What are you reading the week of October 15, 2011?
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The thing I don't like about starting these threads is that someone else might start it while I'm still gathering data. The thing I like about starting one is that I get to format the date the way I want it.
Literary birthdays this week:
October 15: Virgil, Helen Hunt Jackson, P.G. Wodehouse, C.P. Snow, John Kenneth Galbraith, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Mario Puzo, Italo Calvino, Evan Hunter
October 16: Noah Webster, Oscar Wilde, Eugene O'Neill, Gunter Grass
October 17: Jupiter Hammon, Georg Buchner, Elinor Glyn, Nathanael West, Arthur Miller, Leron Bennett, Jr.
October 18: Heinrich von Kleist, Thomas Love Peacock, H.L. Davis, Ntozake Shange, Wendy Wasserstein, Terry McMillan
October 19: Sir Thomas Browne, Choderlos de Lacloc, Leigh Hunt, Vincas Kreve-Mickieviciuis, Fannie Hurst, Miguel Angel Asturias, John Le Carre
October 20: Thomas Hughes, Daniel Owen, Arthur Rimbaud, Daniel Nathan, Art Buchwald, Robert Pinsky
October 21: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Alphonse Lamartine, Ursula LeGuin
Whoever she may be.
I have a quarter of the way to go to finish The Pattern of the Chinese Past.
Thanks, Robert. So many good ones born in October! P.G. Wodehouse brought a lot of laughs into my life.
The Riddle of the Sands was a good spy novel - one of the first ones written. Those with a nautical bent would probably enjoy it even more than I did.
I'm now reading The Annotated Persuasion by Jane Austen and David M. Shapard.
Thanks Robert! I am a whole 4 pages into Havemercy by Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett.
Great start to the week, Robert. Many thanks! Of course I'm still reading War and Peace. I am so in love with Tolstoy's incredible work! It's taking a bit longer than I thought it might, but I don't mind, because I'm so immersed in the lives of all of these characters, in Russia, and history from the Russian perspective.
Thank you, Robert, for starting the thread.
I wanted something very light last night, right before bed, so I pulled out a Marion Chesney book, The Education of Miss Patterson. It isn't her best work, but I enjoyed rereading it.
Tonight, I think I'm going to try a recommendation I got here: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. I've read Pride & Prejudice, Emma and Sense and Sensibility, but this one will be a first time for me. I also picked up a copy of Persuasion, but haven't yet opened it up.
No time to read today: it was a gorgeous day and I spent the greater part of it outside, working on my gardens. I'm sore, but it's a good sore. :)
I am still enjoying The Secret River by Kate Grenville, the novel won her a Commonwealth Writers' Prize.
My next will be a very slim novel purchased online Two Old Women an Alaska Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival by Velma Wallis.
I'm trying to get through Privileged Information by Stephen White. It's kind of slow and I'm a little worried about how cavalier the main character is about his dog. Nothing better happen to that dog.
The good news is that I finally picked up Essential Dykes to Watch Out For. I was saving it to read when I really needed it. I have no doubt it will be wonderful.
I skipped to the end(Privileged Information) and not only was the murderer exactly who I thought it was but(spoiler alert) something does happen to the dog!
Thank you Mr.Durick. I'm always afraid to start the thread for fear that someone else is gathering data for a stellar beginning to our reading week.
This week I'm reading The Magicians to put me in the Halloween spirit. I've just started it and can't wait to see where it goes.
Thank you for starting the thread, Mr.Durick! I'm always amazed (and humbled) to look over the list of author birthdays, and realize how very much there still is left to read.
I'm still working on Daniel Boorstin's The Discoverers, which I think I started back in June. Readable, yet dense, so just taking it a couple of pages at a time. Also reading Buddha or Bust, and finding it very entertaining and informative. Need to find some more fiction to read!
I have about 1 1/2 Cd's of The Good Earth left. Of course it's wonderful, but I'm wondering why so many sentences start with "Well, and" or 'And, well" or just "And". Is this representative of Chinese language? Is she trying to sound biblical? Anyone know? I'm also about half way through Wickett's Remedy and am enjoying the story of the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918, but the margin notes are distracting. They do add another perspective on the narrative, but the irritation produced by interrupting the flow of the story overpowers any good they might do, in my opinion.
Citizenjoyce #13 -- I don't know what your experience has been, but in my own small world the words "The," "And," "But," "Well," and "Guess what" probably start more sentences than any word other than "I". More exactly, I think the writer was working hard to write the vernacular. I don't know much about Pearl S. Buck, but she WAS writing in English for an English-speaking public -- was she not?
>14 dekesolomon: Deke, I'm assuming she was, but I was wondering if, in trying to show the daily life of Chinese farmers, she was trying to "sound" Chinese. I don't think people speaking every day English, even at that time, would have phrased their sentences in the manner of the book.
I'm just starting The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. I'm not sure what to expect, but it did win the Booker Prize so somebody must have liked it.
Reading and enjoying Uther by Jack Whyte. I am almost done the series and I have enjoyed reading and learning about early Britain.
I am reading The Crook Factory by Dan Simmons. It's a historical fiction novel based off of the historical fact that Ernest Hemingway asked the FBI if he could run a spy operation out of Cuba. The man character, Joe Lucas, is sent down to help him out. I read somewhere that it is said to be an excellent characterization of Hemingway, and I couldn't agree more. Haven't had time to read it as much as I would like because I am working on a presentation for school about Library Thing, which is a little challenging since I am new to the site.
I've had such a great time reading Peter Carey's Parrot and Olivier in America. I should finish it tonight -- but it's hard to know where to go next -- so many in the tbr pile have been waiting for so long, but I'm drawn toward a new one, The Art of Fielding, so I guess I'll move it into the on-deck circle. (I'm going to feel silly for saying that if this book turns out to have nothing to do with baseball. Come to think of it, I feel pretty silly for saying it anyway.)
Finished A Traveller in Italy by H. V. Morton. Excellent. Didn't want it to end so I slooowed down reading.
Now on to what I don't know. Fiction for sure, since I just finished nonfiction. Also reading Robert Fitzgerald's translation of The Aeneid, yet again. Maybe I should just say still. I also picked up copy of C. S. Lewis' Lost Aeneid which was saved from the flames by his executor, much as the original poem was. Virgil wanted the unfinished manuscipt burned upon his death. Augustus intervened.
I'm reading Dreams from My Father an autobiography by Barack Obama, written in 1995, 13 years before his Presidency, for a book discussion group next week. It is a surprisingly candid look at his coming of age and the terrible effects and struggle with racism. It has little or nothing to do with politics and is surprisingly well written.
Thanks Robert for starting us off! You are doing a great job!
Divinenanny- I have a measly 60 pages left in A Dance With Dragons. Whew!
Just finished Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply by Vandana Shiva and as soon as I fold the laundry, I'll start Chango's Beads and Two-Tone Shoes by William Kennedy. I'm trying to bribe myself - if I fold the laundry, then I get to start a new book (because if I start the new book first, I'll be living out of the laundry basket for a week).
Currently at the very end of Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. I'm sad that its going to end. On the positive side, I'm really glad that I made it through.
Finally finished The English Patient, which has been on the go since the beginning of the month. It was all right, but I think I'll watch the movie as well to see if that clears up some of the more chronologically confusing bits. Next up is The General, by C.S. Forester, which came recommended by a co-worker.
Phew, I've been so busy, not much time to read!
#27 - Freedom remains one of my favorite novels of all times. I know reviews are drastically mixed though. I'm glad you liked it!
I finally finished up my adult re-reading of To Kill a Mockingbird and while I did enjoy it a lot, but found kind of slow going. I don't really agree that it is that century's best novel. I might stick a vote in for the century's best "Southern" novel though. It was, however, daring for its time ... and very honest about the hatred. The kids, Jem and Scout, just seemed a BIT too perfect in their precociousness, kindness and wonder though. I rolled my eyes quite a few times.
I am now reading You: A Novel by Joanna Briscoe which is a July Early Reviewer book that I got quite late. So starting on that.
#22 - Lester Higata's 20th Century looks really good! I'm going to see if my library has that. Thanks for the mention. I am, for the first time in my life really, starting to get into the short story more (thanks to my fiction writing class and appreciating the skill, brilliance and crafting of so many great short stories).
Thanks, Robert. I finished The Killer is Dying by James Sallis, Great prose and well drawn characters. Still, I didn't get the idea of featuing three people. It subtracted from my enjoyment of what could have been a gem of a book. Also finished The Troubled Man the last of the Kurt Wallander novels, I am sorry to say. I will be posting reviews as soon as the problem with my internet connection is resolved. Half way through Catherine the Great by Robert K Massie, a great biography. Now I am trying to decide whether to start Rogue Island by Bruce DeSilva, or When the Thrill is Gone by Walter Mosley.
I have been zipping through some books lately:
Classic: Washington Square by Henry James, 3 stars, a good story about a sensible heroine who is wronged by completely insensitive people: a suitor, aunt and father.
Crime/Mystery: In the Woods by Tana French, 3.5 stars, a really good read that involved some romance that I wasn't expecting. I will be reading the next in line of this series.
Book club: Room by Emma Donoghue, 3 stars, this was disturbing, yet engrossing. The 5 year old narrator is really interesting.
Today, I start The Kite Runner.
I finished The Journey Home by Olaf Olafsson, which I really enjoyed. I also read the children's book Rules, which was very moving. Now reading The Witness of Combines by Kent Meyers, which may be in pretty bad shape when I'm done with it as I am marking so many lovely or thought-provoking or just special passages that I want to read again. This week I hope to finish I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak on audio. I'm enjoying it, but I feel this is a book that would work better for me in print.
I am just finishing up The Chrysalids by John Wyndham, which I originally read in school many years ago. I always remembered liking the book, but I really didn't remember much about it.
I have started Kim by Rudyard Kipling, a classic that I have missed until now.
I think I will also be starting The Bat by Mary Roberts Rinehart this week.
#9 brenzi.. I also loved The Secret River it was special for me as I am very familiar with the Hawkersbury river, and the townships along it. The Idea of Perfection looks interesting.
Have you read Dark Places by Kate Grenville? it is a fascinating dark read!!!
I have also readMontana 1948 and did enjoy.
Transformation Space by Marianne de Pierres. The fourth and final book in this Science Fiction Series. I can't say I am thoroughly enjoying it, but it is okay.
I spent all of yesterday reading John Fowles' The Collector. I read The Magus decades ago and didn't get into it at all but this one was horribly, brilliantly readable. It has been ages since I read something so well written that I totally sloughed off the disturbing subject matter(abduction). Having spent all day with it, I was afraid it would give me nightmares but it didn't.
It was a fascinating read - I think I'm going to have to revisit The Magus at some point.
Just started Agatha Christie's Third Girl, a Hercule Poirot mystery -- features my favorite Christie character, Ariadne Oliver. Also just started Mr. Murder by Dean Koontz -- first Koontz book I've tried. Also still reading an Early Reviewer book, Literary Brooklyn by Evan Hughes -- interesting book, but for some reason I'm having trouble sticking with it.
I'm just about finished with The Dead Path, and it is one of the best horror novels I've read in a long time. Also about 50 pages into my Early Reviewer book, We Wanted to Be Writers, but it's not as engaging as I would have hoped. I want to be a successful writer as well, but if I'm going by the stories and anecdotes in there, a successful writer has to read obscure foreign literature and give up genre fiction, which goes against all of my reading/writing beliefs. There is valuable information in there, but I think this book (as well as the Iowa Writers' Workshop) is geared more towards the literary writers, not the genre writers.
#35 - Hi Joe, yes, I did like The Chrysalids very much the second time around. It is a little dated, has some religious overtones, but overall the story held up and held my interest. It's the only John Wyndham I have read, but I am definitely planning on reading both the Day of The Triffids and The Midwich Cuckoos eventually.
I finished reading Case Histories just in time to watch it last night on Masterpiece Mystery. They did a good job of turning the book into a movie. Some things were out of sequence, but the basic story was there. How do they do that at the BBC and our movie industry can't seem to be able to turn a good book into even a mediocre movie? The book was good enough that I hunted down my copy of One Good Turn that was hiding in the mountainous TBR pile and I started that. I am also trying to finish David Downing's fourth book in the John Russell series - Potsdam Station. This one is definitely a gripping story, even if it took the author three books to set this one up, it was worth the wait. If you are looking for a good spy novel series try this one.
I have been having lots of trouble with my Nook and my local Barnes & Noble store. They advertise that you can read a book on your Nook for one hour for free every day at one of their stores. I haven't been able to do for about the last month. When I log in it simply tells me that it is "Opening your book" and locks up there. I finally complained and for the last three days they have been trying to fix the problem. At first they said it was just an anomaly. Then when another in-store reader reported the same problem and I proved that the demo Nook wouldn't load a book, they said it was an AT&T problem. Then last night they told me it was my account because they had called AT&T and found out there was nothing wrong with the connections in the store. Has anybody else had this problem? This is very aggravating because I want to find out what happened to John Russell, his son, and his girlfriend. My local library doesn't have this book and B&N doesn't have it in the store either.
>49 benitastrnad: Benita, I haven't had that problem, but then I don't read often in B&N. How sad if Nook is going to try to pull another bait and switch type of thing.
I was too tired last night to read before I fell asleep, but I'm planning on reading more of Mansfield Park tonight.
The weather has been so perfect for fall gardening, I've been outside digging and planting and doing other yard work until sunset every day. Then I'm too tired to do more than take a shower and go to bed.
Once again, Mr. Durick you show your diversity. I can't imagine anything that would make me donate to the Chelsea Handler fund, and if given the book as a gift, I can't imagine actually reading it.
I finished Wickett's Remedy. I think it will get better as I think about it a bit. It did open up the influenza experiments at Gallups Island which I had never heard of, though the detailed description of one of the experiments was so disgusting I almost stopped reading.
Next up is a book for my RL book group Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji. I don't know anything about it, and I'm so resistant to reading anything else about Tehran, I hope I'll be very pleasantly surprised.
#54 -- "Rooftops of Tehran" is pretty boring for the first few pages. It picks up when they get kidnapped by Chinese people and carted off to the jungles of Peru, where they stumble into the encampment of Henry Kissinger's ultra-secret LSD cult before being eaten by savages and never heard from again. Pay close attention to what those savages do with ketchup.
#43 Always happy to note a new Collector fan, enaid. Isn't it brilliantly nasty!
I'm nearing the end of several books including A Discovery of Witches, Don Juan, Byron in Love etc. It'll no doubt take me several more days to get them all dusted off but I really mean to try and stick with one at a time after that.
I began The Tiger's Wife on my commute this morning. The LT response is so mixed. I'm interested in seeing how I feel about it. I've gotten to where I believe the magical realism will begin. I don't always enjoy that style of writing, so I've decided if I hate it I can stop reading. Without that promise to myself, I never would have begun in the first place.
Yes, The Collector is really something! I can't believe that this book isn't mentioned on a lot of top 20 reads. I was telling a friend that it is unforgettable and such a sly tribute to Nabakov. I gave it five stars and that happens oh-so-rarely!
And now, I've picked up Pale Fire because after reading Lolita as a teenager I decided Nabakov was a "pervert"(well, I was 15 and as harsh a judge as any puritan at a witch trial). I need to catch up with the rest of the world. I am also very tempted to re-read Lolita - it seems entirely possible that I was too busy condemning Nabakov that I may well have missed the point of it.
Finally getting a chance to read The Help! So far it's only mildly interesting, so I'm guessing it gets better as it goes along. If I was a 50-pager, I'd have given up by now, tho.
Wow, you don't pass out 4-star reviews like party favors, so I thumbs-upped and wishlisted!
>55 dekesolomon: Wow, Deke, what a read I have coming. So far I see no evidence of Chinese kidnappers, but I'm sure you wouldn't steer me wrong. The book does start with a paean to Iranian silent communication - you know, the idea that you can tell what a woman thinks of you by the way she acts, as in - her lips say no no, but her eyes say yes, yes, yes. This is the sort of communication that is easily mistranslated. I'd much prefer the LSD experiments.
Oh, by the way, I finished The Good Earth. Buck manages to talk about sweeping life events seen through the eyes of one very bad husband but sympathetic man. Now, bowing to peer pressure, I start an audiobook of Dog On It. Are there any books narrated by female dogs - not prissy poodles, just normal female canines? Male buddy books are just not my thing.
I have let myself get bullied into reading books in which I have not the slightest interest and have regretted it. Run now!
A friend of mine read Rooftops of Tehran and liked it. I may have to get busy and read it, but for now Jackson Brodie will keep me company.
I started Gold: the once and future money by Nathan Lewis at nap time yesterday and pretty much decided I'd be reading something else by bed time. But at bed time I picked it up again and read a hundred and fifty pages or so, so I guess I'm reading it now. It has some weaknesses, including dull writing, and some not necessarily true political assertions, but it also has plenty of matters of interest.
Starting The Betrayal by Helen Dunmore, an historical fiction novel set in 1950's Russia.
#66 -- I wouldn't steer you wrong but I've been known to pull a leg or two, as you've already guessed. Looking back at my post, Henry Kissinger's super-secret LSD cult was WAAAAY over the top. Still: it was fun. No harm intended.
>71 dekesolomon: I thought it was high comedy! Made me laugh for a half-hour after I read it. Thanks!
The Man Booker prize for 2011 has been awarded tonight to Julian Barnes for The Sense of an Ending. He had been nominated three times before, once for Arthur and George, a book I thought was wonderful. So I'm looking forward to reading this one.
But, but, Deke where can't I find that book? It sounds like a cross between Bel Canto and something by Hunter Thompson.
55, 66 - LOL. Seriously.
67 Citizenjoyce - Why is that, I wonder?! I can't think of any female doggy narrators. There has to be some, no? Even their humans always seem to be male. Pam Houston's Sight Hound has a female protagonist and one of the chapters, at least, is from the Irish Wolfhound's POV, but he is a male dog. It's a good read, btw. *gentle plug for an old favorite*
# 57 msf59, I really liked Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? when I read it last year. Hope you're enjoying it too.
#67 Not the narrator but Almondine (the Ophelia character in The Story of Edgar Sawtelle) is a first-class bitch in the nicest possible way. Although I wasn't a fan of the book in general (especially the truly terrible ending) I have to concede that Almondine is one of the great doggy characters in literature.
-67- Ah, Almondine, a great character. I agree with your opinion of the book completely and also with your view of that wonderful dog.
Last night I began The Reminiscences of Carl Schurz, Volume Three 1863-1869.* Schurz was a German native who took part in the revolutions of 1948 in that country, then came to America and became prominent in the abolitionist movement, a friend of Lincoln's, a general in the Union Army, a U.S. congressman and Secretary of the Interior in the Hayes administration.
I've read the first two volumes over the past several months. Schurz died before finishing this third volume, so the second half was completed from his notes, speeches and letters. This volume begins with the opening of the Battle of Gettysburg, in which Schurz took part.
*Irritatingly, the touchstone for this book works while I'm writing or editing the message, but not once I save it.
Have started The Night Circus. The beginning is quite "different", but oh how I love "different"!
I'm finally reading The Mists of Avalon, which has been on my TBR shelves for much too long! I'm completely enthralled, and aching for more time to read, knowing that time will be limited in the coming week...
I finally got around to reading Mists of Avalon last spring and thought it was a good book, but I wondered what all the hyperbole was about when it was first published? My book discussion group read it and I doubt I would have picked it up had it not been for that not-so-subtle shove to read it. Soon after I read it, some kook took an axe to the thorn tree in the Glastonbury Cathedral. I was incensed. (The significance of the thorn tree will be clear to you by the time you reach the end of the book. As will my wanting to grab the perpetrator of that particular act of eco-terrorism by the neck and shaking.)
After much haggling with Barnes & Noble, they have ascertained that my Nook cannot connect to the server. It remains to be seen if they will give me a new one or if they can "fix" it. It suffices to say that I am not a happy camper and think that the oldest format of them all - a hard copy of a novel is still the best as it is the most reliable.
(86) I agree with your last statement, benitastrnad.
Besides, you don't need batteries for a hard copy of a novel. :)
I've really fallen behind on these threads! :( Well, I've been reading horror books all throughout October. Like last year, I picked books for typical Halloween-ish monsters; zombies, vampires, werewolves, ghosts/haunted houses, and a recent addition of aliens.
Unfortunately I've only managed to finish 2 books in 20 days, but I should finish my 3rd book today or tomorrow and my ghost book is only 140 pages, so I still might get through all these.
Anyway, reviews have been posted for Dead of Night and Midnight Mass, for anyone interested. Right now I'm reading my werewolf book, Shapeshifter.
I've benn distracted from my enormous TBR pile by a friend who has said I can borrow as many books as I like! Oh dear... The first one I've borrowed is Ella Minnow Pea, quite unusual and different to what I normally go for.
I finished and reviewed Rooftops of Tehran and have to say, I think Deke's book would have been much better. The guy just can't write, from my perspective. He was determined to make this a romance and I didn't buy it. Of course, I seldom buy romance in a novel, so maybe it was just me. Next up is Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue. I've loved both other books of hers I've read, so am hoping for more enjoyment from her.
I finished the remarkable The Sense of an Ending -- an evocative, disturbing book I'll be thinking about for a long time. It goes into the tbr pile -- to be read again soon.
Next: Margaret Drabble's A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman: Complete Short Stories
#94 - I am reading Kim now too! A friend of mine gave it to me as I love to read about India and he says it's one of the best in that regard. So far, I love it (only about 30 pages in).
I finished You: A Novel by Joanna Briscoe (Early Reviewer copy from July, which came recently) and ugh, not my cup of tea. It was a very long haul because I did not care for the characters at all, nor the story, from page one.
I am also finished with Sula as well, which I'm reading for my fiction writing class. We are reading it in pieces though (reflecting on various things like diction, dialog, use of third person omnicient, etc.), so I'm sticking to the schedule. It is a different experience for me to "digest" a novel as I go along. It's been awesome though ... in some ways, for its time, Sula really is a masterpiece, disquieting though it may be.
#101 CarolynSchroeder You've got me intrigued about Sula. I tried to read Beloved a couple of times, but I just couldn't get into it. I wonder if I'd click better with Morrison's writing in Sula. I'm not sure what the problem was with Beloved. I'm not one to generally have a problem with vernacular in dialogue, so I don't think that was it.
#103 - Beloved is a challenging read. It was for me too. Part of it is the flashbacks (and the events that happened - because they are so horrible, I recall her sort of dancing around it, like someone would do) but also, the character of Beloved is like a ghost who comes to life and the surreal element is sort of hard to get a grasp on. It's hard to know what is real, and what is not. Sula is her second novel, I think, and a whole lot more accessible. It's pretty straightforward but again, the meat of it often is in what is NOT said. No one in my class (10 other students) finds it hard to read, but that said, not all like it. Some even hate it. I think it's because of the subject matter though. We have a couple folks in there who refuse to "use the Lord's name in vain" - when it comes up in the stories we read!
I started Thirteen Reasons Why this morning-I'm finding myself engrossed in it and almost missed my stop going to work today
I have heard really good things about Thirteen Reasons Why. You will have to let us know how you like it.
I will spend this weekend finishing One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson so that I can watch the second episode of the Jackson Brodie series on PBS. Then I am going to try and finish Dr. Zhivago. That book has been sitting around my house half-read for years. Time to get it read and moved out. The Noble Prize Winners thread is incentive to do that.
Undaunted Courage is moving along nicely. I didn't think I would like this book, as I am not that big of a fan of Ambrose's work, but this one has turned out to be a good book.
Thirteen Reasons Why is excellent. Its success seems to be all by word-of-mouth (or word of email).
#114 -- Anything Kipling is great stuff. I have no time for any of those who tell me I shouldn't read him because he is a racist, a sexist, an imperialist, or any of the other PC faults anyone cares to name. In my book Kipling was just like the rest of us: he was a product of the times he lived in. A hundred years from now some snotty undergrads will probably throw just as many rocks at our contemporary authors as they now throw at guys like Kipling and Hemingway.
(116) The only Kipling I could not 'get into' was Captains Courageous. I'm not sure why, but I gave it up after a couple of chapters. Oh well.
Benitasmad and jnwelch-I am so enjoying Thirteedn Reasons Why- as a social worker I am attracted to stories of human suffering and frailities
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