer, she’s ready to experience some important “firsts”: She finds a flat share, says yes to after-work drinks, pushes for more recognition in her career, and throws herself into the bewildering world of internet dating. But it’s not long before tragedy strikes, forcing Maddie to face the true nature of her unconventional family, and the perils––and rewards––of putting her heart on the line.

Smart, funny, and deeply affecting, Maame deals with the themes of our time with humor and poignancy: from familial duty and racism, to female pleasure, the complexity of love, and the life-saving power of friendship. Most important, it explores what it feels like to be torn between two homes and cultures―and it celebrates finally being able to find where you belong.

I think you’re going to love it.

Need more than one book to get you through the month.  SAME, MATE.  But luckily I read several new February books that I think you might really love:

The Spite House by Johnny Compton – This is my first pick for the Nightmares from Nowhere Book Club because I really loved it.  A terrifying gothic thriller about grief and death and the depths of a father’s love.  Also, possessions.  Gotta love a good possession.

Don’t Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones – Did you read My Heart is a Chainsaw?  Because I did and it was brilliant.  This book is the next in the trilogy.

Skull Water by Heinz Insu Fenkl – A haunting inter-generational novel set in South Korea in the 50s and 70s that is so bizarre but in a fascinating way.

Love Everlasting, vol. 1 by Tom King – A graphic novel that looks like a romance but reads like a horror.  I’m ready for volume 2.

Immortality: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz – The follow-up to Anatomy: A Love Story, which is a surprisingly romantic tale about grave-robbing.

Chrome Valley by Mahogany L. Browne – Complex and powerful poetry       

Microjoys by Cyndie Spiegel – Essays and prompts to help you find hope when life is not okay.

I’m opening up the discussion for Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries on the FS facebook page but if you don’t do facebook I’ll leave my thoughts in the comments.

Happy reading!  ~ Jenny

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