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pollystyrene
Sure, maybe he's wealthy enough to move his parents to the south of France after FIVE books, countless This American Life appearances (and we know NPR ain't payin' the bills), lots of appearances and a few plays, but I know his family wasn't wealthy when he was growing up.

Funny is funny. I don't care what your background is. If you don't think he's funny, that's fine. But to jump to the conclusion that he's not funny because he's rich is ridiculous. If you or someone else doesn't like that he and Amy make jokes about backwoods rednecks, than say that (someone has, already, I think)...I'm pretty sure growing up in North Carolina exposed them to plenty of people like that; hell, sounds like their brother, Paul, is like that.

Anyway, I think his mom's been dead for a number of years, and I'm not so sure his dad's still alive either....I never heard of him moving them to France.
mouse
i want to make things clear. i like the sedarises, i LOVE david with a passion reserved for few writers. i don't even care about jokes about backwood rednecks, and i like MOST of amy's stuff. i think her whole ouevre is pretty goddamn funny. but SOME THINGS (not everything!!) rub me the wrong way simply because she's (and this is extremely hard for me to articulate clearly, but i'll try) never honest, or never takes the time to look deeply at anything and i think that, because of that, she misses some things. there's a lot to be said for surface humour, but david gets under things and amy doesn't. this could also possibly be traced back to a boyfriend and, later, friend i had, and, now, acquaintance i know who are all very much like amy in personality and are all very, very difficult humans to deal with in certain situations for precisely those reasons. it's very personal to me, and i have no problem with other people who find it hilarious. i just have had enough of it in my own life and am simply no longer charmed.

it has *NOTHING* to do with their money or lack thereof.
pollystyrene
That's true mouse- as funny as they are, I think it is hard to trust them (as much as you can trust a stranger)...but like, you're always questioning "how much of this is true?" David is more introspective than Amy is. I think she's playing more of a character, but when you really think, "what would it be like to know her?" you're not quite sure you really could ever *know* her. Like, when does the act end?
mouse
EXACTLY

(though david strikes me as painfully honest and aware)
mr_falljackets
QUOTE
david strikes me as painfully honest and aware


His passages from Barrel Fever regarding his rectal bleeding into his underwear tend to support that statement.
pollystyrene
I think it would be fun to hang around Amy for like a day or two, people-watching in NYC or something (yes, I have this fantasy) and then you'd be thinking, "Can we stop making faces at people now? Can't we just bitch about our periods or something?"

Right, and I think you could probably have a real conversation with David, with minimal sarcastic comments about people walking by. Like I can imagine playing the "Let's make up a story about that person" game with him, sometimes funny, sometimes sincere. And I think he'd give good advice. Provide you with some clarity.

I've thought waaaay too much about this rolleyes.gif
wombat

Eh, I don't know, that's the impression I got from the stuff I read, which, i admit, was not all of it. I should go deeper, apparently.

I'm wondering even about the real necessity of their "crap" jobs -- and, is that still from a position of expecting an inheritance to kick in for the medical crisis, house purchase, retirement? Make less money now, because you can? That's one of the odder privilege-lives, but I've seen it.

It's not that I dig into people's backgrounds as a way of deciding whether I like them. Obviously Louise Fitzhugh -- the wonderful writer and illustator of Harriet the Spy and The Long Secret sequel -- was a privileged person.

It's just the impression of obnoxious smugness that I got. On order of Kingsley Amis. The whole self-deprecating humor fits the profile of privileged people trying to hide their ambitions, as well. But, whatever.

I'm still wrong to be so critical of them, for an essential reason:

That which Samuel Delaney articulated in Dhalgren. The poet "Earnest Newboy" is telling him he can have a strong sheild to use in negotiating the world as long as he stays true to the truth outside him and stays true to the truth within. And he said that you might think you know who is doing that and who isn't, but you don't, really.

I have sometimes thought I didn't respect an author, only to discover their merits later.
superscience
I'm reading Half Life by Shelley Jackson, and I can't remember where I heard of it. Did someone in here recommend it? I've gotten quite obsessed with it. Last night I fell asleep reading it, then had fitful dreams about it, woke up multiple times, would read a couple of pages, and then lapse back into my fitful dream state. Odd. Also, read it at lunch today, and then have been almost-nervous this afternoon thinking about it. I have a feeling I'm going to have a book hangover after this one.

Do you ever get those? The book hangovers? Like, after you read a book it affects you in some way that you're not able to just move onto the next book, but are stuck in some sort of readers' limbo where you have to shake, shake off the last book to be ready to move onto the next?

I haven't had one in a while. I think the last one was after reading Donna Tartt's The Secret History. I didn't even necessarily like it that much. I didn't like the characters, but I got so drawn in that it took me almost three weeks after I put it down to pick up my next selection. I can still easily access the feeling that book gave me.

wombat
I really liked "The Secret History," largely for the reasons you describe. I mean, for one thing, I don't think the characters were supposed to be likeable, but they were still so fascinating! I couldn't put it down. She created a whole world.

Now, she's someone that took a lot of flack for being privileged and connected, but, she didn't deserve flack because she was and is an *amazing* writer.

I also had that feeling about "Dhalgren" by Samuel Delaney. I was living in an old part of the city and would go out the back door and feel like I was walking around in their world.
mouse
supersci, i totally know what you mean. i got that way about "cruddy" by lynda barry, and "morvern callar", both of which have previously been discussed in this forum, and i remember getting that way about "ask the dust" (fante), "hunger" (knut hamsun), and "ada or ardor" (nabokov) though i read all those a while ago.
WasabiNinja
Okay y'all got me wanting "The Secret History".

Right now I am reading yet another Phillipa Gregory novel, I don't understand my terrible obsession but maybe it has something to do with the fact that people send her books to me in the mail. Anyway, now I'm onto "The Boleyn Inheritance". Imagine living that way now? Worrying every minute whether smallest infraction would send you to the gallows. Cross someone important, they point at you and say your heretic and BAM! There goes your head!

It seems like it was no great honor to be a queen back in the day. jewels schmools!
wombat
I'm really not digging 1300s through 1500s, though there is some great architecture,etc. but the plague and the bloody torture grosses me out.

I have a liking for 800 -1200 AD.

Odd, but there ya go.
bunnyb
Book hangover is such a fantastic way of describing it! For me Fall on Your Knees and Everything is Illuminated had that effect on me; I'm now reading The Way the Crow Flies and I have the feeling that is going to be the same.
cinegirl
since you guys brought up secret history, has anybody read special topics in calamity physics? i like it for the same reasons i liked secret history...
mandolyn
bunny, i temporarily gave up on neverwhere, but am now reading american gods. not loving it, but at least i'm making it thru. still determined to become a gaiman fan.

was everything is illuminated better/worse/the same as the movie? i watched it last week, and fell in love with it.

wasabi, i enjoyed the other boleyn girl. for this lazyass non-nonfiction lover, it's a painless way of "learning history". i tried one of the other ones, i think it was the virgin's lover, and couldn't get into it.
superscience
I just started Girlbomb's book!
girlbomb
Oh, yay! That's awesome!

(Er, don't tell anybody, but she totally lives at the end.)
bunnyb
mando, I haven't watched the movie yet but I feel confident that it could not be as good as the book (although I imagine it would be different too as some of it would be difficult to translate to big screen). American Gods is fab but I too found it difficult to get into at first; I'm going to read Anansi Boys over the festive period.
crazyoldcatlady
cine, i keep reading all these good reviews for special topics in calamity physics, but i can't bring myself to read it, because the author falls under the category of stupid good looking young and talented bitch. she has good company with zadie smith. as soon as i work past that, i'll pull them out. 'specially because all the books i'm working on now suck ass.

btw, regarding the reviews on marisha... why does EVERY reviewer note how good looking she is? her good looks didn't write the book, and if she were a man...


(rant coming on...)
vesicapisces
Girlbomb, that cracks me up.

A couple of years ago, after the movie came out, I was reading Cold Mountain, and told my sister so over the phone - "He dies!" she said helpfully. On my end: silence. "Thanks," I said. She was horrified. "Oh my god, I could have sworn you told me you had seen the movie!" Ever since, I get to razz her by "ruining" every book she hasn't read and every movie she hasn't seen by telling her "He dies!"

I think it would be funnier if you tell people that Girlbomb dies at the end.
femmespeak
Woah, Mouse - spammer? Please know I'm no spammer. I'm a contributor to Girlistic Magazine and am I guess entirely too excited to share it. Apparently bits o news like that aren't all too welcome.

Well I guess I'll make note of that.

PS SuperScience - glad you enjoyed it!!
bunnyb
bits of news are welcome but not the same bit of news in several different threads.
femmespeak
totally not trying to pick a bone - but I just want to point out that from my POV - the posts all had different info.

K - I'm done.

See y'all around!!!

superscience
Mando--Everything Is Illuminated, the book, is amazing, fantastic, beautiful, hilarious, heartbreaking, etc. It's one of my favorite-of-all-time books. I hated Everything Is Illuminated, the movie. If I hadn't read the book, I'm sure I'd have liked it, but they left out so much and changed what they left in. It hurt my heart. But, read it! read it! read it!

I just got down to my parents' house for a few days, and realized that I forgot to bring any books or magazines! Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
raisingirl
Laughing about Girlbomb living at the end of the book, and Vesica's "he dies!" refrain!

I'm trying to get through The Best of Everything, but it's just not doing anything for me (not yet?).

Everything is Illuminated has been on my to-read list for quite some time.

Have any of you read Isabel Allende's retelling of Zorro? Do you recommend it?*



*I've read some of her other books which I've enjoyed, but haven't read the more recent ones like Daughter of Fortune.
mouse
femmespeak! good to find out you are not, actually, a spammer. however, when you fail to introduce yourself, only make six posts, all of them a link to the same thing, and then disappear, you can understand how you might get pegged as one, or at least as disrespectful to this community. we have a history of trouble with spammers and trolls here at bust. but, like i said, i'd change my opinion if you came back to discuss it, and you have! welcome.

i got a ton of great books for christmas! and many from my amazing literary canadian aunt, who is responsible for introducing me to anne marie mcdonald, robertson davies, and weetzie bat, among millions of others. i finished "a complicated kindness" by miriam toews on the plane and i highly recommend it. it's a narrative by a young girl living in a mennonite community (the comparisons to holden caulfield are rampant in the reviews she's gotten). the character of her father is the best character i've found in a novel in a long time.
femmespeak
Had no clue about troll issues. Well, moving on.

I always get a lot of book for xmas, thank goodness, and this year was great. Everybody Into The Pool, The White Ghost Girls, The Evolution of Jane, to name a few.

Can't wait to dive in.

The next book club book - DAMN, i only have a week to read it - is Daughters of Fortune. My mom, aunts and I started up the "Women Who Aren't Whinny" book club. We're all feisty literary feminists in my family. There's one area where I'm not the black sheep.

By the same author of Everything Is Illuminated (never read it) is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which made it to my top 50 book list. SUCH a good read.
WasabiNinja
I hold Everything is Illuminated in very high esteem. It completely blows me away that it was written by a youngster...well he's my age. HA! So maybe not so young. I'd plead with anyone to read the book before watching the film starring yummy Eugene Hutz. So much gets left out that you'll just be horribly confused.


Almost done with 'The Night Watch' by Sarah Waters. Love Love Love!

Also purchased the "The 2007 World Almanac Book of Facts" which is so hard to put down, like a trusty crackpipe. Like, I didn't know that Dame Muriel Spark died this past year. Now I'm determined to read everything that feisty Scot ever wrote.

My big slurge for myself was "Special Topics in Calamity Physics" by Marisha Pessl. And I got it because a BUSTie suggested it. So thank you!
bunnyb
welcome back, femmespeak smile.gif. Your book group sounds great! Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was a great read.

mouse, what did your amazing literary aunt give you?

Santa brought me: Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Leaf Storm, The Autumn of the Patriarch, The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor, Strange Pilgrims and In Evil Hour, Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys and Fragile Things and The Island by Victoria Hislop. I may hibernate for a while.

eta: wasabi, coming from a Scot who loves that fiesty Scot Spark, I would heavily recommend reading The Driver's Seat (quick novella that is very thought-provoking, movie with Elizabeth Taylor), her short stories are also very good and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is wonderful.
femmespeak
(I'm a bit late on this but...)I liked middlesex until about 3/4 through it...then it just got boring. So much potential, but it didn't do it for me either.

ps - thanks bunnyb
mandolyn
welcome, femmespeak. hope you stick around. we're really a cool lot. cool.gif and i agree, i adored the first half of middlesex, but it lost steam for me too, towards the end. still, it's one of my top five, and i think of the characters often.

once more, i've given up on a neil gaiman book: and it's american gods, and i feel guilty. but to make up for it, i treated myself to good omens. as i told the clerk in the book store - a total gaiman-freak - i need something funny, and american gods was just too dark for me right now. he agreed - especially about neverwhere - and assured me i'll love good omens.

except, um, i started running with scissors first. i know some busties weren't crazy about it, but so far, it's tickling my funnybone.

danny's devouring the absolute sandman, vol I - thanks to those who recommended it! it's absolutely (pun intended) gorgeous! i think he's also quite proud that i bought him an "adult" book.

putting everything is illuminated on my list, thanks for the thumbs up. i imagine i'll really love it, since i loved the movie.
mouse
bunnyb, in addition to "a complicated kindness" i got "the stone diaries" by carol shields which i have just started, and margaret atwood's "moral disorder". all canadians! and another aunt gave me "the secret life of bees" by sue monk kidd, which i read on the plane. i really liked it, i'm still figuring out exactly what i thought of it though. i'm a little suprised that it got all the hype it did. but still, recommended.

ETA: i just remembered to ask about this: how do you guys picture what you read? i have a really visual imagination and get very specific images linked to whatever i read--sometimes built from places i've seen, sometimes just entirely imagined, but very individual and detailed to each scene.
wombat
MMMMM love Margaret Atwood, and Alice Munro.

I haven't got quite into the Barbara Kingsolver yet. Folks IRL tell me she's a lot like Alice Munro and a little more magical.

Do any of you like Kingsolver, and is there a good one to start with?
punkrockgrrrl
Wombat
I loved "The Bean Trees" it is beauty and magic set in the southwest.
bunnyb
wombat, The Poisonwood Bible has been on my to read list for some time and people tell me it's the best to start with well, it's the only one they tell me about!
raisingirl
I'm laughing here, because I was at a thrift store over the weekend and saw four copies of The Poisonwood Bible. laugh.gif

Has anyone read The Omnivore's Dilemma? Yes, another NF book. Thoughts?

How do I picture what I read, Mouse? Hmm, that's a hard question to answer, but thought-provoking. I'm not sure I do picture what I read, not super-visually like a movie or anything. I think it really depends on the story and its setting. I think I'm attracted to books for the same reasons I'm not always all that attracted to movies.
bunnyb
It's very visual for me, all in my mind, as if I've stepped into a different room and that world -the one the writer has depicted- is there.
raisingirl
Oh, that's a good one, Bunny, the stepping into a different room feeling. Yeah.
cinegirl
LOL! I haven't visited the boards in awhile but just saw this--I am totally the same way! I resisted Zadie Smith for ages upon ages because of the superhot wunderkind factor. I finally read On Beauty & really liked it, then I even broke down and read White Teeth. Good reads, both, but I still hate her, and I have loathing jealousy for Marisha Pessl with her good book & her apparent unignorable hotness.

Not that I struggle with jealousy much.

QUOTE(crazyoldcatlady @ Dec 21 2006, 12:43 AM) *

cine, i keep reading all these good reviews for special topics in calamity physics, but i can't bring myself to read it, because the author falls under the category of stupid good looking young and talented bitch. she has good company with zadie smith. as soon as i work past that, i'll pull them out. 'specially because all the books i'm working on now suck ass.

btw, regarding the reviews on marisha... why does EVERY reviewer note how good looking she is? her good looks didn't write the book, and if she were a man...
(rant coming on...)

euphorically
I am sure she wants to be taken seriously as a writer as well.

Your comment about the reviewers commenting on her looks is very hypocritical, considering you are letting it decide whether you read her or not, in the same way as they are bringing in unrelated issues (i.e. looks) into their reviews.

QUOTE(raisingirl @ Dec 27 2006, 11:49 AM) *

Laughing about Girlbomb living at the end of the book, and Vesica's "he dies!" refrain!

I'm trying to get through The Best of Everything, but it's just not doing anything for me (not yet?).

Everything is Illuminated has been on my to-read list for quite some time.

Have any of you read Isabel Allende's retelling of Zorro? Do you recommend it?*
*I've read some of her other books which I've enjoyed, but haven't read the more recent ones like Daughter of Fortune.



I've read 'Zorro' and her latest book, 'Ines of my Heart'.

Neither are anywhere as good as her older works, like Paula and whatnot. I don't think she is as good as she used to be, to be honest.
wombat
Thank you bunny_b and punkrockgrrl!
cinegirl
I actually meant it more as a comment on my own pettiness--that I have an aversion to reading writers that I'm jealous of, and that's stupid. So, yeah, I guess that does make me a hypocrite. Thanks for pointing it out. I've been wanting to get that mote out of my eye for quite some time.

Oh, and I see this is your first post. Welcome to Bust! You might want to swing by "For the Newbies" and introduce yourself.

QUOTE(euphorically @ Jan 1 2007, 04:17 AM) *

I am sure she wants to be taken seriously as a writer as well.

Your comment about the reviewers commenting on her looks is very hypocritical, considering you are letting it decide whether you read her or not, in the same way as they are bringing in unrelated issues (i.e. looks) into their reviews.


ratgrl
QUOTE(raisingirl @ Dec 27 2006, 12:49 AM) *

Laughing about Girlbomb living at the end of the book, and Vesica's "he dies!" refrain!

I'm trying to get through The Best of Everything, but it's just not doing anything for me (not yet?).

Everything is Illuminated has been on my to-read list for quite some time.

Have any of you read Isabel Allende's retelling of Zorro? Do you recommend it?*
*I've read some of her other books which I've enjoyed, but haven't read the more recent ones like Daughter of Fortune.




Raisingirl: Are you referring to The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe? If so, I found it to be a very good book, and worth sticking with, IMO. There's also a movie based on the book.
superscience
The Poisonwood Bible is my favorite Kingsolver book. I liked it especially because of all the religious stuff--because it hit quite close to home (not that my parents were missionaries or I ever lived in Africa, but still).

While I was at home visiting my parents over the holidays and realized I'd neglected to bring a book with me (and the only thing they have in their house are religious books and Consumer Reports magazine), I tagged along with my mom on a shopping trip. She went to Wal-Mart, and though normally I would never shop there, I headed straight for their book section. The selection was horrible. Half were inspirational books, and the other half were Danielle Steele type stuff. I found one copy of A Million Little Pieces, so picked it up. It's a copy that was issued after the whole scandal, and has notes from James Frey and the publisher. I'm torn. I'm really engrossed in it, but also can't stop thinking about the whole scandal. And, it struck me today that I've never wanted so much to just flip to the back of the book to see how it turns out, if he relapses, if he's still with Lilly, etc. I'm sure this book was discussed when all the shit went down, but is there anyone out there who read it (either before or after the truth came to light), and still likes it?
raisingirl
Yeah, Ratgrl, that's the book. I spent more time with it last night and we're best buds now. Hee! I'm going to stick it out. I don't know anything about the movie.

Supersci, I started AMLP before the brouhaha erupted, and I sadly couldn't get past the beginning of it all because of his "writing"/narrative style. It just grated on my nerves to no end. Then when the whole scandal erupted and when he went on the Oprah show, I still didn't have any desire to pick up his book again. It's kind of like now the scandal is at the front of the stage and the book, the work itself, is hiding out in the shadows of the dressing room. I would have gone for the Danielle Steele! I can't believe I'm typing that, may the patron saint of all wonderful books rest my soul. wink.gif
girlbomb
QUOTE(cinegirl @ Jan 1 2007, 12:48 PM) *

I have an aversion to reading writers that I'm jealous of,


Cinegirl, I can't even tell you how badly I have, and always have had, this symptom.
wombat
It's weird, in a way, but understandable, because writers embody and promote culture and society in an important way, possibly for eternity. So, if you feel that someone is promoting an aspect you don't like, or you don't feel they have earned their position, you are not going to want to read their books.

This was my cavil about the Sedaris siblings. I didn't want to be unsympathetic to the discussion on this thread, since people I otherwise like seem to enjoy reading them. But to me, they are still rather ugh. Amy Sedaris suggested putting a bunch of marbles in the medicine cabinet to embarrass "nosy people." For one thing, that's not her idea, I read it somewhere else a long time ago. For another thing, well, is a guest necessarily a nosy ass or do they need an aspirin or a band-aid or something. Jeez.

Then, one of the college radio stations was reading the David's "Christmas elf at Macy's" story on air right before Christmas, because they thought it was SOOOO hilarious. I listened with an open mind, largely because of you guys, but, I've got to say: He did make some good points. I saw a real writer in there. But/and, he also was very cynical and disrespectful of people.

So, you know, for us to have very very personal responses to books is not "wrong" exactly, is it?

What one person finds to be a delightful insight might very well mean nothing, or even be offensive, to another observer.

Gets a little sad to think that when there *is* so much stuff out there!
anarch
Has anyone read The Omnivore's Dilemma? Yes, another NF book. Thoughts?

*delurking*

raisingirl, I loved it. Thought-provoking about where our food comes from, and I thought his prose was absolutely gorgeous.

Thanks to all in this thread. You're my most reliable source for recommendations. I get out everything I can find on audiobook at the library, most recently The Night Watch. Great read.

*relurking*
euphorically
QUOTE(superscience @ Jan 3 2007, 06:54 AM) *

The Poisonwood Bible is my favorite Kingsolver book. I liked it especially because of all the religious stuff--because it hit quite close to home (not that my parents were missionaries or I ever lived in Africa, but still).

While I was at home visiting my parents over the holidays and realized I'd neglected to bring a book with me (and the only thing they have in their house are religious books and Consumer Reports magazine), I tagged along with my mom on a shopping trip. She went to Wal-Mart, and though normally I would never shop there, I headed straight for their book section. The selection was horrible. Half were inspirational books, and the other half were Danielle Steele type stuff. I found one copy of A Million Little Pieces, so picked it up. It's a copy that was issued after the whole scandal, and has notes from James Frey and the publisher. I'm torn. I'm really engrossed in it, but also can't stop thinking about the whole scandal. And, it struck me today that I've never wanted so much to just flip to the back of the book to see how it turns out, if he relapses, if he's still with Lilly, etc. I'm sure this book was discussed when all the shit went down, but is there anyone out there who read it (either before or after the truth came to light), and still likes it?


I suppose you judge it by different merits when you know it is not actually true. I tend to look more at the writing and plotting in fiction rather than focusing on the bizarre-ness of the true events in non-fiction. I don't think you should feel guilty or whatever for being spellbound as its hard not to be.

I loved it, but once I found out it was exaggerated, I must admit it lost some of its shine.

His second book, 'My Friend Leonard' was also great but again, who knows whats real or not.

Try 'Shantaram', which was a magical book. At 900 pages, its quite the journey but wonderfully philosophical and quite true.

QUOTE(cinegirl @ Jan 2 2007, 04:48 AM) *

I actually meant it more as a comment on my own pettiness--that I have an aversion to reading writers that I'm jealous of, and that's stupid. So, yeah, I guess that does make me a hypocrite. Thanks for pointing it out. I've been wanting to get that mote out of my eye for quite some time.

Oh, and I see this is your first post. Welcome to Bust! You might want to swing by "For the Newbies" and introduce yourself.


Ah, yes I must do.

I understand, I can be quite petty too, so I suppose thats my own hypocrisy coming out!

I would like to save you the trouble of reading 'Calamity Physics' - its really really long and unbearably pretentious. The writing is flacid and not nearly concise enough. The main character is interesting, but with so many wonderful books in the world, I wouldn't recommend it.
cinegirl
QUOTE(euphorically @ Jan 3 2007, 10:50 AM) *

I would like to save you the trouble of reading 'Calamity Physics' - its really really long and unbearably pretentious. The writing is flacid and not nearly concise enough. The main character is interesting, but with so many wonderful books in the world, I wouldn't recommend it.


I actually really enjoyed it, but I tend to like loooooong books and don't mind so much about sprawling prose. I actually *like* Dickens blink.gif

What are you recommending these days?

I started Emperor's Children, but after about 75 pages decided I didn't want to read it. Anybody read that one?

Omnivore's Dilemma--I totally want to read that. I love books about food. And I second the enthusiasm for both Girlbomb & Poisonwood Bible.
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