Sunday Lowdown #82


  • An article in my news feed called “Why the trope of the fat, unlikeable character in books needs to end” popped up, and I’m grateful that this topic is getting more attention.
  • While doing a search for a book at work, the band Screamin’ Miss Jackson and the Slap Ya Mama Big Band came back in the search results, and I’m just glad such a band name exists.
  • I eat wheat thins during my break at work now because no one can see the crackers stuck in my teeth. Grateful for masks!
  • Hannah @ Books and Bakes did another video chat with me on Saturday, and I’m grateful for this new friend. She schooled me on bioinformatics and how to make strawberry cupcakes without the batter getting soggy in the oven!
  • I learned about Nandi Bushell on the news and now am caught up in her drum battle with Dave Grohl — and I think she’s going to checkmate him again.
  • Last weekend we had a video birthday party with my family in Michigan for my three-year-old nephew. I’m on . . . ohhhhh, digital birthday party #7 or so, but this one finally felt like we were really there. My mom’s birthday is tomorrow, so we’re doing another one!
  • I’m super grateful to everyone who’s picking up our no-more-horrifying-realistic-novels buddy read Paradise Cove by Jenny Holiday. If you can’t get this novel, try the first book from the same town, called Mermaid Inn. Next weekend I’ll share all the fun I had reading Holiday’s newest novel!


Two very different books landed at Grab the Lapels. #VERYFAT #VERYBRAVE by Nicole Byer reflects the comedian’s personality and is loaded with great photos of a fat woman in a bikini enjoying herself. I would definitely recommend checking it out. If you’re on Twitter, you can see Byer occasionally post gifs of her accidentally flipping over on a giant flamingo inflatable and laughing hysterically.

Then, I share the first review of the Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arder, The Bear and The Nightingale. Many of you noted you are either interested in this novel or read it and wondered if you should continue the series. In case you missed it, Arden’s ability to mix so many genres is her coolest strength.


If you were someone wondering about the rest of Katherine Arden’s series, look no further. On Tuesday I’ll share my review of The Girl in the Tower, which takes our protagonist to Moscow where her brother and sister live. Then, on Thursday I’ll finish off the series with a review of The Winter of the Witch, covering the protagonist’s time in a beautiful, confusing realm just outside of reality.


Thanks to Karissa for her recommendation! Many of these are audiobooks I found on the library catalog.


  1. I’m grateful for your friendship and video chats too! I hope you like the Bell Jar when you read it – I remember that being one of the first “literary” novels to have a strong emotional impact on me.


  2. Dude. First off, Screaming Miss Jackson and the Slap Ya Mama Big Band. Oh it’s on. I’m about to check them out. Just the fact that a band with this name exist makes my Sunday. I love the Pandemic Gratitude list and all the goodies you listed, including the drum battle, virtual birthday party, and your one-on-one hangout chat and baking session. It’s so good when you can find these moments. Good on you for your reflections and for posting. Have a SUPER FANTASSSSSSSTIC DAY! You’ve given me a good start to mine.


    • Why, hello, new person! I looked up the Slap Ya Mama band and really enjoy their bluegrass vibe. There aren’t too many videos of them there yet. I’ve been trying so hard to find SOMETHING to be grateful for during the pandemic. Some weeks it’s great, and other weeks it’s like dude, gratitude denied. Thanks so much for visiting my site!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah – I really liked The Authenticity Project so I’ll be interested particularly in your thoughts on that one. I also love Nandi – my husband told me about the Dave Grohl thing today and I remembered she’d featured on an advert for Argos last Christmas – she’s amazing! We both cried when we watched her video with Dave sending his acceptance of the challenge, which is probably pandemic-anxiety related but whatever.


    • I was listening to the radio this morning, and the DJs were talking about what the world would be like it certain famous people hadn’t died. They mentioned Kurt Cobain and wondered what would happen with Dave Grohl if Cobain were still alive. There would be no Foo Fighters, and would Grohl ever gone on to sing or play guitar with Nirvana?

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s hard to imagine Nirvana having the lasting power as a group that the Foo Fighters have had. Not because of their music but simply because it just seems like it was a more volatile grouping. But that may be my impression looking back on it through the lens of Cobain’s death. It’s an interesting question. Grohl is insanely talented so it seems inevitable that he would have tried different things eventually but maybe he wouldn’t have been motivated too? Interesting question!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t been able to get hold of either Paradise Cove or Mermaid Inn at the library, which is a shame, but I look forward to hearing your thoughts (and everyone else’s) on it next week!


  5. The bully in old British boys books was always fat – from Billy Bunter probably, who gorged on sticky buns – so that fatness was seen as a moral defect. Mind you, I still wonder at parents who stuff their children with fried food and soft drinks.

    I was waiting in a factory lunchroom recently while the truck was being unloaded, and at smoko everyone came in and took their masks off to eat, which seemed to defeat their purpose, especially as they were in much closer proximity in the lunchroom than they were out on the factory floor.


    • I know Roald Dahl likes to make fun of fat people by having a character (usually a boy) who eats everything he sees like some kind of black hole instead of a human. It’s in The Witches and Matilda for sure. The point is less about nutrition, because I agree with you about poor diet being an issue that affects the growth and development of children, setting a precedent for their health and well being for the rest of their lives, and more about saying someone is fat and readers instantly think, “Yes, that person is horrible.” It’s not only incorrect, it’s lazy writing.

      A smoko! Can I say I’m delighted with that term even though I hate smoking? But yeah, they’re blowing COIVD all over.


  6. I remember reading Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar when I was a teenager and it really stuck with me-I hope you enjoy it! Also, on a side note re: masks. Wearing one regularly has made me realize (sadly) that my breath stinks on the regular LOL


  7. Glad you enjoyed The Bear and the Nightingale! I remember enjoying it too but haven’t been in the mood to pick up her others unfortunately. They are well written but sort of slow and I feel like my attention span would wander. True Story looks good- I haven’t seen that one before.


  8. I’m glad the virtual birthday parties are going well! Sitting through seven of them seems like it would try my patience a bit- my family is big on combined parties to celebrate all of the birthdays per season at once and that always felt like plenty of partying to me, but of course in 2020 anything to break the monotony of quarantine is probably welcome!


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