Sunday Lowdown #122


Last Sunday concluded the road trip my nieces and nephew took with Biscuit to see the spouse and me. We took them to a beach on Lake Michigan, which was freezing but did not stop the children from wading in the water. A giant splash pad made an even bigger impression, followed by street vendor hot dogs and ice cream. The kids passed out the moment Biscuit left, which is good because the drive home is around three hours. I’ve heard tell that the kids are still talking about their road trip.

After my manager realized I enjoy horror movies so much, she recommended Shudder to me, which I’d never heard of. If you buy a year-long subscription, you get a pretty sweet deal on this horror streaming site. I started my free trial on Friday and watched You Better Watch Out, a 2016 addition to the babysitter/horror/holiday genre. I was . . . completely surprised. I had no idea where the movie was going, and I was deeply unsettled for most of it. Perhaps Sugar & Scream will check it out and leave a review?

This week the spouse and I finished up our first American Sign Language (ASL) course and enrolled in part two. We’re looking for more learning opportunities for soon after we finish the second section, perhaps in a classroom or something else online. I’m enjoying learning about the Deaf community and their language so much — everything clicks into place for me, a hard of hearing person — so I likely seem a bit obsessive about it.

I spent much of yesterday catching up on book reviews. I had a number of titles I’d finished a while ago that were just sitting there. I realized that although the details are harder to remember as time goes by, that fact can keep a review from getting bogged down in all the themes and minor plots that feel essential for discussion in a review when I start plotting out what I want to say shortly after finishing a title. Do you ever find yourself trying to decide what to leave out and struggling?


As many people commented positively on my review of A Loss for Words by Lou Ann Walker, who is a Child of Deaf Adults (CODA), I do hope that some of you will pick it up and read it. It’s got the humor of Betty MacDonald’s The Egg & I and the deep inward look of Janice Erlbaum’s Girlbomb. You don’t have to be interested in Deaf culture or part of the community to enjoy Walker’s book.

I’m not sure that I “sold” Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber correctly. Yes, it’s “women’s fiction,” and yes it get a little too sweet in a couple places. But I also enjoy a story that’s told well that doesn’t require me to have a discussion group to get something out of it. I wouldn’t call Webber’s novel a “beach read,” either. Webber’s novel was a The Story Graph recommendation and had that warm quality that you’ll get from a book like Chocolat by Joanne Harris. Maybe it’s a good pick for you?


I’m back with another Australian classic, this time Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence, a nonfiction work by Doris Pilkington Garimara, an Indigenous woman who listened to and then wrote her relatives’ story of escaping a settlement for mixed-race children who were abducted from their families. Three girls, of which Pilkington Garimara’s mother was one, spent months walking home. Review Tuesday.

After reaching out to Rebecca Frost, PhD. about serial killers in America and emailing back and forth quite a bit, I asked if she wanted to be featured on Grab the Lapels. Frost not only studies serial killers, but Stephen King’s works, too. I know several of you have or are reading King’s books. Interview Thursday.


Owned Books on TBR at Beginning of Year: 242
Owned Books on TBR Today: 224


  1. My draft reviews are probably at least half if not as long again as the version I finally publish – which are already entirely too long most of the time!
    I look forward to reading Frost’s post.

    Wishing you a great reading week


  2. Well now I feel like a bad friend. Shudder is great! I actually want to get my subscription back soon. There is SO much to watch. I have been trying to get full use of my other subscriptions first.
    I very much look forward to your interview with a researcher of serial killers!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow that road trip sounds like the best time ever! And it’s so exciting to hear about your continued progress with ASL. I am also fascinated by the review of serial killers. Have you seen the Ted Talk about the Psychopath Test? It’s pretty interesting, it is called “Strange Answers to the Psychopath Test”. Hope you have a great week 🙂


  4. Your road trip sounds great, hooray! I have had a good week seeing an old friend and my husband getting to see and hug his parents. And a good start to June’s reading after I got the last two books I foolishly started in May finished …


        • Does working in a library slow down your book buying, or does it make you more likely to buy? For me, it’s been slowing me down and reassuring me, “Yes, you can have that book. You don’t have to buy it.”


          • I would hate to think about what my shelves would look like if I didn’t work in a library! I surely use the library more than I buy books. But somewhere around 2012, after my son was born, I started buying books again as a treat for myself. And then later I started buying books because I wanted to support the author, or because the library didn’t have it, or I was too impatient to wait for the library to get it. Many reasons. My space is small and I’ve reached max capacity, so I’m having to be more judicious for the rest of the year at least. That’s my goal – no more than one book a month for the rest of the year. Maybe even less!

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Follow The Rabbit Proof Fence interests me because of the Indigenous perspective. I’m not sure if you heard the news down in the US, but a mass grave was found up here in Canada in British Columbia outside of an old residential school, a boarding school where they used to put indigenous children, many times against their will and their families will. 215 bodies of children were found and it’s been reverberating up here, people are shocked, saddened, but they shouldn’t’ be surprised b/c Indigenous people have talked about kids disappearing from these schools for decades. Anyway, I’m wondering if this book speaks about a similar kind of school/practice in Australia?


    • The news definitely made it down here, though I have to say, negative news about Canada always makes to the U.S., possibly because so many of us romanticize Canada as being the better, more put-together cousin in North America. The schools also occurred in the U.S., though I haven’t heard anything about them in ages. My first introduction was a non-fiction piece in an anthology assigned to me as an undergrad in 2004. Bill @ The Australian Legend has discussed how such “schools” affected people who are still alive, such as the author of Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence, who was sent to a school herself. The harrowing story is about her mother and aunts. Someone recently pointed out that all of the Civil Rights Movement pictures in the U.S. are in black in white despite color cameras being readily available. It’s possible that the photos are B&W because they were in newspapers; however B&W photos make the history seem really long ago when it was not.

      Liked by 1 person

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