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Rick Kitchen

What Are We Currently Reading?

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A thread to discuss what books you are currently reading.

 


I'm currently reading "Last God Standing", by actor Michael Boatman.  In this book, God wants to experience what it's like to be a normal human, so he incarnates as a black stand up comedian in Chicago.  But other gods, such as Zeus, are trying to take advantage of his being missing from Heaven to take his place.

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Currently reading The Wives of Los Alamos (Tarashea Nesbit), a fictionalized take on the experience of the wives of atomic bomb engineers. Not enjoying it all that much.

Edited by ScullyInApt42

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At the moment, I'm reading a biography of James Monroe - I'm working my way through biographies of the presidents in order, and I'm on #5.

 

I'm also reading Vol. 4 of In Search of Lost Time, which is Sodom and Gomorrah. Reading the series is a year-long project.

 

And I've just started Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett. So far I like his writing better than the Raymond Chandler I read.

 

About half my reading comes from the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list(s), and the rest is whatever strikes my fancy.

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I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes. This book is getting a lot of hype at the moment, it seems, and it's surely going to be a movie within the next five years. But it is pretty good. A somewhat dark thriller, with plenty of grit and gory detail, which is told in an interesting way, with a protagonist who is actually more mysterious at the halfway point than the antagonist.

 

The storyline is turning out to be engaging, the writing style is accessible and fast paced, with what seems to be a lot of research done on the various subjects covered. I am worried that there will be some dumb scifi twist at the end, like so many Robert Ludlum books have, and it will all be ruined.

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On my Kindle, I'm just finishing ​The Woman Who Diet a Lot by Jasper Fforde, the latest book in the Thursday Next series, and will start on Reamde by Neal Stephenson next.  The hardcover book I'm reading is The Omnivores's Dilemma by Michael Pollan.  The audiobook I'm listening to is Sycamore Row by John Grisham. I usually read 3 books at once, an e-book, an audiobook, and a paper book.  The e-book I can take to work and read on my break, the audiobook I listen to walking to and from work, and while cooking or cleaning, the paper book I read while relaxing at home or in bed.

Edited by ALenore
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Haven't they made that into a mini-series?

I don't think Manh(a)ttan is based on Wives. At least I hope not. I thought it might be good to brush up on some of the subject matter as I watched, though. Saw it mentioned in the show thread. Sorry, fellow watchers. It's written in first person plural "we". I understand that particular choice. it's her first novel, she tried, etc. The wives' perspective is both shared and different, history sort of makes them anonymous. I get it.

 

It just feels rambling and empty. 

Edited by ScullyInApt42

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I am about done with a book called The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloots. It's the true story of a woman who died of cervical cancer and the cells from her tumor that scientists used to come up with many medical treatments including the polio vaccine. Although some of the scientific term went over my head, it was a fascinating read.

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I'm reading Pies & Peril by Janel Gradowski on my Kindle, it's about a woman amateur sleuth who is a professional baker and her competition ends up dead so she sets out to find the murderer. It only cost $.99 and had great reviews so I bought it.

I like mystery books

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I am about done with a book called The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloots. It's the true story of a woman who died of cervical cancer and the cells from her tumor that scientists used to come up with many medical treatments including the polio vaccine. Although some of the scientific term went over my head, it was a fascinating read.

I read & enjoyed this book. I was surprised that I liked it since it's not my usual read.

 

Right now I'm finishing The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness, it's the 3rd book in the All Souls Trilogy. I have to say it's a bit of a chore to get through it, it's just got too much unnecessary plot. I thought that was a problem in the 2nd book, Shadow of Night, also. 

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My aunt gave me the book Heaven Is For Real, which I know is now a movie or whatever. I'm not too spiritual (born/raised Catholic, though), but the back of the book (about a little boy who claimed to go to heaven during an emergency appendectomy and all he saw before he came back) sounds a bit intriguing. So, I'll see.

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I just finished The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion which was a fun, quick read. Currently reading a non-fic about a hike on the Appalachian Trail: A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson and it is hilarious.

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I'm about 1/3 of the way through Snuff, by Terry Pratchett.  It features Sam Vimes, one of my favourite of Pratchett's characters, and I'm enjoying him so far out of his element.  I was feeling the glow of satisfaction that comes with finishing a series, when I found out (via another thread here) that there's another book in the series!  I haven't seen Raising Steam in the stores yet, which seems odd, but I'm looking forward to adding it to my list.

 

This is sort of off-topic, but does anyone have any advice on getting back into a book that seems like it would be right up my alley but I'm struggling with it?  I loved the Malazan Book of the Fallen series and was looking forward to Stephen Erickson's next book.  It turned out to be one that took me aback (I was hoping he'd spin off with Karsa and Samar Dev) and I'm really struggling to warm to it, even though Anamander Rake is involved.  I loved the character in the Malazan Book of the Fallen, loved him.  I'm just having a hard time with the idea of reading about his early years when I already know what happened to him.  I didn't take it well either.  There seemed to be so many places Erickson could have gone, that I'm surprised he went where he did.  Has anyone else read it?  I barely touched it before realizing I wasn't taking to it.  It's Erickson, though, I want to like it! 

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One Plus One by Jojo Moyes.  I can understand why this stuff is popular-- my friends heartily recommended her Me Before You but they're both too much like fairytales for me.  I just don't care for stories in which things go from bad to worse for pages at a time until true love conquers all.

Edited by Qoass

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Since my last post here, I finished reading Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett. Really enjoyable; looking forward to reading more of his books.

 

I also started and finished Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, the new one by Haruki Murakami. It was quieter and more dream-like than the previous books of his that I've read, so I was less enamored by it. But it was pretty good.

 

Now I've started Ferdydurke by Witold Gombrowicz.

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I'm almost to the end of The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman. Another trilogy ending book. Not really sure where it's going though, I'm tired of trilogy ending books not being good enough.

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I finished The Rats and The Ruling Sea, the second book in the Chatrand series.  I found a signed copy at a local fantasy bookstore.  I really enjoyed the book.  The characters have really grown on me and, very reluctantly, I love the witchy Oggosk.  I'm looking forward to the next book.

 

Next up: Joe Abercrombie's Red Country, a birthday gift from my sister back in the spring that I'm just getting to now.

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Currently reading Life Drawing by Robin Black. Beautifully written first novel...interesting character study. Surprisingly, I really liked Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarity. I hated The Husband's Secret but her new one was pretty good. 

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Currently reading Life Drawing by Robin Black. Beautifully written first novel...interesting character study. Surprisingly, I really liked Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarity. I hated The Husband's Secret but her new one was pretty good. 

 

I listened to the audio version of The Husband's Secret.  I liked it while I was listening but afterward, I thought WTF?   Too many coinky-dinks to make it plausible and I just didn't like how it ended.

Edited by psychoticstate
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Next up: Joe Abercrombie's Red Country, a birthday gift from my sister back in the spring that I'm just getting to now.

I love Abercrombie and have this one but haven't read it yet.  I binged on epic fantasy for a few years and am taking a break from it for awhile. 

 

Just finished For the Love of Books, a collection of essays by writers talking about books that influenced them.  Very heavy on the usual suspects -- Proust, Joyce, Dickens, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, Woolf (or is it Wolff - I can never remember), etc., but also some praise for two of my favorites -- Ray Bradbury and Jack Finney.  Also just finished an old collection of horror stories, Creeps by Night, with an intro by Dashiell Hammitt (sp?), and a novel about a manipulative woman, The Strange Woman by Ben Ames Williams. 

 

I'm fond of novels from the 40's and 50's.  I'm getting a bit prudish in my old age, and it's nice to read something that's not full of unnecessary sex and violence.  So the 40's and 50's are safe.

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After being really excited to see previews for The Giver, I went to look up reviews and was disappointed to see that they're pretty mediocre.  But in the comments I learned that this book is the first in a quartet!  How did I never know this?!  The last  one only came out in 2012, but still....

Anyway, so that's what I'm reading now.  I just finished The Giver and now I'm into the second one, Gathering Blue.  I just found out 

they don't all have the same continuity; they're just set in the same world/timeframe

but I'm still enjoying myself.

Edited by sunshinelover

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After being really excited to see previews for The Giver, I went to look up reviews and was disappointed to see that they're pretty mediocre.  But in the comments I learned that this book is the first in a quartet!  How did I never know this?!  The last  one only came out in 2012, but still....

 

Yes, I've read all of them. I do feel the first book is the best, but there are some interesting moments in the other three books. 

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This is sort of off-topic, but does anyone have any advice on getting back into a book that seems like it would be right up my alley but I'm struggling with it?  I loved the Malazan Book of the Fallen series and was looking forward to Stephen Erickson's next book.  It turned out to be one that took me aback (I was hoping he'd spin off with Karsa and Samar Dev) and I'm really struggling to warm to it, even though Anamander Rake is involved.  I loved the character in the Malazan Book of the Fallen, loved him.  I'm just having a hard time with the idea of reading about his early years when I already know what happened to him.  I didn't take it well either.  There seemed to be so many places Erickson could have gone, that I'm surprised he went where he did.  Has anyone else read it?  I barely touched it before realizing I wasn't taking to it.  It's Erickson, though, I want to like it! 

I haven't finished the series (and probably won't).  I don't even remember where I left off, House of Chains maybe, or the one after.  But the thing about Erickson and Malazan is that maybe you don't know what happened to Rake.  Erickson keeps bringing characters back, doesn't he?  In different forms?  So maybe he's not finished with Anomander.  ??

 

It's just a thought.  Since you like the series, I wanted to say something helpful and encouraging.  :) 

 

I've been reading about WWI, since 2014 is the centennial of its beginning.  I've been struggling with The First World War by John Keegan, but his long sentences put me to sleep.  I made it almost all the way through The War That Ended Peace by Margaret McMillan and will probably finish, eventually.  Finished Goodbye to All That, Robert Graves' autobiography.  He's best known as the author of I, Claudius.  The Graves bio made me want to re-read Regeneration by Pat Barker, a novel based on the relationship between Graves and Seigfried Sassoon and Sassoon's time in a sanitarium in England -- which I read years ago but didn't fully appreciate. 

 

Then I found Kitchener's Mob by James Norman Hall.  Breezed through that in a couple hours.  Hall is an American who lied about his nationality and fought in France in 1916.  Hall's book is almost propaganda.  He doesn't quite gloss over the horrors of trench warfare, but IMO he's a bit too quick to assign bravery and cowardice -- he's a bit judgmental.  I suppose you have the right to judge if you've been through it yourself, but it struck me as wrong.  The book was published in 1916 and is probably responsible for quite a few young men deciding to get some of that glory for themselves.

Edited by AuntiePam

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I'm reading The Three Musketeers and so far I love it. I love the characters especially D'Artagnan, he's funny and intelligent. The book is engaging and fun, I love it.

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I’m reading Lost Paradise by Kathy Marks, which is about the child sexual abuse scandal/trial that hit the Pitcairn Islands around a decade ago.

 

It is not good for my blood pressure.

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The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.

 

it was recommended to me and...I don't love it.  It's a quick read so I'll finish it off but I just don't like the main character very much.

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I'm reading Love Bites by Lindsay Sands, & I am not loving it at all. I kept hearing about how great this series was, & I lurve me a good series of books that last a long time, but so far, it's just dragging. When I hear about a series that sounds interesting, I usually read the first 3 books to give the author a chance to develop the story & characters, & then I decide if I want to continue. This is the 2nd book, I also read A Quick Bite (yes,the series is about vampires) the first book, & that was kind of a chore to get through. I have Single White Vampire waiting, but unless that turns out to be amazing, I'm pretty sure I'm done with this series. Such a shame, there's 22 books so far, I would have enjoyed that.

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I gave that series a shot when I was going through my vampire porn phase and, despite being embarrassingly easy to please, I bailed on it after a couple of books.  The characters didn't click for me and the writer's style didn't engage me either.

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I'm not much for vampire reading:  hated Twilight and Interview with a Vampire.  However, I adored the Christopher Moore books Bloodsucking Fiends, You Suck and Bite Me.  Good times.

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However, I adored the Christopher Moore books Bloodsucking Fiends, You Suck and Bite Me.  Good times

 

.Yes! I loved these too.  They've been the only vampire books I've read that I liked.   They were also the first audiobooks that I ever listened to. 

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I'm currently reading Michael Grant's Gone series, I'm on #5 Fear at the moment.

 

I avoided the books at first because I thought they'd be really juvenile with the characters all being around 14 or younger, but they're actually darker than I expected and they're very readble

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I'm not much for vampire reading:  hated Twilight and Interview with a Vampire.  However, I adored the Christopher Moore books Bloodsucking Fiends, You Suck and Bite Me.  Good times.

 

I love Christopher Moore.  His books are just hilarious.  I think my favorite is "Lamb", the story of the life of Jesus, as told by his boyhood best friend, Biff (who had the hots for Jesus's mother).

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I love Christopher Moore.  His books are just hilarious.  I think my favorite is "Lamb", the story of the life of Jesus, as told by his boyhood best friend, Biff (who had the hots for Jesus's mother).

I read some of his books, but didn't find them really interesting at all except for "Lamb" which I really liked. And was very surprised at liking.

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I glanced this at the library, I Am Pilgrim, and read the first several pages. It seemed heavy, as in dark and twisted so I didn't check it out. But I keep thinking about the book and wonder if you can tell me if the first couple pages set the tone for the whole book or if it gets better? I don't like going down the rabbit hole of depravity when I read and it sent me there...but I am willing to give it a chance. The whole scene reminded me of a The Blacklist episode.

 

I say I don't like depravity and yet...I love The Blacklist (on tv). Go figure. Oh I already figured, James Spader.

 

I am absolutely not a fan of the sort of depravity and gore that the first chapter of the book contains. Fortunately, it really settles down into a cool spy/terrorism thriller after that. There are some bits that are tough to read, but more because of the callousness of the antagonist, than because it's stomach turning.

 

My only real complaint would be that the protagonist is a little too awesome at his job, that it sometimes becomes a bit daft. He's a cold-hearted son of a bitch, though.

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I'm currently reading Michael Grant's Gone series, I'm on #5 Fear at the moment.

I started that series but only got through book 4 believe before I gave up. It's turned too horror oriented for me & I was ready for things to wrap up. I almost never quit a series once I've started it so it was a tough choice.

I've been reading Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West by Blaine Harden. It's a nonfiction required reading book for my 9th grader, but once a read a chapter out loud to her while she took notes I had to kept going. It's a hard read & I've taken a break for a couple of days more than once but it's fascinating. The brutality & lack of a basic concept of love is hard to comprehend, especially sitting in my comfortable American life.

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Speaking of gore, I've been on a WWI kick and wanted to know more about the Balkans,  Someone recommended The Bridge on the Drina by Ivo Andric, a mostly fictional history covering 500 years in a small town in Serbia, or maybe it was Bosnia -- or maybe both, since those borders have changed so often.  Anyway, the story begins with a graphic depiction of an impalement.  Seriously, if you were offered the position of Torturer, you could learn how to do an impalement by reading this book.  Thankfully that was the extent of the gore.

 

Currently reading The Balkan Trilogy and The Levant Trilogy by Olivia Manning.  It's six novels in one volume.  I thought I was buying just the first book, and now I'm wishing I'd bought the Kindle version because even though it's paperback, it's killing my wrists.  But it's excellent.  It's basically the story of a marriage against the backdrop of WWII.  Manning is one of those writers who makes keen observations about people -- there are some "types" but they're not stereotypes.  I'm loving it.

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I've started a new series.  I read a review of Jeff VanderMeer's Acceptance in Entertainment Weekly's book section and they gave it an A-.  I'd never heard of the Southern Reach trilogy and I'm absolutely desperate for something to read so I went to the bookstore yesterday.  Oddly, the first two, Annihilation and Authority, were available in General Fiction rather than Science Fiction/Fantasy so I had trouble tracking them down.  I started Annihilation last night and it's intriguing, but I'm struggling to like the narrator.  I'm a reader who likes to have at least one character I can empathize with and this book isn't giving me that just yet.  It's definitely creepy though.

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IrishMaple, those books are on my wish list -- I love Vandermeer. 

 

Yesterday I read The True Story of Ida Johnson by Sharon Riis.  Ida is a waitress in a cafe in a small town in Alberta, Canada.  A drifter comes into the cafe and asks her to tell him the story of her life.  I liked the book.  At first I thought it was too short -- more like a novella -- but I guess Riis said all she wanted to say.  It's almost more of a reverie than a story and it raises questions about how we choose to live, whether we let life happen to us or actively participate. 

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I've been reading Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West byBlaine Harden.

If you’re interested in reading more about the living in North Korea, I’d like to recommend Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick. It’s more focused on the daily lives of ordinary North Korean citizens. Good read, but depressing; I’ve only ever managed to read it once, and I usually compulsively reread books over and over (and over and over). I think the one story that got to me was the one about

the boy and girl who were dating and made plans independently of each other to defect, because as much as they liked each other, they couldn’t completely trust the other person. It’s funny - well, not funny so much as weird - that that’s the story that stuck out to me, considering it’s not the most harrowing one in the book. And I’ve ranted about the “star-crossed lovers” trope in fiction before, too. I don’t know. Speaking of which, I have the feeling that if a YA author had written this story as fiction, they would have had the couple conspiring to leave the country together, and that wouldn’t have been as compelling a narrative.

Edited by galax-arena

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I hated Annihilation so much I'm reconsidering Authority.  I really hated that book.  The narrator never grew on me and I disliked her more as the book went on.  The characters I did get interested in didn't go anywhere.  The story kind of meandered and nothing really happened.  I mean, stuff happened but none of it went anywhere.  I know as much about Area X at the end as I did at the beginning.  I realize it's the opening book of a trilogy but I have no interest in going on based on what I didn't learn in this book.  The linguist (I also hated the no-names conceit) had the right idea: I should have bailed at the start too. 

 

It's kind of odd that I had the same reaction to Annihilation that I had to the movie Snowpiercer.  I finally saw that movie on Sunday after spending my summer scouring the listings for it.  I was dying to see this movie.  I liked it fine at the start but as it went on I began to realize that there was nothing there.  The movie seemed to think it was clever but I wasn't convinced.  It was not a good weekend for things I was excited about. 

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If you’re interested in reading more about the living in North Korea, I’d like to recommend Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick. It’s more focused on the daily lives of ordinary North Korean citizens.

Thanks for the recommendation. I appreciate it! It sounds interesting if intense. Escape from Camp 14 is about a man who was born in a prison camp. I knew there were prison camps in North Korea but I didn't realize they were generational to "cleanse" the linage of the family. The constant fear & hunger & having no one to trust & nobody that loves you or you love was shocking to me. I've read books about camps during the Holocaust but I suppose I wasn't prepared for the lack of humanity among everyone.

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I am reading The Moment of Everything by Shelly King  -  - just really started it but so far I am really enjoying it.  I always appreciate good snark.

 

I am listening to The Bookman's Tale by Charles C. Lovett.  Not sure about it yet.  I thought I would get into it right away and I haven't been as engrossed as I'd like.  Not giving up yet though.

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Just finished reading The Women by T.C. Boyle, a novelization of some of Frank Lloyd Wright's romantic relationships. I thought it was pretty well done, if a bit long.

About to read June Cross' Secret Daughter, which is about how the author (who is mixed-race) was given away by her white mother.

Edited by Gillian Rosh
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Okay, I loved Roxane Gay's An Untamed State so I just went to my library website to search out Bad Feminist.  Apparently they don't have that but they suggested How to Analyze the Music of Michael Jackson.

 

I...what?

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Okay, I loved Roxane Gay's An Untamed State so I just went to my library website to search out Bad Feminist.  Apparently they don't have that but they suggested How to Analyze the Music of Michael Jackson.

I...what?

 

 

Really?

 

It's like #14 on the NYT Bestseller's list. I'm using the Kindle edition from my public library. 

Edited by Skyline

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