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Rick Kitchen

What Are We Currently Reading?

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10 hours ago, kariyaki said:

I'm not normally a fan of book series, I usually like my books to be stand-alones. However, I am plowing through The Expanse series right now (yes, I know they made it into a tv show, but I have not tried that yet). I really like it, though. The writing and world building reminds me of Charles Sheffield, an author who I sorely miss.

It took me three tries to get through book three. I just hated the villain so much I couldn't continue. But I couldn't get into book four, the villain managed to be even more hateable.

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Took a break from The Expanse and read All Our Wrong Todays. A guy from a perfect utopia in 2016 goes back in time and screws something up, ending up in an alternate reality where the world is like how it is now. It’s excellent.

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2 hours ago, kariyaki said:

Took a break from The Expanse and read All Our Wrong Todays. A guy from a perfect utopia in 2016 goes back in time and screws something up, ending up in an alternate reality where the world is like how it is now. It’s excellent.

Ooooh, I love that concept. So our world is the "ruined" one? Yep, that sounds about right. I'll have to look that up. I'd never heard of the book before so thank you for mentioning it. 

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4 minutes ago, Mabinogia said:

Ooooh, I love that concept. So our world is the "ruined" one? Yep, that sounds about right. I'll have to look that up. I'd never heard of the book before so thank you for mentioning it. 

Usually, a dystopia story will have the world worse off than it is now, this was the first one I read where we were the dystopia.

I found an article titled “50 Best Time Travel Books” and this was on it. I’ll be working my way through any of them that sound interesting — which is most of the list.

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Started reading Dark Matter by Blake Crouch on my kindle in Zaxby's this afternoon. I had a few errands so had to quit and now am trying to clear out clutter in the house so I will have to wait a day or two to start savoring it again. Goodreads has go in blind with this book, mind blown, what the hell did I just read reviews. Love story/thriller/what if paths instead/science fiction are one review descriptions. I am also on a wait list for his new (this year?) book Excursion, number 20 on two copies for downloads. One review says he is also the author of the Wayward Pines series which lead to a tv show. 

I added Never Have I Ever to my holds after reading here that it was interesting. Only a two week wait for it, so far. 

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Finished My Sister, the Serial Killer and enjoyed it a lot, but the ending was a bit of a letdown for me. Next up is The Banker's Wife, by Cristina Alger. It should be a fun, quick read. Financial thrillers can be paranoid fun.

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I have The Banker's Wife on wait list, down to 8 weeks now. Hopefully you will have a good review for it since like you, I enjoy a good financial thriller. I sill remember when Grisham came on the scene when I was but a young tender thing and I gulped everything he wrote, along with some other authors of the genre.. While checking my holds I saw that Sourdough, Or Lois And Her Adventures In The Underground Market, Robin Sloan is no longer available after a wait on the list. She authored Mr. Pumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore, which I started and didn't finish (need to revisit it). 

I have Labryinth, Ann Coulter on hold, randomly. I have never read any of her stuff. I know she has a lot of books but are they good? 

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You mean Catherine Coulter.  I haven’t read her stuff, but am assuming she is a very different author from Ann.

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1 hour ago, LucindaWalsh said:

Mr. Pumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore, which I started and didn't finish (need to revisit it). 

I got about halfway through that before I quit. It bored the bejeezus out of me.

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8 hours ago, Crs97 said:

You mean Catherine Coulter.  I haven’t read her stuff, but am assuming she is a very different author from Ann.

Oh jeeze! While they are both authors, I do indeed mean Catherine! I was in a hurry and didn't have my glasses on when typing. Hmm, seeing or not seeing doesn't really dismiss how I got the names wrong though, I guess. 

 

8 hours ago, kariyaki said:

I got about halfway through that before I quit. It bored the bejeezus out of me.

I think that is probably why I only got partially through it also so thanks prodding. I think I will remove the Sourdough book from my wait list.

I managed to squeeze in a chapter of Dark Matter today and so far so good. I think I will put it aside for a few days and try to find time to read for longer stretches on it.

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19 hours ago, LucindaWalsh said:

She authored Mr. Pumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore, which I started and didn't finish (need to revisit it). 

I loved that!  It's quirky and fun.

Recently I finished The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alyx Harrow and found it to be a charming, pretty original story. I don’t think it’s billed as YA but it certainly could be. The protagonist is a feisty teenaged girl who learns she is not who she thinks she is. The plot involves the search for hidden doors (er, Doors) to other worlds while being followed by an unknown force destroying those Doors.  There is a story within the story of a boy and a girl from different worlds who meet then are parted, but continue to search for the Door leading to each other.  The author leaves the door open (no pun intended) for sequels.  It was a fun read during the busy holidays.

 

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I'm almost done with The Escape Room by Megan Goldin. I'm really liking it, mostly because I'm not sure where it's going and I'm enjoying the ride. I'm also halfway through Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow. There are no words for how awful Harvey Weinstein is.

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Currently reading Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong.  It is the 4th in her suspense/mystery Casey Duncan series about a remote off-the-gird town in The Yukon that does not exist on any map.  Neither do the people who live there.  Some are victims, some are criminals, but all have been allowed by the consortium that runs the town to relocate there and disappear there for a few years.  Casey and her boyfriend Eric are the law in the town, he's the sheriff and she a detective.  Small town, people with lots of secrets, they get a lot of work.

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6 hours ago, peacheslatour said:

i'm re-reading all my victoria holt's. it's not the romance. it's not the mysteries. it's the HOUSES!

I loved Victoria Holt books, back in the day.  Also loved the books by another of her pseudonyms, Philipa Carr.  They're a bit more historical, but they're a series and each book (almost) is the story of the daughter from a previous book.  

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1 hour ago, buffynut said:

I loved Victoria Holt books, back in the day.  Also loved the books by another of her pseudonyms, Philipa Carr.  They're a bit more historical, but they're a series and each book (almost) is the story of the daughter from a previous book. 

Me too! I preferred the author's Jean Plaidy books best though, but also read all the Philippa Carr ones.  I only read a few of the Victoria Holt ones. 

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I just finished my last book of the year, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman.  I thought it would just be a fluffy diversion--which it was, in a way.  But I absolutely adored it.  I can't remember the last time I had so much fun reading a book!

My first book for 2020 will be Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston.  Right now, my reading list is pretty much dictated by what is due next back at the library, which puts this one right at the top!

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7 minutes ago, OtterMommy said:

My first book for 2020 will be Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. 

I've been rereading this on a daily basis. I'm so addicted.

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8 minutes ago, scarynikki12 said:

I've been rereading this on a daily basis. I'm so addicted.

So glad to hear that!  I've actually heard nothing but good things about it.  The hold list at the library was a mile long and I had to wait forever to get it!

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1 minute ago, OtterMommy said:

So glad to hear that!  I've actually heard nothing but good things about it.  The hold list at the library was a mile long and I had to wait forever to get it!

It is at mine too but I didn't want to wait so I just bought it and now I'm hooked.

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13 hours ago, OtterMommy said:

My first book for 2020 will be Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston.  Right now, my reading list is pretty much dictated by what is due next back at the library, which puts this one right at the top!

I read this. There are some very funny parts.

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18 hours ago, Constant Viewer said:

Me too! I preferred the author's Jean Plaidy books best though, but also read all the Philippa Carr ones.  I only read a few of the Victoria Holt ones. 

victoria holt/jean plaidy books seem similar. i've read the queen's confession (antionette ) and my enemy the queen (liz I). sorry left wrist is broken. can't type very well.

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I'm reading The Book of Secrets by Melissa McShane, the first book in the The Last Oracle series. This time I only got the first 2 books in the series instead of 3, which is good because book 1 seems to dragging. I'm about 2/3 of the way through, & it still feels like it's setting up the premise of the series. Hopefully by book 2 it will be stronger.

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Summerland by Hannu Rajaniemi. It's a sci fi/history novel that takes place in an alternate 1930s where death is not the end, but just a ticket into Summerland, a world where the dead can continue to exist as spirits, but can still venture back into the real world via mediums or machines that allow them to possess people or 'dolls'.

Kind of odd, because the story is a fairly straightforward spy tale, about one living, British spy trying to root out a dead traitor, but the bureaucracy and power struggles between Britain's 'live' spy agency and its 'dead' one complicate matters. I'm halfway through, and still don't know if I'm enjoying it particularly.

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Just finished: The Great Pretender by Susannah Cahalan. She's the author of Brain on Fire (which I haven't read), her memoir retelling the month in her life where she was plagued by hallucinations and paranoia, causing doctors to assume she had schizophrenia only for it to turn out to be autoimmune encephalitis. She's now dedicated her life to spreading awareness about "physical" disorders that can present themselves as "mental" ones, especially to members of the medical community, who very nearly failed to properly diagnose her.

The Great Pretender follows that trajectory as she becomes familiar with the work of psychologist David Rosenhan, who wrote "On Being Sane in Insane Places": a study wherein Rosenhan and several others faked symptoms to get admitted to mental institutions and write about the conditions inside. The study was instrumental in dismantling the practice of institutionalization, as the whole field began to question if they could really tell if somebody was "insane." She uses Rosenhan's work as sort of a jumping off point to write about the history of psychology and psychological treatment, where we've excelled and where we've failed, and what the future looks like.

As somebody who's always been interested in psychology, I really enjoyed the book. Cahalan has a sort of meandering writing style, but always brings things back around to make her point. I felt like I learned a lot.

Next up: Full Circle: From Hollywood to Real Life and Back Again by Andrea Barber.

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I'm reading The Quest for Queen Mary, by James Pope-Hennessy. He wrote the authorized biography of Queen Mary (George V's consort), and the book is a collection of his notes and interviews with various people connected to the queen. It's edited by Hugo Vickers, a highly regarded royal biographer in his own right. Pope-Hennessy is a bit catty in places, so it's pretty entertaining if you like this sort of thing, which I do.

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I just finished two of Ta-Nehisi Coates' books: The Beautiful Struggle-A Memoir and Between the World and Me. The first book is a memoir of his childhood up until he entered Howard University, and the 2nd is a long letter to his son, who was 15 at the time of the novel. 

Both are really insightful looks into class and race in America, What I really liked about him is that he mentioned that his father was acquainted with Afeni Shakur (both were former Black Panthers living in the Baltimore area in the late '80's),yet Tupac only gets a casual mention as being a friend of his brother. The lack of clout chasing was refreshing---too many others would be more than happy to throw in mundane stories about 'Pac just to sell books.

Looking forward to reading "The Water Dancer" next.

 

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On 12/3/2019 at 1:34 PM, DearEvette said:

Took a detour before that and read Rise of Magicks by Nora Roberts, the finale of her post-apocalyptic Year One Trilogy.  Guh.  She did not stick the landing, imo.  The book squandered all the great set up and groundwork of the first two books.  I had to soldier on to finish it.

I said I'd have to think about reading this but I went ahead anyway.  I still have about 40 pages to go and must finish today to get it back to the library (someone is waiting for it).  I must say the whole series is really poorly written.  At the rate Roberts cranks out her books she never puts any depth to the characters or gives much thought to plot, especially in the third book.  Things happen, but she glosses over specifics so she can get back to writing wooden dialog between people who are more caricatures than fully developed characters.  I disliked the first book, thought the second was mildly interesting, but the third is back to being crap.

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Just finished Last Day by Luann Rice.  I like her writing style, but the mystery was clunky.  Now need to start Kim Michele Richardson’s The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek for my book club this month.

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Just finished The Wives by Tarryn Fisher which was a Book if the Month club pick, and it was terrible. It started out good but then the whole story changed into something different. Next up is The Dutch House by Ann Patchett which I managed to grab off the library ‘s new book rack.

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7 hours ago, Crs97 said:

Just finished Last Day by Luann Rice.  I like her writing style, but the mystery was clunky.  Now need to start Kim Michele Richardson’s The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek for my book club this month.

I just got The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek from my library, but it might be a little while before I get to it.

I finished Red, White & Royal Blue and, yep, it lived up to the hype!  I had heard so many raves about it that I was worried, but I'm glad that it worked for me.  Now, I'm reading The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms.  I've got to say that I'm not wowed yet.  I'm going to give it a bit more and I recognize that it might just not be the right time for this book.  I've read a number of lighter books like this and maybe I need to take a break and read some thrillers or something else completely different.

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I just started Vendetta In Death by J. D. Robb, the 49th! book in the In Death series. Even though there was an occasional book I did not enjoy (usually due to too much detail on what happened to the victim), overall, I am still enjoying the series. Since I didn't start the series until most of it had already been published, I bought it all in the mass market paperbacks. Now I actually wait until the paperback is published to buy it just so the books are all the same. Sometimes that's hard LOL. I have no idea how many more books are planned, but the next one is #50, so I wouldn't be surprised if that's the end.

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Just finished: Full Circle: From Hollywood to Real Life and Back Again by Andrea Barber, aka Kimmy Gibbler from Full and Fuller House. I used to work with child actors, so I kind of gravitate towards memoirs written by people who were famous as kids. Barber has the kind of attitude towards being a child star that I wish more people got to see: it was really just an after school activity for her, her parents were supportive but told her she could quit anytime, and she still got to do all the "normal" kid things while she starred on a highly successful TV show. I think people see the very public breakdowns of people like Lindsay Lohan and Macaulay Culkin and assume that child actors can only become dysfunctional adults. It really all comes down to who that child is surrounded by--if you have parents like the Lohans, who used their kids as meal tickets, then yeah, it's gonna end in disaster. But if the parents, reps, and production staff in the child's life operate in the kid's best interest and not on their own personal agendas, there's no reason a child star can't turn out perfectly well-adjusted.

The only part of the book I didn't like was her need to speak well of Lori Loughlin. I know she actually knows Loughlin and would therefore have a more nuanced view of everything that happened to her than most of us, but is anybody really jonesing to read anything positive about her right now? It also read differently than the rest of the book, and I kind of suspect Loughlin's people might have paid for Barber to insert this bit as a precursor to the redemption tour we all know will come eventually.

Next up: Run Away by Harlan Coben.

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4 hours ago, helenamonster said:

Next up: Run Away by Harlan Coben.

I wish he would write more Myron Bolitar books, I really like them. I read some of his other books, but I felt like they were kind of all the same plot, so I don't read them anymore.

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17 hours ago, GaT said:

I just started Vendetta In Death by J. D. Robb, the 49th!.

J D Robb is Nora Roberts.  That's what I mean about cranking out books.

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4 hours ago, Haleth said:

J D Robb is Nora Roberts.  That's what I mean about cranking out books.

Yes, I know. The In Death series are the only books of hers I read, but she must put out tons of books every year. I really wonder if she's writing them all, or maybe if I read her other series, I would recognize the plots as the same ones used in In Death.

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46 minutes ago, GaT said:

Yes, I know. The In Death series are the only books of hers I read, but she must put out tons of books every year. I really wonder if she's writing them all, or maybe if I read her other series, I would recognize the plots as the same ones used in In Death.

I've read almost everything she's written.  She puts out about three to four books a year.  Usually two JD Robb books, one single suspense title,  and she typically creates a trilogy where one book comes out a year.  Last year she put out Connections in Death and Vendetta in Death as the two Robb titles. Under Currents was the single title suspense.  And Rise of Magicks was the trilogy title.

Usually I'll read the Robb books and the suspense title.  I stopped reading the trilogies years ago because they are super formulaic and rather desultory, imo.   But I made an exception with the Year One trilogy because the first book in this trilogy was very different from everything else she had written and felt ambitious and I really loved it.  It felt like with those last two in the trilogy she tried to get out of her comfort zone like she had with the first book and simply could not sustain it.  If I ever had a suspicion that she had a ghostwriter it would have been with the first Year One book, because it feels a little off brand for her.  The other two books in the trilogy are very much her voice.

I do think she writes them all (even the first Year One book) because she has some very discernible writing tics.  They loom large when you recognize them.  Also she I have noticed a couple of case where she either revisit plots from some of her very early works or recycle character types.  Her fourth Robb book for instance, Ceremony In Death (written in 2003) is very much reminiscent of a book she wrote in 1992 called Divine Evil.

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5 minutes ago, DearEvette said:

I do think she writes them all (even the first Year One book) because she has some very discernible writing tics.

Agreed. She's been following her writing formula for at least twenty years, and she does it well, which is what allows her to churn out so many each year. What helps is her devotion to research and her supporting characters which is what keeps them from getting too formulaic. Even if I'm not feeling the main romance I can still enjoy the book due to those two elements.

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8 minutes ago, scarynikki12 said:

What helps is her devotion to research and her supporting characters which is what keeps them from getting too formulaic.

I have to admit this is kinda what keeps me going with her as well.  Through it all, she is a good writer.  I love books with 'competence porn' -- books that will let us in on a character's profession and a character who excels in their profession.  And her research in various professions is stellar.  Over the years she's had main characters who have been artists, cops, journalists, cartoonists, smoke jumpers, wildlife preservationists, pilots, archaeologists, chefs, wedding planners, treasure hunters, dog trainers, landscape architects, resort owners, hostage negotiators, fire marshalls etc. And in all of them she gives us more than lip service to those jobs. I admit I have learned a lot about the inner workings of some professions just reading her stuff.

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Read The Water Dancer in one day. Good book, especially considering it is Te-Nehisi Coates first work of fiction. Some of the characters could have been fleshed out a little more, but I loved it.

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I had three books come through from the library all at once that I'd had on hold. I had to get a move on reading them before I ran out of time. 

House of Salt and Sorrows - kind of a fairy tale type of story. A girl with eleven sisters and one by one, they keep mysteriously dying. Interesting world building, a lot more morbid than I expected and sufficiently creepy. But it just kind of ended without any satisfying resolution so I was kind of meh on it.

Into the Dim - this was off that time travel book list. Teenage girl finds travels to 12th century England because her mother is stuck there. I liked it, it was pretty good. Kind of a cross between Outlander and Crichton's Timeline. First book of a three part series, but there are only two books so far. My library doesn't even have the second book, so I've got to request it. I can't say I'm interested in it enough to buy it.

A Thousand Pieces of You - also off the time travel book list, though it's not so much time travel as it is alternate universe travel. Like Sliders. Really, really excellent book, I ripped through it in one day. And was delighted that there's more story as it's also a three book series. And my library has all of them so I'm all set.

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I gave up on The Overdue Life of Amy Byler.  The main character was just too much of a victim for me and I was not here for her miraculous self-realization.  I started The Book Woman  of Troublesome Creek and it's good, but not knocking my socks off.  However, it is different from what I've been reading lately so I'll stick with it.

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I've been reading Prairie Fires, the biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, by Caroline Fraser.  It's been quite rewarding, providing a lot of historical context for Wilder's life and writing, while illuminating her post-prairie life with which I was much less familiar.

I will confess to being disappointed in how conservative and reactionary Wilder became in her later years, particularly regarding her feelings about those left destitute by the Depression and the Dust Bowl.  You'd think she'd have some sympathy for people who were going through the same sort of deprivation she faced multiple times during her youth, and approve of government attempts to provide something of a safety net, but you'd be extremely wrong.  Instead she seemed to view the victims of the Depression as lazy or deserving of their difficulties who just wanted to take other people's charity.  Never mind that her own family was forced to depend on the charity of others more than once when she was growing up.

Still, even finding out that Laura Ingalls Wilder was a greatly flawed human being (not that I thought she was a saint) won't detract from my enjoyment of her writing.

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I just finished (the site won’t allow me to use the bold font without it taking me back to its home page) The Delight of Being Ordinary by Roland Merullo. It’s about a road trip with the Pope and the Dalai Lama. I enjoyed it. Rich in Italian history and places, but could be a little long winded in the religious discussions.

I also reread The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz.

 I plan to read A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles next. 

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25 minutes ago, Mindthinkr said:

 I plan to read A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles next. 

I was hesitant to read this after all the hype and stuff—I'm almost always disappointed—and I ended up really enjoying it.

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14 hours ago, Mindthinkr said:

 I plan to read A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles next.

One of my favorites ever.  Beautiful story.

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