Sunday Lowdown #12

This Week in TV & Film

I watched Jeopardy! as much as I could. James Holzhauer is on fire! 🔥🔥🔥 As of Friday, he was still the champion to return Monday. On Twitter, Ken Jennings said he deserves credit for not breaking the prize budget during his huge winning streak. I felt the need to point out that he didn’t have to say anything; white men always want credit. I was feeling salty on Twitter that day. Holzhauer told Alex Trebeck that his family is comfortable, so he plans to donate a large portion of earnings to children’s charities where he lives in Las Vegas. Jennings appears to be living off his earnings on Jeopardy! and making appearances to discuss his time on the show, so. . .can it, Ken.

I also rented Season 6 of Bob’s Burgers from my library. The writing wasn’t as strong, and I think it’s because the show focused on outside events more than the characters we love. It wasn’t until Tina was sent to a horse camp, given the crappiest horse, and then decides to ride her beloved imaginary horse, Jericho, at the final camp presentation. There’s Tina, racing around the ring on an imaginary horse — just Tina being Tina. That’s when I was back on board with the show.

This Week in Reading: Finished Books

A Case of First Impression by A.M. Blair: surprise! The author is WordPress’s certified Fresh, totally beloved Amal at Misfortune of Knowing. I like to support my writer/blogger friends when I can, but even better: Amal is a writer/blogger/lawyer and mother to three girls! There’s also a garden and a husband. I’m so pleased to know her — her blog posts keep me updated on legal situations and good books both, and she makes me think politics beyond the White House.

The Last of the Red-Hot Vampires by Katie MacAlister: Ugh. If you have questions about why I read this novel, check out my post on book shame. One hour in the audio book and I quit. So much sexist crap, often perpetrated by women, and very straight-thinking. A physicist and romance writer are friends who have the inevitable arguments: science vs. you just need a man! Because all women want a man and cannot be single. Or a lesbian. The romance writer friend is so painfully dumb, using expressions like “science stuff.” She believes in fairies. The physicist is also a wiener, albeit in her own way. I man pops out to strangle the crap out of her. Once she’s released and breathing, she tells him, “you grab me again and I’ll scream bloody murder.” I mean, does he need a warning? Are you trying to be polite? What is the dumpster fire Katie MacAlister throws women in??

Winds of Fate by Mercedes Lackey: part of #ReadingValdemar, which I’m co-hosting with Jackie @ Death by Tsundoku, this is the first trilogy in the THE MAGE WINDS. Lackey changed her style, flipping back and forth between Talia’s story and Darkwind’s, and she added new characters and loads of history. This series just sprawls.

This Week in Reading: Books in Progress

Early this next week, before the end of the month, I’ll finish Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin, which is part of #OurAfricanAmercanReads with Shell @ Books by the Cup. I’ll share the link to our work in the next Sunday Lowdown. I’ll also finish Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh, which I’m reading just because I like the author’s horrible characters, ones I always root for and maybe shouldn’t? Lastly, I’m about halfway through Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell. My husband looooves it so far, and eagerly asks me to read to him every night. If you’re curious, check out my post about why I read so many books at the same time.

Next Week in Reading:

I’m definitely starting Sounds Like Titanic by Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman, the memoir about the author’s time fake playing in a professional orchestra. I’ll also get to work on Winds of Change, the next book in THE MAGE WINDS trilogy. I have no idea where we’re going, as the first book was so expansive. That’s part of the excitement! I dare not even read a synopsis for fear of spoilers.

Books I Obtained This Week:

Okay, this is becoming a thing. I mentioned that I bought Fat Angie: Rebel Girl Revolution by E.E. Charlton-Trujillo last week, so I guess I might as well make a section about acquired books. It doesn’t happen as often to me as it does to many of you! I found a copy of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn at the Goodwill, and so as much as I praise her theme about the “cool girl,” I should read her work soon. I also joined a new club called Books on Tap. It’s run by local librarians (which I did not know), and they bring ARCs that we can take home if we want! I snatched up Dapper Dan: Made in Harlem, a memoir by Daniel R. Day.

I’ve been tempted by so many books at the library. I skimmed a 400+ page compendium edited by Evelyn McDonnell called Women Who Rock. While I found it not right for me (too vague, too specific, very strange), I chose some women from the list about whom I would like to read more, like Grace Jones, Ann and Nancy Wilson, and Pussy Riot, so that’s several more books added to the pile. I also bought some songs by Halestorm, including “I Miss the Misery,” to get me pumped!


    • That’s true! I’m not sure why Jennings wants to be a turd other than jealousy. I think he feels threatened, like he’s going to lose his #1 standing — which could affect his book deals, appearances, etc.


  1. I’m really excited to make time for A Case of First Impressions. I read a few pages and remembered I need to finish another retelling I put down to concentrate on my other reads (I’m about to jump off and get to them now).

    I really appreciate your frankness about DNF’ING books. I haven’t shared much about books that fall into that category. But I think it’s good to hear why. It can give us some insight to make a decision about if we are willing to read them or not.


    • I especially quit reading books that are problematic in a way that seems pointless (like the descriptive sexual violence in An Untamed State) or normalizes aggressive behavior as romantic (like suggesting choking a woman is okay because a guy is upset, and implying that they’ll eventually fall in love on their wacky adventures, like in The Last of the Red-hot Vampires).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a busy week! Thanks for making time for A Case of First Impression and for reviewing it. I’m interested to hear your thoughts on Gone Girl. It’s been on my list for ages, but I’ve never gotten around to it.


    • I’ve never read it because everyone was reading it, and then I didn’t want to read it because all the other new novels were being compared to it. However, I did teach the section in which the character defines a “cool girl” to my students when I was still an adjunct.


  3. Well, Bob’s Burgers was interesting – I suppose the evil empire makes it available in Oz or on one of their channels. Isn’t it great when an author responds to a review on your blog. AMB seemed genuinely pleased.


    • Amal is lovely. I’ve been following her blog for years and genuinely learn from her work as a reader and lawyer. It is nice that she said thanks. Much better than the “I demand you take that review down” people. Since I quit taking reviewer copies, I don’t get that anymore, though.


  4. Woah woah woah. You’re a fan of Halestorm?! This excites me. So happy!

    I’m super jealous of Books on Tap. This sounds like my kind of book club! How does this group work? Can you share some more deets? I want to live vicariously.

    Finally, I love how passionate you are about everything. About that crappy Vampire book and Ken Jennings on Jeopard and all of it. Never lose your fire.


    • Lzzy Hale is excellent. Jesus, she wails. It’s funny how a newer band called Greta Van Fleet is getting loads of attention — they’re songs ARE good — for a singer who hits these high notes like Robert Plant. But like, so does Lzzy Hale. Why doesn’t she get credit?

      Books on Tap was developed by some librarians in the area. They meet once per month in a drinky establishment and everyone talks about the books they’ve been reading lately. They also bring a bunch of ARCs the library receives and cannot sell, so we can take some of those if we wish. Everyone who came was really friendly and passionate about their books. There was a lot of “I haven’t heard of [literary sci-fi novel], but have you heard of [some other literary sci-fi novel]” and that was fun.

      Thank you for the compliment! I do get heated up about stuff, which is good in reality and also problematic when I’m supposed to stay in line!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, Halestorm did originate in 1997. This is a well-established band! I also wonder if Halestorm doesn’t get a ton of attention because this is a female-fronted metal band? One of my favorite metal bands is Nightwish– The music geek in me loves symphonic metal. Plus, overall fewer screams. The screaming? I don’t get it. In my circles and in my heart Lindsay Hale gets all the credit. Does that count for something?

        So, this book club is just people talking about whatever they’ve been reading? That’s amazing. I need a book club like that. In fact, I bet if I had a book club like that in my life. I never would have started blogging. I blog to get a chance to talk to people about what I’m reading and what bookish ideas are in my head no one else in my life wants to hear. Maybe this group would want to hear it!


  5. Ermergherd that books on tap group sounds like just the right thing! Good on ya for joining that, librarians can be a crazy but fun bunch, as I’m sure you already know! Please post updates on how that goes in future weeks…


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