Sunday Lowdown #144


Some weeks don’t have much that stand out to me. I did adulty things, like had my teeth cleaned and learned my twenty-year-old retainer is giving me TMJ. Nick took his car to the auto shop to make it stop pulsing when he brakes. I’ve been dealing with loads of what I call low-key anxiety, the kind that makes me itchy and a bit like a coiled spring, but I’m working through it. I had a meeting with my advisor and signed up for spring classes: American Sign Language 4, Introduction to Interpreting, and Interpreting Technology (I’m told we’ll be building a website #NailingIt). On Halloween night, I did watch Halloween (1978) because those are the rules. I stayed up past midnight after waiting so long to just put the movie on (haha anxiety), so then I learned I can watch horror movies on my phone in bed with headphones, which is pretty sweet. Assuming I don’t laugh out loud at the ridiculous scary parts and scare the bejezus out of innocent sleeping Nick.


I love that everyone zeroed in on Joan Schweighardt’s love of Poe, and how this one author brings us all, horror lovers or not, together. You guys are little weirdos like me, just classic weirdos.

When Darkness Loves Us by Elizabeth Engstrom is probably too creepy for many of you, but it hit all the right notes for me, and I appreciated all the comments. If you haven’t stopped over yet, please do! Ladies in horror are uncommon and need your love — like a pet tarantula.


In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s novel Herland, you might argue men are the ultimate horror. But with a hidden society of around 3,000,000 women who have lived 2,000 years without a male counterpart, it’s hard to feel like the ladies are in any danger. In fact, it may be the opposite. A review of this classic feminist novella posts Tuesday.

After posting Beth Gilstrap’s Meet the Writer feature, I followed her on Twitter. The support around her collection made me curious, even though I don’t typically accept review copies. Full of short short stories, and some short stories, Deadheading is like middle-class America captured in a Bell jar. Review Thursday.


Owned Books on TBR at Beginning of Year: 242
Owned Books on TBR Today: 204


  1. Nick might appreciate I set one of my (truck) brakes on fire when it wouldn’t release properly. Luckily I stopped in time, it put itself out and I got a temporary fix to get me home. I could ask Why date men when you hate men? but I guess I’ll find out. Really looking forward to Herland, I count ‘Utopian’ as early SF, and have always been interested in the earliest ‘independent women’ writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The book Why Date Men When You Hate Men? popped up as a comedy album. I’m trying to find some more audiobooks for my commute. I often find fiction hard to hear with the sounds of the road, and I am hoping this woman is just funny. If not, I’ll DNF and pick something else.

      Herland was great and I hope you get your hands on a copy. I’m reading the follow-up novel this week.


  2. I enjoyed reading Herland with Melanie. I think I held my breath for large parts of the book bc I felt a sense of impending doom once the three men entered their paradise. The fantasy and sci-fi combo worked for me. Thanks Melanie for choosing Herland for our buddy read!


  3. I’m glad that you had a decent week even if it was full of adult things. It’s supposed to be warmer today so we’re going to do yardwork (yay?) because I was a good student and got all of my schoolwork for the week done last night. It feels good to not have to worry about that for 1 day. The school week rolls over tomorrow lol.
    I think I’m going to pack a couple comics in this month. They make for such grand bite size reading. Moth and I are doing a buddy read of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine for our blog, which is a pretty short story. I might hit my GR yearly challenge yet.


  4. Sorry you’ve been experiencing anxiety more. It’s no fun! I’ve been trying to work my way through that too. The past couple of weeks have been better, thank goodness. Sounds like you’ve been enjoying your reading lately, so that’s a bright spot! And making progress on that TBR pile too.


    • I have chronic anxiety, so it’s always there, but some weeks are more itchy and paralyzing than others. I did have loads of fun reading lots of horror books, and I have more on my TBR. I’m hoping readers don’t get work out on me, lol. Thank you for helping me see all the positives on my Sunday Lowdown. I hadn’t looked at it that way 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I hope your low-level anxiety is even lower level by now, Melanie.

    Watching a movie on a phone? How can you bear it? Such a tiny screen.

    I have only every read The yellow wallpaper, a few times. I’ll try to check out your post on Herland.

    Keep well, and I’m glad you are continuing your sign language studies.


  6. Hmmm ok Mrs. Claus? Curious about that one on your TBR – it looks like a movie poster actually. And Herland sounds fascinating, I’m excited for your review of that one. Quite the interesting cover too…

    I’m so impressed with the way you push through your anxiety and just continue to adult. It’s an impressive feat, and one that many people just can’t do, so I hope you feel good about that, and recognize how strong you really are!


  7. The fact that you’re doing a class on interpreting technology is exciting! There was a news story here recently about a young girl (about 15 or 16 I think) who started a company to provide ASL signing on children’s films, as an add-on for Disney+ and similar. She was trying to teach herself ASL during lockdown and realised that she couldn’t use films to help her learn the way she could if she was studying a spoken language. I thought that was very interesting! I looked up the story – it’s here.


    • What a great story! I must confess because I don’t have children I didn’t think about them not being able to read closed captions. I sent this story to my interpreting and ASL professors.

      I don’t know a ton about the tech class other than we get to make a website. I can actually add the site to the infrastructure of Grab the Lapels, I believe. I’m excited for sure.


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