Sunday Lowdown #96


Okay, so there was definitely a part of my week when I was like this:

But I tried to find something for which I am grateful in there. When we got Saturday date-night drive-thru Taco Bell, I saw they gave us moist towelettes. So that’s good, and we’ve never gotten those before.

But no, really. It’s been small things: getting pictures of my nieces and nephew in a Christmas card, deciding to do a by-mail holiday cookie exchange, and this cat as it learns to do a TikTok dance. For real, I spend months learning how to do the Floss to impress my nieces, and they’re so over it. I’m, like, three years behind being relevant.

What I’m really most grateful for this week is that Jackie @ Death by Tsundoku is doing well. Her due date was December 5th, and she’s just hanging out, being amazing.


A beautifully woven plot with two time lines, The Silence by Susan Allott was an excellent bookend to Brona’s AusReading Month. I kerjiggered up some courage and asked the author to do a Meet the Writer interview. Because she has a deadline approaching for her second novel (!), that interview is waiting until the new year.

Speaking of interviews, on Thursday I shared Jessica White’s thoughts on the writing process, responses to her writing, and if she considered the deaf community her audience as she wrote her memoir. I’m so grateful when authors are willing to share themselves with Grab the Lapels.


On Tuesday I’m posting my review of The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris. Set in a French village, the novel follows a mute teen who may or may not be a changeling, and her story is interposed with a letter left in a will that reveals the cause of death of two people decades before.

Thursday brings the wrap-up of #ReadingValdemar 2020. Jackie @ Death by Tsundoku and I look at what we wanted from 2020, what we appreciated, and what we’re looking forward to in 2021. Additionally, Lou @ LouLouReads and I did a buddy read of The House on the Strand, Daphne du Maurier’s time travel novel set in her much-written-about Cornish seaside. I’ll share my review and some of our thoughts.


Thanks to Bill @ Australian Legend for his recommendation!


  1. Good luck Jackie! I had a long response ready in my head for the Allott, but it will have to wait. I will have only minutes to spare until the end of this week – then it’s holidays for me (well, 14 days isolation and then holidays until I can be bothered going back to work). Hope you enjoy Patience & Sarah as I did.


    • I sent Jackie a baby gift, so maybe baby is waiting for her present to arrive before she decides to come out. I look forward to talking to you more once you have a break. When you are busy, you are always missed!


  2. That cat looks like Gollum! A by-mail cookie exchange sounds like fun. I am hoping to do some cookie and Christmas card drop offs for friends who are close by.


    • LoL, the caption for that cat picture was something like a mother who insists her cat is an adorable baby, but then it looks at the adult child like that.

      I’ve never done a cookie exchange, but we are trying it this year. If I were a more organized person, I might have suggested organizing a cookie exchange with blog friends, but to be honest, back in 2003 I smuggled a banana from Canada into the U.S. and haven’t yet forgiven myself.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. another great word/phrase I need to remember: kerjiggered! God you are so funny.

    I too feel like I’m 3 years behind being relevant. Example: I downloaded what’s app last year and my husband was like “welcome to 2011” and that basically sums up my whole existence


  4. Thank you thank you thank you. I will admit, I cried reading your Pandemic Gratitude. Today has been a hard day (I’m at work and everyone is shocked and providing me their induction stories and my anxiety is SO HIGH) — I’m glad I took a break at lunch to read your blog. It’s the lift I needed. ❤

    Love you. Thank you for being such a positive force in my life.


  5. Cookies by mail sounds potentially crumbly but definitely delicious! What a great idea for spreading some holiday cheer this year. I’m glad to see you’re still finding things to be grateful for in the midst of… *gestures at world,* no matter how small. The little things really can stack up! Lately I’m just grateful that there’s no snow at the moment and the weather’s been warmer than usual. Not good to think too hard about that, I suppose, but it does make it easier to get a breath of much-needed fresh air.


  6. Another way to look at it, is that you’re ONLY three years past relevant. It could be worse, right? 🙂

    Earlier this year I read a couple of duMaurier’s novels and I quite enjoyed Jamaica Inn, which was all the right kind of atmosphere and suspense that I was craving in the early days of the first lockdown.

    Stay safe and be well!


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