Sunday Lowdown #117


Definitely a busy week. Went to the dentist on Tuesday, and as Nick and I like to say, “clean teef!” Wednesday we both got our second Pfizer pweek. While I didn’t even feel my shot the first time, and Nick didn’t feel either shot, I think I got “lucky” and received the one shot-giver who is also headed to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics in javelin. Whatever, it was my #2 pweek, so still exciting, just also I was disgruntled. That night I was fine, the next day, which I took off from work just in case, I was fine. Then, suddenly that evening, my armpit hurt. It was definitely swollen too. Apparently, it’s an uncommon side effect for your lymph nodes in the armpit of the same arm you got your injection to swell up. Boy howdy. According to smart people at Yale, it can last two weeks. So, I guess I’m standing all fancy-like with my left hand on my hip for two weeks. I also had a low-grade fever, but that just meant I deserved ice cream. So, PWEEK #2 SUCCESS! Then, on Friday, I got a summons for jury duty. LoL, stop it, week.


To quote one of my favorite movies, Hot Fuzz, “Murder, murder, murder.” Camilla Bruce’s new novel, In the Garden of Spite, uses real-life serial killer Belle Gunness’s as inspiration. The best part about Bruce’s novel is that I started researching online why Americans are obsessed with true crime and crime fiction and hooked up with Dr. Rebecca Frost. We’ve been emailing back and for all week about serial killers, publishing, and her dissertation in which Dr. Frost posits that true crime gives the community an opportunity to publicly reprimanded the wrongdoer and heal so they can return to order.

Jackie @ Death by Tsundoku, Kim @ Travelling in Books, and I are all reading the newest series from Mercedes Lackey for the last year of #ReadingValdemar. Kim joined in this year because Jackie and I finally hit the books that Kim had not yet read! We finally hit Redoubt, book four in a quintet, which has some action and survival stuff, but I frowned largely on Lackey’s abelist plotline with Amily and her disability. I left a discussion question for everyone about disability and their reading!


No genre exists that truly describes my favorite type of book, so I call them “girls gone wild” novels. At the center is a teen girl whose upbringing and tendencies lean toward off-the-grid, survivalist, “weird,” and even a bit feral. They have epic adventures that include meeting a series of people who generally float in the protagonist’s orbit, changing them little. Examples include Bogeywoman by Jaimy Gordon, Cruddy by Lynda Barry, and Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell. The Albino Album by Chavisa Woods is now on that list. Review Tuesday.

It seems lately I’m reading a number of multi-genre books. Thursday’s review of Once Upon Another Time by Pat Ballard will be no different. It’s a science fiction/ western/ romance novel published by Pearlsong Press, meaning it was guaranteed to not have any fatphobia. That doesn’t mean it’s a flawless novel, but it does have a bit of everything!


Owned Books on TBR at Beginning of Year: 242
Owned Books on TBR Today: 223

I bought a couple of books recommended by our American Sign Language teacher, so while I finished a few I own this week, I also added to the list a little bit. The StoryGraph also got me in trouble again! To be fair, lots of StoryGraph books I’m choosing make great audiobook selections for the commute.


  1. My two AZ shots are separated by 12 weeks – so 6 weeks to go until #2.
    Never been called up for jury duty.
    Good first step buying Sense & Sensibility. Now for the review. Hope it’s soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did a bit of reading after I saw this comment and noticed that the time between the AZ shots one and two appear to only recently have been moved to 12 weeks due to better efficacy, from around 55% at 6 weeks to 81% for 12 weeks.

      Nick used the phrase “experimental vaccine in a deadly global pandemic” the other day, and I about passed out. It was like a bucket of water in the face.


    • Response to Bill AND Melanie!

      They are doing them 11 weeks apart for us here in the ACT! (Don’t know why they specified that – maybe to allow a bit of slippage time and still be within in the 12 months). I must say I’m not thrilled about AZ but I feel that the risks are low. I just worry that it’s not as effective as some others are. We decided though that better that now than none. We can always have a different one if needed next year – and I expect it will be needed.

      I’ve never been called up for jury duty either.

      I have a special spot in my Jane Austen heart for Sense and sensibility. I’ll tell you what it is, Melanie, whenever you write it up.


      • Once I hit my 20s I realized we’re guinea pigs all the time. They used to put metal in our fillings. I’ve had procedures done that they no longer do. Thus, I’m not too worried about being part of the vaccine experiment. I’m definitely figuring on there being a yearly covid shot update. I get my yearly flu shot, so it will be much like that.

        This is the second time I’ve been called up for jury duty. The first time I was dismissed because I was a bit skeptical about convicting someone with no evidence. When they were trying to figure who to pick, one lawyer asked me if it were me, wouldn’t I want someone to just believe me. Well, was there ANY evidence? Did the victim tell a friend? Were their grades affected? Did their behavior change?


  2. I had swollen armpit lymph nodes too! *Lymph node twins* (Mine only lasted 2 days so fingers crossed for you.)
    I very much like the idea of you standing with your hand on your hip all day exuding confidence while directing people to books lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I got swollen armpit and neck glands with my first AZ and I’m the only person I know who had that. They weren’t exactly sore, i just knew they were there, and it went off within 5 days or so.


    • In the middle of the night I would roll over on my injection side and flip right back over because it hurt, even in my sleep! At one point, I had a huge stack of pillows to prop my arm up on so I could get some pitty relief!

      Liked by 1 person

    • “Deflates,” lol. Yes, it got better by Sunday, so from Thursday evening to Sunday. I’m glad to hear you like Sense and Sensibility. I have a hard time with Jane Austen’s writing, but I’m hoping having Amal’s novel in my pocket plus everyone’s excitement will help me.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I hadn’t heard about the swollen lymph node thing though I guess it makes sense. Hope it goes away soon for you. Peter had his first shot on Friday and felt pretty achey on Saturday but mostly good. Our province is prioritizing first shots for everyone so second shots won’t likely happen until around 4 months after the first.


      • I think that was part of it here too. Since we’ve been short of vaccines it was about getting as many people as possible at least some protection. It’s hard not to feel a little like we’re in the middle of a giant experiment but it does seem to be helping our numbers.


        • I mentioned in another comment that we forget we’re always in the middle of a giant experiment of life. For instance, we used to get metal fillings, and now those don’t exist. I’ve had medical procedures done that they don’t recommend. Even all the women in my family who have had hysterectomies; my doctor was saying they almost never do a full hysterectomy anymore. That kind of thing makes me feel more go-with-the-flow, less permanent — in a good way.

          Liked by 1 person

          • That’s a very good point and that does make me feel better. We are always learning new things and how to do better. And, you’re right, there are things like done when we were kids that aren’t done anymore and all of this has occurred in a much shorter timeline!

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Yay for the vaccine! I’m pretty sure that in either the info packet or the check-in app I got with my first dose that lymph node swelling was mentioned as a possibility, though it didn’t specify *which* lymph nodes might swell and I hadn’t really considered the armpit being the location! Ouch. I hope that will pass for you soon.
    I love that you’ve been conversing about true crime and crime fiction so much in the wake of your Gunness read. It’s certainly interesting to consider how popular the genre is and why- I like Dr. Frost’s answer.
    Excited to see Evelyn Hugo and Sense and Sensibility on your TBR! It’s also very motivating to see you getting so into sign language and deaf culture; I know I don’t read enough about disabilities and deafness especially is a gap in my reading life. I’ve got Hearing Maud on my list thanks to you, but I’d love to see more recommendations as you continue reading on the subject!


    • Hearing Maud gave me an excellent background to other books I’ve started reading about deafness, especially the brief, but clear, aspects of treatment of deaf people in history.

      Biscuit and I didn’t mean to read so much serial killer stuff, but we had a new book on hold and it came in just after In The Garden of Spite!

      I added Evelyn Hugo thanks to your recommendation. Everyone is so excited about Sense and Sensibility that now I’m more motivated to get to it and not have it be the token classic on my TBR.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oof. The swollen armpit sounds rough. 😦 Hopefully it’ll get better soon. I know 2 people who have had the same happen to them and it seemed like it went away within a couple days for both of them if memory serves me right.


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