The Readers Review: Literature from 1800 to 1910 discussion

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Tell Us What You're Reading > So, What's On the Bedside Table these Days? -- Part 1

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message 201: by Sasha (new)

Sasha I am a complete Anglophile, so I'm sure I will enjoy it.


message 202: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 1764 comments Sasha wrote: "Funnily enough, my husband bought me TMIAB last year and it's on my to-be-read shelf. I will move it up the pile."

Do so. It's a quick read, and worth the time, especially when you're in the mood for a good chuckle or even an actual laugh.


message 203: by Historybuff93 (last edited Feb 10, 2011 06:25PM) (new)

Historybuff93 | 287 comments I began to read When You Are Engulfed in Flames, by David Sedaris, a couple days ago. Sedaris is great with humour and the essays are very interesting. So far, I'm liking it.


message 204: by Jaime (new)

Jaime (Janastasiow) Everyman wrote: "Jennifer wrote: "Has anyone else had this reaction to the book? "

Very much so.

Personally, I prefer Nabokov's critical work (his essays on literature) to his fiction."



I was forced to read it in college and it took me almost a month because I was just so disgusted with it.


message 205: by Jaime (new)

Jaime (Janastasiow) Magdalena wrote: "Right now I am into Russian Literature. Just finished Crime and Punishment and currently reading Best Russian Short Stories. Also starting [book:The Last Sin Eater|95622..."

Crime and Punishment is one of my favorite books, I just loved it.


message 206: by Jaime (new)

Jaime (Janastasiow) Sasha wrote: "Tango wrote: "Re-readingJane Eyre. Such a brilliant book!"
Yep, Jane Eyre is hard to beat. You wouldn't think Vilette and Shirley were written by the same author."


Lol Sasha. Yep, I'm re-reading that one next :)


message 207: by Jaime (new)

Jaime (Janastasiow) So I'm re-reading Frankenstein and reading Sister Carrie for the first time. Up next is Middlesex , 1984 , As I Lay Dying , The Portrait of a Lady , and James and the Giant Peach for book clubs.


message 208: by Kester (new)

Kester Andrews | 36 comments My oh My! I've been away for such a long time I think I should re-introduce myself. I just suffered through a long and arduous Tax season here in Trinidad and I am just getting back into leisure activity. Everyman, History Buff, Madge and all the rest, I hope you have not forgotten me. I have not been idle in my reading though as I have re-read The Brother's Karamazov but have not been able to keep up with your discussions of The Count. Hope to be able to jump in during the next read. In the meantime I am reading Love In The Time of Cholera. Cheers to all and hope to get back into the groove!


message 209: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 1764 comments Great to have you back! And perhaps you and Christopher should coordinate so that we have an active moderator on hand as much as possible. Long experience has shown that an unmoderated discussion is never as effective as a moderated one.


message 210: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (DeborahKliegl) | 2183 comments Mod
Having just recently joined the group, and reading through all of these, I feel like I just arrived home! I won't tell how many TBR shelves I have. I do buy faster than I can read but don't want to miss out on something that interests me. One thing can lead me to another. I love mysteries for my "junk food" reading. But love the serious reading too. Love Tey, just starting to try the Heyer mysteries, love Sayers and the classic mysteries, and love the cozy mysteries. Must be well-written or else I can't read them. It becomes too painful to read bad writing.


message 211: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 1764 comments Deborah wrote: "Having just recently joined the group, and reading through all of these, I feel like I just arrived home! I won't tell how many TBR shelves I have. I do buy faster than I can read but don't want to..."

I agree with you about mysteries, but I call them "brain candy" rather than junk food.

I agree definitely on Tey and Sayers, Heyer is okay but I think she goes on too long. Do you know Rex Stout (Nero Woolfe?) If not, do try him! Also, Ngaio Marsh and Marjorie Allingham.

I have found very few modern mystery writers I like. They don't seem to "play fair" with the readers the way the classic mystery writers did. I do like Dick Francis and Robert Parker, but I don't consider those true mysteries.


message 212: by Rosemary (new)

Rosemary | 180 comments I just started reading the Peter Wimsey books for the first time! I'm over the moon. It's wonderful to find a series that you know will be such a pleasure . . . I'm savoring that "first time" goodness that I know I'll miss in the years to come . . . "Oh, I remember the first time I read Whose Body! Oh, to have it all over again . . . "


message 213: by Denae (new)

Denae (whimsicalmeerkat) I love Peter Wimsey. I read them as a teenager and they make me feel all nostalgic and stuff. Agatha Christie & Nero Wolfe's books do too.


message 214: by Christopher (new)

Christopher H. (christopher_h) | 1483 comments Mod
For those that love well-written historical whodunnits, I simply must highly recommend a wonderful British author, Lindsey Davis. She has written a series of mystery novels set in ancient Rome and various portions of the Empire, and stars a private investigator, or "informer", Marcus Didius Falco. The first novel in the series is The Silver Pigs and is set in Roman Britain. Ms. Davis is retired from the British Foreign Service and has now written about 19-20 of the Falco mysteries. Not only are they excellent mysteries, historically accurate, but they are drop-dead funny too!


message 215: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (DeborahKliegl) | 2183 comments Mod
Denae wrote: "I love Peter Wimsey. I read them as a teenager and they make me feel all nostalgic and stuff. Agatha Christie & Nero Wolfe's books do too."

The PBS movies of Peter Wimsey are great too.

@Everyman - I have read Rex Stout and Nagio Marsh. I haven't read Allingham yet but I do have 2 books by her in the TBR pile.


message 216: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 1764 comments Deborah wrote: "@Everyman - I have read Rex Stout and Nagio Marsh. I haven't read Allingham yet but I do have 2 books by her in the TBR pile.
"


Good-on!


message 217: by Bob (new)

Bob | 33 comments I also just recently joined this group. I am currently reading Vanity Fair, but have felt the need to put it down for a bit to get a fix of detective fiction. So I raided my son's bookshelf - he's away at college, and I'm using his bedroom as a home office, but unfortunately it contains a lot of distractions in the form of books I haven't read - and found a bunch of Michael Connellys. I've never read any of his, but he gets high marks from many on this site, so I'm happily digging in.

I'm rationalizing that it's OK to stop in the middle of my Thackeray because, as somebody pointed out (either here or in the Victorian group - I find it hard to differentiate what messages I've read where), the Victorians themselves had to "put down" their novels while waiting for the next installment.

I guess it's OK to mention here that I'm also "currently reading" City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of America, since it is a fascinating history of that city during (more or less) the period covered by this group. At least it is (or was) fascinating to me, as a long-time Chicagoan. "Currently reading" has to be in quotes, though, because I started to bog down in the last 100 pages or so and have put it aside. It's funny how in fiction I tend to bog down in the beginning, and then pick up speed, while in non-fiction I start to trail off near the end. Does anyone else have this problem?

I have a bunch of other books on my bedside table, but they're all either waiting to be started or waiting for me to finally admit that I'm not going to get through them any time soon.


message 218: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (DeborahKliegl) | 2183 comments Mod
Bob, Never feel bad about reading whatever suits your mood. There's a time for every book. You'll go back to Vanity Fair. I, too, have a pile on my nightstand. I didn't even listed them because the pile was too large. Welcome.


message 219: by Christopher (new)

Christopher H. (christopher_h) | 1483 comments Mod
Along with Jude the Obscure, I am reading Joe Abercrombie's gritty (and very bloody) "The First Law" trilogy, starting with The Blade Itself. I also just received Jean Auel's last book in the "Earth's Children" series, The Land of Painted Caves.

I have Jane Eyre and The Pickwick Papers close at hand to start soon.


message 220: by Malcolm (last edited Mar 31, 2011 10:40AM) (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) | 289 comments I'm reading Terry Wilson's 'Tamla Motown: The Stories Behind The UK Singles', which is a bit of a trawl through the soundtrack of my youth. It's fairly interesting and makes me feel like a bit of a nerd and geeky :o)


message 221: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (balletbookworm) | 8 comments Amid the mess that is my "in-progress" pile (I usually have about 30 books "in-progress" at any one time), Cranford is at the top for LbW followed by Peter Bognanni's The House of Tomorrow (Bognanni's is an IWP graduate and book is set just south of where I live). I just started Marjorie Graber's newest book The Use and Abuse of Literature - I'm not far into it but I like it so far. (I also recently bought Periodic Tales: A Cultural History of the Elements from Arsenic to Zinc - for my project to read chemistry-themed books for the International Year of Chemistry - and it's making eyes at me, so I'll have to start it soon).

And I apologize for the absence of links - the "add book/author" tool seems to be on the fritz.


message 222: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (DeborahKliegl) | 2183 comments Mod
Wow! I thought I was bad with 3. Now I feel like a slug :-). I have Jude, but I'm tending to read the whole section in one go because I can't put it down. Having a hard time not reading ahead. I have Count of Monte Cristo, and a mystery takes place in Victorian times called The Ruby in the Smoke. Been reading my section of Jude, then a bit of mystery, then a bit of Cristo.

I've already downloaded Jude, Cristo, and Pickwick as I will have a week where I'm gone and want to ensure I can take them with me. Haven't download Jane Eyre, but have read it recently enough to be able to discuss stuff. Still it would be great to squeeze that in too.


message 223: by Cathleen (new)

Cathleen In addition to Jude, I'm also currently reading The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville. It's a story about two, middle-aged, socially-awkward people who meet in a rural town in Australia. I've never read anything by her, but I'm really enjoying her writing--beautiful descriptions and humane character portrayals.

I heard a conversation about book:The Masters|6497953] on The Diane Rehm Show on NPR a week or so ago, and I thought I'd give it a go based on their discussion. The novel is set in an English university during the 1930s, and it's about the election of a master of one of the university's college. I'm not sure about it...yet.


message 224: by Amalie (new)

Amalie I got books. Tons of things to study. Unfortunately I still did not get a chance to join in for a group read and I'm saddened to see Jude is slipping through my fingers (sigh) Right now I got absurd plays "Waiting for Godot, The Dumb Waiter and the Lesson by Eugène Ionesco. Feminist poetry... and trying to do some "Little House on the Praire" reading but it's not working.


message 225: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (DeborahKliegl) | 2183 comments Mod
Amalie - Patience. Maybe it is not the right time for you to be reading Jude. It can sit on your beside table and be there when you are ready. It sat in my bookcase for I hate to tell you how many years, before I took it down for this read. Some times we put too much pressure on ourselves. I know I was. I was reading 3 books for 3 groups plus trying to read a 4th. One of the books I absolutely hate after one chapter, yet was still trying to slog through it. I've given up on that one and am okay with that. I am loving Jude and enjoying the Count of Monte Cristo. I felt bad about this last one as I was really behind the group and was putting pressure on myself which then made me enjoy that book less than I would have. It's not worth it. Pressure off....it all will come in good time. Hugs.


message 226: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 1764 comments Deborah wrote: "One of the books I absolutely hate after one chapter, yet was still trying to slog through it."

I follow the 80 page rule. Read 80 pages minus your age, and if you don't like the book, set it aside and go on to another.

I find it works for two reasons. First, of course, the older you get, the less time you have so the more important it is to make your remaining time as pleasant as possible. But the second, less obvious, reason is that the older you get, the more reading experience you have (yeah, that's an assumption, but we're talking readers here, so it's true enough), and so you're more likely to be able to judge whether you're going to like a book sooner than somebody with less reading experience. (Sure, there are exceptions, but it's a pretty good general rule!)


message 227: by Cathleen (new)

Cathleen I think that 80 page rule sounds great. I'll try that. I often start reading something and find it grindingly dull, but I keep with it or just pretend to keep with it. Using the 80 page would make a clean break!


message 228: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (DeborahKliegl) | 2183 comments Mod
I decided to set the book aside (not using the 80 pages). I wasn't enjoying it enough to truly even give it 80 pages. I'm reading both Jude and Count of Monte Cristo. That's enough for me right now. Since both are on my Nook, I'll be packing a few actual books for my flight on Saturday. I like to read through take off and landing because I hate flying.


message 229: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 1764 comments Deborah wrote: "I decided to set the book aside (not using the 80 pages). "

80 pages minus your age. For me, that drops down to 14 pages; I can endure 14 pages of almost anything.


message 230: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (DeborahKliegl) | 2183 comments Mod
That makes it 25 pages for me which I don't think are enough pages to make a fair determination about something. I did that and hated the book enough to put it aside. It may simply not be the right time or it may just not be the book for me. Like you, I will read almost anything (no romance though pls).


message 231: by Kathy (new)

Kathy (cal506) I like skipping large chunks of undigestable material; got me through War and Peace.


message 232: by Ellen (new)

Ellen | 220 comments Historybuff93 wrote: "I began to read When You Are Engulfed in Flames, by David Sedaris, a couple days ago. Sedaris is great with humour and the essays are very interesting. So far, I'm liking it."

I have to say that I think that Sedaris is among the best humorists writing essays in the 21st century, at least among those to whom I've been exposed. I've read several of his books, and my favorite so far is, "Naked". I was laughing so hard I nearly had an accident - not driving, either! Thanks.


message 233: by Ellen (new)

Ellen | 220 comments Kester wrote: "My oh My! I've been away for such a long time I think I should re-introduce myself. I just suffered through a long and arduous Tax season here in Trinidad and I am just getting back into leisure ac..."

Welcome back, Kester! Looking forward to reading more about your reading interests! Thanks.


message 234: by Denae (new)

Denae (whimsicalmeerkat) I haven't read that, but the audiobook is hilarious


message 235: by Ellen (new)

Ellen | 220 comments Bob wrote: "I also just recently joined this group. I am currently reading Vanity Fair, but have felt the need to put it down for a bit to get a fix of detective fiction. So I raided my son's boo..."

Bob, thanks for alerting me to the "City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of America"; I've placed on my to-read list. I was born and raised in Chicago, and the history of the city really is fascinating. This sounds like a great read.

And I'm glad you've joined us here, too. Looking forward to hearing more from you.

Ellen


message 236: by Ellen (new)

Ellen | 220 comments Deborah wrote: "Amalie - Patience. Maybe it is not the right time for you to be reading Jude. It can sit on your beside table and be there when you are ready. It sat in my bookcase for I hate to tell you how ma..."

I agree, Amalie. I've picked up books after having decided years before that I didn't enjoy them only to discover that perhaps my tastes have changed or I've aged, but I do enjoy these books now. What ends up happening to me, though, is that I end up with a huge pile of books on the bedstand and have a hard time choosing what to read at any given moment. I started "Bleak House" for the Dickens Project in the Victorians group (I think), which I hated the first time I plowed through it. Now I'm enjoying it very much. So one never knows how one might feel about a book one didn't enjoy in the past, now that time's passed, right?


message 237: by Ellen (new)

Ellen | 220 comments I went to the local library yesterday and returned a bunch of books that were, as usual, overdue. Sigh. Well, the fees weren't as awful as I'd expected, which was very good as I'm broke as usual.

Anyway, made a good haul there. Took out Dickens' "Bleak House" to start for the Dickens project, a large volume called "The Last Uncollected Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald" (some "light" reading!), "The Victorian Novel", edited by Harold Bloom, a collection of critical articles by some excellent critics, and "The Essays of Elia and "The Last Essays of Elia", by Walter Lamb. I'm a great reader of literary essays, and expect to enjoy this collection very much. It's a reprint and rebound copy without a copyright date, but the introduction by George E. Woodberry is dated October 1892.

I finished the "Portable Dorothy Parker", and discovered that I really enjoy her writing very much. Her book reviews, published in the New Yorker under the byline, "The Constant Reader", are sometimes funny, sometimes quite poignant; after finishing "The Journals of Katherine Mansfield", Parker felt as though she had been reading the very private thoughts of a complex woman which should never have been published. At the end of the review, Parker says to Mansfield, "I'm sorry". I remember feeling the same way when I read these journals years ago.

Quite a long update, but there you have it! Thanks!


message 238: by Robin (new)

Robin | 528 comments Gail wrote: "Nice to know we're all in the same boat, drowning in a sea of books...

On the nightstand? Five Children and It by E. Nesbit; The Judas Window by Carter Dickson, but I keep pushing it away as I'm..."


E Nesbit was one of my childhood favorites. I hope that the popularity of Harry Potter has led booksellers and librarians to recommend her. I liked The Children's Book, (I like most everything Byatt writes) but it isn't a favorable view of Nesbit and it's sad to see how the exuberance of the new century ended with WWI.


message 239: by Robin (new)

Robin | 528 comments I realize I didn't answer the question of what I am reading - currently "Show Business" by Shashi Tharoor (very funny novel about Bollywood)," The Postmistress" by Sarah Blake, (my read-at-work book), "Heir to the Glimmering World" by Cynthia Ozick, (my current audio book). I'd like to catch up on "Jude the Obscure" (I have downloaded it as an ebook). I'd also like to start "The Wise Man's Fear" by Patrick Rothfuss, 2nd installment of a fantasy trilogy. I really liked the first one, "The Name of the Wind", but since it came out almost 4 years ago, I feel I have to reread that one to refresh my memory. When I was younger, I used to reread books I liked, but now I begrudge the time, knowing how many more books are still out there!


message 240: by Bob (new)

Bob | 33 comments Ellen wrote: "Bob, thanks for alerting me to the "City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of America"; I've placed on my to-read list. I was born and raised in Chicago, and the history of the city really is fascinating. This sounds like a great read."

Glad that you picked up on it. For me, it was great until I got to the architecture section. Then I bogged down. I know Chicago is famous for its architecture, but I just don't have a sense for the subject, especially when it's described verbally and most of the buildings have been torn down since! But I'm going to give the post-architecture. To me the history of the city's economic and social development are surprisingly fascinating.

What part of Chicago (or of Chicagoland) are you from?


message 241: by Loretta (new)

Loretta (LorettaLucia) Ahhh, it's been quite a while since I made a trip over to Readers' Review. Work got a little crazy there for a few weeks (which I'm sure will happen again, but it seems I have a brief reprieve).

I'm currently working on:
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2) by J.R.R. Tolkien Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

I'm enjoying all of them, and actually made my way through Part One of AK (which is in 8 parts) in just one day! (I don't generally read that quickly! Clearly, I must be enjoying it.)

I'm afraid this means I neglected poor Jude, though I imagine I will attempt to read it as soon as I've cleared off one of these others. I'll just be posting after all of you have long moved on. ;-)

That being said, I'm very excited for the upcoming Picwick Papers read, as the very nice, slow pace means that there's no feasible way I shouldn't be able to keep up! I might have to read ahead a teeny bit just to be sure. :)


message 242: by Ellen (new)

Ellen | 220 comments Bob wrote: "Ellen wrote: "Bob, thanks for alerting me to the "City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of America"; I've placed on my to-read list. I was born and raised in Chicago, and the hist..."

Bob, I grew up on the far North side of Chicago, very close to Evanston. How about you? I understand what you mean about getting "bogged down" while reading an extensive section about Chicago's architecture. But I did used to enjoy running around on my own little "tours" of Sullivan's buildings, and those of the other great architects of the city. To enjoy this section of the book more, perhaps you might take yourself around on your own self-designed tour? Again, thanks for turning me on to this book!


message 243: by Bob (new)

Bob | 33 comments Ellen wrote: "Bob, I grew up on the far North side of Chicago, very close to Evanston. How about you?"

I grew up in Hyde Park, near the Univ. of Chicago. (I guess you weren't far from Northwestern.) Unfortunately, I don't visit Chicago regularly any more, so I don't know when I'll get back there for an architectural tour.

It really is an amazing place though. It turns out that beautiful Jackson Park, which borders Hyde Park, was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of New York's Central Park. Just an example of the amazing stuff you will find out about your home town in City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of America!


message 244: by Ellen (new)

Ellen | 220 comments Hi, Bob,

Yes, I lived pretty close to Northwestern University in Evanston, and actually started a Masters in Literature program there, going to night school. I was transferred to southeastern Wisconsin and never completed the degree, darn it. One of the things I regret...

Interesting about Frederick Law Olmsted's having designed Jackson Park. I didn't know that. I think I'm going to learn quite a lot about Chicago from the book, and thank you for posting about it.

Have a great day!
Ellen


message 245: by Joshua (new)

Joshua | 7 comments I'll never be able to understand people who can read multiple books at a time. If I allowed myself to start one book before I finished another, I'd be reading so many books at once, I'd never finish any of them.
I haven't really been checking up on my groups on Goodreads lately, as I don't belong to any that focus on what I've been reading. Right now I'm reading The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature by C.S. Lewis. It's my third book into my study of the Medieval period. After this, I'll getting into actual Medieval works, beginning with The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius or Confessions by St. Augustine. I'm going to work through a lot of the major works (Decameron, Canterbury Tales, Travels of Marco Polo, et cetera) and finishing off with Rabelais. Should keep my occupied for a couple of months. But I'll check back from time to time and see how people like Pickwick.


message 246: by Ellen (new)

Ellen | 220 comments Hi, Joshua,

Wow! You are reading some very interesting books indeed. The C.S. Lewis book sounds really informative, and I might see if I can find it somewhere. I think you'll enjoy the Decameron - I really enjoyed reading through both those stories and those in the Canterbury Tales very much. Yes, from your to-read list, I would say you are going to be very busy for several months, indeed!! LOL!

Good to see you around here, and perhaps you might wish to search Goodreads groups to see if there's a Medieval one already available. If not, you can create your own group and see what happens!

Have fun!
Ellen


message 247: by Joshua (new)

Joshua | 7 comments Ellen wrote: "Hi, Joshua,

Wow! You are reading some very interesting books indeed. The C.S. Lewis book sounds really informative, and I might see if I can find it somewhere. I think you'll enjoy the Decameron -..."


I checked for some Medieval groups. There's a few, but none have had any activity for a long time.
I'm excited to read The Decameron, which I will promptly follow with The Canterbury Tales. It's only a fitting order, of course.


message 248: by Ellen (new)

Ellen | 220 comments Joshua, I think you'll enjoy both The Decameron and The Canterbury Tales very much, and look forward to reading your posts about them. Sorry that there aren't any good Medieval groups here so far. Perhaps you or someone else might open one, one never knows. Enjoy!!


message 249: by Christopher (new)

Christopher H. (christopher_h) | 1483 comments Mod
I'm off to Phoenix tomorrow a.m. (5/11) for a couple of days of business meetings. I'm schlepping along my massive hardback tome, The Brontës by Juliet Barker. Our impending group read and discussion has proved to be a great incentive to finally sit down and dive into this biography; which I hear is beyond fabulous.

I am also doing my 'umpteenth' re-read of Hardy's The Return of the Native. I am now even more in love with Eustacia Vye than ever before. God, I love Hardy's women!


message 250: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 1764 comments Christopher wrote: "I am also doing my 'umpteenth' re-read of Hardy's The Return of the Native. I am now even more in love with Eustacia Vye than ever before. God, I love Hardy's women! "

Well, some of them at least. There are a few I wouldn't care to tangle with in a dark alley!


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The Readers Review: Literature from 1800 to 1910

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Books mentioned in this topic

Persuasion (other topics)
East of Eden (other topics)
Heart of Darkness and Selected Short Fiction (other topics)
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (other topics)
A Few Green Leaves (other topics)
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Authors mentioned in this topic

Rumer Godden (other topics)
Michael Bond (other topics)
Michael Sledge (other topics)
Daphne du Maurier (other topics)
Gerald Durrell (other topics)
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