Sunday Lowdown #63

This Week’s Blog Posts:

While The Vagina Bible by Dr. Jen Gunter may not be the best pick for an audiobook due to it being too in-depth, this is one reference manual we should all have on our shelves at home. The only downfall, which I realized while responding to comments, is that reference books are often times replaced each year with updated information. Will The Vagina Bible be out-of-date before we know it?

I’m going to stick to sharing two posts on #ReadingValdemar days. My readership seems fairly split between the literary/contemporary bloggers and the science fiction/fantasy bloggers. Just trying to give everyone some valuable content! This week it was The Silver Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon paired with Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey.

Next Week’s Blog Posts:

I joined an online book read-along group (meaning we met every other night instead of once) early in the quarantine, and together we read and discussed Why We Can’t Sleep by Ada Calhoun, a short nonfiction book about the struggles of Gen X women. On the last day of the book club, Calhoun joined us, which was kind of her.

You ever want to go to a place in a novel that just feels like down-home life? Simple problems that cause complex repercussions, funny stories and sassy quips, and maybe fishing metaphors? Okay, maybe that doesn’t sound like you, but I love reading about locations unlike my own, so I picked up Homestyle by Michele Feltman Strider, which is set in Alabama right on the coast. The review (plus a few bonus questions answered by the author!) will be posted Thursday.

Book I’m Reading Aloud to My Spouse:

We’ll finish Tibetan Peach Pie by Tom Robbins very soon, probably Monday. The spouse says when we finish we have to get peach pie. I don’t want some store-bought garbage and I’m not really feeling eating out, so we basically negotiated ourselves down, down until before we knew it we’d settled on toast with apricot preserves. Next, I plan to read to him Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, another funny memoir that’s written in short bursts that make it easy to decide on a place to stop for the night. He’s graciously agreed.

Books Added to the TBR Pile:

Thanks to Biscuit for her recommendation! Although I didn’t add a lot of books to my TBR, I certainly purchased quite a few that were already on the list, both self-published women on Amazon and from the local independent bookstore. Plus, I tossed into my digital cart some bookish tee-shirts from Out of Print. I didn’t have any plans for my stimulus money and am not interested in eating out more.

30 comments

  1. I think publishing another review alongside Reading Valdemar works. I’m happy to read both reviews, but I rarely have something sensible to say about Valdemar. Whether I always do about the other book we’ll have to see.
    Also, my comments might be a bit late this week, I have to spend the next 5 days on the road.

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  2. You joined an online book club! Good for you. What’s the next book? I’m laughing too because 2 friends and I chatted over FaceTime and decided to start one with a different approach one friend suggested when we were in another book group together. I’m looking forward to the meetings and discussions

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  3. So cool that the author visited your online book club to chat. How was that?

    Out of Print is the best. I got three of their shirts for Christmas and they’ve been in heavy rotation during the quarantine. I plan on getting more of their shirts too. My birthday is coming up! 🙂

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  4. I love the idea of reading books out loud to your spouse! And I’ll be curious to hear your thoughts on the Body is Not An Apology and Beach Read. I’ve heard pretty good things about Beach Read, and it might be exactly the type of book I need to brighten up my reading list.

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    • The Body is Not an Apology was on my radar, but I was reminded of it when I listened to How to Be Fine (it was one of the self-help books they read!). My library has the audio copy of The Body, and it’s pretty short, so I’ll get to it soon.

      Beach Read is super new, and I’m surprised how similar it sounds to another book a reader just recommended to me, Love Literary Style by Karin Gillespie.

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  5. The ‘why we can’t sleep’ book sounds really interesting to me. I don’t think I’m a gen-x, (I turn 35 on Wednesday!) but I’m sure the concerns and topics will be relevant to me so looking forward to hearing your thoughts on that one.

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    • You and I are so close in age (like, a couple of weeks apart) so I know what you mean. We grew up so very Gen X and then were thrust into Millennial stuff. The more I read the book, the more I realized we really are Millennials. We’re more like the early ones, though, like Daria from MTV, who would have been born in 1981 (first year of Millennials).

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  6. Apricot preserves on toast! That’s one way to do pie, I guess! 🙂

    I’m happy to see Beach Read in your TBR pile, I’ve enjoyed Emily Henry’s writing in the past and am very much looking forward to her latest release! I’d love to hear your thoughts when you get to it.

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    • I’m wondering how similar Beach Read is going to be compared to Love Literary Style, which sounds like a similar plot! Beach Read is still “on order” at my library, but I hope that doesn’t mean they’re only getting the physical copy.

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  7. I have a copy of Beach Read and it isn’t a book that I was super drawn to but sounds like something fun to read right now. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on it too.

    Is it helpful to have the author attend the book club? I feel like it could be enlightening but also stifle honest conversation.

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    • I like when authors attend book clubs so long as everyone has good questions to ask beyond “So, where do you get your ideas from?” When people engage with the author about his or her themes or some deeper layers, that’s always best. When I don’t like a book, I feel awkward with the author there, but I’m also able to ask good questions without being offensive. I had lots of practice when I was in creative writing programs because we had authors visit frequently.

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      • That makes sense. I’m imagining a situation where the book wasn’t very good and then it just seems awkward. In general, I like hearing from authors about their own work but in a smaller setting I could see it being uncomfortable.

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  8. Lawson’s memoir has been gathering dust on my iBooks for awhile – maybe I’ll finally pick it up after seeing your review! I have also always wondered during your Sunday posts – how did you and your spouse come to establish the routine of you reading aloud to him? (And is it agreed upon that you read to him, and not the other way around?) I love that idea but unfortunately my ex wasn’t a reader so I’ve never been able to try it.

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    • Gil, actually I’ve read Let’s Pretend This Never Happened before and reviewed it! Here are my thoughts: https://grabthelapels.com/2015/10/14/lets-pretend-this-never-happened/

      I also reviewed Furiously Happy, the follow-up book and I recommend they be read in order.

      I first started reading to my husband maybe 5-6 years ago because I needed hearing aids. Since people who need hearing aids have been living in the world on quiet mode, the follicles in the ear are not stimulated. If they aren’t stimulated (or too stimulated with loud noise!) they die and are not replaced, thus further damaging your hearing. So, when a person first gets hearing aids they are often told to read aloud at least 30 minutes per day to “exercise” those follicles. We got into such a routine of reading before bed that it became this “soft landing” for the end of the day and have kept it up.

      The funny thing is we have since read that reading aloud to your partner increases emotional intimacy, and I would agree. It’s something you do together that is uninterrupted. We used to trade off reading — he would do one book and then I would do one book — but I am a TERRIBLE listener when someone is reading. I ask things like too soon, like why someone did something, or what I think my husband thinks something means. Basically, I’m very disruptive, lol. When I’m reading aloud, I may finish a sentence and then pause a moment to understand it and then keep reading. He’s used to that. It also doesn’t help that he would choose books for him to read aloud like 1984 and Animal Farm!

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      • I have a physical copy of Furiously Happy as well! Thanks for the link and the tip on reading order.

        That’s very interesting; I had not known that before. So reading aloud is the best way to “exercise” the follicles, and not other activities such as listening to music or other ambient noise?

        Ha, I can imagine! 😂 I feel I’d be similar to you as a listener. My ex used to tell me that I was disruptive when we watched a movie or a series together because I used to ask all those questions and make a ton of side comments. He prefers to quietly soak in a movie, whereas I see movie-watching as a communal activity. How do you decide on which books to read together? Is it like “You chose last time, now it’s my turn”? And it seems that you’re not opposed to picking up books you’d already read yourself to read aloud to him?

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        • I think choosing reading over music or TV has something to do with your own voice and hearing the sound come from you? At least, that’s what I assumed!

          I’m VERY reactive when it comes to watching TV, frequently making weird noises in response to what’s happening. I’m also the worst mystery person because I start to assume I don’t know what’s going on because I’m too dumb to notice all the right things instead of assuming the writer crafted a twisty plot meant to keep me guessing. Even that phrase, though — keep me guessing….what happens when I have ZERO GUESSES!?!?!

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  9. I GET THE MYSTERY THING. When I first started reading Agatha Christie, I was so overwhelmed by all the clues I didn’t even have a guess. I guess that’s why I have never tired of the mystery/thriller genre—I’m always surprised every time. It would take more effort NOT to surprise me.

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