Sunday Lowdown #53

Interesting Notes from Class:

Last fall I completed a continuing education course through the University of Madison-Wisconsin entitled Public and Community Library Services. While the first half of the course was interesting and informative, the second part, led by a co-instructor, petered out a bit, so I didn’t include much here on Sunday Lowdown.

Now I’m in a new course: Organization and Management of Collections. These courses will earn what is called an LC5 (license), which I’m doing for my position as reference associate at a public library. What I’m learning about collections this semester, so far, is riveting, and I have so many questions for the librarians in my department (probably too many). Here is some information I learned this week that I found interesting:

  • “Access to e-content for people with disabilities is a significant issue that often does not receive adequate attention in libraries. . . . accessibility is not only an ethical imperative; it is a legal requirement. . . . While publishers, database vendors, and device manufacturers are not subject to federal and provincial accessibility laws in their roles as providers, libraries are subject to these laws and should demand the necessary design elements to serve the print disabled and all patrons equally.” — Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management (4th ed.), Peggy Johnson, p. 128 (emphasis mine)

This Week’s Blog Posts:

I started a new paranormal (fantasy) series by S.M. Reine referred to as The DescentVerse. Within this universe are twelve different series, and you can jump in at the start of any series. My plan is to review the first book in a series and then read the rest and review the whole series. Each series varies; some are several chunky novels long, and others are a few novellas and a short story. It all depends. This week I reviewed Death’s Hand, and while there were a couple of minor tics that I wanted smoothed out, I loved it. I jumped into the second book right away and found it even better!

I don’t read a lot of paranormal fantasy, so I wanted to note a few things readers had questions about in the comments that I hadn’t even considered: in the three Reine books I’ve read, there is no romance, no shimmery brooding vampires, and no sexy fairies. Apparently, these are popular in the genre and too BLECH for many readers. If anything, I’d describe Reine’s books as austere.

I also reviewed a movie this week: My Cousin Rachel (2017). I’m was hoping to do more TV/movie reviews, but this post didn’t get a lot of traction. I’ll have to rethink what my audience is interested in.

Next Week’s Blog Posts:

Tuesday I’ll have another mini audiobook review for you: Who Asked You? by Terry McMillan. I’d never read McMillan before because I’d always thought she was this sentimental author who wrote women’s fiction in the same vein as Sex and the City (the show, not the book). But her story was interesting and contained relatable characters, especially the home nurse who swore a lot and read Harry Potter.

Thursday kicks off #ReadingValdemar 2020. Jackie @ Death by Tsundoku and I travel all the way back, before Valdemar was an established kingdom, to an ongoing war between two powerful mages who create creatures to assist them in victory.

Book I’m Reading Aloud to My Spouse:

Does anyone else read aloud to their significant other yet? I’ve been telling you about the magic of it for years. We’re in the last pages of Jamaica Inn and plan to read a chunky memoir, Tibetan Peach Pie by Tom Robbins, after.

Reading Side Projects:

I’m still reading Brad Gooch’s biography of Flannery O’Connor. She was in college during WWII, which makes for an interesting context. I also learned everyone thought she would be a cartoonist because she was on both her high school and college newspaper teams creating cartoons that spoke to the time and place, typically through a character who resembled O’Connor.

After a conversation with my mom, I decided it’s time to read “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs again. It scared the bejesus out of me in high school, and it scared her, too, when she read it. I recently located an audio file of this 28-minute tale of terror.

Books Added to the TBR Pile:

I finally added this ubiquitous book because I have no idea how it will end.


  1. I’m glad you’re enjoying your work in the library. Do you regard it as a career change, or just another aspect of working with books? I would be too impatient to be read aloud to, I used to hate it in school. The closest I have got is audiobooks which of course are really suited to my job as driver. The only other experience I have had is my wife (back when she was still my wife) reading to me as I drove the family on a four day trip from Melbourne to Perth. Movie reviews I’m not sure about. Of course you must write whatever you feel like, but I see very little ‘popular culture’ and that makes it very difficult to comment, and I know you enjoy/value the engagement.


    • The license I’m working toward, called the LC5, really seems like general library training to me. I think it would allow me to move to a high position in the future, but I’m not sure. I don’t have a Masters in Library Science (librarian degree), so that makes a difference, too. Right now, I’m happy helping patrons with questions and research and doing some teaching with tech devices.

      I used to hate other booger-faces reading aloud in school, too, because they weren’t great at it. Even the teacher may not be the best reader. I’ve got some good skills, though, not much more bumpy than an audiobook, so I’m pretty proud of that. I can’t believe your former-Mrs. is able to read in the car. I would have lost my lunch on the windshield.

      The movie and TV reviews I want to do would all be of works based on books or stories. Some of them are older — I was thinking The Haunting (1963), for example, and Interview with the Vampire (1994) for example. I was also considering doing a comparison of Anne of Green Gables the book, and the Canadian film (1985), and the brand-new Anne with an E on Netflix. I don’t think I always want to do reviews, but more conversation posts around books to film.


  2. Hmm. The Monkey’s Paw is that terrifying? I’ll have to give it a listen. And I’m sorry I didn’t get to your post of My Cousin Rachel right away! Lately my work life is so hectic I don’t even have time let alone blogging/blog hopping. I try to catch up on the weekends. I’d still like to see Bookish TV/Movie reviews. Just putting it out there :).


    • Hey, thanks, Lou! I always appreciate feedback. Starting this week we’re looking at collection assessment, so I wonder what my classmates and I will learn about our own libraries’ book collections.


  3. Sounds like a great class! Our local library has a service for home bound patrons which I think is great.

    My SO doesn’t read at all, so reading aloud is really not something he’d appreciate it..though occasionally I have to read stuff on the tv screen for him, his eyesight is a bit shaky.

    Wishing you a great reading week


  4. Everyone keeps talking about Such a Fun Age, I’ll be interested to see what you think of it! Never heard of the Monkey’s Paw-should I continue my classics binge and try it? haha


  5. My mom has been nagging at me for years to read The Monkey’s Paw- it was never required in my high school so I’ve never gotten around to picking it up!

    I’ll be interested to see what you think of Such a Fun Age as well, I’ve been on the fence about reading that one. It seems to be everywhere lately, but I can’t tell if it’s because it’s really good, or because it’s just this year’s most overhyped book. Hopefully the former!


  6. I’m interested to see what you think about Such a Fun Age. It’s been a while since I’ve read McMillan but she has a new one coming out in March that seems like it could be funny (minus the swearing)


    • There wasn’t too much swearing in Who Asked You? except for in the nurse Kim passages. Nurse Kim is this wild combo of trained nurse and someone who seems disappointed in people. It’s this strange mix that I fell in love with. I bought a new McMillan recently called I Almost Forgot About You that I’m going to read this year. It was published in 2016.

      Have you read Such a Fun Age? It’s everywhere right now, and the mystery of what happens is killing me. Plus, I’m attracted to the occupation of one of the main characters: blogger.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Bah. I’m so disappointed in myself that I didn’t notice you stopped updating about your library classes. Sorry the second half of your last course was dull. These things happen in academia, however. That statement is sooooo fascinating. Do you know why publishers, database vendors, and device manufacturers are not subject to accessibility laws? The first two don’t really surprise me, as I doubt many lawmakers understand the impact of this. But the latter? I cannot imagine how device manufacturers get around this! I also wonder what defines a “device” manufacturer — handheld? so, if I make immersion blenders, am I a device manufacturer? Still. so odd.

    I’ve never heard of The Monkey’s Paw. Frightening? Pass. But I’m interested to hear what you think of this re-read.

    I have many thoughts on The Black Gryphon! Be prepared for pestering.


    • The article didn’t go into detail as to why vendors and manufacturers don’t have to think about accessibility, but the reason I can think of is perhaps because they don’t have a physical store. For instance, in Michigan, if you don’t have a handicap accessible restroom, you don’t have a restroom for the public (meaning no one can use it). Libraries are physical locations AND they get money from the government, which I would think means that they DEFINITELY have to consider accessibility. Thus, it’s the job of libraries to pester vendors and manufacturers to create a product they want and can use in their libraries. I know Pages Unbound write quite a bit about how libraries spend a LOAD of money purchasing books, so it behooves the people who make the books to create a product that libraries will buy.

      Yesterday, I had so many comments about “The Monkey’s Paw” that I skimmed a version online (just the beginning and end) and I remembered even better why it scared the pants off of me. It’s not so much gory as a creeping dread born of a deep loss and OMG THE ENDING.

      Got your text about the Black Gryphon 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • I wonder if librarians consider the vendors and manufacturers they buy books from. I know that I am more likely to consider where I buy things if it’s personal, rather than professional. This is because if the item in question is for personal use, I’m invested in it. But from a corporate perspective, I often don’t care about whatever I’m buying, so I don’t think about those things. How odd.

        You remind me that we still need to talk about The Black Gryphon! I feel like I’ve many things to discuss with you.


        • I know that our head of collection development said she won’t buy an e-book from MacMillan if she doesn’t really have to since the embargo. If the title is kind of popular, no. But if it’s really, really popular, then she needs to for the sake of patrons. When it comes to accessibility, the library HAS to follow the law, so regardless of how they feel about a vendor, the products the library purchases has to meet a legal standard.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. I had Such a Fun Age on hold for me at the library but then the girls and I got sick and I didn’t make it in time and now I’m back down at the bottom of the list. So I’ll have to live vicariously through you and hear what you think!


    • He used to read aloud to me (we would take turns every other book), but I’m a terribly listener because I ask about fiddy-thousand questions. When I’m reading aloud, if I have a question, I pause where I am, think for sec, and then keep reading aloud.

      Liked by 1 person

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