Book 'Em Danno! Reading Record 2021
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  • In the spirit of the film and games record threads, you keep a list of what you've read (or finished reading), fiction or non-fiction in 2021.
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    Hopefully this won't detract too much from the main Book thread - it's purpose is really to help us all locate each others reading recommendations which can often get lost in the main thread.

    As with the other threads, claim a post to keep your master list in one place and update the thread with new posts each time you finish something. Length of reviews are up to you and scores are optional.
    Gamertag: gremill
  • 1. Cage of Souls (Adrian Tchaikovsky)
    Far, far future set speculative sci-fi set mostly in a brutal prison, with an appealing aesthetic, fun characters and some great and horrifying ideas. Like many books of the genre (ATs others included) it deals with both man's inhumanity to man and the struggles of good humans to do the right thing in a situation gone dreadfully wrong.

    2. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol 3: Century (Alan Moore & Kevin O'Neill)
    A great concept with typically great writing by Moore and brilliant art by O'Neill is slightly marred by an embarrassing obsession with ludicrously hard nipples on massive breasted females, like some teenage amateur cartoonist.

    3. Gideon the Ninth (Tamsyn Muir)
    Second reading of this brilliant scifi/fantasy tale of necromancy, whodunnit murder, swords, skeletons, swearing, sarcasm and snark. Funny, action packed and fill of great characters in an interesting world.

    4. Harrow the Ninth (Tamsyn Muir)
    Phenomenal. So different from the first book, but still chock full of jet black humour, interesting characters and mind bending ideas. I have to say that I struggled to follow it at times, through a combination of reading it too fast because I was so excited by it and the intentionally fractured structure. But what a ride it was. I'm going to give it a few months and give it another read. Just wonderful.

    5. American War (Omar El Akkad)
    Bleak, powerful and thought provoking. The story of what war can do to a country and the ordinary people living there, through the eyes of one family. Scarily plausible and brilliantly written, that it's set in America and not Iraq or Afghanistan just adds to the impact.

    6. The Future of British Politics (Frankie Boyle)
    Relatively short essay with Frankie's thoughts on how politics needs to change in Britain, leavened with some of his trademark spectacular insults and nihilistic world view. Nothing surprising to anyone who has followed his recent political work, but very very funny.

    7. Dogs of War (Adrian Tchaikovsky)
    Another AT novel, another fascinating, original and innovative sci-fi story both brilliantly written and thought provoking. Fast becoming one of my all time favourite authors.

    8. Bear Head (Adrian Tchaikovsky)
    Sequel to Dogs of War set in part on Earth and in part on Mars, which is being terraformed by genetically modified humans and animal bioforms. Again, a brilliant story brilliantly told with themes of AI, free will, what makes a human human and populist politics. Loved it.

    9. How to Survive in the North (Luke Healy)
    Wonderful graphic novel interweaving 2 based on a true stories disastrous Arctic expeditions in 1912 and 1919 with one fictional tale of an Alaskan university professor trying to survive a mid life crisis in 2012. It's a lovely book, really enjoyable and warm.

    10. A Memory Called Empire (Arkady Martine)
    Sci-fi set in the far future in the Teixicalaan Empire, which is very much like what an aztec or other South/Central American civilization might have been like of it had left the earth. An ambassador from an independent space station culture comes to the centre of the Teix culture, a planet wide city where her predecessor has been murdered. She, with the help of her native cultural liaison, tries to solve the crime whilst negotiating the continued independence of her home from a war of annexation against the background of an stirring revolution. Great stuff, well written with some really fantastic world building and prose.

    11. Walking to Aldebaran (Adrian Tchaikovsky)
    A very British sci-fi novella about an expedition to an 'artifact' discovered out past Pluto, in which the makers of said artifact have "made physics their bitch". Short, funny and extremely imaginative. Highly recommended.

    12. The Player of Games (Iain M Banks)
    Fantastic stuff, with a lot to say about the state of our world (even more relevant today than it was when it was written) through the lens of the corrupt and decadent Empire of Azad. Can't believe it took me so long to get into this series.

    13. The Problem with Men (When is International Men's Day and Why Does it Matter?) (Richard Herring)
    Short essay style book about the last 10 years of his epic Twitter crusade to answer every cunt on the world who asks "When is there going to be and international men's day??!' on International Women's Day. Thoughts on toxic masculinity, male insecurity and the drive for equality. Funny and thoughtful, worth a read.

    14. Ninefox Gambit (Yoon Ha Lee)
    Set in an empire that derives its technological power from a combination of mathematics, faith and a very specific calendar of observances and rituals, this was quite a thing. It never really explains much to you and is at times borderline incomprehensible, but I ended up really enjoying it.

    In order to crush a calendrical heresy occuring at a heavily defended nexus fort in deep space, the Hexarchate send a military maths prodigy possessed by the ghost of a 400 year old insane genocidal legendary general. They have a variety of extremely nasty sounding weapons at their disposal (carrion bombs, threshold winnowers, amputation guns etc) to do so, but is the spirit of Shuos Jedau, the undead madman, as crazy as he seems? Or is he planning something bigger? Daft as fuck but well written and didn't take itself too seriously.

    15. The Trouble With Peace (Joe Abercrombie)
    Re-read of the second in the Age of Madness trilogy, set around 30 years after the end of The Blade Itself trilogy. Just utterly brilliant gritty fantasy. Laugh out loud at times, chock full of fantastic characters and with an overarching plot spiralling towards utter carnage at all times this is one of my favourites from one of my favourite authors.

    16. Saga of the Swamp Thing vol 1 (Alan Moore)
    Haven't read this for decades it feels like and it's still pretty much peerless in terms of storytelling, mood and art. Brilliant stuff.

    17. Foe (Ian Reid)
    Not as good as I'm Thinking of Ending Things, but a great read full of what appears now to be his trademark atmosphere of tension and 'offness'. I really enjoyed it and it's meditations on relationships, personality and what makes us human.

    18. Doom Patrol vol 2 (Gerard Way)
    Excellent art and Way paying tribute to and following up where the legendary Grant Morrison run left off. The world's strangest superheroes try to figure out how what they are for, deal with the return of Mr Nobody and stop the end of all existence from happening at the hands of a cancelled and embittered former comic book hero. Features psychic werewolves, interspecies cat sex and tap dancing.

    19. Doom Patrol vol 3: Weight of the Worlds (Gerard Way)
    A bit of a drop off from vol 2, at times feeling very aimless and unstructured and being weird for the sake of it rather than to service the characters or plot. Disappointing

    20. Undiscovered Country vol 1&2 (Scott Snyder)
    Picked up the second volume for my birthday so went back and read the first before getting into that. Enjoyed v1 far more second time around and the 2nd volume is just as good. Some fantastically imaginative concepts and art design coupled with some great storytelling and plot. Can't wait for the next edition.

    21. Use of Weapons (Iain M Banks)
    Superb stuff. Effortlessly brilliant from beginning to end and even though the structure would likely have stumped a lesser writer it's so well done here that I didn't even really notice how clever it was until I'd finished it. The only criticism I have is that there aren't more books in the Culture series with even some of these characters in them.

    22. Dark Knights: Metal (Scott Snyder)
    Mental event comic in which the dark God Barbatos invades reality with an army of evil Batmen and it's up to the Justice League to stop them. Completely embraces the ludicrous nature of superhero comics and takes it up to 11. Great fun.

    23. The Batman Who Laughs (Scott Snyder)
    Sequel of sorts to the above, with Batman trying to stop the end of the world (again), going up against an evil version of himself crossed with Joker from another dimension. Again, great fun and completely aware of it's own daftness.

    24. DCeased
    The DC version of Marvel Zombies but far, far better. Darkseid tries to mutate the anti-life equation with the DNA of Death himself, but only succeeds in creating a bio-technological virus that spreads through both screens and blood. Everyone dies in graphic and gore-splattered ways Massively entertaining nonsense that is really only possible in this genre.

    25. State of the Art (Iain M Banks)
    Collection of short stories some of which are better than others - but the real treasure is the title story. The Culture visits Earth circa 1976 and considers whether or not we're worth making contact with.

    26. Senlin Ascends (Josiah Bancroft)
    Superb story of a man forced by circumstance to leave behind who he was to become something new in order to find his lost love in the Tower of Babel. A brilliantly realised world filled with great characters - I immediately bought the sequel.

    27. The Arm of the Sphynx (Josiah Bancroft)
    Sequel to Senlin and continues the brilliance of the first book, then surpasses it. Couldn't put it down.

    28. Excession (Iain M Banks)
    Just brilliant. Love the focus on the ships and their Minds and the idea that there's something out there in the galaxy that's both unknowable and more powerful than the Culture. The Affront were total dicks, but strangely loveable. It's weird grieving for an author thats been dead so long, with the selfish jealousy of knowing that once I've finished these books, there's no more to come. What a writer.

    29. Scabby Queen (Kirsten Innes)
    Wasn't sure I was going to like this as it didn't fit into my usual go to genres, but boy am I glad I read it. It takes a very talented writer to make the central character of your novel such an insufferable arsehole, but yet keep the reader wanting more. A story of the country from the 90s onward, from the perspective of all of the people who knew Clio Campbell, a one hit wonder with roots in alternative culture and the protest movement. She commits fully to nothing, uses people and projects to get what she thinks is justice for whatever movement she likes at the time and gives not a shit what damage she does to those around her for what she is trying to achieve. By the end, my impatience with her had shifted into sympathy but having known people like her, it only went so far. Far better are the cast of supporting characters, who are all brilliantly written and fully fleshed out people having to deal with the fallout of being entranced by Clio and her force of nature personality. The biggest compliment that I can pay this book is that it's reminded me of Iain Banks at his best. A stunning novel.

    30. The Hod King (Josiah Bancroft)
    Third in the Tower of Babel trilogy and yet again he knocks out out of the park - absolutely brilliant storytelling, world building and characters. So enjoyable, so compulsive and I can't wait for the next installment.
    Gamertag: gremill
  • acemuzzy
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    But I do this in The One True Thread also. FFS.
  • I don't tend to read as much as I would like, I use audible instead for my books. Does that count?
    Not everything is The Best or Shit. Theres many levels between that, lets just enjoy stuff.
  • acemuzzy wrote:
    But I do this in The One True Thread also. FFS.
    Yeah, but you don't have an easily accessible list do you?
    I don't tend to read as much as I would like, I use audible instead for my books. Does that count?
    Yes it does.
    Gamertag: gremill
  • 1. A Game of Thrones (George R. R. Martin) - 4/2/21
    So this was fine. Enjoyable enough read and held my attention all the way through. I like the structure, different chapters for different characters, and the different strands and arcs of the story. Ultimately, though, I didn’t think it was that special. Certainly not an all-timer like a lot of lists make out.

    I hear that it gets better with books 2 and 3, but then dips in quality with 4 and 5. I’ll give it a gap before tackling A Clash of Kings.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • Does it count if rather than reading them, I'm judging them by their cover?
  • regmcfly
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    HI
  • Does it count if rather than reading them, I'm judging them by their cover?

    As long as you have read the cover first.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • hylian_elf wrote:
    Does it count if rather than reading them, I'm judging them by their cover?

    As long as you have read the cover first.

    Oh man... The EFFORT!! HUMMMPPPF

    Not everything is The Best or Shit. Theres many levels between that, lets just enjoy stuff.
  • Does it count if rather than reading them, I'm judging them by their cover?

    This is also allowed.
    Gamertag: gremill
  • davyK
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    January
    The Second World War Vol.4 by Winston Churchill

    Feb
    The Dark Forest (Three Body Problem) by Liu Cixin

    Mar
    Dragonflight (Dragonriders of Pern) by Anne McCaffery
    A History of the Crusades Vol.1 by Steven Runciman
    The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

    Apr
    The Second World War Vol.5 by Winston Churchill

    May
    The Second World War Vol.6 by Winston Churchill
    A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
    Where Have All The Bullets Gone by Spike Milligan
    The Master and Margerita by Mikhail Bulgakov
    Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugadsky

    June
    Fall : The Mystery of Robert Maxwell by John Preston
    A Very English Scandal by John Preston
    Blood and Iron by Katja Hoyer
    Gengis Khan:Life, Death and Resurrection by John Man

    July
    Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevski
    The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein

    August
    Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman
    Holding the wrong end of the stick since 2009.
  • Raiziel
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    Oh go on then, though this will almost certainly hollow out the old book thread.
    ***
    January:
    1. Rise of Endymion by Dan Simmons
    2. The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
    3. Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam
    The Man Who Sold Rope to the Gnoles (short story) by Margaret St. Clair
    The Summer People (short story) by Shirley Jackson
    4. The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
    5. Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon 

    February:
    6. The Fold by Peter Clines
    7. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
    8. The Passage by Justin Cronin
    9. Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
    10. Kraken by China Miéville
    The Hungry House (short story) by Robert Bloch
    11. Smith of Wootton Major by J. R. R. Tolkien 
    The Complete Gentleman (short story) by Amos Tutuola
    12. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
    13. Walking to Aldebaran by Adrian Tchaikovsky 
    ‘It’s a Good Life’ (short story) by Jerome Bixby
    A Pail of Air (short story) by Fritz Leiber

    March:
    14. The Cipher Kathe Koja
    15. The Last Conversation by Paul Tremblay
    16. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick
    Mister Taylor (short story) by Augusto Monterroso
    Axolotl (short story) by Julio Cortázar
    17. The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien
    18. Swan Song by Robert McCammon
    19. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow 
    20. Summer Frost by Blake Crouch
    A Woman Seldom Found (short story) by William Sansom
    21. Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock
    22. The Children of Hurin by J. R. R. Tolkien 
    23. Lavondyss by Robert Holdstock

    April:
    24. Lancelot by Giles Kristian
    25. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl and Sir Orfeo translated by J. R. R. Tolkien
    26. Avilion by Robert Holdstock
    27. Piranesi by Suzanna Clarke
    28. Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
    29. The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again by M. John Harrison
    The Howling Man (short story) by Charles Beaumont
    Same Time, Same Place (short story) by Mervyn Peake
    The Colomber (short story) by Dino Buzzati
    30.  The Other Side of the Mountain by Michel Bernanos
    The Salamander (short story) by Mercè Rodoreda

    May:
    31.  The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams
    32.  Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon
    The Ghoulbird (short story) by Claude Seignolle
    The Sea Was Wet as Wet Could Be (short story) by Gahan Wilson
    33.  Unfinished Tales by J. R. R. Tolkien
    34.  Don’t Look Now by Daphne du Maurier
    35.  The Drowned World by J. G. Ballard
    36.  The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
    37.  Emergency Skin by N. K. Jemisin

    June:
    38.  Stone of Farewell by Tad Williams 
    39.  Tehanu by Ursula Le Guin
    Randomize (short story) by Andy Weir
    40.  The Rain Dancers by Greg F. Gifune
    41.  The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
    42.  To Green Angel Tower Part One by Tad Williams 
    43. The Inverted World by Christopher Priest
    The Hospice (short story) by Robert Aickman
    It Only Comes Out at Night (short story) by Dennis Etchison

    July:
    44.  To Green Angel Tower Part Two by Tad Williams
    45.  Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke
    46.  Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb
    47.  The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke
    48.  Blindsight by Peter Watts
    49.  Uzumaki by Junji Ito

    August:
    50.  The Ruins by Scott Smith
    51.  Occultation and Other Stories by Laird Barron
    52.  Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
    53.  What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson
    54.  2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
    55.  Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake
    56.  I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
    57.  Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle
    58.  2010: Odyssey Two by Arthur C. Clarke 

    September:
    59.  2061: Odyssey Three by Arthur C. Clarke
    60.  Voyagers by Ben Bova
    61.  3001: The Final Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
    62.  Voyagers II by Ben Bova
    63.  The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin
    Get schwifty.
  • Raiziel wrote:
    Oh go on then, though this will almost certainly hollow out the old book thread.

    :(
    Gamertag: gremill
  • I'll suggest keeping posts in this to strictly a record of reading and keep actual discussion to the main thread? I just want to be able to see convenient lists of books that I might like, it's entirely selfish.
    Gamertag: gremill
  • Raiziel
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    It doesn’t really matter, does it? One book thread’s as good as another. Let the old one sink, or repurpose it as a bookporn thread.
    Get schwifty.
  • Raiziel
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    1.
    Down with the first book of the year then, though I read a good bit of it during December.  Rise of Endymion by Dan Simmons.  It was...okay.  Good, even, I suppose.  It’s just not a patch on what came before it with the two preceding Hyperion books.  Main gripe is that the two main characters are just so desperately uninteresting.  There was just nothing about them; no deep, human flaws, no juicy skeletons in the closet.  Because of that it all just felt a little too shallow to me.
    Get schwifty.
  • I'm enjoying A Game of Thrones a lot but I fear that I will steam on ahead and will have to wait a bit for The Winds of Winter or whatever the 6th book will be called, and years and years and years for A Dream of Spring or whatever the 7th and hopefully last book will be called.  By which time I will probably have forgotten most of what had happened up to that point.  So maybe I should have just waited to start the damned series.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • Raiziel
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    2.
    Finished The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie.  Hmmm...  There wasn’t much of a story in this one.  Stuff happens, but it doesn’t really amount to very much.  It seems like it’s all set-up, which makes it ultimately a bit disappointing on its own, but I’m intrigued enough to push on with the next two at some point this year.  Also, the massive action sequences make for a boring read.  That sort of thing might be fun to watch in a movie, not so much in a book.  Also also, wtf at the ending!  I pressed the screen on my Kindle this morning expecting the next chapter and was stunned to find myself confronted by the acknowledgements page.
    Get schwifty.
  • I've not had a chance to read anything this year. Anytime I've not been working I've been with the kids and of an evening I'm so tired my eyes close almost as soon as my head hits the pillow.
    Not everything is The Best or Shit. Theres many levels between that, lets just enjoy stuff.
  • Reading "A People's Tradegy" by Orlando Figes. It is one of those history books that keeps dropping interesting facts within quite a long overarching story about the Russian Revolution. Would recommend to those who can churn through 800 pages of tiny font, and harrowing reality.
  • Raiziel
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    3.
    Finished Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam.  It’s this month’s book club read, so I’ll wait until the month is out before I say too much about it but, spoiler alert! I really quite enjoyed this one.
    Get schwifty.
  • 2. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol 3: Century (Alan Moore & Kevin O'Neill)
    A great concept with typically great writing by Moore and brilliant art by O'Neill is slightly marred by an embarrassing obsession with ludicrously hard nipples on massive breasted females, like some teenage amateur cartoonist
    Gamertag: gremill

  • 3. Gideon the Ninth (Tamsyn Muir)
    Second reading of this brilliant scifi/fantasy tale of necromancy, whodunnit murder, swords, skeletons, swearing, sarcasm and snark. Funny, action packed and fill of great characters in an interesting world.
    Gamertag: gremill
  • 1. A Game of Thrones (George R. R. Martin) - 4/2/21
    So this was fine. Enjoyable enough read and held my attention all the way through. I like the structure, different chapters for different characters, and the different strands and arcs of the story. Ultimately, though, I didn’t think it was that special. Certainly not an all-timer like a lot of lists make out.

    I hear that it gets better with books 2 and 3, but then dips in quality with 4 and 5. I’ll give it a gap before tackling A Clash of Kings.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • Raiziel
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    More books recently finished:

    4.
    The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes.  The lone survivor of a time travelling murderer teams up with burned-out journalist to track down and confront her attacker.  It’s wilfully confusing at times, telling much of its story in a nonlinear fashion, and makes no attempt to explain its fantastical conceit, but I liked it.  Beukes writes well, and I enjoyed the banter between the two protagonists.  It’s often very filmic.

    5.
    Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon.  I don’t really know what this is.  It’s certainly not a novel, at least not in a traditional sense.  A man steps out of his house one evening, climbs a hill and, beneath the stars, he contemplates his life.  Suddenly his consciousness departs his body and, for the entirety of the “narrative”, transports itself across time and space, witnessing the evolution of alien civilisations and eventually the evolution of the entire universe itself.  Ultimately the traveller is confronted with the Star Maker, the creator of everything.  It’s completely bonkers, and absolutely not for everyone.  I thought it was fascinating, but I don’t think I’d risk recommending it to anyone.
    Get schwifty.
  • Gremill wrote:
    3. Gideon the Ninth (Tamsyn Muir)
    Second reading of this brilliant scifi/fantasy tale of necromancy, whodunnit murder, swords, skeletons, swearing, sarcasm and snark. Funny, action packed and fill of great characters in an interesting world.

    Loved this so hard. Have you read Harrow? Very different style.
  • Raiziel
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    Also finished:

    6.
    The Fold by Peter Clines.  Smoosh together Lovecraft and Cronenberg’s The Fly, add in a big dollop of pop culture references and you probably get something like The Fold.  It’s a lot more fun than it sounds, though, certainly not as heavy as its influences.  It’s the second book in Clines’ Threshold series (each book is stand-alone but set in the same universe), and I enjoyed this one enough that I’ll get around to the other two at some point.

    7.
    Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes.  Finished this one yesterday and it kinda broke my heart.  The story of a mentally disadvantaged man who undergoes experimental treatment to increase his cognitive capacity.  It’s told entirely through the progress reports he makes before, during, and after the treatment, and we witness his transformation and the emotional difficulties that come with it.  Regarded as a classic, and rightly so.  Of all the books I’ve read recently, this is the one I most heartily recommend others pick up.
    Get schwifty.
  • Ooh Flowers for Algernon sounds like my thing. Will pick it up at some point.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • You do read a lot! Like Webbins and his films. And Moot and his ‘games’.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • Raiziel
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    Trying to make up for lost time.  I used to read voraciously when I was younger.  Then the internet happened, which was a novel and constant distraction.  Now dialled internet usage all the way down and good old fashioned reading all the way up.  Balance feels right now.  I could probably do a 52 books in a year thingy, but I do love a great big door stopper of a book, and just don’t think I could plough through one of those in a week.
    Get schwifty.
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