Weekly Update for March 21, 2021

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Weekly Update at Introverted Reader

Welcome to my weekly update for March 21, 2021!

My husband and I share a car while we’re traveling with his job. I’ve been trying to drop him off at work and head over to Siesta Key for a walk as the sun comes up and before the crowds arrive. I’m not a morning person but it’s a nice way to start the day. It’s just me, a handful of other people, and the wildlife hunting for breakfast. I see dolphins almost every morning, various species of seagulls, pelicans, and even an occasional egret.

The bird below is a Reddish Egret, I believe. I had to zoom in quite a bit because I didn’t want to disturb him. The wildlife guide who took my husband and me on our “moose safari” in Maine a couple of years ago told us that a successful wildlife viewing is the one where you’re the one who walks away rather than the animal. I try to live by that little nugget of wisdom, so I’m happy with my grainy, zoomed-in cellphone shots. (If you’re curious about birds and know as little about them as I do, I recommend the Merlin app from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I almost always find what I’ve seen and it’s easy to use.)


Unbeaten Tracks in Japan by Isabella Bird–3 Stars

Ten Fiction Books I Never Reviewed


Vulgar Favors: The Assassination of Gianni Versace by Maureen Orth, read by Dan Woren–3 Stars. Despite only mentioning Versace in the title, this book is essentially a biography of his killer, Andrew Cunanan. While it was pretty interesting to follow a serial killer’s descent to his final, horrific days, I don’t feel the book has aged very well since its first publication in 1999. The author seems to be titillated by details of “the gay lifestyle” because so many in the gay community were closeted at the time due to societal prejudices. Twenty years later, it came across to me as a bit voyeuristic.

The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael W. Twitty–3 Stars. Mr. Twitty has a passion for cooking and for genealogy; I don’t particularly share either interest but I do love Southern food. The book had interesting points to make but the writing style was a bit too stream-of-consciousness for my taste and left me confused about connections the author made between his enslaved ancestors and the cuisine they adapted and shared.

The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young–3 Stars. The sequel to Sky in the Deep could most likely be read as a standalone. This book tells the story of Halvard, a young boy and side character in the first book, and Tova, a girl who appeared from the sea one day and became the despised “Truthtongue” of a clan that rivals Halvard’s. The pair are very introspective, making a book about a brewing war somehow thoughtful yet largely forgettable. But I could stare at that gorgeous cover all day!

Into the Planet: My Life as a Cave Diver by Jill Heinerth, read by the author–4 Stars. This was my sleeper hit for the week. I checked it out from the library on a whim and found myself captivated by Heinerth’s journey from almost drowning as a toddler to becoming a cave diver for National Geographic. She tells some great stories, avoids technical jargon, addresses the dangers of her vocation frankly, and doesn’t pull punches when she discusses the reality of a being a woman in a male-dominated sport. Fascinating, even to this non-diver!

Currently Reading:

Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age by Bohumil Hrabal, translated by Michael Henry Heim

Slouch Witch by Helen Harper, read by Tanya Eby

Spirals in Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells by Helen Scales


The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Poster

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier–It’s too early to have much of an opinion about this new show on Disney+ but it did get off to a good start and it’s filling the Wandavision-sized gap in our lives.

Up Next:

I will be tremendously surprised if I finish any of these books this week. I’ve downloaded two of my current reads but haven’t started them yet and I’ve barely made a dent in Spirals in Time.

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. “… a successful wildlife viewing is the one where you’re the one who walks away rather than the animal.” Now that is a very wise nugget indeed. Thanks also for telling us about the Merlin app, sounds super useful! Wondering if you also have any suggestions for botany-based apps? I keep seeing all these plants and wildflowers in springtime, and have no idea what they are called, except “that purple flowery one” or that “red spindle-shaped one”. Time to brush up some herblore!

    Spirals in Time looks adorable, hope you’ll review that one soon. And as for Adrienne Young, I really liked her debut book, Sky in the Deep, but the others, not so much. So I can see why the lower rating for The Girl the Sea Gave Back.


    1. Yes, I like PlantSnap for flowers! It’s not perfect but I probably identify 90% of what I look up.

      I liked Fable by Adrienne Young so I’m excited to read that sequel. Hopefully it works better for me than The Girl the Sea Gave Me Back.

  2. The cooking gene, I don’t have it, lo, but I love eating 🙂 Into the planet looks really interesting and so does Spirals in time. Your pictures are beautiful and you are absolutely right to walk away first, I do the same. Enjoy your week !

  3. I spend a huge amount of time now watching birds. Merlin is very useful, and so is iNaturalist. We’ve been doing Project FeederWatch all winter, and now we are doing a butterfly study. A pollinator study begins this week, so we will be doing it, too.

    I picked up a copy of Spirals in Time when it was on sale a few weeks ago. I’m eager to read it. Shells are another thing in nature that I know little about, and I am curious to know more.

    We’ve just finished Great British Baking Show, and now we are backtracking to David Letterman’s Next Guest show. I would love to see a good movie. It has been a long time.

    1. We’re slow watcher so we’re only halfway through the Baking Show but we still enjoy it. I think the only Next Guest episode that I’ve watched is the one with Obama, which I loved. My husband may have watched one with George Clooney but if that’s even true, I must have been doing my own thing at the time. We should pick that one up too.

      It sounds like you have plenty of natural projects to keep you busy!

  4. Lovely pics and what a great way to wake up and spend your morning!

    I’m sorry that you didn’t enjoy the Cooking Gene as much. I listened to it and I ended up being carried away by his passion for food and history.

    Spirals in Time have been on my TBR. I hope it’s good.

    The hubby and I just watched the first episode last night of the falcon and winter soldier and we both enjoyed it. I’ll be interested in where they take it for the other movies that are coming out soon.

    I hope you have a lovely week!

  5. I really like that idea that we should be the ones to walk away rather than the bird/animal. I’ll try to remember that. My parents are big birders so we talk birds quite a bit. Even though I don’t tend to remember the names, I love that we have feeders and bird baths in the garden.

  6. Dolphins every morning! Sounds wonderful. what a beautiful area…

    I liked Sky in the Deep but haven’t read that sequel.

  7. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier appeals to me, as does Wandavision. We’ve started Sneaky Pete and are really enjoying it!

    Spirals in Time looks intriguing! I’m halfway thru Circe, which is good, but not calling to me. I’m also listening to The Vanishing Half and look forward to my daily walks so I can listen. Now if the rain would only stop…

    Have a good week!

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