Sunday Lowdown #115


What a bizarre week! I felt confident at work and kept receiving compliments (and two elbow bumps and a handshake) for my services. I especially love helping patrons see that they are not unintelligent because they don’t know how to do something, and they’re always proud when they can (these are mostly tech-related skills).

But I also kept having some irregular heart beats and dyshidrotic eczema, both symptoms of anxiety in me. One of the reasons I watch a horror movie every Friday, a hobby I started during the lock down of 2020, is that it’s a relief to watch something that scares me that can’t really hurt me. Well, my reading went completely out of whack this week because I watched all seven Chucky movies: Child’s Play 1, 2, and 3, Bride of Chucky, Seed of Chucky, Curse of Chucky, and Cult of Chucky. And, if I’m being honest with you, I watched Bride of Chucky twice — it is the height of late 1990s everything, which is my jam. Also, I was all a-titter when I heard Fiona Dourif laughing at the same time as, and sounding nearly identical to, her father, Brad Dourif, in Cult of Chucky. Please offer your condolences to my poor spouse.

But that wasn’t all the TV I watched. Oh, no. Because over on Anne’s blog @ I’ve Read This she mentioned that Murder She Wrote is her favorite show, one she forces her toddlers to watch with her when she’s having a rough day. After some Googling I learned that Murder She Wrote is free on Peacock, an app you can get on your TV, and now the spouse and I have seen five episodes of nana’s favorite programming instead of watching any nightly news. What’s happening in the U.S.? I don’t know, but Jessica Fletcher has found a weird button, noticed a faded couch cushion, and discovered some mysterious pink shoes.


The Coldest Winter Ever may not be for everyone due to the graphic language and imagery, but it would be an interesting novel to discuss in a class or book club to get going conversations about community building/destroying, status, gang violence, and control.

Lab Girl is also not for everyone. If you love science, you may hate the more personal sections of Hope Jahren’s book, but if you enjoy reading about relationships, the science chapters could put you to sleep. A tough sell, but it was a wildly popular book upon publication.


Something I wanted to address at Grab the Lapels was the number of books by Hispanic authors that I reviewed in the last year that I did not enjoy. Undocumented Americans was one, and Sabrina and Corina was another. I purposefully did research and found several titles by Hispanic women that I’m going to get to this year. My review of The Distant Marvels by Chantel Acevedo will post Tuesday.

On Thursday, check out my review of Nothing but Patience by A.M. Blair, a Sri Lankan-American writer and civil rights lawyer (and blogger!) who crafted a retelling of Sense and Sensibility.


Owned Books on TBR at Beginning of Year: 242
Owned Books on TBR Today: 225

No new books added this week.


  1. I hope Nick is not watching Chucky for clues on how to behave if Covid goes on for another year – Covid 19.2 The Mutant! I watched the short at the end of the interview- not for me!
    Very much looking forward to your review of Nothing but Patience. I mostly enjoy the various takes on Austen, BUT they don’t always work.


    • Amal Blair is such a kind, amazing woman. She’s a civil rights lawyer, writer, blogger, mother, wife. She does it all, and I love how her blog posts intersect with the law and literature.

      After I finished watching all those horror movies, I didn’t know what to do with myself. There are no other villains like Chucky: evil yet funny, talkative but a whole lot of little feet running creepily behind furniture.


  2. Since you love horror movies, but I’m not sure if you want WEAR horror movies, there are two great clothing companies we’ve tried recently; Cavity Colors and FrightRags. Both have great horror movie designs and it comes on quality stuff. I own from Cavity Colors; Trick R Treat hoodie and Mars Attack sweatpants. My husband has; Killer Klowns From Outerspace sweatpants, the same hoodie, Return of the Livingdead shirt and sweatpants and Phantasm shirt. He also has a Nightbreed shirt by FrightRags.


  3. I used to read a lot of horror but I’ve never been able to watch it. What I saw of Chucky from behind my fingers as a teenager scared me witless. But if it works for you, enjoy! It’s been years since I’ve watched any of Murder She Wrote but I do find similar programs comforting, sure someone dies, but the killer is always found out and pays the price.

    Wishing you a great reading week


    • I must say, the Chucky movies did get more violent in the end, too, so I was surprised. Thanks, CGI technology!

      So far, I’ve been surprised that when Jessica Fletcher approaches the murderer, that person never threatens her life, and she’s never afraid.


  4. I have never seen the Chucky series- but now I’m really tempted to try, especially bride of Chucky and cult of Chucky which sound way more horrifying than Chucky 1, 2, 3. Murder she wrote sounds right up my alley. Wishing you an amazing week without anxiety :)!


    • Bride of Chucky was SO 1990s. It’s actually considered more dark comedy than horror. however Child’s Play 1-3 and Curse of Chucky and Cult of Chucky are pretty violent. Seed of Chucky was…..a mistake, lol.

      If you want to watch a fun horror movie, Trick R Treat is great at has a storybook-esque, rather than straight cinematic, quality to it.


  5. I’ve been experiencing more anxiety lately too, so when I mentioned it to my therapist last week, she suggested externalizing it as a thing I carry, rather than something I have inside of me – so I’ve named my anxiety Bertha! Ha ha! And if I feel like I don’t need Bertha’s “help” then I politely but firmly tell her No thanks, I’m good right now Bertha! 😉 Also, upping my physical activity has helped a lot.

    And I think swapping the news for Murder, She Wrote is an AWESOME choice!


    • Ha, Bertha. My great-grandma was named Bertha, and she was famously miserable. I think you picked the perfect name. Thank you for sharing that with me. It feels odd to be closer to the end and half vaccinated and feel worse??? ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • “Famously miserable” – ha! I think you’re not alone – we see the light at the end of the tunnel but we also know about all the variants and the people who won’t get vaccinated for whatever reason and the rest of the world suffering so it all combines into anxiety, I think.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I care about the populations that can’t get vaccinated due to medical issues or being under 16. My fortitude, and attitude, about the possibility of death or long-haul symptoms for those who won’t get vaccinated is…..waning. I’ve spent the entire pandemic chanting, “I can only control myself,” and that will continue in the face of people who are also in control of themselves but perhaps not making the most health-conscious decisions.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah, sometimes you really need a week of distracting TV! I am glad to hear you were feeling confident and getting some deserved appreciation at the library, and I do hope the anxiety will abate!


  7. OMG I love your description of Jessica Fletcher and the clues she finds! It’s so true, a faded cushion could be the key to this mystery.

    I discovered Murder She Wrote and it’s soothing qualities when I was in university-I had a few panic attacks around that time in my ilfe (none since, thankfully) and watching that show always helped. My aunts recommended it to me for that reason too-the fact that you know she is going to solve the case, everything will go back to normal, the baddies will get their due, etc.

    Anyway, I’m sorry you are experiencing anxiety right now, but yay for finding healthy coping mechanisms! And I’ve never watched a Chucky movie, but maybe I should try? LOL


    • You’re a 90s girl. If you know the origin story of Chucky, which you could easily Google (or watch Child’s Play!), then you can jump right into The Bride of Chucky. It’s so 1990s wonderful. You’ll recognize the references, the clothes, the hair, everything.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Bride of Chucky is the funnest of the series for sure! 😀 I love that one.
    Also, I had no idea that the actress playing Nica was Brad Dourif’s daughter IRL. How interesting!


    • It’s funny where Brad Dourif pops up. He’s the sheriff in Rob Zombie’s Halloween movies, he’s Billy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, he’s Wormtongue in Lord of the Rings. And then bam, there’s his kid.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Have you watched Army of the Dead. I’m not reccing it per se but since you mentioned horror. I’m not in to the Chucky films but zombie films are my jam, even bad ones. I read The Coldest Winter Ever eons ago and it is graphic like you said but I remember it also being one of the stronger entries in the late 90s new wave of urban street lit that was popular around the time that I read it. I believe a long awaited sequel recently dropped.


    • I have not yet watched Army of the Dead, though it is on my list. My favorite zombie movies are Dawn of the Dead (the Zac Snyder remake) and the 28 Days/Weeks Later movies. Those are pretty scary.

      I was impressed with The Coldest Winter Ever and even more interested in the impact it had on girls Winter’s age or thereabouts. I haven’t read the sequel, but it’s been published and on the bestseller list in the U.S. for at least a month now.


      • Oh we could definitely zombie marathon together. Those are my faves too. I have seen Army of the Dead and Dawn of the Dead is still my favourite Snyder zombie flick…probably my first Snyder fic too (though I did like the Justice League Snyder cut).


        • After I watched Snyder’s film Sucker Punch, I was extremely anti-Snyder for a while and felt so betrayed, because I loved Dawn of the Dead so much! Another zombie movie, more funny than scary, and a total classic, is Dead Alive by Peter Jackson.


          • I’ve never watched Sucker Punch…I didn’t realize Snyder was such a polarizing figure actually until fairly recently and I’m meh on all that tbh. I’m just not that invested either way (my only conviction is that Dawn of the Dead being one of the best zombie flicks of all time). I’ll check out Dead Alive. If you’re looking for another zombie flick there’s also the Korean film #Alive on Netflix and of course Train to Busan (one of the best of the genre).


            • I saw both of those Korean films! Just this morning my manager pointed out to me that there is a streaming service called Shudder that is nothing but horror movies. I’m going to subscribe when I get home!

              Liked by 1 person

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