Sunday Lowdown #93


Because the pandemic reared its ugly head, I’ve been trying to be more chill about life. Typically, I have all my reading planned out for the whole year, placing books into specific categories and hitting a daily goal of reading 75 pages. After lock down, I’ve practically tossed my spreadsheet out. I’ve joined numerous buddy reads, picked up several new library books that struck me just right, and now I’ve randomly decided to join Brona’s AusReading Month. I’ve never done it before, but Bill @ Australian Legend wrote about it, and I guess I’ve got a wild hair for all things in e-groups.

Over the month of November, I plan to/have read the following Australian/Australian-set titles:

  • Hearing Maud: A Journey for a Voice by Jessica White
  • Unconventional Means: The Dream Down Under by Anne Richardson Williams, with Aboriginal traditional stories as told by Lorraine Mafi-Williams
  • Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko
  • The Silence by Susan Allott

There’s a mini bingo card Brona created that readers can use, but seeing as how I don’t know what the initialisms on it mean, I’m going to stick to simply reading four books. I mostly find out about Australian books through Bill, like Earthly Delights by Kerry Greenwood. I received a number of recommendations from Margot @ Lectito back when she was still blogging, including Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell.

Other than that, not a ton happened this week. Here are some food pics that make me happy:


My review of Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction by Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Anderson dissuaded a number of you from purchasing this book, or running out to get it as soon as possible. While I appreciate that the authors enjoyed working as a team on this one, it’s okay for readers to hold off.

Folks seemed to like what Larger than Death by Lynne Murray is selling, though! Please be sure to support this author and grab her book. It runs $2.99 on all the regular e-book purchasing sites.

The last book of #ReadingValdemar 2020, Take a Thief by Mercedes Lackey, was like a heaping of Oliver Twist with ethereal beings that appear in horse bodies, which means I’ll likely be reading Oliver Twist soon.


Hearing Maud is a memoir by deaf Australian author Jessica White, who finds something in herself when she reads about Maud, the deaf daughter of famous 19th-20th century Australian author Rosa Campbell Praed. Review on Tuesday.

Unconventional Means by Anne Richardson Williams is about an American woman who read Australian fiction after her father died when she was a teen, and it affected her so deeply that she had a lifelong dream to go “down under.” The memoir is part travelogue, part dream description, and explores Australia from an outsider’s perspective. Review Thursday.



  1. That’s great that you have decided to join in. And greater that you have discovered books I haven’t heard of before (Unconventional Means and The Silence). I really look forward to Hearing Maud on Tuesday, I liked the book and I like Jess – who would be a lovely subject for one of your author interviews.


  2. Good to have you on board with Aus Reading Month. I’m not doing the bingo card because I know I wouldn’t read enough of the categories (I’m also doing novellas in november). By the way, the initials represent the names of the states in Australia – so TAS is Tasmania.

    Popcorn has become the latest foodstuff to be taken up market it seems. I saw some the other day which was cinnamon flavoured….


    • I figured the initials were the states, but stupidly I couldn’t think of what each one meant! The only one I ever seem to remember is NSW, and even then I have to dig around in my brain to remember what each letter stands for. To be fair, I only remember about 4 of the 10 Canadian provinces, and you know how close Canada is to Indiana!


      • Ahhh I see Karen has filled you on the initials
        The rest are QLD – Queensland
        NT – Northern Territory
        WA – Western Australia
        SA – South Australia
        VIC – Victoria
        ACT – Australian Capital Territory

        And welcome to AusReading Month!
        Hearing Maud has just been shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards 2020: Non-Fiction category.


  3. Ooh, all that food stuff makes me happy. I recently acquired popcorn kernels for the first time, which I plan on popping myself on the stove. I love the idea of it. I don’t know why I never did it in the past. What inspired me? The fact that if you have plain popcorn you can get SUPER creative with what you add, making both sweet and savory popcorn flavor mixes. I don’t know why I’ve never done it before. What inspired you here?

    Do you purge your TBR ever? Heck, where do you keep track of it? I feel like each week you add way more books than I could read in a month. XD


    • Well, last week I got greedy and put too many kernels in my air popper, burning the shit out of everything, including the popcorn maker motor. But I didn’t know that until Friday, when I had my DVD in and the butter melted and I plugged the stupid thing in and — nothing. I could either go to the store for a new machine or Google stove popcorn making. The method I found seems fool proof. Check it out:

      Lately, I’ve been purging my TBR of anything that has been on there for more than a certain number of years (3, I think??). That is all on Goodreads. I have a spreadsheet of books I own and in what format (paperback, hard cover, Nook, Kindle, Google Books) so I just straight up don’t lose them.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I watched a conversation with the author’s daughter (Tamara Payne), who did a lot of the research for this book. It was interesting to learn more about how primary research about Malcolm X is still out there, uncovered. I assume, stupidly, that because we have the internet, everything is on the internet. I ought to know better; I work in a library, and there is so much local history materials that are not available online. Anyway, Tamara Payne spent loads of time in libraries where Malcolm X lived, and also interviewed people who knew him while they were still alive (some have passed away; the book is 30 years in the making). I hope The Dead Are Arising will be a great response to the controversial book by Marable Manning, which I did not enjoy and did not finish.


  4. Uh Snoop Dogg has a cookbook? I guess that shouldn’t be surprise considering he’s such good friends with Martha Stewart. Did your cookies have weed in them? Either way they look delicious!


  5. I knew you had reading/page goals but I didn’t realize you were so organized in your planning. I think a lot of people tossed out their 2020 reading goals some time around March (I sure did). I thought about you today as I shamefacedly returned a library book with a cracked CD (Rose sat on it). The lady at the desk was so nice about it but I felt like such a bad library patron!

    Also, the girls and I make popcorn every Friday after school and since we don’t have a microwave we always do it on the stove top. I think it’s way more fun!


    • Being organized helps me know what to pick up next. I’m the sort of person who, if I don’t know what to read next, may not read anything for several days. Then I don’t have the content for my blog, which I maintain a bit more rigorously than others, just because.

      That’s so sweet of you to think of me! We know that accidents happen with materials. They’re supposed to be used. I’m just not a fan of neglecting materials. Also, it’s helpful to say, “Woops, this happened!” rather than sneaking the item back into the drop box and pretending like it didn’t happen.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That makes sense that organization keeps you reading. It does help me to have a specific stack to grab from if I don’t know what to read next.

        I’d never even had a library fine before having kids! I’ve had a couple of not-so-friendly librarian experiences as a kid so I kind of prep myself for them being grumpy. Plus, the library is basically the only place I go right now so I didn’t want to make them mad! I think it helped that I had Rose in tow with me and it was a kids’ book so it was pretty clear what happened. The CD was literally in pieces so there’s no way I could have hidden it, even if I wanted to!


  6. You typically plan your reading for the entire year!!! Ah!!! I would not be able to cope, that is some impressive self-discipline. If I get off on any sort of schedule for even one day, it seems like the whole thing just collapses and I’m lost, lol. I would love to be so diligent about keeping to a schedule.


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