Weekly Update for July 30, 2023

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Weekly Update at Introverted Reader

Welcome to my weekly update for July 30 2023!

Oh my goodness. I knew it had been a while since my last update but I didn’t realize that it had been over four months! It’s been a busy season.

My sister visited us in Escondido, CA the first week in May. We had a great time sightseeing all over southern California. My husband (a traveling healthcare professional) finished his hospital work contract there and had two weeks off before he started his next work assignment. We decided to take the scenic route. We visited Valley of Fire State Park near Las Vegas then made our way through Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches National Parks. There were some holdups with my husband’s paperwork for his new work contract so we ended up with three weeks off instead of the two we had planned. We headed off to Vancouver, BC. Then we finally got to our location for the summer and settled down in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. This is spectacular lake country with lots of great bike paths! We don’t own any water toys like a boat or even a kayak, but we like hiking, walking, and biking beside bodies of water. We drove to North Cascades National Park for my husband’s first weekend off from work and had a great time there too.


  • A large red rock with lighter stripes rises from the red desert floor
  • A wooden barn in green, irrigated fields rests below a cliff face of red rock
  • A distant red rock formation juts up from the red desert  floor, past a closer red rock cliff face on the right
  • A large red rock arch with snow capped mountains behind it
  • The blue water of the Howe Sound rests beyond tree-covered hills and below distant snow-covered peaks
  • The vibrant blue-green water of Diablo Lake is surrounded by evergreen-covered mountains, with a snow-covered peak in the distance.
  • The dark blue water of Lake Coeur d'Alene is seen from a hill with other hills surrounding it

All images © Jennifer G. at Introverted Reader 2023

  1. Part of “The Fire Wave” formation at Valley of Fire State Park near Las Vegas, Nevada. If you visit any of these desert parks, DO NOT HIKE when trails are closed and follow park recommendations for the amount of water you will need. There were two fatalities, probably due to the heat, last week. It was hot even when we entered the park at sunrise in mid-May for an early start.
  2. The Fruita area of Capitol Reef National Park. Mormon settlers built irrigation systems that are still in use here today. I loved the vibrant green of the fields and orchards juxtaposed with the cliff face.
  3. Candlestick Tower at Canyonlands National Park in the Island in the Sky district.
  4. Delicate Arch at Arches National Park.
  5. How’s this for a change of scenery? While we were in Vancouver, we decided to drive the Sea to Sky Highway up to Whistler. We stopped and rode the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish on our way north, which is where we took this picture of Howe Sound.
  6. Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park. When I used to see blue-green glacier-fed lakes like this one, there was always a part of me that wondered if they were Photoshopped. Then we visited Banff National Park in Canada in 2017 and I learned that the color is even more vibrant in person. That’s the case with Diablo Lake too.
  7. Lake Coeur d’Alene (I hear everyone saying it “kor duh-LAYNE”, if you’re curious) from Mineral Ridge Trail.


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I have been busily reading. I’ve read 26 books since my last update. I won’t list them all here but you can look at my read shelf on GoodReads if you’re curious. Here are some standouts:

How To Be A Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals by Sy Montgomery 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 This was so good that I decided to turn right around and re-read it as soon as I finished it.

When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill, read by Kimberly Farr 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Hear women roar! What an empowering magical realism/fantasy novel!

A British Girl’s Guide to Hurricanes and Heartbreak by Laura Taylor Namey 🌟🌟🌟🌟 I actually accepted a book for review for the first time in years! This is a follow-up, though not exactly a direct sequel, to A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by the same author, which I really enjoyed. My review is scheduled for September 26, when the book releases.

Shubeik Lubeik, written, illustrated, and translated by Deena Mohamed 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 This graphic novel snuck up on me. It was a solid 4-star read but after I finished it, I just kept mulling it over so I bumped it up to 5 stars. This is long for a graphic novel but the author packs even more into it than I expected.

Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation, written and read by Cokie Roberts 🌟🌟🌟🌟 Spanning the roughly 30 years from the presidencies of John Adams to James Monroe, Ms. Roberts really brings the first ladies and their contemporaries to life using their own letters, journals, and publications. This was endlessly fascinating. These ladies were feisty and opinionated!

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi 🌟🌟🌟🌟 I learned a lot from this book. I mean, a lot a lot. It was especially interesting to read about affirmative action and the history of the SAT and other “objective” placement tests as the Supreme Court reversed affirmative action. It was very dense so I had to read a bit and take a break, read a bit, and take a break. It took me five months to read. I have never taken that long to read a book in my life. Put on your patient hat or pick up Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi, which is the young adult version of this book, if you want a faster read.

Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens by Steve Olson 🌟🌟🌟🌟 Since my husband works in the cardiac cath lab, he has to regularly be on call for emergencies (like heart attacks) that come in to the hospital after hours or on weekends. He got called in this week at 2:45 in the morning. I usually sleep so hard that I barely notice he’s gone. I was wide awake when he left this time. I grabbed my book and thought I would read myself to sleep. I was in the middle of a history section, which was not my favorite. There was some relevance to the overarching narrative but some things felt irrelevant to me. Well, I finished the history within a couple of pages and then the volcano finally blew. When my husband came home at 4:45, I was still reading as fast as I could. He had to leave to go back to work for his regular shift at 5:30 and I was still reading. I finally finished at 6:00 in the morning. Needless to say, I found the last half of the book gripping, especially since we visited the volcano a few years ago (see a couple of our pictures on this weekly update post from August 23, 2020).

Currently Reading:

The Dragon Book, edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois

Blitz (The Checquy Files #3) by Daniel O’Malley, read by Moira Quirk

The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks by Terry Tempest Williams–I bought this at Back of Beyond Books, a great independent bookstore in Moab, Utah. Apparently the author lives somewhere in that area.

Up Next:

I don’t know what I’ll be in the mood for. I hit a weird sort of reading slump this spring that left me reading a lot of middle grade fantasy and finishing up some series but I seem to finally be breaking out of that phase.

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?

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  1. It sounds like you’ve had some good travels while you’ve been away! I love Vancouver, and if I thought it was feasible job- and family-wise, I’d want to move there. (Mr. Wyrm and I looked into it in early COVID-days, but couldn’t figure out how to make it work with our jobs.)

  2. What beautiful photos! There are so many wonderful places to visit. I envy your lifestyle. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  3. We have missed seeing your weekend posts for such a long time. So glad to see you here today.

    I would very much like to go to Canyonlands and Arches. We are thinking about going there next year.

    I have so much to say about all the books you read and enjoyed…it would fill your comments section!

    1. I love long comments! 🙂 You should go to Canyonlands and Arches! We really had a good time there. Our campground steered us toward a hike called Fisher’s Towers that I recommend. It was beautiful but outside the parks. Go a little earlier in the year though. We happened to be there over Memorial Day weekend and it was hot already. We’re not naturally early risers but we were up and out the door with the dawn to try to beat the heat. Capitol Reef isn’t that far away so if you go you should at least consider adding it on.

  4. It’s so nice to see a post from you! Your travel sounds wonderful… I loved Valley of Fire, as well as Arches and Canyonlands (part of our last big road trip pre-pandemic). I’m already looking forward to photos from your summer location. Idaho is still on my list of places to visit! Your books look great, too… I especially enjoyed How to Be A Good Creature.

    1. Coeur d’Alene is a great vacation town. We stay on the go, go, go so much that it’s been nice to be somewhere that we can just sit by the lake or stroll over to the farmer’s market or ride our bikes to the library. Which isn’t to say that it isn’t beautiful here, because it is, but there aren’t really any big national parks to distract us and keep us zooming around. Though my husband has some long weekends off coming up so we’ll start venturing further afield soon.

  5. Thank you so much for always posting your beautiful travel photos for us! I hadn’t heard of some of them and now I wish I could go right now! I want to live in that Little House on the Prairie house in picture #2. Can you imagine??? Such beautiful surroundings.

  6. It’s nice to catch up with what you’ve been doing. I hope you are enjoying Idaho, I’ve never been there. I love seeing your photographs!

  7. Welcome back!! I have missed your posts. I love the pictures. I would love to get to the west coast someday! I loved the Penderwicks when we read them, and hope you enjoyed them too. I hope you are able to come out of your reading slump. Have a great week!

  8. I love being by the water. Arches and Canyonlands are two parks I definitely want to visit. and I love how green the water is at the lake. Beautiful!

    When Women Were Dragons looks fun!

    1. Sometimes I think I would like to be a ranger and then I see something from Tourons of Yellowstone or one of those online groups and think that I don’t have the personality for that. You must have the patience of a saint.

  9. Your vacation photos are amazing! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
    I love the cover for M is for Magic. I’ve only read one Gaiman book, so I went and downloaded the audiobook on Hoopla. 🙂
    Have a wonderful new week! ☀

  10. Wow sounds like you saw a lot of great places and I enjoyed seeing the pictures. And sounds like you read a lot of good books too.

  11. Your photos are just beautiful! I’ve been to some of those parks, and would love to see the others.
    best, mae at maefood.blogspot.com

  12. I’ve missed your posts! Glad to hear that you’re enjoying Coeur d’Alene, which I’ve always pronounced as “kur-duh-lane.” Oops. Your photos are spectacular and I agree with you about the unbelievable colors of those glacier-fed lakes. My photos of Moraine Lake in Banff look unreal, but I didn’t add any filters and the lake is just as clear and vibrant as photographed. I’d love to get to the North Cascades National Park next year sometime. We’re off to Vancouver Island for 4 weeks in September/October. I can’t wait! I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump, too. I started and gave-up on a half dozen books before settling in on a couple of rom-coms, which are not my usual fare. Too much going on in real life to focus on anything else.

    Take care and enjoy your time in Idaho!

    1. The pronunciation makes more sense your way but we’ve asked several times to make sure we’re understanding correctly. It’s funny how pronunciations get a bit corrupted with familiarity, isn’t it? You should go to North Cascades next year! I read there’s a fire over there right now, so hopefully it doesn’t do too much damage.

  13. We went to the Valley of Fire State Park this past Spring and LOVED it. We were in Las Vegas and planning a trip back to Death Valley when one of those annoying adds poped up for the best state parks in the country. I opened the link and was shocked to learn that we were so close to one of the best: Valley of Fire. We lucked out with the weather, sunny but not hot.

    1. You were lucky to avoid the heat! Valley of Fire popped up on our radar back in 2013, when we were flying into Vegas for a national park vacation then our wonderful government decided that there would be a budget shutdown. That one took the national parks out too. We found Valley of Fire as an alternative, but luckily Arizona and Utah footed the bill to get the parks we were originally planning to see back open in time for our vacation. We were happy about that but sad to miss Valley of Fire. Now we’ve seen it!

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