Sunday Lowdown #129


Oh, hi again. Sorry if I seemed a bit absent this week. I went and stayed in a cabin in the woods with my beloved for three days. There was no Wi-Fi and no cell reception unless I held my phone to the sky and yelled, “The power of Christ compels you!” Fun fact: if you open a bunch of tabs on your laptop to WordPress new blog posts, you can write there and save later. I had open three tabs for various reviews on which I am behind.

We also downloaded two movies from Netflix so we could watch them at night after showers. I picked Pet Semetary 2 so we had something spooky for the cabin in the woods (why didn’t I buy Cabin in the Woods!?!), and Nick picked America: The Motion Picture (omg). We struggled like peasants to make a fire on three different occasions and ate smores with marshmallows that didn’t really puff because I was cheap and bought store brand. Regardless, we stomped around the lake a lot, saw a giant vulture on a zipline, and lied to each other’s faces about just how many spiders lived in that cabin with us. 10/10, would do again.

Another weekly highlight: I purchased two copies of Martha Moody by Susan Stinson to be shipped out by the publisher. Hooray! This is my “thank you” gift to Stinson. I contacted Small Beer Press and learned that I can also buy an e-book copy to be sent directly to your email, even if you’re not in the U.S.. I can send an e-book to anyone in Canada or Australia, etc. but not the U.K. thanks to post-Brexit rules. Apparently, there are “international VAT filing requirements” or something. So, if you were interested in a free copy of Martha Moody but don’t live in the U.S. so thought you could not get one, please email me at and let me know. There’s one free copy left.


This week, when I reviewed The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel, I realize I may not have totally described the book properly. It’s not really about exercise or sports. More so, Bechdel explores her dependency on movement, how obsessive she is, and the way dominating a physical activity affects her personal relationships. Bechdel always taps into philosophy and history, too, examining famous creative people who also had an affinity for movement, too.

I love that my review of Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward got people thinking about my choice to include the label “horror.” We can debate until we’re blue about book labels, something I usually don’t enjoy doing, but my definition of horror has, and always will be, whatever horrifies me. Granted, I want that feeling to be more than momentary, and it doesn’t hurt if someone is the victim of a gruesome murder, but thinking back, I labeled Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier horror because I was horrified most of the time.


On Tuesday I have a new Meet the Writer feature with author Leah Angstman, whose debut historical fiction novel, Out Front the Following Sea, is available for pre-order.

Thursday brings another #ReadingValdemar book review: Closer to the Heart by Mercedes Lackey. Our currently trilogy feels more medieval than previous, so I’m wondering how that’s affecting my feelings about the book (ableism comes to mind). But there’s also more swordy-stabby Kings and horses stuff, too.


Holy crap, I swear I’m reading all sorts of books I own, but I must keep sneaking in a new addition to the pile of my possessions just often enough to keep me floating at 220!

Owned Books on TBR at Beginning of Year: 242
Owned Books on TBR Today: 220


  1. So glad you got a short holiday – lovely photo! I assume the giant vulture was just perched on the zipline, but my brain immediately implanted a mental image of a vulture actually intentionally riding a zipline with a harness and helmet. Which made me laugh. I’m counting the days until I get to go away for the first time since February 2020 – I’m so looking forward to having a break from my flat for a few nights!


    • LOL! Lou, I think Nick and I totally pictured the bird riding the zipline with a helmet and everything, too, but most it was chilling on one of the landing platforms. He was just so big, and I’m always impressed by how their necks are like strong snakes!

      I hope you get a nice break soon 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Of course, I love that you have an annotated edition of P&P.

    I also loved your comment “This week, when I reviewed The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel, I realize I may not have totally described the book properly.” So often I’ve thought after a review has been published that I should have said this or that. Mostly, and probably you were in this situation, there are things I think of when I’m crafting my post, but I have to decide what to say and what to leave out. I make that decision and then after it’s published I think, oh no, I should have made a different decision! But, if you amend your post people won’t see it! You’ve solved that by adding your extra ideas here. Bravo!

    Oh and loved hearing about your getaway – I love rivers and lakes.


    • I added that particular annotated P&P because I just finished S&S, edited the by the same lady, who did a great job. She gives lots of simple context that helps me understand the significance of something, though I could have done without her additions about why someone seemed to have sense or sensibility in a given scene.

      Oof, I have a review all put together and scheduled that is just haunting the back of my mind. It took me forever to write, but clearly I don’t love it because I thinking about it. But on the other hand, how much more time do I want to devote to it?? Some posts are just frustrating.

      Our getaway was lovely, and we’re going to do it again in October. One thing I hate is that I’m so pale that when I get in the pond, these little fish stated head butting me. I mean, how rude, fish! It’s not my fault I’m ghostly!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you agree about Jamaica Inn, because I was constantly afraid of Uncle Joss, and when you get to that part where he describes why he has nightmares….and what he did…..oof.


  3. Lovely photo! Glad you had time away. I dream of time at home.
    And good to see Jane in the TBR. Forget the annotations and just let the story carry you forwards. It’s a shame it’s so well known because as a romance it is genuinely suspenseful.


    • I recently finished Sense and Sensibility with an annotated version by the same person who annotated the Pride and Prejudice copy here, and I found it quite helpful. My review is coming up soon. The helpful bits included Austen 1800 pounds converted into present-day dollars, confusion around who “Miss Dashwood” was (it’s always the oldest sister), and what the homes looked like (paintings are included from the time period of what a home looked like). Those sorts of annotations; I’m not looking for analysis, or anything like that.

      I thought you would have been home by now in isolation because I keep hearing about Australia having more cases. I hope you get there soon. If you stay away too long, the spiders will set up home and take over. At least, that happens with spiders here. They get bold when you go on vacation and make webs in your shower stalls, etc.


      • That does sound helpful. I never know what a pound will buy (or a guinea or a sovereign), I just let the author imply it’s a lot or a little.

        My problem as a truck driver is that I can go anywhere, but must suffer the consequences – testing and isolation – when I return home. Melbourne where I mostly go, is no longer in lockdown but sadly I was still unable to visit mum.


  4. I SWEAR to you that I almost mentioned that you should have watched Cabin in the Woods while you were in a cabin in the woods! lmao. I should have done it. Then you would know I wasn’t lying. 😛
    I’m glad you had a great getaway! It really does help to just reset. I need to do it more often. We always talk about renting a cabin somewhere, we were going to for our U.P. trip, but prices went WAY up this year. I know they have to make back the money back that they lost last year but not from this girl!


  5. That was brave of you to share accommodation with so many crawly things. We had an overnight stay once in Bryce Canyon (Utah) and all night we heard rustling of mice…neither of us got much sleep and we were out of there as soon as the sun rose!


  6. Love that photo! I’m currently on holiday with my family, and I read my husband that paragraph you wrote about stomping around the lake and trying to build a fire-so hilarious 🙂 He had a good laugh too. Are store brand marshamallows worse? I must remember this. MMMM smores. We are staying on the coast of BC, right on the ocean! Lots of spiders, and new to us, lizards!


    • Well, Jet Puffed Marshmallows advertise themselves as puffing, and I was like, “Ugh, what a scam. I’d better save 3 cents and get the store-brand ones.” Which didn’t puff.

      We’re totally going back to the cabin in October, and I’m excited because that means it won’t be quite so hot. I need to get a little tan before then, because my extreme paleness scared the tiny fish, and they all immediately started head butting me (but not Nick) when I got in the water.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Your cabin getaway sounds amazing! 😀 (Minus the spiders, of course.)
    I love Pet Sematary 2, but I’m totally due for a re-watch of it.
    Loving that cover art for Fat Chance, Charlie Vega. ❤


Insert 2 Cents Here:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s