The Book Club Blog

Books for any occasion and other life stuff

Two of my best reads for 2017(so far)

BeartownBeartown by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a page turner.

Unlike any of his previous novels in story but the brilliance of his writing is stark.

Beartown is a book that must be read. And by as many men as possible. Women too, but men need to read this book. This book will send you through the ringer, it will have you sobbing, gasping in disbelief, laughing, sharing joy, understanding regret, give you a sense of knowing, all set within the small town called Beartown. This is a story about belonging, about family and about the power of sport. It is about love and understanding, hate and desire, ice and heat. I loved it.

Please read it and then let me know what you thought.

Suffice to say, this is one of the best books I have read this year.

On par with Deon Meyer’s Fever. A dystopian novel set in South Africa.

 

FeverFever by Deon Meyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well. When I first realised that Deon Meyer’s new book was a dystopian novel my first thought was: but how can he change his genre of writing? Then my second thought was, how brilliant that he CAN change his genre. That he has the brilliance to write something other than what he has written before. And there is brilliance in this novel.

Set in South Africa after a worldwide viral outbreak where the survivors are few and far between, Nico and his father Willem are driving through the desolate landscape when they come to a stop in a town which is eventually christened Amanzi. Amanzi is their new hope, where together with other survivors of The Fever, they begin to rebuild their lives.

This is the story told from Nico’s perspective, and over a five year span. I was swept away into the world Meyer has created and felt both urged to read, and yet also to savour the journey. A believable and courageous story, which I highly recommend. Do not let the fact that this is a South African author, deter you from reading this book. You will regret it if you allow ‘prejudices of apartheid’ (which was always my one complaint in early SA writing, it was all the same, but I can honestly say, this is not) dictate to you over enjoying this novel.

 

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Books Books Books

I received an email yesterday from Net Galley (They do Books) and did you know that there are a couple books coming out soon which you really need to be aware of?? Pity my birthday will have passed by then but check out these great books:

 

kostovaElizabeth Kostova – The Shadow Land

And if you’re asking me who? Then you really need to check her out.  She wrote The Historian which is a fabulous book, and if you haven’t read it yet, you really really need to. The plot blends the history and folklore of Vlad Țepeș and his fictional equivalent Count Dracula. I couldn’t read it at night, it was that good. Then her second one, The Swan Thieves which was not quite as fabulous as her first, but also very good and now, here we are with her third one, due out in April this year!

What is it about? Thanks to Amazon:

A young American woman, Alexandra Boyd, has traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria, hoping that life abroad will salve the wounds left by the loss of her beloved brother. Soon after arriving in this elegant East European city, however, she helps an elderly couple into a taxi—and realizes too late that she has accidentally kept one of their bags. Inside she finds an ornately carved wooden box engraved with a name: Stoyan Lazarov. Raising the hinged lid, she discovers that she is holding an urn filled with human ashes.

As Alexandra sets out to locate the family and return this precious item, she will first have to uncover the secrets of a talented musician who was shattered by political oppression—and she will find out all too quickly that this knowledge is fraught with its own danger.

Elizabeth Kostova’s new novel is a tale of immense scope that delves into the horrors of a century and traverses the culture and landscape of this mysterious country. Suspenseful and beautifully written, it explores the power of stories, the pull of the past, and the hope and meaning that can sometimes be found in the aftermath of loss.

 

Next on my list is:

bear

Beartown by Frerick Backman

I adore this mans writing! He wrote A man Called Ove, My grandmother asked me to tell you she’s sorry, Britt Marie was here, And every morning the way home gets longer and longer and now Beartown.

What is it about? Thanks to Amazon:

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.

And those are just two on my list of Want to Reads.

What is on yours?

 

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Gilmore Girls – The Series and The Return

I discovered this TV show in April.

I had returned home from a trip to Cornwall, England with my daughter and we were heading into cooler weather our side of the world (Cape Town, South Africa) which translates into hibernation weather and stay at home days – and nights. Which in turn means ‘needing telly’ to watch as entertainment. We don’t own a telly, or should I rather say, we now own a telly after about 10 years of not owning one but we don’t actually have telly on it. We subscribe to Netflix, when it arrived in SA, I am sure we were one of the first people to get it and now have a world of tv series at a touch of a button.

So, back to April, I obviously had heard of Gilmore Girls, in countless blogs I have read over the last few years there have been references to the series, to the books Rory read, and so on, but I just never got the idea to watch it, you know? I found it on Netflix, thought I would give an episode a go and well, that was me, hooked. It kept me entertained for the whole of Winter, I had nights where I binge watched episodes, I literally gorged on Gilmore Girls. And then the weather heated up, and Greys Anatomy and Elementary returned to the screen and I only just two weeks ago, finished the final episode of season 7. Why didn’t she marry Logan??? She could of had her wild and free even with being married!

And then this weekend… I binge watched the entire Year in the Life. Oh, how I sobbed! I adored all four episodes. But the last one? Why?? *Spoiler Alert* if you have not yet watched it and plan to, stop reading now…….

 

 

My first thought when hearing Rory say those fateful words, was Don’t do the same thing your mother did! Why? There was nothing wrong with what Lorelai did, or how she did it, but why does she want to carry on the cycle? And Logan would so marry her and ditch Odette, who clearly is not really that important to him otherwise he wouldn’t be sleeping with Rory…!I know life is not all peachy perfect and this is just a TV show, but goodness, its just as bad/good as a brilliant book, one gets attached to ones characters…and one feels all sorts of warm and fuzzies, or sobs, seriously I sobbed at one point. And honestly, why not tell Logan? And why is it bugging me so? Any one else have this issue?

 

Anyway, back to my ‘review’, I loved this show. I love that the new episodes came out now and I had just finished all seasons to be able to watch it. It made me feel all warm inside. And how lovely to see them all grown up and changed but not changed. That is a sign of a good TV show and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I don’t know of anyone who has watched it though, so please if you have, share your thoughts with me?!!!? Lets chat, lets bemoan the ending, and hope that there may be a spin off, or, just MORE.

I even went to search for books about them….I found this list on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/search?q=gilmore+girls

Has anybody read any of them, and if so are they any good? Do let me know if any of them are good to read…!

 

 

 

 

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Christmas Wish Lists

So 2016 is coming to an end….Did you have a good reading year?

This year I decided not to challenge myself to a certain number of books read as last year, I challenged myself to 100, and even though I made it, I found that I was just reading to make up my 100 instead of enjoying the process of reading, pondering and then finding a new book to read. Sometimes I like to stay in the world of the characters that I have just left without launching straight into the covers of another book. One book this year, which stayed with me was Station 11,  and even now I find myself pondering the characters and the story line.

But according to Goodreads this year I have read 49 books, 16000 pages, half of last year, and  I don’t feel too much loss at having only managed 50 books ( I will have read at least 2 or 3 more by the end of December….)

But this post is meant to be about books I want not what I have read, I will do another post later on with some of my best reads for 2016. There were some goodies…

Here are my top 3 books on my wish list, have you read them?

beasts

Fantastic Beasts and where to find them – the screenplay – JK Rowling. (Need to take myself to watch the movie sooooon!)

universe

Holding up the universe – Jennifer Niven. ( I LOVED All the Bright Places, seriously if you haven’t read it, please do. Drop everything else and just read it)

backman

And every morning the way home gets longer and longer – Fredrik Backman. Adore this authors novels!

What is on your list this year? Let us know in the comments!

 

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Station Eleven – a review of sorts

 

station-eleven

I started this book about 6 months ago and didn’t even finish the first chapter.

I then subsequently bought myself a hard copy, from a book group on FB that sells second hand books at great prices, and you collect them at the post office, luckily, you can keep ‘piles’ with the various buyers and pay only one postage price. Its great! But can be rather detrimental on your bank balance, because even those R30’s add up….But back to the book.

Out of my ‘pile’ of books I decided to start with this one as I had heard fabulous things about the book- without having gone searching for reviews, the seller loved it and I generally give books a second chance if I didn’t manage it on the first. My verdict? I absolutely loved it. It had me rapt for a couple of days and I found myself reading when I really should not have been reading, but it was a case of ‘just one more minute, then I will get ready for work’ -Luckily I work from home so I do sometimes have a few extra minutes to spare….

The story is apocalyptic in nature, and so easily written about, that out of all the Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic novels I have read, this one was the most easily believable and almost relatable. The world succumbed to the Georgian Flu, whereby once the virus got you, you were man down and out within a day or two. I loved how the author describe the ending of the world, in fact one part which really plays with my mind is the aeroplane scene. This happens in the beginning so no spoilers to worry about. A group of airplanes and their passengers have been diverted from their original travel path and deposited at this airport whereby they end up living and forming a museum out of the left overs of the life that no longer exists and becomes a destination for travellers in the left over world. While they are in the arrivals department on one of the earlier days of the outbreak, a plan lands, but no one disembarks. And the plane stays  there for the rest of time. I found that one scene so powerful in its simplicity.

And, I found it quite haunting as I was on a aeroplane twice this weekend, and both times this scene came back to haunt me.

When I finished the book, I felt bereft without the characters and it took me a few days to process the story. As I said, I loved it, but the ending was not what I was hoping/expecting. That is the problem with some books, they are excellent and then almost let themselves down by their endings. Though I guess that is really the readers problem and not the writer. Why didn’t I like it? I have been pondering how to get it into words, so here is my attempt:

The ending was lovely in that it brought all the pieces of the puzzle together and how each character related within the weave of the novel. But I found it almost too tame. Which in hindsight of having been disappointed, life is quite tame in its labyrinth of who’s connected where. Its the rule of 3, that at least one person will know one person will know one person within your circle of people. I guess, because the story unfolded so gently I almost expected the explosion of the truth of the novel to be hurtled at me, and not gently put there.  I wonder if anyone felt the same way? I would love to know.

If you haven’t read it yet, do give it a go, and then come back here and let me know what you thought. I would have to say that is one of those books that lingers with you long after you have finished reading it.

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Seriously overdue post!

Wow! It is amazing how very quickly time zips by, one minute it is January, and in the blink of an eye we are in the middle of May already. Crazy the pace of life we live…! But even though life has been busy, the weather is winding down into Winter which means colder weather, hibernatory patterns emerging and reading more (my favourite part). I have to share one book that I have recently read and to me, it was a soul book. It was excellent. The writing was glorious, the story was sad but yet, uplifting, the relationships that were portrayed were realistic and all round good reading. What is it, you are screeching at me by now??

Take a look: then go out and buy it, seriously, go on, go do it now…

I’ll give you the sun by Jandy Nelson, was brilliant.

 

A YA novel, but yet so much more than that. Focusing on the relationship between two competitive twins Jude and Noah, and how through a series of misunderstandings and family tragedy their relationship breaks down. But it is the putting back together again, how they are two halves of a whole and yet two wholes within their twinship which I enjoyed exploring. The characters are real and you can almost feel the emotion in the pages as you read. I have to admit to a few tear drops here and there. It was a very Real book and the writing captures moments and memories and miscommunications and love and being true to oneself in such a way that you can REMEMBER these feelings (as an adult). As a young adult, I am sure that the book also sparks the emotions.

Jandy Nelson is an American author and this book was published in 2014.

Have you read it? What did you think?

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Friday night review chatter… and now I am off to read…

Can I just say that time is flying by at a rate of knots?!! Half way through September it is already, its madness.

Amidst this craziness of life, I am managing to get some reading time in, thank goodness, I don’t think I would stay sane if I didn’t… I read and finished I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes, though it took me just under two weeks to finish it, which for me is crazy long. 800 odd pages and considering that I mainly read at night time – currently cutting into my reading time right now by blogging – by the time I had read about 10 pages I was ready for sleep, thats how busy the weeks have been!

So, what did I think?

After reading much hype about the book on a FB book group, I was quite amped to read this book. Luckily for me, our book club got it in for this month and I was the second to read it.  I enjoyed it, I thought the story was very clever, I enjoyed the back stories (which I think was the annoying part for some readers) as I think it made you understand the characters better. I like how the main character – Pilgrim, deduced where to go from ‘random’ clues and how everything was interconnected and intertwined. I was a leetle disappointed in the book, but only because there was a huge amount of hype and I guess I was expecting some huge bombshell at the end which didn’t occur BUT not That disappointed that I didn’t enjoy the book. Would I read his next book? Yes, I dare say I would:-) I guess I should do a more of an in-depth review of this book, so will edit that in over the weekend…

What was your verdict?

I am  now on Haruki Murakami – Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage which I honestly cannot say whether I am enjoying or not. Ok, thats not quite truthful. I am enjoying it, I mostly enjoy his books as they are rather odd, a little surreal and generally my cup of tea but with 20 odd pages left to go in this one, I am still not sure. I guess I will have my verdict once I am done. Which I will once I head off to bed and finish it….

So, on that note, I will leave you to your Friday night and check back in over the weekend with my verdict and what ever else I can remember reading in-between these two;-)

I hope you manage to get many joyful reading hours in this weekend!

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Monday morning reviews to love or hate a book…

Wowser, so, we waited for this book for a long time, but the wait was definitely worth it. Classic Tom Robbins at his best, and with his very own story. I loved reading how he ‘became’ a writer, the thoughts behind his books and the stories of his life. I was inspired to watch Even Cowgirls get the blues though the movie has nothing on the book, but isn’t that usually the case?

Tom Robbins is one of my most favourite authors, I love his philosophical style mixed in with reality, I love how there is meaning in the mundane and his writing style is truly unique. I don’t think there will ever be ‘another’ Tom Robbins. A bit like there will never be another Haruki Murakami. Novels which are in their own style which can not be duplicated.

I think if you are a fan of Tom’s writing, then this is  a must read, and even if you are not, it is still an interesting read as his words are like a love story for the brain. He mixes metaphors and tears you away from the ordinary as you slowly savour each sentence. If you haven’t read anything by him, I would recommend Jitterbug Perfume as a starting point and work your way through his novels that way. Some say that your first novel that you read by him, will forever be your favourite,  I don’t quite agree, as once I read Jitterbug Perfume, it was love at first reading never mind the others I had read.

Verdict: Loved it!

So, what do you think? Have you read him? And will you, if you haven’t?

As for another book I tried to read, which has had brilliant reviews is A Girl Who is a Half Formed Thing by Eimear Mc Bride.

And to be honest, I don’t have time to read book which feel like work, when there are so very many others that I want to read. I gave it a good chance but found it so very difficult to read. Her writing style is completely different, and as I said, quite hard work. I am sure that it is a brilliant piece of writing, but I cannot fathom it. I may try again, when I am feeling braver, but really, when there are other more enjoyable books out there?

Verdict: So didn’t like it

Have you read it? What was your verdict? Am I being too hasty in discarding it to the not to be read pile, or should I persevere and get through it?

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The Legacy Book Tour

Welcome to the scheduled stop on the The Legacy Book Tour!

The Legacy – MELISSA DELPORT

One man obsessed with power.

One woman prepared to sacrifice everything to stop him.

 One war that changed the world.

 “World War Three lasted twelve days. Twelve days was all it took for mankind to devastate the planet and almost eradicate the human race. No victor emerged from the ashes and billions lost their lives.

 We survivors lived through the bleakest of winters. A primal existence became the new order, and the little that remained of our humanity hung in the balance.

 Then one man stood up and changed the world. I believed, as did everyone else, that he was the hero of our time, the man who had saved us from our own demise. His name is Eric Dane and he is the President of the New United States of America.

 He is also my husband, and my greatest enemy.

 I grew up oblivious to the truth, until my father found me when I was nineteen years old. He told me about the many horrifying facts that our new leader kept hidden from us. And he told me that beyond the borders the Resistance grew and fought for freedom from the oppression that Eric Dane had imposed on us.

 My name is Rebecca Davis. I am twenty-six years old, and in me the Resistance has found the ultimate weapon.”

 A narrative of good and evil, love and passion, right and wrong – and at the centre of the story a strong woman who is prepared to sacrifice everything for the cause she believes in.

 The Legacy is an action-packed, adrenalin-inducing thrill ride which will leave you riveted long after you have turned the last page.

I enjoyed this book! It was an interesting concept which, in so far as I know, has not been done before in quite this way. The main characters are well put together and the writing pulls you along urging you to find out more about them, and the situation. There are some small twists which I didn’t see coming and thought that to add that element into the theme of a ‘strong woman’ was great. The ending was very moreish as it left you feeling curious as to what actually happened, was it all just a lie or is the truth in the madness? I guess I am going to have to read the second one to find out!

Here is an excerpt to tickle those reading tastebuds:

EXCERPT – The Legacy by Melissa Delport

Chapter 27

“What’s a nymph?” I ask suddenly, eliciting another deep chuckle. I glance across at him but his eyes are closed.

“A nymph, Tiny, is a sexy nature spirit who gets up to no good.”

“Aah.” I nod wisely. “Known a few of those in your time, no doubt.”

“Shut up,” he replies. “The only small, sexy thing I need to be worrying about right now is you. There will be plenty of time for nymphs later.”

“What, like when we’ve rescued Aidan, stolen an army, assassinated the President and basically saved the world?”

“Yeah,” he nods confidently, opening his eyes and meeting my gaze, “then.”

Much later, my neck and back are stiff and I sit up, pulling my sweatshirt tighter around myself.

Reed sits up too, rubbing his neck.

“You know what I worry about?” I ask, although I’m not sure why I feel the need to unburden myself to him. Maybe it’s because he’s here, maybe it’s because he’s helping me for reasons unbeknown to me; maybe it’s because at this moment he’s the closest thing I have to a friend.

“What, Tiny?”

When I answer my voice is small, uncertain.

“I worry that I won’t be able to save him.” Tears prick at my eyes and I blink them away.

“What will happen if you don’t?” he asks. This is one thing I like about Reed, he allows me to explore all options, and he doesn’t always feel the need to protect me from the worst case scenario.

“I don’t know.”

“Yes, you do. You know,” he presses.

“I think I’ll die.” The words escape me before I can even think about them, but once out I know they are true. How will I carry on without Aidan? I cannot comprehend a world in which he doesn’t exist.

“No, you won’t, Rebecca.” His voice is strong and sure.

“How do you know?”

“Because I do; I know. And so do you.”

“Why won’t I?” I ask.

“You tell me.” He looks me in the eye and lifts my chin with his thumb and index finger.

“Alex,” I answer, swallowing my misgivings and straightening my back, meeting his gaze.

“That’s right,” he nods. “You’ll live for Alex. You’ll fight for Alex. You’ll win, for Alex.”

“Why are you here?” I ask a short while later, as we make our way back to the camp.

“Me?” He looks uncomfortable.

“Yes, Reed.” I stop and face him, emphasising each word. “Why – are – you – here?”

“I’m here to help. I believe in the Resistance and I want to make a difference.” This is yet another version of his generic answer to this question.

“I believe you,” I say. “But you just don’t strike me as the type who would go out of his way to help people he doesn’t know, no offence.”

“None taken.” He looks back the way we have come and then towards the camp as though hoping something will happen that might mean he doesn’t have to answer.

He sighs and then looks down at me, narrowing his eyes.

“Geez, okay, you win.” He runs his hand through his hair and then starts talking, not pausing for breath, as though it is easier to simply get it all out.

“You asked me where I got my abilities. I got them the same place you did. I got them from your father.”

You can check out the book trailer here:  http://youtu.be/RxBMGRFePhk  ( I have to admit to really enjoying book trailers at the moment!)

To buy the book:

eBook links:

Amazon.com – HERE

Amazon.co.uk – HERE

Barnes & Noble – HERE

Kobo – HERE

Kalahari.com – HERE

PRINTED BOOK BUY LINKS

The Legacy is available at most bookshops in South Africa, or you can order it online:

Kalahari.com – HERE

Takealot.com – HERE

Loot.co.za – HERE

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Wife and mother of 3, Melissa Delport is the author of The Legacy Trilogy and the stand-alone self-published e.books Rainfall and The Traveler.  She graduated from the University of South Africa with a  Bachelor’s Degree in English in 2000. At the age of twenty-four Melissa started a logistics company (Transmax) from the spare room of her flat and built it up to two fully operational depots in Durban and Johannesburg. Now, 10 years later, she has sold her business in order to write full time. Melissa lives with her husband and three children in Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

The Legacy (book 1 of The Legacy Trilogy) and The Legion (book 2) are available now and the final book, The Legend, will be released early 2015. An avid reader herself, Melissa finally decided to stop ‘watching from the sidelines’ and to do what is her passion.

“I was driving home from work when inspiration struck, and a storyline started unravelling in my head. For a few days it was all I could think about and eventually I realised that the only way to get it out of my head, was to put it all down on paper. I started writing, and that was that.”

I Love that Melissa is a South African author who is not writing about apartheid and other South Africanisms, I think her series puts her in league with the likes of The Hunger Games and Divergent.
The only things I didn’t really enjoy about her book was, and this is just my opinion, is that it was a little bit too quick, just as you got used to something, choops, it changed! Not that its a bad thing as it allows the fast paced story to pull you in, but I wouldn’t of minded just a little bit of a go slow at times.
YOU CAN FIND MELISSA HERE:

Blog: www.melissadelport.com

The Legacy Trilogy Website: www.thelegacytrilogy.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheMelissaDelportBookClub

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/MelissaDelport

Twitter: www.twitter.com/MelissaDelport

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/MelissaDelport

Publisher’s website: www.traceymcdonaldpublishers.com

Twitter Hashtag for the book blog tour: #TheLegacyBlogTour


 

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My most recent book list

So, I have about a months worth of book reviews to write up, so instead of writing long reviews, I’m going to give you my list of books, with a link to Goodreads to see what they are about and a one liner as to what I thought of it. That way you can make your own decision as to wether you fancy reading it or no;-)

The Golem and the Jinni – Helene Wecker

3* book, I enjoyed it but didn’t like the ending, her writing is enjoyable and the book was interesting with a dose of magical and reality meeting in the middle

Lost lake – Sarah Addison Allen

3* Sarah is one of my favourite authors as she always add in a touch of the magical into her writing where there is always an element of otherworldliness to her characters. I enjoyed this and if you are a fan of her writing, you should enjoy it.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

4* Thoroughly enjoyed this odd book where again fantasy meets reality ( are you detecting a theme from my choice of books here??) The ending was dreadful (in the fact that I wanted more and it just stopped!) but luckily there is the second one out so I would recommend that you have both on hand when starting the first one.

The House we grew up in – Lisa Jewell

3 and a half * Lisa Jewell books are always easy to read, and this one proved no different. I did enjoy this one as the issues it deals with are not your usual fare in a chick lit novel.

The Fault in our Stars – John Green

5* Tear fest of note! A simple love story between two young adults who have cancer. Beautifully written and just the most loveliest book I have read in a wee while. And go see the movie, but go prepared with tissues! And if you have not yet read this, do!

What have you read lately??

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