Weekly Update for April 11, 2021

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Weekly Update at Introverted Reader

Welcome to my weekly update for April 11, 2021!

First of all, my apologies that I haven’t been visiting other blogs as often as I usually do. At first we were traveling around national parks in Arizona while we were nailing down my husband’s next work assignment. But now that we’ve settled in Florida, our internet connection is inconsistent. I’m getting an idea of times when it might be better, so hopefully I can start visiting your blogs more frequently again.

I didn’t make it to the beach very often this week so this picture is from a walk around our current campground/mobile home park. I see a surprising amount of wildlife here, especially considering that we’re in a “city” park right off a busy interstate. These are glossy ibises.

Glossy Ibises


Fathoms: The World in the Whale by Rebecca Giggs–4 Stars

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer–4 Stars

Ten Books I’d Throw into the Ocean


Spirals in Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells by Helen Scales–4 Stars. Who knew that snails and other shelled creatures could be so fascinating? Scales, a marine biologist, covers topics like why shells have such intricate patterns, “sea silk” made of fibers from Noble Pen Shells, snails that hunt fish and can kill a human within heartbeats, and sea butterflies as harbingers of climate change. I constantly Googled pictures of the species the author mentioned as I read (I didn’t realize there were color plates at the back of the book but that didn’t matter anyway on my Kindle Paperwhite) and watched videos of some of the more unbelievable species in action. Readers with a scientifically-curious bent will enjoy this one.

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley–4 Stars. I inhaled this mystery, even though I would recommend reading it on a brooding, snowy day and I’m currently in endlessly sunny Florida. The characters aren’t very likeable but the point of view rotated often enough to keep me from getting frustrated and setting the book aside. The book alternates back and forth in time over a few days, building up to both the murder and the resolution concurrently. I wasn’t entirely sure who the victim was (although I had my suspicions) until almost the same time that I found out who the perpetrator was. I didn’t guess whodunnit but in retrospect, the clues were there. Very well done.

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, read by Tom Hanks–4 Stars. This family drama kept me glued to my earbuds for hours at a time. Patchett writes authentically complicated relationships and this book is no exception. I loved Tom Hanks’s narration as well.

In Praise of Shadows” by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, translated by Thomas J. Harper and Edward G. Seidensticker–3 Stars. In this essay, Japanese novelist Tanizaki bemoans the loss of the shadowy traditional Japanese aesthetic to glittery Western lights and chrome. I liked the first half of the piece, but by the end, Tanizaki came across to me as a grumpy old man grumbling about how much better life used to be. Funnily enough, the author even says that he sounds like a grumpy old man but then doubles down on his grumpiness. There were quite a few typos in the edition I read on my Kindle but otherwise the translation read beautifully in English.

Currently Reading:

Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier, translated by Barbara Harshav

The Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #3) by Rick Riordan, read by Michael Crouch

Up Next:

Cosmic Queries: StarTalk’s Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going by Neil deGrasse Tyson and James Trefil is waiting for me at the library so I’ll start it soon.

What did your week look like?

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz hosts The Sunday Salon and Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer hosts Sunday Post. Kathryn at Book Date hosts It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in beautiful Asheville, NC. I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you purchase merchandise through links on my site. 

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  1. It must have been wonderful to visit state parks during this time of the year. I’m imagining not as crowded maybe? And, hope you are getting settled in Florida and that the internet woes will soon be over! I love those birds. How cool. I’ve only been to Florida once and don’t even know you could call it that as it was Disney World! haha… One day I’d love to go. I have The Dutch House on my shelves and really need to get to it one of these days!

    1. I think weekends in the parks are really crowded but we made a point of going on weekdays since my husband was off.

      Florida has so many different aspects! My parents had only been to Florida (Disney) once, in June, decades ago. They were unhappy in the heat and crowds. This is my husband’s second work assignment in Florida, so my parents came down to visit us on our first one, in 2019. I took them to state parks and the Kennedy Space Center and they absolutely loved it. They like nature and wildlife a lot more than theme parks. I’m happy either way.

  2. Ugh. I know the frustrations of spotty internet access while traveling in an RV. We use my husband’s hotspot when WIFI is unavailable and we always get throttled down before the end of our trip.

    Very cool to see those glossy ibises! They remind me a little bit of oyster catchers.

    Like others, I loved the audio version of The Dutch House. Tom Hanks was a perfect reader, wasn’t it?!

    1. It’s so odd that this is only the second time we’ve had trouble with throttling, in over two years of traveling. Maybe it’s just sheer numbers of people? But we’ve been in Austin; Orange County, CA; and Oceanside (as you know) and never had difficulty. Portland, Maine was the other problem spot, but I would guess the smaller population means fewer towers or something.

      Yes, Tom Hanks was the perfect narrator for The Dutch House!

  3. We’re south of you in Florida and completely sympathize about the inconsistent internet… so frustrating sometimes. The white ibis is so common here (they sometimes refer to them as Sanibel chickens!) but I’ve only seen a glossy ibis once.

    The Dutch House was an audio favorite a year or two ago. I enjoyed reading Foley’s The Guest List last summer and added The Hunting Party to my tbr. Hope to pick it up in the next few months.

    1. I must have heard that about the white ibises before because I always think about chickens when I watch our local pair pecking around in the grass! Then I think it’s a shame we don’t have them in the mountains of NC, at least for a little while each year, because they sure do a great job of aerating the lawn. This pair of glossy ibises must have nests on the other side of this RV park somewhere. I don’t see them every day but I usually see them when I’m walking the park instead of the beach.

      I’ll have to look for The Guest List too.

  4. I really liked The Dutch House on audio, too! Good to have your thoughts about The Hunting Party, too. I’ve been off those kinds of thrillers for a bit, but can’t stay away for long!

  5. Sunny Florida sounds good. It feels like we haven’t seen the sun for weeks. Iffy internet does allow more time for reading. You read some interesting books. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

    1. We headed to Florida largely for the sun. I don’t do well with gray skies for large chunks of time. We loved spending last summer in Oregon but had to get out before the rainy season really started. Hopefully sunny skies will arrive to stay soon in Minnesota!

  6. I’ve heard lots of readers love the Tom Hanks narration. Imagine such birds in the heart of the city. Good that you are working out the internet although its good not to have it too!!

  7. The Nigh Train to Lisbon has a nice ring to it so I look forward to hearing what you think.

  8. Love the sweet, glossy ibises! We’re having lovely weather here in Hawaii, after quite a spell of rainy weather.

  9. I still want to read The Hunting Party and the Dutch House and I’m sooooo glad that you’ve rated them so highly. Yea! I know I need to read it.

    Glad you guys are a bit settled and that you are starting to find a bit of rhythm. At least you are reading some really awesome books!! Yea!

    Good luck for your week.

    Elza Reads

  10. Don’t get me started on spotty internet. I don’t want my blood to boil on a Sunday. lol

    I love those ibis!!

    We have a family house in Hudson Florida, if only I could figure out how to get my 93-yo mom down there I would sell this Arkansas house and just pack up and go.

    1. Florida would be tempting! Maybe you’ll figure it out.

      I understand spotty internet in mountains or sparsely populated areas. That’s what it’s like at home in the mountains of NC. But in Sarasota, FL? Come on. Verizon is just throttling my jetpack. As soon as I turn off the wifi on my phone and go on data, I have perfect signal. But I don’t have unlimited phone data; I have unlimited jetpack data. I could throw money at the problem and fix it but I won’t since we’re only planning on being here 8 more weeks. I’ll just curse and do my best with it in the meantime!

  11. I hope things get squared away with your internet. Thanks for sharing the picture from Florida! Have a great week!

  12. Oh what a wonderful treat to have such amazing birds wandering around… And it looks as though the weather is bright and sunny, too. While we are still coping with bitter winds and the occasional snow flurry – though nothing is settling, thank goodness!

    I’m also listening to one of Rick Riordan’s adventures and thoroughly enjoying it. I hope you have a great week, Jen:).

      1. Oh I agree – if those birds are an example, they are stunning:))

        That’s very true about the snow – I loathe the stuff so I’m delighted it isn’t settling. Although Himself was driving his train through several short blizzards that actually stuck to the windscreen yesterday. Typical April showers – though normally not of the snowy kind…

    1. I pick up seashells every time I’m on the beach and my husband asks me what I think I’m going to do with them. I’ve used the excuse that I’m sending them to my cousin’s 6-year-old daughter. But I just boxed hers up to ship so I’ll have to leave new ones for others to find now.

  13. It’s got to be frustrating that your internet comes and goes. I hope you can figure out what the good times are soon.

    I’ve always wanted to see the beaches in Florida. A lot of rivers drain into our part of the Gulf, so our water tends to be murky and our sand is dark, too. But, despite the hurricanes, I will always love being so close to the ocean.

    One of the things I took away from Boy Who Harnessed was how much information the boy was able to get from old books in a library. It’s breathtaking to think how much good came from donations to that library far away.

    Happy you enjoyed Spirals in Time. I have that one, and now I am eager to read it.

    1. The white sand and the clear greenish-blue water on the Florida Gulf are amazing. I could never choose a favorite beach from our travels because they’re all so different but these are something special, I have to say.

      You’re right about Boy Who Harnessed, though I didn’t think about it. Libraries here might have culled an old science book because it was out of date by our standards but the fundamentals were there to help get William on the right track.

      I think you asked a week or two ago if Spirals in Time would be good for your nature book group and I never responded (I apologize. Internet woes). But yes, I would absolutely recommend it for your group!

  14. Beautiful ibises! Glad you are getting settled in Florida. Lucy Foley’s mysteries have been on my list forever. I need to finally dive in soon. You liked Dutch House better than I did. The only thing that kept me going was Tom Hanks narrating in my ear. I hope you enjoy Cosmic Queries. That’s a great one. Just finished that one up in March. And Spirals in Time has been in my TBR forever. Glad it’s a fascinating one. Looking forward to it.

    I hope you have a wonderful week!

    1. I’ve really enjoyed all the Ann Patchett books I’ve read (3, I believe?) but I always forget that until I happen to pick up another one by accident.

      Your review of Cosmic Queries is what prompted me to request it from the library!

      I hope you like Lucy Foley and Spirals in Time when/if you get to them.

  15. I love the wildlife in Florida. I hope your internet woes aren’t too bad. that can be frustrating!

    The Hunting PArty sounds pretty awesome.

    1. The wildlife in Florida is so different from wildlife you find elsewhere in the States. Locals probably wonder why I’m taking pictures of crabs and ibises and sandhill cranes, but I think they’re all beautiful!

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