Sunday Lowdown #121


Now that the library where I work is operating as normal (except for <18 programming, which is still virtual because it’s assumed <18 are not vaccinated), all sorts of people are hanging out at the library again. I get to help patrons on their journeys: learning about trans people or racism, getting the fastest driving directions to meet up with a sweetheart, finding that book about important age-related health issues, and how to toggle on the headphones at the computers! It’s lovely, to be honest.

The big news of the week was the arrival of Biscuit, who was here just recently, but this time she had in tow my three nieces (ages 12, 11, and 5) and nephew (age 3). On Saturday, we went to the local zoo where a tiger practically booped noses with us and we discovered the joy of sand cats, which are more adorable than I pictured, but also learned they eat small dead mice whole, like a snake. It was . . . not pretty to watch.

Despite chilly weather, the kids ran around a playground for a while. I was on five-year-old watch, Biscuit had the three-year-old, and my spouse’s job was to make sure no creepers talked to the two oldest girls. Turns out, I might be part octopus, because I can fit in small spaces that look like I should never get through there, all in the name of keeping my eyeballs on a child who doesn’t belong to me. The kids played for a bit on a small splash pad before it was time for snoozles and then dinner at my house. We watched Frankenweenie, a Tim Burton Disney movie in which a dead dog gets reanimated, and a bat/cat creature gets impaled, so I guess Disney will “go there.” There are more plans tomorrow, but I’ll include those in the next Sunday Lowdown.


Based on the comments from my review of The Babysitter: My Summers with a Serial Killer by Liza Rodman and Jennifer Jordan, I’m thinking I don’t have any hard-core true crime fans regularly following me. I’m not a groupie either, but I was surprised because it’s such a popular genre right now, and most folks can’t get enough of it.

#ReadingValdemar finished the first series of 2021, a quintet of books that could have been edited down to the traditional Mercedes Lackey trilogy, but I’m still glad regardless, because Bastion had some of my favorite characters and dialogue that we’ve read in ages.


Tuesday, check out my review of a memoir I just loved for it’s humor, realness, carefully crafted ideas, and the insight it provides into life as the hearing child of two Deaf parents in A Loss for Words by Lou Ann Walker. This book was recommended by my ASL teacher.

Thursday I’ll post my review of Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber, a novel with a small dash of magical realism — blackbirds carrying messages from the dead to the living after a person eats a certain pie — and a heap of finding where you belong, even if where you should be is somewhere you’d never been.


Owned Books on TBR at Beginning of Year: 242
Owned Books on TBR Today: 222


  1. Man, I want to get back to the zoo! It’s been years. Plus, the Toledo Zoo is the same distance from us as the Detroit Zoo and I haven’t been to the Toledo Zoo since I was too young to remember. I am ready for a summer FULL of doing things! Attended my first party in over a year last night but unfortunately, pretty boring. Today I get to see Ms. Moth though and THAT is always a party!


    • LOL, what a mean trick the universe played, delivering you to a boring party! The zoo in South Bend can be done in a few hours, but the Detroit zoo can be an all day thing. I went there with my family in high school. I can’t wait to see you this summer!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like such a fun time with loved ones and enjoying the zoo! 😀
    Was Frankenweenie any good? I’ve only ever seen the old live-action black and white short for it, not the newer one.


    • It’s not bad, but it’s not a musical, so it lacks the charm of The Nightmare Before Christmas, and because it’s based on the Frankenstein novel it doesn’t have the unique plot of Coraline. But not bad!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so glad you got to spend time with your nieces and nephew! That sounds like a really fun day! There aren’t any zoos near us but now I’m thinking I need to take my girls to one when we’re able to travel again.


    • I like the zoos that follow some kind of regulation, such as the American Zoo Association in the U.S., so you know they’re taking good care of the animals and giving them plenty of space. But, I don’t always want to go to a zoo that takes ALL DAY to get through (and I know your girls are small enough they would likely get worn out at such a place). Thus, these smaller city zoos are perfect.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a good point! My girls are probably not ready for all day at a zoo. We visited the Vancouver Aquarium a couple of years ago which was fun though Rose basically slept through most of it! They’ve made a lot of changes there in recent years to better take care of the animals so I feel good about supporting them. Some of the smaller “zoos” (more like individuals who owned exotic animals and charged people to see them) that used to exist around Vancouver aren’t there anymore which is probably a good thing.


        • I missed all the to-do around that “Joe Exotic” guy with the tigers on Netflix, but now he’s in the news and I feel so lost. All the tigers were confiscated, according to the news, and that’s good, in my opinion.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I never got into the whole Joe Exotic craze. Did he operate it as a zoo? I wouldn’t want to pay my money to something like that. Seems sketchy when it’s just one dude with a bunch of exotic animals.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Ohh I’m excited to see your review of the Ashley Ford! Heard great things about that one. Also, your zoo trip story leads me to believe you are the ‘cool aunt’. Am I correct in guessing this?


    • Oh, you are so correct in assuming I am the Best Aunt Ever. Apparently, the kids won’t stop talking about the trip, lol.

      I’ve been following Ford on Twitter for a while and was always surprised when I didn’t see any books by her. I’m glad one is finally here!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a lovely trip to the zoo! I have hugged two friends over the weekend which felt quite shocking but lovely. And I’m very much not a true-crime (or any-crime) reader I’m afraid so ruling myself out of engaging with posts there, but I’m glad different people read and enjoy different books!


    • Not a problem! Sometimes the violent nature of a true crime or crime fiction book is too much, and I get that.

      The zoo was nice, and because it was a bit chilly out, some of the cold weather animals were more active than usual.


  6. I’m glad you’re enjoying the library’s liveliness! I am still figuring out how to interact with human beings in person. It’s… strangely difficult.

    Wait, This made me Google the film. Burton remade his own 1984 short into a 2012 full-length film. I just… don’t understand how you could get a full film from it. But still. That’s amazing. Did you see in 1984 or 2012 version? Sofia Coppola, Joseph Maher, and Shelley Duvall are in the original! So. Good. So. Weird.

    I’m so glad y’all went to the Zoo. Our zoo opens to the public again next week! I cannot wait to take Sophia. Who cares if she can appreciate it or not?! 😉

    Ohmygosh. These Olivia Hill books look AMAZING. Where did you find them?


    • We watched the 2012 movie, though Nick told me there is also a live-action film that I have not seen.

      Olivia Hill’s book Ultra popped up in my “suggested titles” on The Story Graph, which is amazing at getting me to read new books. The novels are actually in the same spirit, so to speak, as books I’ve already read and enjoyed. Hill’s books are all on Kindle, since they’re self-published, and while there are some editing errors, it never took away from my enjoyment. I tend to forgive small errors in self-published books if the plot and characters are excellent. The #iHunt books were also translated into a table-top game!


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