Last Bookstore book haul

It’s Wednesday & I almost quit this site last week

August 12, 2020


And only because I somehow got updated to the new block editor and almost LOST MY MIND with how confusing it is. Anyway, I am somehow way way back in the dashboard editor, so I am safe. For now. I didn’t finish the post I was working on (yet), but I wanted to get this posted first, so here we are.

Here. We. Are.


Here’s what’s been happening since my last check-in post:

  • I got a new retainer to replace the one that was making me miserable. It still sucks in its way, but it sucks way less than the stupid tray one.
  • I went to two book club meetings for a book I didn’t finish, which may seem like overkill (and it was), but our normally women-only book club teamed up with a men’s only book club for the second discussion, so it was fun to mix it up a little. I don’t know if/when I’ll ever finish the book.
  • I wrapped up my summer class. We did a visiting writers series (which we have done the past three summers), and since everything was over Zoom, I facilitated all the sessions. If you’re interested, you can see all their presentations and our discussions over on the English Division FB page until the end of August. Authors are W. David Hall, Jasmine Guillory, Bridgette Bianca, and Crystal Salas.
  • I started planning my fall classes, which I am behind on, of course. School starts August 24, and I am not quite at the halfway mark of one of my courses. Contrary to what people may think, prepping online classes is a lot more work than a face-to-face class. I cannot just do a skeleton outline and wing stuff. Everything really has to be planned out AND, on top of that, I have to make sure all of the directions are clearly written and easy to understand because I may not get the chance to answer the students’ questions in real time.
  • Planning has been made easier because I have been having accountability/working sessions with a colleague. I do not think I would be so far along if that weren’t the case.
  • My daughter decided not to go back to her school in Florida for face-to-face instruction and will instead stay here and complete her classes online. We decided it was too dangerous for her to risk going, especially since if she caught or got exposed to COVID, she would be (a) too far away from me and (b) unable to stay with my parents since my mom is immunocompromised.
  • I bought a desktop computer–and just in time because my laptop battery has had it and the keyboard had basically completely given up. I’m going to send it to a friend of mine to get fixed so I would have been in trouble without it.
  • I have been on a serious (shelled) sunflower seed kick.
  • Oh, and today, my daughter burned a hole in the carpet. And the trash can. But one of those is more troublesome than the other.

So, you know, not a whole lot except work and things related to work.

I also wrote two posts:

I finished exactly one book:

Full DisclosureFull Disclosure by Camryn Garrett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There’s a lot I liked about this book, especially that it’s a book about an HIV-positive teen who is just out here trying to live her best life. It’s a sweet romance with a charming love interest and great parents. I had a small quibble with how the best friends dropped out of the narrative, but it was all explained in the book and made sense–I just would have preferred that it not happen that way.

I did have two big issues with the book that are kind of spoilery but I’m not putting them behind a spoiler tag because I think they’re important to consider if this is a book that’s being shared with teens (it is YA after all).Consider yourself forewarned.

1. Simone is in a support group for HIV-positive teens. Someone from the group sees her outside of the group setting and says (maliciously–not that it matters) that they’re in group together. Nowhere in the text does Garrett say that (a) that is a HUGE violation of how groups work and (b) no, seriously, the number one rule of those kind of groups is you don’t tell people outside of the group who is in the group. This could make a teen less likely to join a support group because of this fear. I don’t care that the kid outed Simone, but I just would have liked it addressed that it was very bad and unacceptable behavior.

2. My biggest issue with the book, though, is that there’s an oral sex scene and there is literally NO MENTION of any kind of protection being used–at all–or why the characters would make this choice when they both know about Simone’s status. This is especially disappointing because the whole entire premise of the book is Simone’s fears and anxieties about sex and sexual activities and how important it is for her to be safe and how long her viral load has to be undetectable before she’s the least likely to transmit to a partner. On top of that, Simone and her friends have a whole discussion about dental dams and oral sex prophylactics earlier in the novel, so it would have been a nice circle back moment. All that talk about safe sex and then no discussion during (or even after!) an actual sex act? THEN, condoms are mentioned again at the very end of the book so it’s not like Garrett forgot how important they are. I found this extremely frustrating and also a little infuriating.

If it weren’t for these two things, I would have given the book a higher rating. I still recommend the book, but, if you have a teen who wants to read it, there may need to be some discussions had about these two things.

3.5 stars, rounding down

View all my reviews

I watched three movies:


Like almost everyone else in America, I watched Hamilton on Disney+. I mean, it’s Hamilton. It was awesome. And then, of course, I have had various songs stuck in my head on a loop since. For, lo, that is the way.

Okay, I didn’t review that on my Letterboxd, but I did review the other two so here’s a copy and paste job.

To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You (2 stars/Netflix)

This was just as frustrating as the book, which is a good thing, because that it means it was a pretty faithful adaptation. It did need just a touch more Gen to show Lara Jean’s jealousy, though.

The actors are charming as ever. I don’t know why this was a two-star watch for me. I might just be in a mood.

Palm Springs (4.5 stars/Hulu)

This was a great high concept character-driven movie with a lot of laugh out loud moments. I am obviously obsessed with Sarah since I love smart women and she is a g.d. genius.

This would have been a five-star movie if they had gone with an open ending, but they did not, which is fine for some people but not for me. I LIKE METAPHORS, OKAY?

I also got my mystery book shipment from The Last Bookstore:

These are the books (top to bottom):

  • The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart ✔
  • The Hairdresser of Harare by Tendai Huchu
  • The Haters by Jesse Andrews
  • Umami by Laia Jufresa
  • Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
  • Eleanor & Park  by Rainbow Rowell ✔
  • Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia
  • The Islands Project: Poems for Sappho by Eloise Klein Healy
  • Learning by Andrew Choate
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Feeding Ground by Swifty Lang, Michael Lapinski, Chris Mangun (translated by Nathalia Ruiz Murray)
  • Sherman’s March: The Complete Box Office Poison Vol. 1 by Alex Robinson

I put check marks next to the two books I’ve already read and considering how widely I read 2/12 isn’t bad. I haven’t read any of these yet (see above re: only finishing one book in the past month), but one of these books (Tristan Strong) was actually on my wish list so I guess they did alright. I did specifically mention wanting to read books by Black women, so I’m disappointed there’s only one in the bunch as far as I can tell. I could be wrong as I haven’t really looked up any of the books’ authors.

And with that, I am all caught up. I hope everyone is staying safe and well.


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  1. Heather

    I remember getting switched over the block editor last year and completely freaking out for a couple of days. But now that I’m used to it, I actually like the block editor a lot more than the old way. It just takes a little getting used to.

  2. The Widow Badass

    Sorry you had a hard time with the block editor. I switched with great trepidation initially, and I quickly came to absolutely love it. So much nicer to work with than the old one.

    Good idea to have your daughter go back to school online. What I have been reading from Florida regarding Covid has not been good and it is possible that the reality is even worse. I have a friend in the US who tells me that the numbers are not being accurately reported in that state.


  3. K E Garland

    #1: The new editor is awful…just wanted to affirm that for you.
    #2: I wish all institutions and people understood how much work it is to prep for online courses. I would talk sh*t about my institution, but you used to work there and someone might click on this blog and read my comment lol
    #3: I keep seeing Palm Springs, but I also keep passing it…I trust you, so I’ll probably watch it now.


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