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message 1: by Dan, deadpan man (new)

Dan | 641 comments Mod
I thought it would be interesting to start a thread on your personal reading goals whether it be for the year or for a longer/shorter time.

I have some general goals I try to set for myself such as reading at least 52 novels a year, for example. I am also trying to expand the types of books I am reading. So far I have succeeded in reading some science fiction which is not something I have done much of in the past.

I have also noted that I read a disproportionately large number of male authors so I have decided I need to read more female authors this year. So far I have failed.

With the exception of Richard Ford all of the books I have read this year have been by dead people.

So what goals or plans do you have for reading? Or maybe more important what has compelled you to set these goals or plans?

This may be a good spot for Ben to continue on with his cycle of ten books experiment he is trying this year.


message 2: by Ben, uneasy in a position of power; a yorkshire pudding (last edited Mar 12, 2009 01:18PM) (new)

Ben Loory | 241 comments Mod
Dan wrote: "This may be a good spot for Ben to continue on with his cycle of ten books experiment he is trying this year."

very well... although i think i've already bothered everyone with this...

my new system is, for every 10 books i read, one has to fill each of the following slots:

foreign
short stories
poetry
non-fiction
funny
contemporary (last 5 years or so)
old (pre-1900)
re-read (historically, i never reread anything)
and then there are 2 slots for whatever i feel like.

no book can count for more than one category at a time (the iliad doesn't count for old, foreign, and poetry, only for whichever one i choose).

that's it. so far it's working out really well. i'm reading stuff i never would have before, when i was compulsively fixated on novels (even though i don't really like novels?).

my only real problem is the "contemporary" category. cuz whenever i look at new books in the bookstore, i'm always filled with such boredom and frustration... they all seem so fucking smarmy!

so yeah. that's my system. the only other problem with it is that i seem to spend a lot of time planning out what i'm going to read. time that i could spend reading. but already i think about what i've read this year and i'm much happier with it than what i read last year. so that's good.




message 3: by Abi (last edited Mar 12, 2009 02:54PM) (new)

Abi A lot of my reading is outside of my control, but my personal choices tend to be influenced mainly by guilt and nostalgia. Guilt that I've bought a book, and there it sits unloved and either unread or half-finished on my shelves whilst I shamelessly re-read Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials, because of nostalgia. I re-read beloved favourites a lot. I'm also subject to irrational literary guilt whenever I hear someone mention a great book that I haven't read. I immediately feel I ought to have read it. I'm strangely ashamed that I've never read a book by Dostoyevsky or Hugo, for example. In fact, I'm going to start Les Misérables now.


message 4: by Connie (new)

Connie | 10 comments Dan wrote: "So far I have succeeded in reading some science fiction which is not something I have done much of in the past...so I have decided I need to read more female authors this year."

Dan, a favorite SciFi/Fantasy of mine is "The Unlikely Ones" The Unlikely Ones by Mary Brown, published in 1987. I don't know if she's still alive, but this selection may help you check-off several squares on your goals list.

As for my reading goals this year...I just want to read. So far this year I have read two...yes, I said, two... books for my own enjoyment. That is a sad, sad statement. When the year closes I hope to at least have read 12 books of my own choosing, for my own enjoyment, and my own fulfillment. {how's that for sounding selfish??!!??}



message 5: by Maureen, mo-nemclature (new)

Maureen (modusa) | 683 comments Mod
i don't really set myself any goals -- i usually read more than 50 books a year but i don't force myself to read them just so i can say that. it's usually at least 50 fiction with some some biography and reference thrown in -- last year i read a lot of books about making dictionaries for example, and all for nought. i guess this year i should be reading reference books on how to get a job in a terrible recession. ;)


message 6: by Lauren, Cream Cheese Angel (new)

Lauren Soderberg | 80 comments Mod
I'm trying to read all the novels that characters in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen are from. I've read:

the Picture of Dorian Gray
the Adventures of Tom Sawyer
the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
the Phantom of the Opera

so I need to read

King Solomon's Mines
Dracula
the Invisible Man
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Moby Dick

among others.



message 7: by Ry (new)

Ry (downeyr) | 173 comments This year I've set a 50-Book Challenge for myself, which was actually my New Year's Resolution for this year! The only requirement for these books is that they be ones that I have not yet read. So far it's going quite well: I've got 15 so far. I would be reading more, but I've been working to finish Winter Quarter here!


message 8: by Shel, ad astra per aspera (new)

Shel (shelbybower) | 946 comments Mod
Wow. All this discipline.

I read 12 books at a time, so I'm lucky to finish any of them... I start one, and it's really good, then I find another or it gets recommended by the group, and I'm off on that one and it's really good too... and then I have a discussion group thing so I work on that (recently Dostoevsky, now Chekhov and Ibsen, and then Henry V the following week)...

Guided by the four winds, I guess.


message 9: by Esther (new)

Esther | 83 comments Mod
I would love, love, love to find a way to continue my desired reading while forced to read chapter after chapter of boring textbooks. That's my reading goal for the year, so if anyone has any ideas how I can squeeze out about 3 more hours from each day, please let me know!

I tried so hard this semester, too...lasted a week and a half before I got completely overwhelmed and put Maugham aside.


message 10: by Jennifer, hot tamale (new)

Jennifer | 141 comments Mod
i have a couple. the first is to finish each book i start - i didn't finish 2 books last year and that's very unlike me. i need to stop reading multiple books at the same time but i don't see that happening - my daughter likes to hide my books... i found my patricia highsmith biography after nearly a week in her play oven. :) my other goal is to read what i have before getting more. i'm out of space!


message 11: by Jennifer, hot tamale (new)

Jennifer | 141 comments Mod
Esther wrote: "I would love, love, love to find a way to continue my desired reading while forced to read chapter after chapter of boring textbooks. That's my reading goal for the year, so if anyone has any idea..."

i'm sure you've had this idea but books on cd is a thought, if you commute. a lot of libraries have extensive collections on cd and can get you other requests by interlibrary loan. :)


message 12: by Audra (new)

Audra (audrafreeagain) | 31 comments Ben's system seems quite sound to me. I am consistently choosing British authors, but I'd like to read some Indian and maybe German as well. Not to mention more Canadian.

I'd also like to read more SciFi. I read an Isaac Asimov once a long time ago and enjoyed it. I just want to avoid the cheesy weird sexy robot stuff. :)

As a system, I have also considered keeping a list of the books authors mention in their own books, but I never get around to doing so. :( Damn ADD.




message 13: by Audra (new)

Audra (audrafreeagain) | 31 comments Maureen wrote: "i don't really set myself any goals -- i usually read more than 50 books a year but i don't force myself to read them just so i can say that. it's usually at least 50 fiction with some some biograp..."

When you say 50 a year, is that purely enjoyment reading? Is it mixed with easy read stuff? That sounds like a lot to me!


message 14: by Dan, deadpan man (new)

Dan | 641 comments Mod
Audi Audi Oxen Freeeee! wrote: "I'd also like to read more SciFi. I read an Isaac Asimov once a long time ago and enjoyed it. I just want to avoid the cheesy weird sexy robot stuff. :)"

I would highly, highly recommend Philip K Dick. He totally wiped away all preconceived (and often negative) notions I had of SciFi. He also gets inside your head and kicks your brain around until you don't know what to believe anymore. I can't wait to read more from him.

Audi Audi Oxen Freeeee! wrote:"When you say 50 a year, is that purely enjoyment reading? Is it mixed with easy read stuff? That sounds like a lot to me! "

50 books is actually not too hard to do, unless you have reading block for a month or two which seemed to happen to me in the middle of last year. I typically only count pleasure reading but make no distinctions between easy read and normal read.

I read some the The Idiot and Sometimes a Great Notion which were more challenging than say The Catcher in the Rye but I just group them all together.

In the end though if I don't read 50+ books this year it won't be a big deal. I have already read Anna Karenina and am working on Infinite Jest which are much longer than my typical reads.


message 15: by Abi (new)

Abi Esther wrote: "I would love, love, love to find a way to continue my desired reading while forced to read chapter after chapter of boring textbooks. That's my reading goal for the year, so if anyone has any idea..."

The secret, I find, is to selectively ignore some of your set reading. It's worked for me for three years.


message 16: by Patrick, photographic eye (last edited Mar 13, 2009 09:00PM) (new)

Patrick | 133 comments Mod
if i have a reading goal this year, it is simply to read more. i started off the year ok, but lost focus over the last few weeks. still trying to get back on track.

this may sound counterintuitive to my wanting to read more plan, but i hope/plan to get rid of at least half of the books i have sitting around. i'm an accumulater. books flow in at a rate that i can't keep up with, i'll try for a while, then just get sidetracked or frustrated or overwhelmed and quickly lose focus/momentum. so, i'm hoping a rigorous weeding of my shelves and stacks may help let some light and fresh air in.

one other, non-reading but related goal... in the last few months i've been finding more & more audio &/or video clips of author appearances, interviews, conferences, roundtable discussions etc., ... and i've been trying to take in a lot more of that. it's pretty remarkable what can be found on youtube alone. some of it can be pretty dry & academic, but not all. found clips of octavia butler. that made me happy. watched an old charlie rose/toni morrison interview. saw darin strauss singing "sweet caroline" somewhere. tons of other stuff. i don't always enjoy hearing or seeing an author talk specifically about a work of their own, but i love to hear them talk process and craft or to talk about works that they love & hate.




message 17: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 13, 2009 09:31PM) (new)

slow rabbit wrote:

"so, i'm hoping a rigorous weeding of my shelves and stacks may help let some light and fresh air in."

There's a neat little tool on your page where you can list books you have to swap. I found it by going to "my friends" then in the upper right area of the page there is a link to books your friends have to swap. Then you can add a list of your own. So far as I know Ben and I are the only ones useing this.

I'm just saying.


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

My reading goal for this year is to find and read one great book. One story that pulls me in by page two and drags me along on a roller coaster ride through the haunted house. I want and adventure, mystery, romance, inspirational, dystopian laugh riot. I want Treasure Island, Memnoch the Devil, West of Here, Jane Eyre, The Stand and James Bond. I want a book that will make every nerve buzz and the last ten pages will change me forever. I want to read those last ten pages ten times and then carry that book around throwing it at people shouting “Have you read this?” I want to be awed, dismayed, filled with joy and triumph. I want an Elf, a Vampire, a Pirate or an ordinary man to play over and over in my head. Yes, I want a mental orgasm. No Pressure.



message 19: by Michael, the Olddad (new)

Michael (olddad) | 255 comments Mod
Margaret wrote: "...Yes, I want a mental orgasm. No Pressure."


Um, Mare; you know this is approximately the exact opposite to a good approach. Most authors perform a whole lot worse under pressure. Unless the author, of course, forgets his or her own pleasure and focuses on you. I would suggest lighting a few candles, putting on some mood music, and seducing the book a little more. ;)

mm



message 20: by Charlaralotte (new)

Charlaralotte | 12 comments This is very interesting. It has never occurred to me to have a plan for what to read. Except for when I was eleven and thought that the only revenge for death was to read every book in the world.

I must think about this planning thing more. Brother Ben, your plan blows me away! I had no idea.

I suppose because reading is a necessity for me to escape from the "real world" (if I'm not reading a book, I'm absolutely miserable and forlorn--I've got to have another world for my brain to be floating in to take the pressure off of being in this world), I read indiscriminately. Put a book in front of me and I'm off.

The plan idea makes me nervous because reading lets me escape from obsessive-compulsive thinking, and I worry that creating a plan could start some OCD stuff. Sort of like in college when I was hit with enormous reading lists. I broke down every book by number of pages and then forced myself to read a certain number of pages within five, ten, twenty, minutes. I've never enjoyed reading less than then, and it's why I didn't become a lit major, though that's certainly what would have made sense.

I'm a big fan of public libraries. I troll the aisles and just pick up stuff that looks interesting. In this way I'm not stuck shelling out $ for sucky books, and I also end up reading things I would never have read before.

I know, I know, other people have touched library books. Fortunately, my OCD doesn't have anything to do with cleanliness or germs. I actually like the feeling of comraderie with a borrowed book. It makes me feel connected to other people in the world who have seen the same words and entered the same universe.

Inadvertently, my reading encompasses a steady mix of "classic" European and American literature, new fiction with an historical setting, and fiction set in places I've never been. I like my literature to teach me something about history and anthropology,and also to be smart. I'm very happy with the wealth of new work being released from Islamic writers. These are new worlds with imagery that's flabbergastingly beautiful.

C'est fine.


message 21: by Esther (new)

Esther | 83 comments Mod
Abi wrote: "Esther wrote: "I would love, love, love to find a way to continue my desired reading while forced to read chapter after chapter of boring textbooks. That's my reading goal for the year, so if anyo..."

Usually works but I seem to have anal teachers this time. Two of them do quizzes each class to be sure we've read the chapter(s) assigned. Strangely, it makes me not want to read the chapters even more than if they wouldn't do this.


message 22: by Ben, uneasy in a position of power; a yorkshire pudding (new)

Ben Loory | 241 comments Mod
Charlaralotte wrote: "I must think about this planning thing more. Brother Ben, your plan blows me away! I had no idea."

it only went into effect at the beginning of the year, so no reason to be blown away yet! if i'm still doing it when i'm 85, then... well, then you can say "ben, you're 85 years old!!!!" and i'll be like "holy shit!!!!!"




message 23: by Brian, just a child's imagination (new)

Brian (banoo) | 346 comments Mod
Charlaralotte wrote: "I like my literature to teach me something about history and anthropology,and also to be smart."

the buru quartet by pramoedya ananta toer. no need to plan it.


message 24: by Matt, e-monk (new)

Matt Comito | 386 comments Mod
I read what I want to read when I want to read it - trying to live under the tyranny of a plan just wouldnt be possible - Im just not built that way


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

Michael wrote: "Margaret wrote: "...Yes, I want a mental orgasm. No Pressure."


Um, Mare; you know this is approximately the exact opposite to a good approach. Most authors perform a whole lot worse under pre..."


That's OK I can wait.


message 26: by Debbie (new)

Debbie (nerdygirlshops) | 7 comments I don't think I could ever discipline myself enough for a book plan. Everything else in my life calls for that kind of discipline and control, I don't want it anywhere near my books. I do, however, keep a journal of the books I read through the year.(I looked at last years journal and found that I read 75 books last year!) But no plans for me, thank you, I read when I want to because I want to. :)


message 27: by Audra (last edited Mar 23, 2009 10:25AM) (new)

Audra (audrafreeagain) | 31 comments Dan wrote: "Audi Audi Oxen Freeeee! wrote: "I'd also like to read more SciFi. I read an Isaac Asimov once a long time ago and enjoyed it. I just want to avoid the cheesy weird sexy robot stuff. :)"

I would hi..."


I feel like I might only read 25 a year. I could start a list but I'd lose it. Can someone please come up with a cure for ADD? It's really tiring. I'm always looking for shit. If I didn't spend so much time looking for stuff I might be able to read 50 books a year!

Yes, I wanted in on on the UBIK discussion but didn't have any book cash at the time.

We dredged our collection, took the nasties to a couple of book stores for trade, but neither of them had any PKD :( And you can't have book credits hanging around...I mean you have to spend them right then; there's too much to read out there. I did get a few of the Rabbit Run serious which I'm looking forward to.

My birthday's coming up the 30th though, so maybe I'll get a PKD then.


message 28: by Audra (new)

Audra (audrafreeagain) | 31 comments Margaret wrote: "My reading goal for this year is to find and read one great book. One story that pulls me in by page two and drags me along on a roller coaster ride through the haunted house. I want and adventure,..."

How about Marley and Me?

Kidding.

Have you tried The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies?



message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

Audi Audi Oxen Freeeee! wrote: Have you tried The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies?

I'll check it out. thanks




message 30: by Christopher, Swanny (new)

Christopher Swann (christopherswann) | 189 comments Mod
My plan might actually be to read...less.

I know, sounds crazy. But here's why.

I like writing. Except that, well, it's hard. And to get any writing done, I need to be alone somewhere. Which, in the summer, tends to be home, when both boys are at daycare or one of various summer camps. And when I settle in to my chair in front of my laptop, ready for the magic to begin, there it is.

A book.

Sitting on a shelf not ten feet away.

It might be an old, worn favorite, or a crisp new uncracked spine. All that matters is that it's a book. And it's full of words. Words I suddenly want, have to read. My own words can wait for just a little while, right? Plus, they couldn't possibly be as good as the ones between those covers.

Or, maybe they could be. Maybe my own words are as good as the ones in that book. Maybe (and I almost have to whisper this to myself), maybe they're better. So I should read that book first, you know, to get my spirits up, so I can then say, "Well, that was good...but not as good as what I'm about to write."

And so I read a book. It might be Ernest Hemingway or Raymond Chandler or Emily Giffin. Doesn't matter. It's a book, dammit. And I need to read it.

And then there go at least two good writing days. Gone. Poof.

A long time ago I read a book called Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande, and she was writing about how to live as a writer. One suggestion: stop reading. Soon your own words will burst forth. I tried it, and it was true for me.

I'll never stop reading. But maybe I'll read a little less this summer so I can write a little more.


message 31: by Shel, ad astra per aspera (new)

Shel (shelbybower) | 946 comments Mod
One of my writing professors said that a writer should read twice as much as they write.

I'm not sure how she calculated it, though.

I do try to follow -- generally speaking (and it's much easier to read with kids around than it is to write). I try to read stuff that is like what I'm working on if I can find it, to see what's out there, and stuff that is entirely different. So far it's way easier to find the latter. Which could be a good or bad thing, depending on how you look at it.

Also, poetry and essays help a lot. Poems are about distillation, essays make a larger point about life. Both help in writing good sentences and scenes.


message 32: by Audra (new)

Audra (audrafreeagain) | 31 comments Chris wrote:A long time ago I read a book called Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande, and she was writing about how to live as a writer. One suggestion: stop reading. Soon your own words will burst forth. I tried it, and it was true for me

Woah. That's encouraging to hear. Whenever I sit down to write, nothing comes out. All my great ideas and inspirations go *poof*

I need to practice; I have three books on writing and never practice what's in them because I break down and end up reading someone else.




message 33: by Esther (new)

Esther | 83 comments Mod
Chris wrote: "My plan might actually be to read...less.

I know, sounds crazy. But here's why.

I like writing. Except that, well, it's hard. And to get any writing done, I need to be alone somewhere. Wh..."


I have the same problem. This compounded by the fact that during the months I'm in school I rarely find time to read anything that isn't assigned to me, but I continue to run across books I want to read and end up picking them up so my "to read" pile just grows and grows each semester.



message 34: by [deleted user] (new)

My new reading goal is to not read anything unless it is written by an imaginary friend or an imaginary friend of an imaginary friend. So let's go guys, quit reading and start writing.


message 35: by Michael, the Olddad (new)

Michael (olddad) | 255 comments Mod
Margaret wrote: "My new reading goal is to not read anything unless it is written by an imaginary friend or an imaginary friend of an imaginary friend. So let's go guys, quit reading and start writing."

"In the beginning, sometimes I left imaginary manuscripts for my friends."


message 36: by Patrick, The Special School Bus Rider (new)

Patrick (horrorshow) | 269 comments Mod
Talk about a ghost writer.


message 37: by R.a. (new)

R.a. (brasidas1) | 79 comments Ben wrote: "Dan wrote: "This may be a good spot for Ben to continue on with his cycle of ten books experiment he is trying this year."

very well... although i think i've already bothered everyone with this......"


Wow! I like this . . .

I would have to fight my constant pecking, though, esp. with the classical lit.

And, the contemporary stuff. I agree. It seemes we're in a Neo-classicalal-type period. Characters who embody those vices: greed, vanity, etc. It seems as though everything I browse is reminiscent of Congreve, Wycherly, or Sheridan. Funny and witty; yet, I can't help question the authenticity and honesty of characters. And, after a time, the author.



message 38: by Kerry, flame-haired janeite (new)

Kerry Dunn (kerryanndunn) | 887 comments Mod
If I had any kind of plan this year, it definitely went to hell in a handbasket. I've been woefully neglecting my reading this year. . .


message 39: by Martyn (new)

Martyn | 299 comments I forgot to keep a list of every book I've read this year...so not certain how much I've read...it's been mostly non-fiction with some stuff in between.

I'm reading Jane Eyre at the moment. And I plan on reading James Ellroy's The Black Dahlia straight after.


message 40: by Shel, ad astra per aspera (last edited Nov 30, 2009 12:27AM) (new)

Shel (shelbybower) | 946 comments Mod
Is it really December? Or, wait, almost December?

I can hardly remember my year. SmartyKate told me it would be that way, and so it is. That SmartyKate earned her nickname.

Maybe this is the year I just write off, so it's just as well I didn't get terribly serious about Infinite Jest.


message 41: by Brian, just a child's imagination (new)

Brian (banoo) | 346 comments Mod
i'm going with 'fat' books... infinite jest, the complete works of edgar a poe, and a beckett trilogy. not sure what else. there will be more else's no doubt about that.


message 42: by Ben, uneasy in a position of power; a yorkshire pudding (last edited Dec 02, 2009 01:08AM) (new)

Ben Loory | 241 comments Mod
Brian wrote: "i'm going with 'fat' books... infinite jest, the complete works of edgar a poe, and a beckett trilogy. not sure what else. there will be more else's no doubt about that."

woah, that's my plan, too! i'm doing Big and Important Books this year. finnegans wake, cancer ward, bleak house, rabelais, journey to the end of night, blah blah blah.... i gotta get off this "number of books read" thing...


message 43: by Brian, just a child's imagination (new)

Brian (banoo) | 346 comments Mod
i almost bought a fat hunter s thompson book but it was too heavy... i think it was the complete gonzo papers in one volume. fat is the new thin. plus i'm better at keeping track of things if they're equal to or less than my number of fingers (i still have all 10 as of this writing).


message 44: by Ry (new)

Ry (downeyr) | 173 comments For a New Year's Resolution this year, I decided to keep track of every book I read. My goal was 50 books. So far, I'm up to 47 books! On the 7th of December I'll be taking a plane ride to India, so hopefully I'll reach my goal on this trip. :)


message 45: by Martyn (new)

Martyn | 299 comments Ry wrote: "For a New Year's Resolution this year, I decided to keep track of every book I read. My goal was 50 books. So far, I'm up to 47 books! On the 7th of December I'll be taking a plane ride to India, s..."

good stuff!



message 46: by Robert (new)

Robert Corbett (robcrowe00) | 169 comments I have never written to the list, but have been lurking for a year or so (thanks to Patty). It may not be protocol--my sense is this group is giving about protocol--to write before introducing myself, but I thought I would put out my reading goals for the end of the year b/c they are not that ambitious, and because once written down, I should have to commit them. My goals are simply to read The Savage Detectives, the gospel (I think) of Matthew, and Before the Flood. If I get those done, I will embark on a Pynchon~maybe someone will send me Inherent Vice. Also, I will write about all three somewhere. We shall see. Another Vollman may be in the offing.


message 47: by Shel, ad astra per aspera (new)

Shel (shelbybower) | 946 comments Mod
Protocol? Whussat?

Welcome to the group, Robert.

There are some big Pynchon fans here. I like him, but I'm not what you'd call an uncritical disciple.


message 48: by Maureen, mo-nemclature (new)

Maureen (modusa) | 683 comments Mod
robert: thanks for stepping into the light. always nice to hear new voices. i am curious about the savage detectives, so would love to hear your thoughts on it when you do get around to it. i know nothing about vollman, who i presume is william t. any intel you could share would be awesome. :)

as for reading goals for this year, well, they're the same as ever, i think. i read a whole bunch of books this year, and next year i will read more. i think more and more i read to find the books that i want to read over and over again -- the books that i understand, and that understand me. this year, i found at least two that i've re-read already, and hopefully i'll find more like this in 2010, which i'm really hoping will be a much better year than 2009 was, in many ways.


message 49: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy (jimmylorunning) | 102 comments 2010 reading goals: read some longer books... I wanna tackle 2666 for instance. And more short stories. And books from countries I haven't explored yet.


message 50: by Dan, deadpan man (new)

Dan | 641 comments Mod
I want to echo Ben's comment here about getting off this "number of books read" thing. My tracking what I have read started off out of curiosity and has morphed into something else entirely.

There are also a number of big books I want to tackle so maybe I will read some of them with short stories interspersed. I also plan to finish Ulysses next year.





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