Summing It Up: August – December 2018

Hi there! It’s been a while since I’ve last done one of these recaps but I wanted to at least fit one last one before the year ended. XD

The academic semester has wrapped up (thank goodness!). I’ve been out of school for the past two weeks and I’ve spent most of my time of working and spending time with friends. The semester ended with a lot of stress from completing my final fall OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination-essentially a mock MTM (Medication Therapy Management) session where the student reviews a patient case for 10 minutes then goes over the patient’s medications and disease states and make pharmacotherapy recommendations/changes with that pretend patient) to my other 6 final exams. I also had a bunch of presentations (which I fretted over a lot, knowing me).

But! I really believe that my communication skills have improved and my stage fright has lessened substantially with weekly journal clubs and all this semester. I’m also more familiar/comfortable with reading medical literature and interpreting stats than I was before (e.g. when I was one my IPPE rotation this summer-honestly, thinking about how my presentation went down for that is still humiliating and makes me full of regret). Advanced drug information isn’t fun but it’s definitely made me feel a little more prepared for what’s to come next year with P4 rotations.

Speaking of those, I submitted my preferences for my rotations next year earlier this month. And I¬†already know I got an international rotation! November of next year, I’ll be in Melbourne, Australia. I’ve never traveled outside of the States so I’m nervous but ultimately pumped, too. The other rotations that I’m interested in are infectious diseases, pediatrics (particularly NICU), and nuclear pharmacy. Of course, (as expected) I asked for a lot of ambulatory care rotations and few community/retail ones but I also put in a few weird ones like mail order and drug information for my electives since they seem different and odd.

Aside from school, there’s not much else I want to share. I’m still working my two jobs and enjoying my free time when I have it. ūüôā

– What I’ve Been Reading –

If you didn’t gather by now… I’ve been a deep reading slump since the year has started.

Probably one of the best books that I read this year was Uprooted, a fantasy standalone. It totally gave me Howl’s Moving Castle¬†(my favorite Ghibli film) vibes. I also loved the characters and the fairytale like prose. It was a pleasant surprise and I wish I had read it sooner than I did. I gave it 4/5 stars.

I also finally picked up¬†The Star-Touched Queen, which had been on¬†my TBR list for forever. I had tried starting this book several times before, and I have to admit with this nth time trying to read it… I found it a struggle to immerse myself into the story. But I, ultimately, enjoyed it by the end after all the twists and turns that were revealed. 3/5 stars.

I was reading Vicious but, ultimately, I wasn’t enjoying myself that much as I was reading it so unfortunately I’ve put that one on an indefinite hold. I think it’s slower paced than I anticipated and I really need to be in the mood to read for those kind of books and I just wasn’t at the time. Plus, I had no clue the main story would be about two guys challenging themselves to near death experiences in order to reach superhuman strength, and I typically dislike most things vaguely related to superhuman/superhero type of stuff. (Don’t hunt me down.) I’m not going to put it in the DNF pile; I hope to maybe reach for it again another time.

I began To All the Boys I Loved Before after the immense hype it’s gotten when the Netflix film released this summer. From the 1/3 I read, it’s super cute and definitely a sweet and comical contemporary worth reading in the summer. Realistic fiction just isn’t my cup of tea so I sort of fell out of wanting to read that title, too. (I know, I’ve just been in a MAJOR reading slump.)

As I mentioned on my Instagram and my last posts, these recent months (or entire year, really) I’ve been more into manga. Consequently, I’ve started a ton of series. I’ve been rereading one my favorites, Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet and Daytime Shooting Star. Actually, the latter is going to be serialized in America starting the summer of 2019. It’s an understatement to say that I’m pumped.

I also started several ongoing series including Queen’s Quality, Living with Matsunaga-san, You Got Me, Sempai, Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight, Perfect World, Let’s Play (webtoon), I Love Yoo (webtoon), The Jinx’s Lover (webtoon),¬†Waiting for Spring,¬†and most recently They Say I was Born a King’s Daughter¬†(webtoon). I would say that all of these are enjoyable-some more guilty pleasures than others. Although if I had to choose one to spotlight it would be I Love Yoo for its unique characters, addicting storyline, and swoonworthy romance. I’m not as familiar with the webtoon verse having only read about a handful (<10)… but I would say this is the best one I’ve read so far!

– Blog Posts –¬†

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Summing It Up: April – July 2018

Hi there! It’s been a while since one of these posts, hasn’t it? I’ve been tied up with school and work, and on my days off I mainly spend them hanging out with friends or visiting bookstores. It doesn’t help that lately I’ve been more into manga than actual novels so I also haven’t had much content to write on for this blog. Perhaps, I’ll make another manga review when one of them is finished (a lot of the ones I’m reading are ongoing). Anyway, I’ll try to briefly recap each month under this paragraph! I imagine that this post will be pretty long… but skim/skip around as you wish!

April was probably the least eventful and most stressful with wrapping up the end of the spring semester. Like I expressed in previous months’ Summing It Up posts,¬†I did have some classes I was¬†concerned about but, ultimately, I did well after¬†factoring¬†final exam grades and bonus points.

In May I didn’t have any academic worries since it was my “chill” month. However, I still didn’t have much free time as I was working a lot to save up for my rotation in this month in June. (Yes, unfortunately, students pay tuition/housing while they’re on rotation.)

June went by real quick.¬†This year’s rotation was my IPPE (Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience) at an institution; I was placed at St. Jude’s Children’s Research¬†Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Prior to going, everything about the experience was daunting to me because I had never left home-let alone drive for 10 hours to somewhere I was not familiar with and didn’t know anyone. Plus, aside from the didactic curriculum of my school, I had little exposure to hospital pharmacy. Needless to say, my time here has been inspiring and will probably help my future studies/career. (Although, I did do more observing than hands-on work, which is understandable with St. Jude being a¬†place that is highly specialized, working with pediatrics and oncology.)

While on rotation, I learned a lot more about myself and my learning style than I ever did before. I was given an opportunity to do a presentation, and I was extremely nervous. Since taking speech class in undergrad, I think my stage fright has worsened drastically. Anyway, I was given great constructive feedback, and I hope to make some steps to improve by becoming more involved with my school in ways that will push me to be more verbal or present in front of an audience more. Talking in front of a group of strangers is almost an irrational fear because in theory there’s no reason to be afraid but it’s still a very real one for me. And I think it’s about time for me to address it before I continue on in my studies and commit to a profession that does require one to do some form of leadership and presentation.

Anyway, with that mini spiel about fear and self-awareness, I had a good time while I was away at home in Tennessee in June.

Mid-July I was in Winder, Georgia, which is about an hour away from Atlanta, for Camp Breathe Easy, a camp for kids that have asthma. I was there assisting with the medication side of things but I had a ton of fun and memorable moments while I was there. I love kids so it was wonderful (although my 11 to 12 year old girls were so boy crazy, lol). I even got to ride a horse and paddle a canoe for the first time. The latter was intense since it was about a 2 mile journey but it was a great workout. I also participated in other activities with the kids including capture the flag, which totally reminded me of The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, haha.

But that’s been my summer so far! A lot of traveling, which is cool since I don’t do it often!

– What I Read –

Thanks to my friend Amy, who is very much into anime and manga, I’ve been reading more manga (and even some comics!) again.

ReLife | Orange | Emergency Contact | Queen of Shadows | The Wicked King |  QQ Sweeper

– April/May/June/July Blog Posts –

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Summing It Up: February 2018

Hello there! I hope you’re all having a splendid March so far. I’m currently on my spring break and thought today would be a good time to release February’s monthly recap post. (Also, I know I keep making empty blogging promises but I DEFINITELY will have book (and manga!) reviews coming this month-I guarantee these will happen because I’ve actually already have them scheduled to publish on their own.)

I didn’t read all that much in February. However, I did participate in my first readathon (on Instagram)! The #ForeverReading 24 hour reading challenge (hosted by Cherry @_forevermint and Lissa @rabidreadings) was interesting since I was documenting my progress in the form of Insta stories. (I’ve always thought that if I’d ever join these reading marathons it would be via the blogosphere, so this was unexpected, haha.) I had a really good time though, and it was a positive experience ¬†since the rules were flexible. In total, I was able to read nearly 400 pages of A Court of Wings and Ruin¬†despite still getting a full night’s rest, working part time, and meeting with my friends from out of town for a long brunch. In my stories (which is still up as part of my Instagram Highlights by the way, if you do want to check those videos out. I believe you can only see view them if you’re using the app on your phone though)¬†I talked about my thoughts on ACoWaR,¬†the book itself.¬†ACoWaR‘s a¬†kind of meh read and I didn’t find myself enjoying it as I did its predecessor, A Court of Mist and Fury.¬†As of where I left off (which is about halfway), I’d say it would get 2 out of 5 stars from me. For now, I don’t have interest in picking it up so I’ve put it on hold until further notice.

‚Äď February Blog Posts ‚Äď

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Summing It Up: December 2017

Looks like I’m squeezing this in in the last hour of January. XD I really have to do better with these wrap ups. (Although, it does reassure me a little bit that I’ve already started drafting January’s recap, so hopefully I won’t publish that one as late as I did with this.)

Anyways, for December, I’m going to have to admit I was extremely burned out, stressed, and bummed. It may not seem like it because I try to conceal it with my internet persona, but I’m honestly a natural worrier and quite a pessimist. This semester has been challenging. Overall, I did well academically but I had to work really hard, and, subsequently, I started having really bad bouts of insomnia. But I am glad that I managed to survive, and it does feel nice to say that I’m (now a little over) halfway through the didactic curriculum of pharmacy school. There is only three semesters left of classes and an additional year after that for P4 rotations. Somehow time feels as if it’s moving both slow and fast. Slow because I’m looking forward to graduating (even though it still a long two years away) and fast because… well time is¬†moving fast. (Like, how is it already February?)

However, I did¬†also have a restful second half of December when I was on my winter break. (We had three weeks off this year, which is one week shorter than in the past. The undergrad students at my university still had a full month, and I might feel slighted by this even now actually, haha.) But, unfortunately, during the holiday season I also learned of devastating news. If you follow me on my Instagram, you probably already know that I was really affected by SHINee‘s Jonghyun‘s passing last month. Though not formally diagnosed, I feel like I have been depressed at some points in my life. And if not depression, they were moments where I’ve felt lost, sad, unhappy, or all of the above. Music has always been an important, integral part of my everyday life (whether it be playing the piano or listening to music), and both Linkin Park and SHINee were bands that have helped heal me during times when I was insecure and/or dark. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it was hard losing both Chester and Jonghyun, both wonderful artists, to a silent killer in 2017. It’s difficult to accept the reality that they’re gone forever.

Anyway, I don’t want to start this recap too somber from me being stressed with school and then Jonghyun, etc, so I also want to mention that I’ve definitely have been feeling a lot better and I don’t want anyone to worry about me.

– What I Read –¬†

The Water Dragon’s Bride (full manga series)¬†| The Cruel Prince | Horimiya (full manga series)

 

 

December was a rather good reading month, I think. I started the month with beginning a new manga series called¬†The Water Dragon’s Bride.¬†I’ve only read up to the most recent chapter,¬†which is 17, and I think it’s a bit clich√© but still¬†okay so far. I’ve set it as 3 or 3.5 stars on Goodreads, but I’m going to reserve my full thoughts for now.¬†Then I read The Cruel Prince, which I loved and raved about a ton on my Instagram the end of last month and early this month in January. And, lastly,¬†Horimiya¬†was the one I picked up at whim and I was¬†so¬†glad that I did since it’s utterly fantastic. There’s a perfect balance between comedy and romance. I may have belly laughed out loud so many times while reading it. It is also currently an ongoing series and I’ve read up to chapter 85. Without a doubt, it’s become a new all time favorite manga that I’ll be following closely with each chapter/volume release.

– December Blog Posts –¬†

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Summing It Up: November 2017

Sigh, I am 24 days late with this post but I suppose it’s a good thing that I’m finally getting around to it than never at all. (I’ve not mentioned this before but I’ve made this silly promise to myself since I’ve started this blog in 2015 that I would always at least post once a month; and so far, I’ve been good with that vow.)¬†But it still feels kind of moot to post this now when I’ll be sharing my December wrap up in a few days, but I hope that you all don’t mind anyway! >.<

Unfortunately, like my sparse blogging I hit an all time low with my reading last month in November. I didn’t read a single book-not even a manga. (Well aside from my four chapters of ReLife, an ongoing webtoon that is posted weekly.)¬†Subsequently, due to this slumpy reading period, I’ve felt a lack of motivation or inspiration to log onto WordPress and blog. (I didn’t even have a chance to draft a Yallfest post like I promised. I’m sorry!)

To be honest… for the past few months… I have truly¬†struggled and debated with deciding what I plan to do with this blog anymore. I feel like blogging isn’t quite the same for me as it used to be. The community has changed a lot from when I started. A lot of the friends that I befriended at the beginning are on hiatuses or no longer blogging at all. Although I would love to meet new bloggers I feel like my enthusiasm to blog hop has waned a ton. There’s also the problem that I haven’t even been reading all that much, too… I have started to read more again this month in December¬†while I’ve been on winter break (especially after reading The Cruel Prince, which is brilliant by the way), but, I don’t know if this is enough for me to continue.

Anyway, I’m not sure what will become of Xingsings for now. But I do want to make a decision by the first of 2018 about whether I’m going to continue to blog or say goodbye permanently, at least on this platform. At the moment, I’m leaning towards continuing because I feel like I’ve invested so much into this blog over the years (even though it may seem like I haven’t lately); just thinking about saying goodbye is so hard.

Either way, whatever I decide to do in 2018, thank you guys for all the love and support you’ve shown me throughout the years. The friendships I’ve made on here have been irreplaceable and for that I am so, so thankful.

– November Blog Posts –

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Summing It Up: September 2017

Gosh is this belated…¬†But better late than never, right?

Life in September was the usual in that it was hectic, busy, and stressful, but I’ve decided to not bore you guys with the details because it’ll be just repetitive at this point. I feel as if I always begin my monthly wrap ups saying my life is crazy, and I feel bad doing this because I’m sure you’re all living just as busy lives. Anyway, if you do want to see what I’ve been up to with all the specifics, do consider following me on my Instagram account. I’m rather active on that platform these days and I enjoy updating my Instagram stories a lot. (You’ll even get to hear and see me flail over buying new books. It’s embarrassing but I thought I’d advertise it anyway, hah.)

Anyhow, I do sincerely hope and wish that you guys are all still doing well and hanging in there in your daily lives. #don’tgiveup #youCANdoit

(I think I’m feeling especially emotional while typing this up because a fellow grad student at my school recently died from suicide this month in October. I don’t want to talk about this either because I feel like it’ll bring down the mood of this post even more. But please, everyone, remember to take care of yourself! You’re not alone. Seek help if you need it. I’m always here to talk. Shoot an email or send me a direct message on Instagram.)

– What I Read –

A few months ago, when school first started back up I remember complaining about reading 1 book… but now I’m starting to realize that completing 1 book a month might be a miracle. The rigor of this year’s classes has definitely increased (PCT (pharmacotherapy) is so killer) and I guess I’m resigned to the fact that I’m going to have to read less during this period of my life. It is sad but it could be worse? XD

And it’s unfortunate that the one book I did end up finishing last month… I was not a fan. You can read my thoughts in my Goodreads pre-review or unedited review or whatever it’s called, but yeah, ¬†I¬†Believe in a Thing Called Love¬†did not work for me, sadly. (And I¬†really want to love it; I mean, you all know how much of a crazed Asian drama watcher I am.)

– September Blog Posts –

I’m not sure why I’m still keeping this section if I’m only going to post once a month, but oh well. Maybe I’ll feel more motivated to publish some book review drafts if I do continue, haha. Who knows?

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Summing It Up: August 2017

Sigh. I haven’t been the best blogger lately. There are so many books I want tor read, so many reviews I want to write, so many blogger friends I want to check in with, and so much I want to share but, ultimately, I can’t find the time to do these things anymore.

Last month, I mentioned that I was offered an internship at where I did my rotation in June. I work about two to three days at that job and I still work a day at the salon in the week. Of course, now that the fall semester has begun there’s school, extracurriculars, and volunteering as well… (Tangent: I thought I’d be done with extracurriculars after I got into grad/professional school but nope. The possibility of applying for residency programs (unlike med students it is optional for pharm students) makes me feel like I ought to stay involved with those organizations… I love them but they eat up my time like crazy.)

To say the least, I’m a little overwhelmed with life right now. I have very little down time to enjoy much these days. When I get home I’m too tired to read. I know, what kind of reader am I to say that?! Well, I need to be able to think when I read and, at the end of the day, that’s the last thing I want to do after attending classes and studying. Instead I’ve only been indulging in mindless entertainment like watching Asian dramas before I fall asleep. (The “What I’ve Been Watching” section is massive this month.)

Anyway, with all that being said, this inactivity in the blogosphere is going to have to be the norm for a while until I can adjust. Count on me still posting¬†these monthly recaps/wrap ups/favorites posts and the occasional book review (I hope) though, because I don’t want to disappear completely yet. Blogging is still a hobby I cherish, but sometimes it’s important to prioritize real life over the internet one. I hope you guys can understand.¬†And so that explains where I’ve been and why I haven’t been on here at all.

Read on if you want to know more specifics like what exactly I’ve been watching. There will be a few things bookish but not really. (I mean I haven’t been reading so…)

– What I’ve Read –

Good and bad news on the reading front in August. The bad news is, as you can guess, I only read one book in August:¬†Lord of Shadows. The good news is that I enjoyed it a ton. The story picks up right from¬†Lady Midnight and I found it greatly entertaining. Although, I think this is a 3 star range kind of book for me because I didn’t quite love it as much as¬†LM.

– August Blog Posts –

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Summing It Up: July 2017 (Thank You for 1K Followers!)

Hello, friends! As promised, I definitely became a casual blogger last month where I posted quite spontaneously. Though I missed the times I was away from this corner of the internet, it was also very liberating to just not have a schedule.

Because I’ve been rather inactive, I’ll be replying to comments (including finishing up the ones from my last discussion post months ago-I’m truly so sorry it’s taking me ages!) and blog hopping very soon. ¬†(I’ve already bookmarked a list of your blogs. So expect to see me around!) I’ll probably be doing this early to mid next week since I have to work today and tomorrow at the salon.

Anyway, onto the recap of July.

There were a lot of highs and lows last month. Exo came back with a new album, but, unfortunately, without my favorite member, Yixing. Then I saw the tragic news about Chester Bennington. (More on this later.) And then, again, happy news… I recently learned that I’ve been hired as a permanent, paid year-round intern at the local independent pharmacy I was on rotation (which is basically an externship where I’m not getting paid but rather graded on my performance) at in June.¬†(However, I’ll share more about that as well in next month’s wrap up since it really happened a few days ago, at the beginning of August.) I just wanted to share the great news with you guys, early, since you’ve been along this journey with me since I was an undergrad. ūüôā

Oh and I also reached 1,000 followers on this blog! I never imagined I’d reach this milestone, because my blog started off as a really small space. Anyway, THANK YOU SO MUCH for sticking with me and being such a great support! I really appreciate and value each and every one of you. ¬†‚̧¬†

And I actually already have a giveaway that was (kind of) planned for this occasion; it’s open until the end of August on my Instagram. (Sorry, I chose that social media platform because I want to grow my bookstagram account!) I encourage you to enter if you’re interested though! It’s international and pretty nice, in my opinion. So, friends, please share or give it a shot!

– What I Read –

I finished my 2017 Goodreads challenge (and I always only count reading an entire manga series as one book, which makes this more impressive if I do say so myself). Honestly, it wasn’t that ambitious (only 25!) because I was unsure what my schedule would be like with school. For now, I have no plans of increasing it because I need to soon factor in juggling school with two jobs. :’) (I’m really more excited than anything though!)

– July Blog Post –

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Summing It Up: June 2017

Sigh. Again, June was not that impressive in the reading and blogging departments for me.

But instead of labeling this inactivity as a unpremeditated hiatus or a slump as I have been doing this past year… I think I should confess that I’m slowly facing the reality that I’ve outgrown my enthusiastic blogger phase from 2015. I, honestly, no longer have the inspiration to post twice (or even once) a week as I did back then. I’ve come to accept that I’m more of a casual blogger now. I don’t see myself posting regularly or being super interactive like I used to anymore. But I also believe that this change isn’t a bad thing per se because even if it means that I’ll post less, perhaps, taking these breathers in between each post will give me more motivation to release more quality content. Besides, it’s a natural course for people to evolve and their interests to alter with time.

I didn’t intend for this to sound like a farewell or anything (because I’m definitely not quitting this blog completely yet), but I’ve just been meaning to get this admission off my chest for a while now.

Anyhow, with that disclosure aside, onto the real recap of this month. As I hinted in my last monthly wrap up/favorites post, I started my summer externship. And, gosh, it was an absolutely amazing experience. I highly encourage you all that are fellow students to apply for internships/externships if opportunities arise. I only participated in this one because it’s mandatory in the US for pharmacy students to have rotations, but I’m now so grateful that this is built in our curricula. Learning in didactic classes is nice but getting hands on experience (outside of lab) is so vital.

Also, quick warning before I move on. This post is going to be quite lengthy! I know that these monthly wrap up/favorites are probably my least viewed posts since they’re not strictly bookish, but I enjoy putting a lot of effort in them since they’re for my own benefit really. I view the compilation of Summing It Up posts as a diary of sorts, haha. The idea of being able to look back and see what I was into in the past appeals to me. XD

– What I Read –

Dengeki Daisy (full manga series) (Myanimelist)

I didn’t really have much leisure time this month so I only finished up the¬†Dengeki Daisy¬†series. (There are 16 volumes total.) Admittedly, I did read the chapters online with fan translations because I generally make it a rule to not buy manga unless I want to commit to collecting the entire series. And I don’t come to that decision until I know that the manga is super good because manga can get ridiculously expensive since they’re rarely on sale. I digress… This particular one was pretty marvelous. Immediately after finishing, I ordered 8 volumes from Amazon. It’s obviously another romance manga, but the plot and romance is quite unconventional and less clich√© than most shoujo I’ve read in the past. The romance was so swoonworthy and the comedy was consistently fab. Anyway, I’m going to save the rest of my thoughts though and reveal them later in my review, which I hope to start composing soon as my impressions are still fresh.

– June Blog Posts –

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Summing It Up: April 2017

Hello! You guys thought I was gone for good, huh?

It’s been a little over a month since I’ve last posted anything, which is quite an abnormally long hiatus for me. Anyhow, it’s nice to be back and I hope to get into the groove of things since I’m out for summer now. (YAY!)

Speaking of summer vacation… yes, that’s right! Exams are over. I took my last one early morning Monday so I’m officially a P2 now. (I took a celebratory photo. It isn’t a great picture… but I kind of like how candid it looks.¬†Plus, you can tell I was genuinely relieved that I was done with the semester¬†because of my huge, gummy smile, lol.)

Since April was a crazy month in that school consumed my life (more than usual),¬†let me just warn you all that very little of this post is bookish related. When I had free time, I¬†rarely did¬†any real¬†reading.¬†Instead, I indulged in¬†mostly manga and shows, which you’ll see soon.

‚Äď What I Read¬†‚Äď

A Silent Voice (full manga series) | Anonymous Noise (full manga series) | The Inexplicable Logic of My Life

It may not seem like a lot but I actually read the entire series for both¬†A Silent Voice,¬†which had¬†seven volumes alone, and Anonymous Noise. But I’m kind of particular with how I include¬†manga/graphic novels towards my annual Goodreads reading challenge. I only count them if I finish the entire series (or however many volumes that are available in English if its ongoing). And I only count 1 volume regardless of how many I read to complete the series. It just feels like cheating otherwise? I don’t know. I’m weird¬†with this sort of thing, I guess.

– April¬†Blog Posts –

I had planned to make an effort on working on some book reviews and scheduling them but, alas, the only post I ended up publishing was¬†previous month’s recap.

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