Sunday Lowdown #107


Oh, HELLO. We had a snow day on Tuesday, which a large swath of the U.S. participated in. I mostly read and blogged and fought over the couch armrest with Kitty. This is her winning:

On Tuesday I attended a virtual author talk with Isabel Wilkerson, author of the best-selling, award-winning books The Warmth of Other Suns and Caste, both of which have been added to my TBR thanks to her amazing event. I know a lot about black history, but the depth and perspective Wilkerson brings is beyond me. This event was hosted by the Preserve Eatonville Community. Eatonville is called “the town that freedom built.” It is where Zora Neale Hurston grew up. It shaped and defined her. I’ve been there. It’s worth preserving for so many reasons.

They’re also hosting a book club. Biscuit and I attended Saturday to talk about Moses, Man of the Mountain, which was a less popular Hurston novel, but one that I found well-written and engaging. I’ll review it here as soon as I can. The next book Biscuit and I are reading is I Almost Forgot About You in connection with a virtual book even with author Terry McMillan. Anyone can attend, so if you’ve read her books, this is your chance!


How common is sexual harassment, sexism, and sexual assault? How do these offenses differently affect queer women and women of color? How often do women navigate sex- and gender-based discrimination, and what kinds have we normalized to the point of resigned acceptance? While Chavisa Woods didn’t set out to write an informational text that answers my questions, her descriptions in 100 Times: A Memoir of Sexism facing discrimination and physical danger based on her gender will start a conversation.

Tuberculosis: a highly contagious disease spread by the lungs. Sound familiar? While such a topic may turn you off during the COVID-19 pandemic, I urge you to reconsider. Reading the candid, witty memoir The Plague and I by Betty MacDonald, which is about surviving a health crisis of the lungs, is actually calming. People denied tuberculosis existed, just like they now believe viruses aren’t real. Thanks so much to Nurse Lou, PhD, for her information in the comments section of my review!


I know now that Kristin Hannah is super famous, but I didn’t until Biscuit recommended I listen to The Great Alone. I felt iffy, as I always do, when I start a fifteen-hour audiobook, but the story is both compelling and captures the isolated Alaskan setting. Review Tuesday.

Should you be punished for a crime people think you may commit, despite zero evidence of planning that crime? This question has plagued both real history (consider some arguments behind eugenics) and the main character of Intrigues by Mercedes Lackey. I’ll have another general discussion question for you all! Review Thursday.


I found F*ckface while searching for Bonnie Jo Campbell, whose work I love, on the library catalog. Also, in the past year something has changed how I feel about myself. I’ve never felt like I have a culture. I’ve never said, “Yes, that’s the French ancestors in me” or something like that, because my people are a scattered, adopted, rag-tag bunch, and as much as I love them, we never stayed in a village for several generations or anything. In the U.S., your culture doesn’t stop at the founding of the country, because we’re still in diapers compared to other countries. There are fountains in London older than the U.S., which I learned recently. When I discovered @Midwest vs Everybody on Twitter, I learned about “ope.” What is this “ope”? I’ve lived in the Midwest my whole life; I know not of this “ope.” And then I realized I say ope about a thousand times per day.

"Ope, I forgot my name tag."  
"Ope, I almost bumped into you."  
"Ope, I almost burned the dinner."
"Ope, the phone is ringing."

I COME FROM THE PROUD TRIBE OF OPE PEOPLE. And that’s why I have to read Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie. You’re probably laughing at me, but I’m somebody with history now.


  1. Kitty looks as if she expected no other result!
    Congrats on your cultural awakening, I hope you enjoy the food. I claim my Irish heritage because it explains my obsession with all things potato.

    Wishing you a great reading week


    • Nice! Folks in Europe seem to know where their people are from, which my brain has a hard time understanding. If you’re all born and raised in Spain for generations, you’re Spanish. In the U.S., if you have get married to and have kids with your neighbor, you can stand around guessing your background. Where do you come from?!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a triumphant expression. And you don’t seem to have minded losing very much either. LOL Wilkerson amazes me. The balance between relaying information and engaging readers’ interest is such a delicate feat; I wish all non-fiction read like hers!


  3. I am fascinated by this ‘ope’ you speak of! I say ‘eh’ all the time though, so I know how nice it is to identify with cultural/geographical isms like that.

    A 15-hour audio book? holy jesus.

    Also-you follow Laila at A Big Reading Life right? She’s just getting into Isabel Wilkerson!


  4. Kitty doesn’t look so impressed with selfies, haha!

    I love that you have found your tribe and history amongst “ope people”! For a long time I thought I didn’t say “eh” but I definitely do. Best to just embrace it!


  5. Kitty looks like she knew all along that armrest was hers for the taking! And I’m glad to hear the Wilkerson event was such a hit. I’ve been wanting to read Caste.


    • Kitty has this strategy where she tries to sniff any dishes around, like she’s going to lick them, which is a huge NO in my house. And then as I move the dish, she gets her spot on the armrest. If the dish trick doesn’t work, she gently pats my leg in a really cute way. I keep saying, “NO, KITTY. THIS MY ARMREST RIGHT NOW.” And she keeps poking. *sigh*

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh my gosh, she’s so smart and cute! That’s worth a spot on the armrest for sure, right? Haha. My cats are not that sneaky, if they want to sit somewhere they will just sit, even if it’s on top of an arm or a laptop or open book. I suspect they’re after attention in those instances moreso than a specific seat- maybe part of Kitty’s armrest quest is just the joy of the game with you, lol.


  6. I like to claim my Hugenot ancestry but I keep forgetting what it is. Re crimes you never actually committed, do you remember President Carter apologizing for committing the sin of adultery in his imagination?


    • I do not remember President Carter saying that, but Mike Pence is a pretty good runner up. He’s Mr. Won’t Have Dinner With Another Female Unless His Wife Is Present In Case He’s Accused Of Adultery. This is a man who is worried he’ll be in trouble without evidence, rather than being accused of committing a crime without evidence.


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