Sunday Lowdown #150


As I write this, I’ve somehow tricked Nick into singing that Christmas song that The Chipmunks do, and I’m pretty pleased with myself. This week I did more work finding books by and about d/Deaf people, continued studying ASL videos, and actually made some plans despite all the scary COVID news. We had dinner with our neighbors (it concluded with the husband saying, “Nice choppin’ with ya’ll,” which I had never heard and totally love) and I met a fellow college student at a coffee shop that put up glass doors around all the tables. I’ve started planning the Christmas menu for Biscuit’s house (hi, Biscuit!) and am going to bake three types of cookies to make little goody bags.

Nick went shopping while I watched an ASL video on Saturday and came back about 90 minutes later. After lunch he spent almost three hours in the spare bedroom doing assembly stuff. Seriously, if I don’t get a real Frankenstein monster for Christmas, I’ll be surprised. What else could he have been assembling in there?!? I waited patiently in the living room and watched Silently Night, Deadly Night, a movie script that I’m POSITIVE took inspiration from Frankenstein’s monster (Naughty bad! Punish good!).


Thanks to everyone who gave me feedback on my review of Crying in H-mart by Michelle Zauner. I’ve been reconsidering how I approach book reviewing, something I do every few years. For example, I added at the end of my Zauner book review that if you’ve lost someone close to you, her memoir will likely be rough.

I’ve also been adding content warnings again. Honestly, I can’t recall if I’ve explained why or just slid them in. Basically, when I look for a new horror movie for Friday nights, I’m specific about what I don’t want to see: rape, physical torture that goes on a long time, and body horror. Think Last House on the Left, Hostel or Saw sort of movies, or Human Centipede (OMG why???? The trailer messed me up). All of those make me feel bad — not afraid — and I don’t need that. I’ve seen folks on Twitter ask about specific horror movies with questions like, “Does this one have any eyeball stuff?” So, in a way, horror movies helped me understand content warnings better. I do put them at the bottom of a review but do not purposefully cover anything graphic in the review itself. And of course, ask me for clarifications on any content I don’t cover that may not be appropriate for you.

I also shared a Meet the Writer interview with Gail Adwin, who hails from the U.K. Thanks for treating her so kindly and engaging with her answers, and thanks to Aldwin for responding to my readers.


A Christmas novel! Okay, it’s Santa-Christmas not Jesus-Christmas. Up at the North Pole exists a city that functions to help Santa Claus each year. And in that city lives his daughter, Kris. She’s the best helper around, but what happens when the gendered pronouns in a law prevent Kris from taking over as Santa when her father retires? Miss Claus by J.R. Hart is an excellent holiday novel you won’t want want to miss. Read the review on Tuesday.

And then Thursday it all really comes to an end: Reading Valdemar for three years. Jackie and I will each share a post about what this read-along journey has meant to us, what has changed in our lives, and where the ups and downs in the experience were.


Owned Books on TBR at Beginning of Year: 242
Owned Books on TBR Today: 203


  1. Oh, Miss Claus sounds fun! I have four Christmas novels to review before the 25th (well, I’ve read 1.2 of them …). Talking of the Deaf community, have you seen our Strictly Come Dancing winner, Rose Ayling-Ellis? She did a dance which included a section where you could just hear a heartbeat and rushing noise, no music, in one of her dances, and her professional partner took on learning BSL and finding new ways to communicate with her. So moving and has done an awful lot for the Deaf community – plus apparently applications to learn BSL have shot up since she’s been on the programme. So heartwarming!


    • I think it is impossible to use or be learning a signed language and not have heard of Rose Ayling-Ellis at this point! I will say loads of Deaf folks on Twitter were quite angry that the BBC wrote a headline to the effect that Ayling-Ellis has done more for the Deaf community than pretty much anyone else in the last several decades, further emphasizing just how out of touch we hearing communities are about what Deaf advocacy groups and scholars are doing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, I never know what translates across and what stays here. I think she has definitely done a lot for hearing people’s awareness, but obviously there must be more going on. The BBC isn’t great with its headlines sometimes, I have to say! I am on the lookout for Deaf activists now of course, too, but I have to say not much info gets out into the wider community, as I usually notice such things. Will try to share stuff when I find it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Maybe Nick had to resurrect Chucky like in Bride of Chucky. You’re going to get your own murder doll for Christmas!
    Silent Night, Deadly Night is on my list of movies to try to watch before Christmas. (Along with Black Christmas).
    Rob and I planned our Christmas menu today and now I’m baking a cake for the gift exchange and potluck at work tomorrow. Fun times! My person requested a book on their list you KNOW that’s what I bought them. 🙂


    • I have the motivation, but I lack the talisman(s) and related spell components. Last I check you need a diamond worth at least 1000GP to cast Resurrection.

      Liked by 2 people

    • OMG, I’ve seen people who buy Chucky and Tiffany dolls, and they are so cool. Honestly? I might be scared to have one in our home. 😬

      Silent Night, Deadly Night is your straight-up 1980s slasher. There are at least five in the series that I know of. Black Christmas from 1974 is on for Friday night. I saw the re-make (2006) years ago but only remember a little. And then there is the re-remake from 2019, which was directed by a woman and (from all appearances) torn to shreds by men. I need to see it.

      I hope you enjoy your Christmas menu and cake! We’re making the cream cheese chocolate chip cookies on Tuesday!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Moth used to have a Chucky doll when we were growing up. She used it to scare the shit out of someone at a slumber party once and they called their parents to come get them at like 3 in the morning. Lmao.
        I’m wondering if I can get my dad to watch a horror movie on Christmas Eve. I bet I can. 😉
        I still need to watch Better Watch Out too!
        I hope the cookies turn out awesome for you!


        • Oh noooo! I remember ye olde days of sleepovers when someone’s mom had to come at 3:00AM. I wonder if it’s different now if the kids have a smart phone. They could text their mom and calm down maybe. Although I will say the Chucky doll would likely make me leave, too! LOL!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m less bloodthirsty than the rest of you. My first thought was model aeroplane (I guess these days they’re called drones). How did Nick get his voice high enough for Chipmunks? You weren’t squeezing were you?


  4. So, is “choppin’” that same as what my father would have called “chinwagging” (or, “chinwaggin'”)?

    Can’t wait to hear what Nick assembled.

    Content warnings? I think I’m a bit too unreconstructed to do them. I understand the driver for them but it seems like they could give away the whole narrative arc, not that one looks forward to a “rape” or “suicide” or other violent act plot-line but still… I’m still not sure what I think about all this, but I notice that we older bloggers are less likely to do content warnings than you 30-somethings.

    Anyhow, have a great Christmas – and give Biscuit my love!

    Liked by 1 person

      • I have had people ask me in comments about animals in particular, Liz. It feels hard to second-guess all the different potential trigger points. At this stage I’m still not doing them, but hope people would ask if my review raised concerns.

        Coming up for 50! My how old you are – haha – says this baby-boomer.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I actually don’t know about choppin’ because I had never heard it before. This is also the gentleman who asked us if we were having children, and when we said no, he replied, “Oh, so ya’ll maintainin’?” Yes, yes indeed.

      My next Sunday Lowdown will definitely reveal whatever my little Bob the Builder was constructing in the spare bedroom, and none of us can wait!

      I’ve wondered about books that may contain a spoiler/CW and I guess I’ll have to deal with it when I come across it again. On the one hand, a person who doesn’t want to read a book with rape in it won’t care if it’s spoiled — they’re not going to pick it up. On the other hand, the person who does get the book after reading my review may (I hope) forget my content warning, or not know what’s going to happen to who.

      I will tell Biscuit now xoxo


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