Sunday Lowdown #113


Spring break week, wooooo! I had plans for reading SO much and watching lots of spooky movies. I…I read so little. I did watch several spooky movies, including Shark Bait (no), The Howling (from the director of Gremlins? Yes!), Wishmaster (yes!), and Bodies, Bodies, Bodies (huge no). After I finish this post, Nick and I are going to watch Skeletons in the Closet (this one). I do love a spooky good time.

Last weekend we headed up to see Biscuit and the family. When we came home, the temperature started at 28 degrees yet raining, which gradually turned my car into a sheet of ice. We watched as the wipers glazed over. By the time we got home, 200 miles away, we had escaped the weather, and it was in the high 40’s. That shows you how much the Great Lakes affect the weather patterns in my part of the country. However, the rain wasn’t all welcome; flooding was a problem in places, and we had the littlest bit of water in our basement, which we solved with a fan and shutting the door.

I was able to volunteer at the library, meet my mentor online, attend spooky movie club, and attend a Deaf event. I got my hair trimmed (which at this point I do twice a year) and hosted my monthly spooky book club. Of course, Biscuit Book Club is still going on, and we’re lost in Roddy Doyle’s books. First we read Love, which we enjoyed so much that we read The Barrytown Trilogy: The Commitments, The Snapper, and The Van. Then, we learned the teen protagonist from The Commitments got a follow-up novel 40 years later, The Guts, so now we’re reading that. Once we’re finished, we’re leaving Ireland, I tell you.

Nick made a pretty convincing argument for why deer should get to live. Being born-and-raised Michiganders, we’re no fans of deer. They jump in front of (or into the side of) cars, they carry loads of diseases, destroy crops, and they don’t even taste that dang good. I have a rando twenty-something guy I let shoot deer in our field because I want them gone. BUT. On our way to dinner tonight, Nick pointed out that someone had killed a deer, gotten the head mounted, and the hung the deer head outside. Couldn’t they, just, like have left the head on the deer and let it be outside, alive? he wondered. It was outside, they brought it inside, they put it outside. Touché, Nicholas.


Tell the Machine Goodnight by Katie Williams had a great comment section! I would call Williams’s novel speculative fiction, not to disparage science fiction, but because the sci-fi part — a machine that tells people personal tasks to achieve happiness — is a small part of the plot. There is no pew-pew science fiction. There is way more science fiction in the movie Everything Everywhere All At Once, but I believe Tell the Machine Goodnight has a similar vibe regarding what’s at stake.


Will she ever stop? I have no clue, but Mercedes Lackey published a new Valdemar novel, Into the West. I’m not sure if my old comrade Jackie @ Death by Tsundoku read it (she has had two babies since we did our read-along), but I carry forth so as to not find myself behind!


Books Bought Since January 2023: 0


Thanks to Bill @ The Australian Legend for his science fiction recommendation.


  1. When it comes to books you just get stuck right in and do (buy) stuff. Meanwhile I just wrote myself a note about Tell the Machine Goodnight – how I might buy it I have no idea. Sheckley, 30 or 40 years ago was one of my favourite authors. I let him drop off the radar but Can you Feel Anything is a story I’ve never forgotten. I reviewed the collection a couple of years ago and it’s still pretty damn good.


    • Sheckley’s book is available at my library, which is surprising given its age. However, it’s an e-book on Hoopla, meaning Hoopla says it costs X amount of money to check out if a patron wants it. It’s not bound by a license like Libby books nor taking up space on the shelf.


  2. I had big plans to do tonnes of reading this weekend as well… but got completely derailed by watching Morning Wars. Will right that next week as I try to tackle both Stella Prize longlist reading and Irish Literature Month (not compatible!).


    • Ha, do I win a prize for having started my 5th Roddy Doyle book today — AND watching The Banshees of Inisherin this week? I learned who Martin McDonagh is in 2007, and he’s been breaking my heart and making me laugh in all the wrong places ever since.


  3. Sounds like you made much of your Spring week, though not in the way I would have. Horror movies? You are volunteering again, through next term?

    But my main reaction is to the deer. We have pockets of introduced feral deer here in Australia, so I understand what you are saying BUT I think venison is delicious. Such a lean, tender meat, with a rich flavour.

    Oh, I missed this week’s review. Will check it out. My daughter and partner visited from Wed to Sun, so I was preoccupied and kept up with other blogs way less than usual.


    • Maybe the venison here tastes different. It’s quite gamey. You’re highly aware that you’re chewing on some wild animal that was romping around in the back 40 not that long ago.

      I volunteered on Friday because that’s the Friends of the Library sale day. It’s nice to talk to book lovers about what they’re getting. I occasionally volunteer with hospice (I pick and choose) throughout the semester.


  4. I get my hair cut once a year. Every time I say I will start doing it more and then…..I never do. 😀
    I’m glad you’ve been enjoying your spring break! That’s pretty cool that Nick was able to take time off and enjoy it with you. 🙂


  5. Deer are super annoying, but Nick does bring up a good point. I have a good friend who hunts all her own meat (admirable!), and she gave me some white tail doe, which I’m thawing for tmrw nights’ dinner when I’ll be making shephards pie. Yum! Perhaps b/c it’s ground up, I don’t mind the taste, but deer steaks may be a bit too gamey for my tastes…


      • We have plenty of deer! But the circumstances under which they can be killed are pretty strictly controlled, and I don’t think hunting is enough for a gun licence here – I think you have to either be a farmer or be posh, or both. (Though I’m not sure as I did not grow up in either circle!)


        • I love that comment–farmer or posh. There is a fun “game” I see on social media that asks people, “What is class if you’re rich but trashy if you’re poor?” Now I’m wondering if hunting deer is up there.


      • Yes! We’re planning a road trip down the Oregon Coast! Peter does have the same spring break, which is really awesome. I know for some families, spring break can be kind of stressful because the parents work but we are lucky to get to spend time together.


        • I grew up in a town with a large public university, so if students from the town then went to the university, they weirdly expected their professors to be okay with them taking a whole week off so they, their parents, and their siblings still in K-12 could all vacation together (because the college and K012 spring breaks did not line up). At some point, college students have to realize they are adults.

          Liked by 1 person

          • That’s almost funny it’s so ridiculous! Spring Break doesn’t really exist for universities in Canada. We have reading week which is a break from classes to study before mid-terms. People definitely travel but it’s not really a party time. We had one in November and one in February so the weather’s always crappy!

            Liked by 1 person

  6. I have been using apricity whenever possible since your Tell the Machine Goodnight post. Sadly we are getting yet more snow so no apricity today 😦 I need winter to over! You may not have read as much as you wanted to, but it still sounds like you enjoyed spring break and I am very glad about that. I hope you are feeling rested!


    • Oh, I love that. And surely people who hear you say “apricity” don’t know what it means, so you can share with them! Good luck with the snow. I’ve been keeping an eye on the weather reports for Minnesota and thinking of you!

      Liked by 1 person

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