Books on the Nightstand discussion

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What are you currently reading? August 2011

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message 1: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
i'm reading Michael Ondaatje's new book, The Cat's Table, out in the US in October. LOVING it!


message 2: by Pam (new)

Pam | 19 comments I am still rereading George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series,but I only have 10 pages left to read in A Feast for Crows, then I can start his new one, A Dance with Dragons. I need to squeeze The Help in there somewhere, too, before the movie comes out.


message 3: by Kirsty (new)

Kirsty (kirstybooks) | 116 comments I just finished reading Treasure Me by Christine Nolfi... I'm going to start The Chocolate War tonight :) looking forward to it!


message 4: by Callie (new)

Callie (calliekl) | 646 comments I read The Bee-Loud Glade and Like Water for Chocolate this past weekend. BLG was fantastic, I'm so torn between lending it out and keeping it around for the reread it deserves! On the other hand, the best thing I can say about LWFC is that the recipes made me crave Mexican food.

I started The Sparrow afterwards, and I'll be honest- I'm pretty mad that I have to do other things in my life besides read this book right now. I'm only at the beginning, but what I love so far is that even though there isn't a ton going on, there's palpable tension and an undercurrent of foreboding... so impressive. Thanks to Ann for the recommendation, because it is fabulous.


message 5: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Woohoo!! Callie, I'm so happy that you are reading The Sparrow. (I liked Like Water for Chocolate, but I remember being very confused through much of it...)


message 6: by Callie (new)

Callie (calliekl) | 646 comments Ann wrote: "I liked Like Water for Chocolate, but I remember being very confused through much of it..."

Confused, yes. At one point, characters were mopping the stairs because of the tears running down them. I think it was supposed to be folk tale style, but I feel like that intention was never clearly conveyed. At least it was short, I read it over a 3 hour car ride.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Ann wrote: "i'm reading Michael Ondaatje's new book, The Cat's Table, out in the US in October. LOVING it!"

Tease -- though I am heading up to Canada in a few weeks and it may be available there.

I'm currently reading Season to Taste: How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way which is quite interesting. We should not take our sense of smell for granted.


message 8: by Flora (new)

Flora Smith (bookwormflo) I just started Sirena it looks like it will be a quick fun read.


message 9: by Melissa (new)

Melissa | 1 comments I just started reading Forrest of Hands & Teeth (I think one of you recommended it a while back) & I can't put it down!!!


message 10: by Gerald (new)

Gerald Miller | 800 comments Pam wrote: "I am still rereading George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series,but I only have 10 pages left to read in A Feast for Crows, then I can start his new one, A Dance with Dragons. I need to squ..."

What do you expect from the film version of "The Help"?


message 11: by Eric (new)

Eric | 1175 comments Mod
Gerald wrote: "What do you expect from the film version of "The Help"?"

Lots of great rock and roll songs, a Fiendish Thingie, and an evil cult that tries to chop off Ringo's finger.


message 12: by Gerald (new)

Gerald Miller | 800 comments Eric wrote: "Gerald wrote: "What do you expect from the film version of "The Help"?"

Lots of great rock and roll songs, a Fiendish Thingie, and an evil cult that tries to chop off Ringo's finger."


I thought that "Hard Days Night" was much better.


message 13: by Frankie (new)

Frankie (thefranklynn) I just finished up Stiff The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach and Artists in Crime by Ngaio Marsh . I was disappointed with Stiff, as the author had been sold to me as like Bill Bryson, but with science topics, which is not what I found. Maybe it was the topic? Not sure, but it didn't connect with me. I liked Artists in Crime; it was my first try with Ngaio Marsh, who is from the same time/tradition (and scratches the same itch) as Agatha Christie, my go-to summer author. Not quite as polished as Christie, but a completely satisfying who dunnit.

Now I'm working on the audio of Bossypants by Tina Fey , which is every bit as wonderful as everyone has said. I'm reading When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead in print and Bloodroot by Amy Greene on my Kindle. When You Reach Me was mailed to me by a good friend with stern instructions to read immediately and 50 pages in, she's right on. It's got a great voice and I'm highly intrigued by what exactly is going on. I picked up Bloodroot because it's set in my hometown; thus far, the voice rings true and I am engaged with the story.


message 14: by Amy (new)

Amy | 463 comments Pam wrote: "I am still rereading George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series,but I only have 10 pages left to read in A Feast for Crows, then I can start his new one, A Dance with Dragons. I need to squ..."

The Help is such a quick read. It sucked me in and I would stay up and night reading it. When I finished it I was so sad I wouldn't get to come home at the end of the day and read it. Enjoy!


message 15: by Amy (new)

Amy | 463 comments August proves to be a bust reading month in the run-up to back to school (MBA). I'll be finishing up The Shack and Elegance of The Hedgehog. Also I will be reading Revenge of the Radioactive Lady for the August retreat challenge. Then I need to get through the 5 books I picked up at the library last week: Gourmet Rhapsody, Maine, The First Paper Girl in Red Oak, IA, Mermaids on the Moon, and the one I can't remember.

The Shack by William P. Young The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady by Elizabeth Stuckey-French Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan The First Paper Girl in Red Oak, Iowa Stories by Elizabeth Stuckey-French Mermaids on the Moon A Novel by Elizabeth Stuckey-French


message 16: by Callie (new)

Callie (calliekl) | 646 comments Have to share a story... I ordered Last Werewolf from a local bookstore, because they didn't carry it (they primarily sell Used). When I went back a week later to pick it up, I was told it was on back order. I expressed some frustration at this, because I'm going on vacation soon and I wanted to bring it with me. At which point, the bookseller told me, "Well, if you want it before then, you should order it from Amazon."

I cancelled my order and found it online through a random indie. I'm trying to get it, the universe is conspiring against me!


message 17: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
OMG.
This makes me crazy. I'm glad you told me they primarily sell used books, even though that doesn't make it better. At least it isn't one of the stores that we work with directly. But still. So sorry!! Hope you ge tyour book soon. When do you need the book? If you don't have it in time, I'll give you my copy!


message 18: by Callie (new)

Callie (calliekl) | 646 comments Mine should be coming either today or tomorrow, just in time for the weekend. Thanks for the offer :)

It was all I could do not to try to educate this person about what she was telling me to do, and what it means for the greater good of book stores. I want to start carrying pamphlets or something.


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

Callie wrote: "Mine should be coming either today or tomorrow, just in time for the weekend. Thanks for the offer :)

It was all I could do not to try to educate this person about what she was telling me to do, a..."


My local indie has started a guarantee of 48 hour turnaround on special orders. For speedier delivery you still have to pay Amazon for that privilege.


message 20: by Vanessa (last edited Aug 04, 2011 09:49AM) (new)

Vanessa | 330 comments Callie wrote:It was all I could do not to try to educate this person about what she was telling me to do, and what it means for the greater good of book stores. I want to start carrying pamphlets or something.

That really is jive when you make an effort to do business locally and get treated like that. I tried to go to a neighborhood Korean bakery last year to order a cake for a friend's birthday and the woman behind the counter became noticeably displeased that I wanted to order a cake from their menu instead of taking one of the white cakes on display. All they had were white cakes. I hate white cake. I also hate being treated like an a-hole for trying to order a cake in a bakery. So, I went to Krogers.

Another victory for the man (but that cake was delicious.)


message 21: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 330 comments I just finished The Paris Wife which is the slightly fictionalized version of Hadley Hemingway's marriage to Ernest. I really liked reading about Paris in the 1920's and the story of how The Sun Also Rises was written although occasionally I wanted to punch Ernest in the stomach. Also, I learned in the 1920's that condoms were made from rubber cement.

I now am pretty much resigned that I'll have to re-read both The Sun Also Rises and A Moveable Feast.

I'm now reading The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo.


message 22: by Toni (new)

Toni (tonivanb) | 115 comments I'm reading The Last Werewolf -- the NYTBR gave it a great review and I seem to remember Michael strongly recommending it. However, I just read an interview in USA Today and didn't realize that the book is the first in a planned trilogy. Did anyone else know this? I'm kind of weary of the book series trend -- whatever happened to just writing a great stand-alone book?

http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/ne...


message 23: by Shona (new)

Shona (anovelobsession) | 178 comments Toni wrote: "I'm reading The Last Werewolf -- the NYTBR gave it a great review and I seem to remember Michael strongly recommending it. However, I just read an interview in USA Today and didn't r..."

Toni,
i wasn't aware it was a planned trilogy and I have to say that if he didn't write a sequel I would still find the ending satisfying...Although it's obvious he could keep going, it didnt have that cliffhangar ending I would expect in a planned series. I am now really excited that there are more books planned, but I thought The Last Werewolf was a great stand alone book as well. It's great...keep reading!!


message 24: by Gretchen (new)

Gretchen (gretchenjoy) | 9 comments I just finished Rules of Civility Rules of Civility and LOVED it. The writing and dialogue were just fantastic. I'm reading Bel Canto Bel Canto which is my first Ann Patchett and I'm eager to read her new book State of Wonder State of Wonder sometime this year.


message 25: by Flora (new)

Flora Smith (bookwormflo) I'm about half way thru The Girl Who Chased the Moon and really like it so far.


message 26: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Toni wrote: "I'm reading The Last Werewolf -- the NYTBR gave it a great review and I seem to remember Michael strongly recommending it. However, I just read an interview in USA Today and didn't r..."

Toni, I'm the one who raves constantly about The Last Werewolf. It will be a trilogy (the 2nd book is done and I'm dying to read it!), but as Shona said, it ends on a satisfying note. Hope you enjoy!


message 27: by Toni (new)

Toni (tonivanb) | 115 comments Ann wrote: "I'm the one who raves constantly about The Last Werewolf..."

I have been enjoying it -- I'm in the last 25 pages or so. I think what drew me to it wasn't (initially) the story so much as it was the sense of humor in the writing.

The USA Today article was interesting in that it mentioned The Real Tuesday Weld, which you just talked about in your recent podcast. I also liked that Duncan says his favorite werewolf movie is "American Werewolf in London". Every time I read about one of Jake's transformations in the book, I remember scenes from the movie where David Naughton changes into a werewolf. At the time, the special effects were pretty neat -- I haven't seen the movie in a long time, but I'm thinking I might need to Netflix it when I'm done with the book.


message 28: by Maureen (new)

Maureen | 39 comments Recently finished A Beautiful Blue Death and really enjoyed it. It's the first in a series focused on a 19th century amateur detective. Quite fun, actually, and I loved that it took place during December. The descriptions of heavily falling snow and bracing winds made me feel a bit better when we were experiencing 100 degree temps here. :-) Now I'm onto The Lost Books of the Odyssey for my book club.


message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

I just got back from vacation where I was unplugged, whether I wanted to be or not! I was vacationing in a part of Maine where a recent communications software upgrade in the area took the iffy AT&T wifi signal and outright killed it. I had about 15 minutes a day at a local coffee shop to check my work e-mail; but I did get a bit of reading done (instead of tweeting about everything!) While I was away:

Happy Ever After (Bride Quartet, #4) by Nora Roberts
Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts
Parker Brown + Malcolm Kavanaugh = HEA
The last title in the The Bride Quartet features Parker Brown, the wedding planner at Vows (a wedding services company) and Malcolm Kavanaugh, a mechanic who was introduced in Bed of Roses (book #2) and given more ink in Savor the Moment (Book #3.) There are no surprises; but there is a scene in the book involving teens in a car accident which left me bemused, especially as it provides the emotional trigger for the story. I'm not really clear as to why I continued with this series after finding the other three titles so... "meh." Let's just chalk it up to poor memory while I'm browsing and move on :-/

Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan
Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan
The perfect book to read while you're vacationing in Maine! Four women across three generations of one family end up at the summer cottage at Cape Neddick. The matriarch, a woman of the Cheever age, manages to push the buttons of her daughter and daughter-in-law and earn the undeserved affection of her granddaughter. Inasmuch as J. Courtney Sullivan spends time trying to explain Alice (the grandmother,) the portrayal still seems incomplete and the ending a bit sketchy. Because I feel like I know who these people are (I've met them. Some of them are in my family) I'm not sure how much I was projecting into the material and how much JCS was actually able to convey to me. Still, a keepah :-)

The Parasol Protectorate Books 1-3 by Gail Carriger
The Parasol Protectorate: Books 1-3 by Gail Carriger
Combining Victorian Age mystery, the paranormal, Steampunk and a little romance, the Parasol Protectorate provides light fare, reminiscent of (for better and worse) of Amelia Peabody (which in turn is something of an affectionate pastiche a la H. Rider Haggard.) Alexia Tarabotti is a single woman of a certain age who happens to not have a soul, which works out perfectly with her encounters with the vampires, werewolves and ghosts which have been mainstreamed into London. I thought Soulless (the first in the series) was cute; but it was the ending of Changeless (book #2) that surprised me and had me immediately continue with Blameless (book #3.) Soulless, Changeless and Blameless were bundled together as a single ebook title so I only get to count this as one book in my body count (Plus 11 in '11) :-/

The Plot Against America by Philip Roth
The Plot Against America by Philip Roth
I had always been curious about Philip Roth's writing and so, when the opportunity to pick up a copy at the Boothbay Harbor Friends of the Library sale came up, I got a copy of The Plot Against America. The premise of the story is a conjecture of what the U.S. would have been like if Lindbergh had been elected president instead of FDR in 1941. The idea is that anti-Semitism would have been the policy by which a series of national programs meant to "absorb" or acclimatize Jews into more mainstream American life (i.e. erasing the Jewish identity) would have been affected. There are notes in the back of the book which consists of the true bios of the people mentioned in the book. It's important because much of what you may think is exaggeration on PR's part, is in fact, true. It's a different kind of dystopian novel, if you will and, interesting; but PR lacks the fluidity to make you take the final leap of faith, as in "This could happen! Be alarmed!"

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan
The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan
An exposition of the existential crises of a werewolf. A very Nietzschean take with explicit sex and violence, the action lines in this novel are very Hollywood. I probably would have given this a higher rating than four stars if I wasn't experiencing a bit of paranormal fatigue.

The Janissary Tree (Yashim the Eunuch, #1) by Jason Goodwin
The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin
I'm in the middle of this one right now. It's about a eunuch in 1830's Instanbul who is called upon to investigate the disappearance of four soldiers. There's a lot of historical data and, if at times a little tedious, at other times really interesting. This title won the Edgar ward a couple years ago for best novel.


message 30: by nancy (last edited Aug 06, 2011 08:14AM) (new)

nancy (npjacoby) | 261 comments I'm reading The Sister by Rosamund Lupton and listening to Jo Nesbo's The Snowman...it's kind of a summer reading time for me.
Next up for two bookclubs: The Paris Wife and Angle of Repose.


message 31: by Lil (new)

Lil | 216 comments Toni wrote:
I have been enjoying it -- I'm in the last 25 pages or so. I think what drew me to it wasn't (initially) the story so muc..."


I just finished
The Last Werewolf and: Reader, I loved it. Toni, you're right about the humor. Really drew me in. The bit about the white Land Rover! Ha! I have mixed feelings about this being a planned trilogy as it was a great stand alone. However, I'm sure when the next is published, I'll be hot and heavy to read it.

Also recently finished March which had been on my TBR for a looong time. It was much better than I had been expecting (apparently the Pulitzer not much of a warning for me). Brooks did an excellent job of fleshing out a complex character of Mr. March, the absent father from Little Women. It took me at least half way through the book to get over that he (and dear Marme) weren't perfect. A wonderful read.

Now, onto a palette cleanser (romance, of course) and started listening to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy which is off to a promising start on audio.


message 32: by Paula (new)

Paula | 8 comments Suzanne wrote: "Ann wrote: "i'm reading Michael Ondaatje's new book, The Cat's Table, out in the US in October. LOVING it!"

Tease -- though I am heading up to Canada in a few weeks and it may be available there..."


Hi Suzanne - The Cat's Table isn't available up here (up here being Canada :) until August 30. Just letting you know!


message 33: by Paula (new)

Paula | 8 comments Gretchen wrote: "I just finished Rules of Civility Rules of Civility and LOVED it. The writing and dialogue were just fantastic. I'm reading Bel Canto Bel Canto which is my first Ann Pat..."

Last month I read my first Ann Patchett - The Magician's Assistant. I don't know if I could recommend it, a least not with a whole lot of enthusiasm. It was an enjoyable read, but a little thin in places. I think picking up Bel Canto would have been a better choice.


message 34: by Paula (new)

Paula | 8 comments I've just finished reading The Secret Garden. I've been operating under the assumption that I've read this classic years ago - Ha, turns out I never did.

Today, started The Book Thief in print. Picked the hardcover for only $8 and it's been sitting waiting to be picked up for some time.

I have The Last Werewolf ready to go on my Kobo - saving it for an upcoming camping trip. If I can wait that long?


message 35: by Toni (new)

Toni (tonivanb) | 115 comments I finished The Last Werewolf. I enjoyed it but I think I enjoyed the writing more than the actual story.

Now I'm re-reading (for the 3rd time) The Stand for an online reading group. Undoubtedly, one of King's best. It's been several years since I last read it, and I hope it still holds up. I can never hear Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper" without thinking of The Stand.


message 36: by Karen (last edited Aug 07, 2011 09:06AM) (new)

Karen Brown (khbrown) | 99 comments Gretchen wrote: "I just finished Rules of Civility Rules of Civility and LOVED it. The writing and dialogue were just fantastic. I'm reading Bel Canto Bel Canto which is my first Ann Pat..."
I also loved Rules of Civility! Not surprised to discover that the movie rights have already been purchased. Can't wait for more from Amor Towles. Also, Bel Canto is one of my favorite books. You're in for a real treat! Don't pass up a chance to hear Ann Patchett speak; she has a true gift for public speaking. Saw her speak at the Drue-Heinz Lecture Series in Pittsburgh a few years ago and she was by far the best author to ever participate in this book lecture series. She will be a featured author again this year. My husband and I are really looking forward to it!


message 37: by Karen (new)

Karen Brown (khbrown) | 99 comments nancy wrote: "I'm reading The Sister by Rosamund Lupton and listening to Jo Nesbo's The Snowman...it's kind of a summer reading time for me.
Next up for two bookclubs: The Paris Wife and Angle of Repose."

Nancy, I'd love to hear what you think about Angle of Repose. One of my all-time favorites! I selected it for my book club almost 10 years ago and was disappointed that the group was evenly split between really enjoying it and not liking it at all. I've reread Angle of Repose a few times and still love it. Hope you enjoy it too.


message 38: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 330 comments Toni wrote:Now I'm re-reading (for the 3rd time) The Stand for an online reading group. Undoubtedly, one of King's best.

Toni, I agree. That is probably King's best (although, I really liked The Talisman too which also combined horror with heart.)

Onion AV just wrote an article about this a few months ago which is kind of interesting because they discuss the expanded edition versus the original:

http://www.avclub.com/articles/stephe...

I think the expanded edition is a little bloated and leaves in a few scenes that could have easily been cut (Frannie's histrionic confrontation with her mother, for example) but the original version is no longer being published.


message 39: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 330 comments Nancy wrote: Next up for two bookclubs: The Paris Wife and Angle of Repose.

And I'll put in a plug for The Paris Wife. I really liked it although now I have to re-read all the Hemingway I read back in college. The characters in it were so alive to me.


message 40: by Flora (new)

Flora Smith (bookwormflo) I'm just getting started on Dry Ice and its interesting so far. I'm also re-reading The Silmarillion which is one of my favorite comfort reads.


message 41: by Tracey (new)

Tracey (tracemick) | 217 comments I am currently reading Untold Story: A Novel by Monica Ali. I've been on a good run of books so I have high hopes for this one.


message 42: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 08, 2011 10:48AM) (new)

Tracey wrote: "I am currently reading Untold Story: A Novel by Monica Ali. I've been on a good run of books so I have high hopes for this one."

Another Princess Diana-themed novel that just came out is
An Accident in August: A Novel by Laurence Cosse. It's interesting -- about a woman who was in the tunnel when Diana's Mercedes crashed.


message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

Paula wrote: "Suzanne wrote: "Ann wrote: "i'm reading Michael Ondaatje's new book, The Cat's Table, out in the US in October. LOVING it!"

Tease -- though I am heading up to Canada in a few weeks and it may be a..."


Thanks Paula -- I'll be there before then but I'll sweet talk one of my brothers to pick it up for me :-)


message 44: by Toni (new)

Toni (tonivanb) | 115 comments Vanessa wrote (re The Stand): "Onion AV just wrote an article about this a few months ago which is kind of interesting because they discuss the expanded edition versus the original..."

Vanessa - thanks for the article! I've been scratching my head, wondering how all these years I could have missed that The Stand was set in the 90s, despite being written in the 70s. I was thinking, "That Stephen King was one forward-thinking dude." He is, but it helps knowing that he "updated" it for the expanded version. I'm going to date myself and tell you that I read the original edition the first time around.


message 45: by Tracey (new)

Tracey (tracemick) | 217 comments Suzanne wrote: "Another Princess Di..."

I'm going to add that to my to read list. Sounds intriguing! Thanks, Suzanne!


message 46: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 330 comments Toni wrote:I'm going to date myself and tell you that I read the original edition the first time around.

Oh, ha! Me too! When I read it, the cover was a pair of glowing eyes staring over a mountain range. Then I read the expanded edition. I think I've read it twice. Kind of amazing because I don't normally re-read books.


message 47: by W. Joe (new)

W. Joe Smith (spiders96) | 19 comments I'm currently reading A Visit From The Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan. I'm nearing the end of the book, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. I like the varied writing styles that are used for the different characters, and I like the common theme about wasted time that seems to permeate throughout the book.

I recently completed Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, and I was very disappointed by it. There was a big part of the book that focused on futuristic characters that were unrelatable to me. I didn't see it coming and found it quite boring. The end of the book was anti-climactic, and I guess I just didn't get it. I don't recommend it.

Two books that I recently finished by Jonathan Franzen were The Corrections and Freedom, both of which were fantastic character portrayals. These are people who could easily be part of your family or live next door to you. I found the deep dysfunction in both books easy to relate to. Those are good ones.

Of all the books that are on my to-read list that I have gotten from the BooksOnTheNightStand podcast, the one that I am really looking forward to the most is Unbroken. I can't wait to read it based on all of the discussion on the podcast.


message 48: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
W. Joe, I have not ever read Cloud Atlas. I think I am intimidated, though I'm not sure why. You've helped me quell those guilty thoughts at not having yet read it!

Glad you're liking Goon Squad. It probably gets the 2010 award for the book that has had the most mixed reaction since it was published.


message 49: by Kathy (new)

Kathy (kathmac) | 14 comments Vanessa wrote: "I just finished The Paris Wife which is the slightly fictionalized version of Hadley Hemingway's marriage to Ernest. I really liked reading about Paris in the 1920's and the story of..."

Vanessa, I also read The Paris Wife this summer and thought it was a good book. My husband and I visited Key West this summer and toured the Hemingway house, the house in which Hemingway lived while married to his second wife, Pauline. I, like you, have been inspired to read or re-read Hemingway's work.


message 50: by Gerald (new)

Gerald Miller | 800 comments Flora wrote: "I'm just getting started on Dry Ice and its interesting so far. I'm also re-reading The Silmarillion which is one of my favorite comfort reads."

"comfort reads" Interesting.Your my hero.I have it but never tried it.ger


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