Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Sunday Salon (4)

Edition #4 of the Sunday Salon.  Remember that if you want to become a participant, log onto Facebook.com and join the group!


Reading Multiple Books
The other day, I commented to my mother that I was reading 4 different books.  Her response to me was "How in the world do you not get them all mixed up?"
To me, its simple.  In all of the books that I'm reading, all of the characters and the stories are so distinct and so different that its hard to confuse them all.
For example, I'm reading Anna Karenina and Fellowship of the Ring.  Let's break this down.  Anna Karenina is a romance, while Fellowship of the Ring is a epic advanture/fantasy.  How could you possibly mix the two?  I guess for some its easier than others.
Some people like to completely immerse themselves into characters and settings.  If the story is particularly good I will drop everything else that I'm reading so I can finish it.  I did that with Outlander and again when I was finishing Pillars of the Earth.
So, I wanted to see what everyone else thought about that.  Do you enjoy reading more than one book at a time, or do you like to only focus on one and really dive in and lose yourself?


Audio Books!
I'm really struggling with this.  I really really really want to try an audiobook, something that I could listen to in the car on the way to and from campus, but I have no idea where to even start.  When I went to B&N yesterday, I looked at some.   They're so expensive!  Its crazy!  And I don't have the kind of money to spend $50 on an audiobook.
So, I wanted to see if anyone else had any alternatives?  I know I've heard of audiable.com, which I think I spelled wrong, but I don't know of anyone who has used it and I haven't had an opportunity to go there myself.  Does anyone have any insight into the world of audiobooks?


There's my salon post this week!  Happy reading everyone, and enjoy the rest of your week!

In My Mailbox (4)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where you basically post your week in books.  Interested in participating?  Click the link to sign up!

Okay, so I had a little bit of a breakdown this week, but when I saw these bargain books on BarnesandNoble.com, I just could not resist!  I'm a sucker for historical fiction, and I've read Anchee Min before, and loved what I read, so I had to get them!  Otherwise, this week was a pretty boring week!



Books I Bought
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NookBooks I Downloaded
None this week!

Books I'm Currently Reading
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Books I Started
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Books I Finished
I didn't finish anything this week :[

Saturday, January 29, 2011

On My Wishlist (4)

On My Wishlist is a weekly meme hosted by Book Chick City.  Click the link to sign up!
This weeks edition has a lot of different reasonings.  I chose Gone With the Wind because its a classic, and I've never read it.  I chose World Without End because I recently finished Pillars of the Earth and I loved it, and that's the sequel.  Finally, I chose The Hunger Games because I've seen in EVERYWHERE and I want to read it.  Happy reading everyone!


book cover of Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Title:  Gone With the Wind
Author:  Margaret Mitchell
Genre:  Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance
Page Count:  1,024 pages
Summary:  (From Goodreads.com)   
Sometimes only remembered for the epic motion picture and "Frankly ... I don't give a damn," Gone with the Wind was initially a compelling and entertaining novel. It was the sweeping story of tangled passions and the rare courage of a group of people in Atlanta during the time of Civil War that brought those cinematic scenes to life. The reason the movie became so popular was the strength of its characters--Scarlett O'Hara, Rhett Butler, and Ashley Wilkes--all created here by the deft hand of Margaret Mitchell, in this, her first novel.
book cover of World Without End by Ken Follet
Title:  World Without End
Author:  Ken Follet
Genre:  Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction
Page Count:  1,014 pages
Summary:  (From Goodreads.com
In 1989 Ken Follett astonished the literary world with The Pillars of the Earth, a sweeping epic novel set in twelfth-century England centered on the building of a cathedral and many of the hundreds of lives it affected. Critics were overwhelmed it will hold you, fascinate you, surround you (Chicago Tribune) and readers everywhere hoped for a sequel.
     World Without End takes place in the same town of Kingsbridge, two centuries after the townspeople finished building the exquisite Gothic cathedral that was at the heart of The Pillars of the Earth. The cathedral and the priory are again at the center of a web of love and hate, greed and pride, ambition and revenge, but this sequel stands on its own. This time the men and women of an extraordinary cast of characters find themselves at a crossroad of new ideas about medicine, commerce, architecture, and justice. In a world where proponents of the old ways fiercely battle those with progressive minds, the intrigue and tension quickly reach a boiling point against the devastating backdrop of the greatest natural disaster ever to strike the human race the Black Death.
     Three years in the writing, and nearly eighteen years since its predecessor, World Without End breathes new life into the epic historical novel and once again shows that Ken Follett is a masterful author writing at the top of his craft.  
book cover of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Title:  The Hunger Games
Author:  Suzanne Collins
Genre:  Young Adult Fiction
Page Count:  374 pages
Summary:  (From Goodreads.com)  
Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? 
     In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. 
     Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

And Progress Continues!

So, despite the fact that I didn't get much done during the actual Bloggiesta, I've still been working on some things to improve my blog.  Since my classes were cancelled on Monday, I managed to get quit a bit done since then.
So far, I:

  • Copyrighted my blog
  • Backed up my blog
  • Made a Favicon and a Gravatar
  • Updated the Policies and About Me page
  • Gotten a lot of scheduled posts done
I'm pretty excited that I've kept the productivity going!  Has anyone else still been working diligently as well?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Feature! New Release Tuesday!

So, I'm rolling out a new feature! New Release Tuesday!
How does it work? With this feature, every week, I'll be posting some of the newest releases in books and music.
Will you be posting ALL new releases? No, I don't think I have the time or the space for that, so I'll only pick a few from each category that I'm interested in. I'll provide links where you can look at other new releases though!
Can I create a post with some other new releases, too? I would LOVE to see some of the other things that my other readers are interested in! Of course you can post your own releases that you're excited about. I'll post a linkup tool so that others can see them as well :]
book cover of It's Not Really About Hair by Tabatha CoffeyTitle: Its Not Really About the Hair: The Honest Truth About Life, Love and the Business of Beauty
Author: Tabatha Coffey
Release Date: January 25, 2011
Summary: (From Barnes & Noble) Fans of the hit Bravo show Tabatha's Salon Takeover tune in for the straight-shooting, unvarnished commentary of its ballsy, stylish, and savvy star. Though millions admire Tabatha Coffey's unflinching honesty and never-say-die attitude, some do not and have even taken to name-calling. Refusing to let others define her, she has reclaimed the word "bitch," transforming it to fit the person she is: Brave, Intelligent, Tenacious, Creative, and Honest.
In It's Not Really About the Hair, this deeply private woman shares the experiences of her own life to encourage you to get in touch with your own inner bitch. Tabatha reveals how she used her strength and openness to help define her signature look, personal relationships, life choices, and tenacious work ethic—one that in her own words likens her to "a pit bull with a bone." Here are the people and the circumstances that have led her to a place of honesty, self-assurance, satisfaction, and success—from her tough-minded mum to her famous mentors, her peers, and clients.
Part memoir, part business manual, and part coaching guide on achieving self-acceptance and love, It's Not Really About the Hair teaches you that it's all right to be who you are, stand up for what you believe in, and do what makes you happy without being defined by others.
Tabatha Coffey's raw, funny, shocking, and always inspirational story will encourage you to celebrate the long-lasting and most important beauty of all—the true beauty that is you.
Why I'm Excited: I'm excited about this because I really love her show on Bravo. Not only that, but she seems like a very genuine person and a very strong woman, and honestly, we need more of them in the world!
book cover of The Red Garden by Alice HoffmanTitle: The Red Garden
Author: Alice Hoffman
Release Date: January 25, 2011
Summary: (From Barnes & Noble ) The Red Garden introduces us to the luminous and haunting world of Blackwell, Massachusetts. Hoffman offers a transforming glimpse of small-town America, presenting us with some three hundred years of passion, dark secrets, loyalty, and redemption in a web of tales.
From the town’s founder, a brave young woman from England who has no fear of blizzards or bears, to the young man who runs away to New York City, the characters in The Red Garden are extraordinary and vivid: a young wounded Civil War soldier who is saved by a neighbor, a woman who meets a fiercely human historical character, a poet who falls in love with a blind man, a mysterious traveler who comes to town in the year when summer never arrives. At the center of everyone’s life is a garden where only red plants can grow, and where the truth can be found by those who dare to look. The Red Garden is as unforgettable as it is moving.
Why I'm Excited: I can't say that I'm really excited about this, but after reading the summary, this book intrigues me and I don't think that I would mind reading it!
Matisyahu Live at Stubb's: Vol II album coverAlbum Title: Live at Stubb's: Vol II
Artist: Matisyahu
Genre: Reggae
Release Date: February 1, 2011
Why I'm excited: I love Matisyahu. The music is so chill, nothing loud and heavy and the lyrics aren't vulgar and generally have nice messages. That might sound silly, but sometimes, that's really nice. Want to hear a sample? Listen to this song. Its great :]






Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bloggiesta Finish Line

Well, unfortunately, I did not get even half of what I planned to get done today. :[  There's been a lot going on in my house and something had to be put on hold.  However, the first day I did get some things done.
Overall, I:

  • Did a little bit of page formatting
  • Did some scheduled posts
  • Learned to use Google forms
  • Made some pages
I wish that I had gotten more done, but I am going to press on and complete the list that I did make, its just going to take me a little bit of time, unfortunately.
For all of you that got everything that you wanted to accomplished, congrats to you!  I hope you all have a fantastic week!

The Sunday Salon (3)

Edition #3 of the Sunday Salon.  Remember that if you want to become a participant, log onto Facebook.com and join the group!


I hate that I haven't posted a whole lot this week.  Since I'm getting into the groove of the semester, my reading is going to slow down, which I hate.  I didn't finish ANYTHING this week. :[


Current Reads
I'm reading The Fellowship of the Ring and I'm diggin it right now.  I watched the movie again a few days ago and there are a lot of similarities between the movie and the book that I've noticed so far, but there are definitely a lot of differences, too.  Overall, from what I can tell right now, they did a pretty good job of translating the book into a screenplay.
I'm also working on Little Women.  That's my immediate read.  And I struggled to get into it.  And I guess I like it so far. It is not my favorite, by far.  The March's are a little too perfect for my taste.  But, I'm not even halfway through, so maybe something will change my mind.
I haven't made any more progress on Anna Karenina, which isn't a bad thing, since I wasn't scheduled to start it until this week.  So I'm technically ahead, which is always a good thing.


Bloggiesta!  Ole!
For those of you that didn't participate, you really should have, and you can still do it!  Bloggiesta is basically a blog-a-thon hosted by Maw Books.  You can see her post about it, and you can see the goals that I set for myself here.  This really gave me an excuse to get everything together, get a few things accomplished that I was trying to.  I learned how to use Google Forms, got my blog listed and a bunch of other things.  Unfortunately, I did not get anything done today, which makes me pretty sad, but I had other pressing things.  So, I'm just going to keep this list I have an continue pressing on  until I complete it!


I had a million other things to post, but I can't remember any of them now.  Until next week! 

In My Mailbox (3)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where you basically post your week in books.  Interested in participating?  Click the link to sign up!


Okay, so this wasn't a very exciting week this week.  It actually wasn't exciting at all, but I'm going to Augusta next weekend, so HOPEFULLY there will be a lot to update (Probably in the bought category!)
Happy reading everyone!





Books I Bought
None this week! Go me!

NookBooks I Downloaded
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Books I'm Currently Reading
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Books I Started
None this week!

Books I Finished
Once again, nothing!


Okay, so this wasn't a very exciting week this week, but I'm going to Augusta next weekend, so there will be a lot to update (Probably in the bought category!)
Happy reading everyone!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bloggiesta, Day 2 Update

So, I didn't get too much accomplished today, it was sort of a rough day for me and my family, unfortunately.  But, here's what I did get accomplished

  • I did a tiny bit of formatting on a few pages
  • I figured out how to do Google Forms, which I was very excited to do!
  • I did two scheduled posts
  • I made my policies page and my library page, but I didn't get to actually fill them out, that will be tomorrow.
  • I connected with a few more bloggers
  • I got my blog listed on a few sites and added the buttons on my site
  • Made a list of books to review as some scheduled posts
So, tomorrow I plan on:
  • Making a spreadsheet of my library
  • Writing my review and social networking policies
  • Do some of the reviews that are going to be scheduled
  • Finish up work on a feature I'm thinking of rolling out
  • Figure out how to work Mr. Linky
I hope everyone had a fantastically productive day!  And I hope everyone has a productive day tomorrow as well.

Bloggiesta Mini Challenge!


10 Things Bloggers Should Not Do
  1. You must not expect results overnight. 3 - This is hard for me, but I'm working on it!
  2. You must not ignore your readers. 5 (I love my readers :] )
  3. You must not scrape another bloggers content. 5 (Don't think I've ever done this)
  4. You must not expect success without promoting. 4 (I tweet, a lot!)
  5. You must not be another blogger. 3  (Trying really hard with this.
  6. You must not fail to update your blog regularly. 3.5 (Sometimes I'm kinda bad about it.)
  7. You must not ignore SEO (Search Engine Optimization). 2 (I don't even know what this is really!)
  8. You must not ignore networking. 4 (I try really hard to network, I do a pretty good job)
  9. You must not have an unreadable/unnavigable site. 4 (I have a simple layout, but I have been told my font was too small before I changed it.)
  10. You must not throw mud around.  5 (I've never done anything like that)
Now for the challenge:

  1. Read the post, 10 Things Bloggers Should Not Do.
  2. Rate yourself (on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being muy excellente) on each point. How are you doing?
  3. Brainstorm examples of what you can/will do to improve your ratings in those areas that could use improvement. And/or:
  4. If you feel you’re doing particularly great in one area, share examples of how you’ve reached such excellence.
My results are: 38 out of 50
 I guess I'm doing pretty good with this.  I think one of my struggles is making sure that I have original content in my blog.  I want to make sure that I'm not just doing weekly meme's and generic reviews.  I'm striving to make this a blog that people actually want to read.  I also know basically nothing about SEO, though I have gotten my blog listed on a few sites.  Overall, I think I'm doing decent, but there's always room for improvement!

On My Wishlist (3)

On My Wishlist is a weekly meme hosted by Book Chick City.  Click the link to sign up!
This weeks edition is just some things that I've seen that I've wanted for quite a while!  Some of them are from Goodreads groups, and others are just things that I've seen at different bookstores.  


book cover of The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
Title:  The Kitchen House
Author:  Kathleen Grissom
Genre:  Adult Fiction
Page Count:  369 pages
Summary:  (From Goodreads.com)  
Orphaned while onboard ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin.
     Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction. Lavinia finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds. When she is forced to make a choice, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare, and lives are put at risk.
     The Kitchen House is a tragic story of page-turning suspense, exploring the meaning of family, where love and loyalty prevail.


book cover of A Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
Title:  The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
Author:  David Mitchell
Genre:  Adult Fiction
Page Count:  479 pages
Summary:  (From Goodreads.com)     
The year is 1799, the place Dejima in Nagasaki Harbor, the "high-walled, fan-shaped artificial island" that is the Japanese Empire's single port and sole window onto the world, designed to keep the West at bay; the farthest outpost of the war-ravaged Dutch East Indies Company; and a de facto prison for the dozen foreigners permitted to live and work there. To this place of devious merchants, deceitful interpreters, costly courtesans, earthquakes, and typhoons comes Jacob de Zoet, a devout and resourceful young clerk who has five years in the East to earn a fortune of sufficient size to win the hand of his wealthy fiancĂ©e back in Holland. 
     But Jacob's original intentions are eclipsed after a chance encounter with Orito Aibagawa, the disfigured daughter of a samurai doctor and midwife to the city's powerful magistrate. The borders between propriety, profit, and pleasure blur until Jacob finds his vision clouded, one rash promise made and then fatefully broken. The consequences will extend beyond Jacob's worst imaginings.  As one cynical colleague asks, "Who ain't a gambler in the glorious Orient, with his very life?" 
     A magnificent mix of luminous writing, prodigious research, and heedless imagination, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is the most impressive achievement of its eminent author.

book cover of A Wolf at the Table by Augusten Burroughs
Title:  A Wolf at the Table
Author:  Augusten Burroughs
Genre:  Memoir
Page Count:  242 pages
Summary:  (From Goodreads.com)    
"As a little boy, I had a dream that my father had taken me to the woods where there was a dead body. He buried it and told me I must never tell. It was the only thing we'd ever done together as father and son, and I promised not to tell. But unlike most dreams, the memory of the one never left me. And sometimes I was altogether sure about one thing: Was it just a dream? In an interview, author Augusten Burroughs described this memoir as "a devastating, terrifying story. I had to write it for me." On his website, he described A Wolf at the Table as the book that reveals why the author of Running with Scissors was running. Scary; jolting; unforgettable.

Bloggiesta!


I came across this post in my Google Reader, and so many of my fellow bloggers are participating that I thought that I would too!

Bloggiesta is hosted by Maw Books Blog and its basically a blog-a-thon to use your time to revamp your blog, change some things up, catch up on all those reviews you're behind on.  Or whatever else!  Click that link to read more and sign up to participate!

So far, here is the list I have so far on things to work on from now until Sunday:

  • I might play around with some cosmetic changes.  I'm so picky when it comes to certain things, so if I get everything else done, this will be a little something extra.
  • With the semester already underway, its going to be harder for me to read as fast as I want to.  So, that being said, I don't want to only post weekly meme's and reviews here and there.  So, one of my tasks the next few days will be to review some books that I read last semester, or some that I remember very well so that my reviews aren't so far between.
  • I also want to create some other scheduled posts so that some of the meme's aren't so rushed.
  • I really want to learn how to use Google Forms!
  • Organize my Google Reader is another thing that I need to do this weekend.  I need to really become more familiar with it so that I can be a more active commenter and reader.
  • I really need to organize my books, but we'll see if that happens or not!
  • I've been meaning to write a review policy.
  • I want to create some sort of separator graphic for posts like IMM and OMW for easier reading
  • Copyrighting and backing up is something that I've thought about doing.
So those are just some of the things that I want to work on, I'm sure I'll be adding more.  Good luck to all my other blogger friends who are participating, I hope you get everything accomplished that you hope to!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Birthday Girl...And a Quick Update.

So, on a non-book related note, it's my birthday.  I'm 22 years old today.  It feels weird to say that actually. Family took me to lunch ,which honestly was a subpar experience.  We went to Applebee's and that was a major fail.  I ended up filling out one of their survey's.  So we came home and that was that.  My mother got me a few homey things and I'm getting a laptop bag, a very cute one.

I started Little Women and Anna Karenina this weekend.  So far, I'm not really digging Little Women, unfortunately.  But, I'm not that far into it either.  And as far as Anna Karenina is concerned, about the only thing that I can decipher, is that Stephan has had an affair.  I don't really know what else is going on.  But again, I'm not that far into it, so I can't really be sure how I feel.  I set a schedule for Anna Karenina since its so long.  One of the book clubs I'm in on Goodreads.com is dedicated to reading the long books and split them up into schedules which was where I got that idea.  With my schedule, I'm not going to finish it until I think at least May, but doing it this way also gives me time to get through some other books in the meantime.

I'm also watching Lord of the Rings right now, even though I probably shouldn't be, since I'm reading the book.  But, it was on On Demand, and I'm lacking things to do right now.  And the movies were so darn good anyway.

Just wanted to do a quick update, since I have no idea when I'm going to be posting an actual review next!
I hope you all have a fantastic week! :]

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Sunday Salon (2)

Edition #2 of the Sunday Salon.  Remember that if you want to become a participant, log onto Facebook.com and join the group!


Books V. Movies
I know that there are a lot of people out there that love to watch movies.  To me, the movie has to be REALLY good for me to want to sit still for up to almost 3 hours and watch.
I was thinking about it the other day because my one of my book clubs at Goodreads.com recently began the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  I'm one of the shameful few that have seen the movies and have not read the books.  Now that I'm starting them, I'm breaking one of my own rules:  Read the book before the movie.
For me, the book is better to read first.  I like to be able to imagine the characters and the settings and the way that their voices would sound, etc.  So for instance, I find myself right now imagine Elijah Woods and the rest of the cast as I'm going through LOTR.  The movies were phenomenal, so I guess for this one, it really doesn't make a difference.  It seems like the casting staff of the movie did a really good job with casting anyway.
So, you my main point of this part of the ramble:  How many of you do books before movies or vice versa?  Do you enjoy making up the images of the characters in your mind, rather than imagining some actor every time you see them?


The Changing of Huck Finn
I'm sure we've all seen it, its been on the national news, but just in case you haven't, here it is.  I have bitched, and bitched and bitched about this to anyone that would listen, so I figured that I should finally put it in my blog, though I am kinda late here.
I think this is one of the most stupid things that I have ever heard.  How can you justify changing an American literary classic?  Because of a word?  Let's really break this down here.  I'll be honest, I really hate "the N word."  I do, I think that hearing it from someone else mouth today is offensive and completely ridiculous, whether you're black or white.  However, let's consider the way that it is used in the book.  Its not used as a derogatory term.  Its used because in the time that it was written, it was completely normal to use that word to describe a black person.  Changing it in text is not going to change that fact.  Also, when you think about it, its used in popular culture today.  So, how is censoring it going to do anything?
A lot of people think this is a good thing so that the book can be taught it school.  I think that you can teach it in school with the original version.  I'm sure that 99% of children that would read that book have heard that term before.  By having in material being taught, its a chance for a teacher to educate the children on the historical background of it.
I generally hate the morning show The View, but even Whoopi Goldberg, who is African American thinks that  its ridiculous.
And now, I will step down off my high horse.  What is everyone else's opinion on this matter.  I would love to hear what you all have to say!


Reading Challenges
Okay, I think that 90% of the book blogging community participates in challenges either on Goodreads or the various challenges that different blogs host.  I think I'm participating in 4 so far, on top of my overall goal for the year.
Personally, I love the idea of challenges.  For me, it gives me more of an incentive to complete things.  How many of you participate in challenges, and if so, which ones are they?


Wrap it Up!
Okay, I think that's going to wrap up my Sunday Salon this week.  I think I've wasted your time enough (assuming you're still reading!).  Happy reading everyone, and enjoy the rest of your week!

In My Mailbox (2)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where you basically post your week in books.  Interested in participating?  Click the link to sign up!

So this week has actually been pretty good!  I finished  quite a bit, and I'm working on getting all my reviews up, so be on the lookout for those.  Also, the NookBooks I downloaded, I got all of them for under $2 each!  Needless to say, I was very excited about those :]





Books I Bought
None this week! Go me!

NookBooks I Downloaded
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Books I'm Currently Reading
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Books I Started
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Books I Finished
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