Weekly Update for September 20, 2020

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Weekly Update at Introverted Reader Blog

Welcome to my weekly update for September 20, 2020!

We finally got rain in Portland on Friday! Woohoo! Air quality has improved a lot. We’ve still got an air quality warning in place as I write this but our numbers on the Weather Channel app have dropped from 535 on Tuesday (I think that was the day I took the screenshot) to 32 today (Saturday). I believe anything over 150 is considered dangerous. I took a screenshot of a Facebook post from a local news station, KATU, showing the unbelievable difference (Photos are theirs, not mine). That said, I’ve barely left our RV this week. The smoke gave me daily headaches even then. Hopefully this rain will help firefighters with their efforts.


Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan–5 Stars–This Newbery Medal Nominee was a powerful look at the way music brings us together. It also emphasizes the idea that people of all races and cultures have far more similarities than differences. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this middle-grade book to readers of any age. The audiobook is amazing, with musical excerpts incorporated in a way that enhances, rather than distracts from, the story.

Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles–2 Stars–Too much description, too many unanswered questions, and too little forward progress in the plot bogged this debut novel down for me. While I appreciate the strong female lead and the unique concept, I won’t be continuing this duology.

Beverly Cleary Walking Tour of Portland, Oregon–Several weeks ago, before the wildfires sent us all indoors, my husband and I embarked on a walking tour of Portland based on sites from beloved children’s author Beverly Cleary’s life. The map, supplied by the local Multnomah County Library System, also sent us to locations used in scenes from her books, particularly those featuring Ramona, Beezus, Henry, and Ribsy. It was so much fun to see these places that have been familiar to me since childhood!

Top Ten Book Covers on My Overdrive Wish List–I skewed heavily toward fantasy when I chose these covers but I also included a couple of historical fiction novels.


Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles

The Second Sleep by Robert Harris, read by Roy McMillan

Fable by Adrienne Young

Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary

Currently Reading:

Hole in the Sky by William Kittredge

The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson, translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles, read by Peter Kenny

On Hold for Now:

Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen Book Cover

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen–I ran out of time on this library check-out so I’m on the waiting list again.


The Boys Poster

The Boys on Amazon Prime (I’m not an Amazon affiliate)–There is an incredible amount of violence and language in this show but my husband and I like it nevertheless. Who would stand up to superheroes if they started to be less hero-ish? And what would capitalism + superheroes look like? We’ve just started season 2.

Up Next:

I downloaded My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix but I’m hesitating over starting it in case one of my library holds opens up again. I passed on my turn for about five books last week.

What did your week look like?

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

Other Posts You May Enjoy:


  1. Wow that before and after photo focused on the bridge is shocking. It’s so hard to believe how drastic the impact of this fire season has been. So glad it has cleared up and I hope it stays that way.

    Nice mix of books you’re reading! I hadn’t heard of The Boys so I need to check it out.

  2. Wow, that pic is incredible. I can’t imagine how many illnesses that poor air quality will trigger or aggravate. I hope you stay safe! I read so many Beverley Cleary books way back in the 70s, she was one of my favorite authors as a kid. I’m curious about Echo. I read The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan in 2010 and loved it.

    1. You should definitely read Echo! I haven’t read The Dreamer but I loved Esperanza Rising by the same author as well.

  3. Congrats on the rain! I’m further down the coast in the SF Bay Area, and it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting any rain any time soon. One can hope, though.

    Lies My Teacher Told Me sounds interesting based on the title. I don’t think I’ve heard of that book before, so when you get it back from the library I’m curious to see what you think of it.

    1. Hopefully you get some rain soon! A friend from high school (who’s a teacher) recommended Lies My Teacher Told Me. The author read 12 high school history textbooks and critiques the European-centric American history they all presented and tries to present a more balanced version. I didn’t get very far into it before I had to return it the first time but what I read was very interesting!

    1. Thanks! We can smell smoke again today but rain is in the forecast for the rest of the week. I hope this helps the firefighters. I hope your friends are okay!

  4. The Boys is the first thing I see when I open my Amazon Fire. I just skip by it and go to the MLB app to watch baseball games. I really need to explore more when the baseball season is over. I’m glad the air quality is improving. We even had some haze from the fires here in northern Minnesota. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

    1. I heard the haze/smoke from the fires had spread across pretty much the whole country. That’s crazy.

  5. I’ve been having to delay delivery on my library e-books and e-audiobooks a lot, too. I put too many holds on, but it’s just so easy to do! I reread Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books as an adult, but that was quite a while ago now, so maybe it’s time to go back to them again. I love them!
    Glad you’re getting better air quality now! Our daughter and her fiancee are moving back to the East Coast from Oakland, CA, and I’m looking forward to having them closer.

    1. It will be nice for you to have them closer! I can’t imagine living on the West Coast and dealing with this every year. I read somewhere that this is the first year (ever? in a long time?) that more people have moved away from California than moved into it. I can see why. I think these fires are scary.

  6. So happy things are a bit better. The smoke came all the way across the country. We live in AL and it didn’t affect us but was up fairly high in the atmosphere. This has been a horrible year.

    1. 2020 is definitely one for the record books, even though we would all like to just get through it and forget it.

  7. I’m glad your air is getting better! We’ve got air quality warnings too. I cough so much when I exercise that I’m worried people think I have COVID. I really liked Echo and don’t know why more bloggers haven’t read it. I liked it so much that I taught a class on it in grad school.

  8. I do hope you get more rain although not too much as that would create its own problems. Your reading looks good and hope you find this weeks books worth reading.

  9. I hope the rain continues then, I’m sure the firefighters would appreciate it.
    Hubby and I are waiting for all of Season 2 to be available before we binge it, it’s more his taste than mine but it has its moments.

    Wishing you a great reading week

  10. What a week.So glad that the air quality has improved. It is almost perfect here now, too. I am so sad about the death of RBG. What will happen to us without our advocate?

  11. I am so glad that your air quality is a lot better now. My cousin live in Portland too and we have been worried sick about her kids. Stay safe!

  12. So glad you got some rain! Amazing the difference it can make!

    How do you like The Girl who Saved the king form Sweden? I loved it! Maybe as I’m a bit biased. The first part does start in South Africa. Home brew.

    Hope you will have a good week, here’s my The Sunday Post #12

    1. I’m really enjoying The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden! I listened to the author’s book, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared several years ago and loved it so I thought this one would be a safe bet.

  13. Those photos show the huge difference in the air in just a few days. I’m so glad for you, Jen. Rain certainly helped you all. It’s been rough over on the west coast.

    Echo sounds very interesting. I like themes of music and unity.

    Portland is a great city. We spent several days there a few years back and did the Beverly Cleary things. I’ve always been a big BC fan.

    Hope you have a good week!

    1. You should definitely check out Echo! It was good for my spirit.

      We’re staying just outside Portland and haven’t been able to do very much in the city, unfortunately. Oregon locked down pretty hard and this county has only gotten to “Phase 1.” So many things are still closed or only partially open. The riots are only in a few blocks and only at night but they’re still a bit of a deterrent. We don’t want to take a chance on getting caught up in anything. We’ve enjoyed what we have done and it was definitely a lot of fun to see the Beverly Cleary sites that are currently accessible!

  14. So glad you’ve had the rain to clear the air – those pics before the rain put me in mind of pictures of London during the smog. Let’s hope you get more rain to dampen the fires down further and give the firefighters a break!

    Here’s hoping for a much better week, Jan:)

    1. Thanks! We have more rain in the forecast later in the week. I’m normally all for sunny days but the firefighters need all the help they can get!

  15. Wasn’t that rain wonderful?!! We got a bit here on the coast and it poured yesterday when we were in Salem. So thankful for it!

    We just finished Bosch and are thinking about watching The Boys. We’re also looking into Goliath, which has a great cast.

    Enjoy the fresh air!

    1. I’m glad you got some of the rain too! It was heavenly! I can see some blue sky as I write this–much better than the scary smoke. I’ve heard that Goliath is great but we haven’t tried it yet. There’s never enough time for everything is there?

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