Tag Archives: Bookish Stuff

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Superpowers I Wish I Had


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Two fluffy little white dogs, who are possibly Yorkshire terriers, are standing in an all-white room next to each other. The dog on the left is wearing a yellow cape and the dog on the right is wearing a red cape. They look like fuzzy little superheroes!Since Cathy @WhatCathyReadNext submitted this topic, I’ll bet her answers to this question will be fantastic.

Here are my answers.

1. Remembering the names of secondary characters.

Main character names are easy for me to remember, but this isn’t always the case for characters who only show up occasionally. I will probably remember that they have a horse or that they love tea, though, even if I don’t recall their name!

 

2. Instantly knowing if a book will be five-star read for me.

Sometimes I know within the first page, but in other cases it takes me until the final sentence to realize just how perfect a story was for my tastes.

What’s interesting about this is that there have been some authors who have written one (or maybe a few) five-star reads for me but whose other books don’t affect me the same way.

 

3. Instantly knowing if a book will be a five-star read for someone else. 

I can generally make an educated guess for people in my inner circle, but reading tastes are such personal things that I really try not to recommend something unless I know the person well and am pretty sure it will be a hit.

 

4. Encouraging certain authors to finally publish those sequels!

No, I will not be naming any names here as I don’t want anyone to feel pressured or put on the spot. It would simply be wonderful to know what some of my favourite characters have been up to.

 

5. Reading descriptions of food and not getting hungry.

Don’t get me wrong – I love passages that describe what characters are eating if it’s relevant to the plot and/or the meals in their world sound amazing.

I would simply like to read those scenes without my stomach suddenly thinking it needs a snack when it was perfectly content and not at all hungry five minutes ago. Why do bodies do this?

 

6. Being able to write “If You Like This, Read That” posts easily

Some of you Top Ten Tuesday bloggers are amazing at thinking of similar books that might both appeal to the same reader. You make it look effortless, and I wish I had your talent in this area. Please make a TED Talk for the rest of us or something. Ha.

 

7. Having more patience with slow plots 

When I was a teenager, I would savour books that took a long time to get to their point.  It was an easy and free way to enjoy long summer days when not much else was happening.

Now that I am an adult, I generally DNF anything that moves slowly unless the writing is exquisite. I’m sure I’m missing out on some fabulous stories, but I simply don’t have the time or patience these days to wait 10o+ pages for interesting stuff to start happening.

 

8. Commenting more often on other blogs

I tend to let them build up in my RSS feed until I have a nice big block of time to get through everything at once.

This means that the bloggers I follow will occasionally be surprised by a flurry of comments from me, some of which are on posts that are weeks old…or sometimes even older than that.

I hope that is amusing to them, and I am trying not to do this quite so often.

 

9. Having advance knowledge of which new-to-me authors will be future favourites.

I put genuine effort into trying authors from a wide variety of backgrounds, genres, and writing styles.

This leads to a lot of really interesting outcomes:

  • I DNF their work and probably never read them again
  • I realize that book X might be perfect for person Y in my life even if it’s not to my personal tastes
  • I finish their book and keep an eye out for their future work without making them a must-read author
  • They’re instantly added to my short list of must-read authors.

Among many other options. As much as I usually enjoy this process, sometimes I wish there were a faster way to narrow down all of the authors out there into the small percentage of them that are perfect for a specific reader.

 

10. Becoming the newest bestselling author.

If only!

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Series I Wish Had Just One More Books in Them

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

I have two answers to this week’s question. The first is from a classic series and the second is from a modern one.

The Chronicles of Narnia

A silhoutte of Aslan walking with the four Pevensie children, Mrs. And Mrs. Beaver, and the Mr. Tumnus the faun in lockstep behind him. All of these characters are from C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. When I was a kid, my uncle gave me his old, complete set of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia books, and I reread those stories over and over again for many years. Can I assume that a spoiler tag isn’t necessary for a more than 70-year-old series?  Skip the next two paragraphs if you believe that this isn’t enough time yet to talk about how it ends.  😉

One thing I strongly disliked about the plot was the way Susan was treated. All of the other main characters end up in the Narnian version of heaven in the end, even folks who made terrible choices earlier on. But Susan is left behind in our world to deal with the overwhelming grief of simultaneously losing her parents, siblings, and a few dear friends because she was growing up and becoming interested in parties and makeup instead of reminiscing about her childhood adventures.

That ending made me so angry when I was a kid. Of course she moved on to other interests as she grew older. Literally everyone does that, and most of us tend to do it multiple times throughout life. It’s completely normal. If certain other characters could betray everyone in their group and still be forgiven, she should have been forgiven for what I see as a much milder offence that could easily be chalked up to her being a teenager who was trying to figure out what adulthood might look like for her and who would have almost certainly circled back to Narnia once she was a little older.

C.S. Lewis should have written one final book to redeem Susan’s character arc and give her the happy ending she deserved. If one of you invents a time machine, I will volunteer to go back to the 1950s and talk him into it.

Monk & Robot Series

I’ve discussed this solarpunk series by Becky Chambers here in at least one previous Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge post, but let’s dive into it again.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built and A Prayer for the Crown-Shy are still the only two instalments of it. They follow a monk named Sibling Dex who lives in a utopian future called Panga where humanity lives in harmony with nature (and mostly with each other as well). People occupy some of the land, but the rest is left to grow into lush forests, marshes, or whatever other sorts of environments the local climate can support without any interference from humans.

A photo of an incredibly dense and thick forest that looks like it’s never had a human walk through it. The trees are growing so closely together that their leaves block out much of the sun. Some light trickles down into the forest, but the forest floor is almost as black as night. Sibling Dex breaks the rules of their society by venturing out into one of those dark, healthy, thick forests one day to see what they might find there.

I won’t share any spoilers about what might be lurking out there since these novellas are only a few years old, but I will say that I adored the world-building and character development of them.  They’re gentle but deep and so rewarding once you pause to think about all of the new details that slowly emerge about how nice it is to live in Panga.

We desperately need another instalment of Sibling Dex’s adventures in my opinion. There are still so many facets of this world that need to be explored. Honestly, I’m hoping there will be at least two or three more books to come without any time machines or persuasion needed, but even one would suffice!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Winter Solstice Bookish Wishes


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Painting of a young, blond, white woman who is standing outside in a snowstorm and looking at a fir tree whose branches are heavily coated in snow. She is wearing a red dress with white cuffs on it and a white cloak with a yellow, possibly fur trim. She is also holding a lantern that’s about the size of an infant. The lantern is glowing steadily in the dark winter scene, illuminating her, the tree, and the snow. Happy (almost) Winter Solstice to everyone who will be celebrating it in a few days! I’m eagerly anticipating the changing of the seasons and the few extra minutes of daylight we’ll soon have each day here in Canada.

Here are my Winter Solstice bookish wishes.

1. More Audiobooks at the Library 

A few years ago, some Top Ten Tuesday bloggers encouraged me to give audiobooks a try during an audiobook prompt. I listened to you and have since learned to love having this option while doing chores or getting cardiovascular exercise on a brisk walk!

My local library has a pretty decent selection of audiobooks, but I’d love to see them offer even more of them than they currently do. For example, I’d love to listen to audiobooks of Jean M. Auel’s Earth’s Children series this winter or even just listen to more fiction in general. Nonfiction is better represented at my library than fiction is from what I’ve seen.

2. Quiet Reading Time 

My spouse prefers watching YouTube videos to reading books and we live in a small apartment, so sometimes I wish for more quiet time to read.

3. An Abundance of Novellas

I’ve really been on a novella kick lately and wish there were more books of this length being published, especially in the speculative fiction genres. It’s refreshing to have something longer than a short story to dive into that doesn’t require my attention for 200+ pages. Some storylines don’t need that much space to shine.

4. Dairy-Free Chocolate

I like to save it for emotional scenes, whether it’s a tense moment in a horror novel or a sentimental chapter in a piece of mainstream fiction. There’s something about chocolate that makes those passages even more memorable.

5. Living Happily Ever After

This is something I’ve mentioned here before, but since 2020 I have felt stronger and stronger urges to read stories that end happily. Occasionally, I will actually look up reviews of certain books or skip ahead to the last few pages to see if the good guys won and if everything is peaceful in the end. While I’m still willing to read some stories that don’t fit that pattern, I’m limiting them much more than I used to and am quicker to DNF them if they become too sad.

6. Endings in General

Maybe I should explain this one a little better. I’m a writer, and I’ve been having trouble coming up with endings for my stories. Beginnings are easy, middle sections aren’t too bad, but endings can be tricky. Here’s hoping I get a flash of inspiration in 2024.

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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Bookish Memes That Make Me Laugh

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

This week’s theme was “Memes That Remind You of a Favourite Book or Show.” I had so much trouble narrowing down my favourite media to just one show or book that I decided to tweak this topic a little and make it about bookish memes in general instead.

A grumpy orange cat sitting on top of an opened book. The text reads, “that’s not how it was in the book.”

I’m normally pretty forgiving of changes that are made to adaptations of books so long as there are good reasons for them and they blend seamlessly into the character and story development, but this meme still makes me laugh.

 

Aragorn from the film version of Lord of the Rings clasping his thumb and middle finger together in a circle and looking serious. The text reads, “one does not simply return from the library without a book.”

I 100% agree here.

 

A black woman who is grinning and wearing a white tank top as she reads the back cover of a book. The text reads, “when you find the next book of your dreams without even trying.”

It is so amazing when this happens!

 

Merida from Disney’s film “Brave” is sitting at a table and throwing her head back in sadness and annoyance. The text reads “when you get to an exciting part in your book but people keep interrupting you.”

My spouse has an uncanny knack for this. It’s a little irritating in the moment but kind of hilarious the rest of the time. How on Earth do they sense that I’ve reached an incredibly exciting scene so reliably, and can we somehow use this special power to make a lot of money someday? Ha!

 

President Obama making a surprised face. The text reads, “when you have to read a book for English and it actually turns out to be pretty good.”

This is such a great feeling. While I didn’t like everything we were assigned, there were a lot of books I ended up really loving and intentionally read more from those authors because of my positive first experience with them.

 

Photo of a person lying on top of a library bookshelf face down and with a defeated posture. The text reads “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one. - Neil Gaiman”

I couldn’t agree with this one more. Librarians are incredible and deserve so much respect for all of their hard work.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Reasons Why I’m Thankful for Books


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

A photo of the hands of a brown-skinned person who is wearing pink nail police and holding up a sign that says “thank you.” Here are some of the many reasons why I am thankful for books.

1. They’re an easy form of entertainment when I’m sick or injured.

2. They introduce readers to people from all walks of life. I’ve learned so much about other cultures from them!

3. They don’t come in arbitrary sizes that are somehow different in every single library or bookstore out there or require you to use a fitting room before selecting which paperback to bring home. (Can you tell I really don’t like shopping for clothes? Ha!)

4. They teach us about the world around us and how things work. This is especially true if you read nonfiction, but fiction can be educational as well.

5. They work when the power goes out. Unless you’re using an e-reader or listening to an audiobook, you never have to worry about draining the battery too much or charging a book up again.

6. They’re (often) soothing when you’ve had a bad day.

7. They (often) encourage readers to assume the best of others and work to make life more fair and harmonious for everyone…or at least many of the books I read do this!

8. They encourage the development of your imagination.

9. They introduce you to all sorts of lovely new people…just like the friendly folks I’ve met as a result of Top Ten Tuesday.

10. They’re a great bonding activity when you read a book aloud with kids or other adults.

11. They’re a free form of entertainment if you’re like me and also use your library card regularly. This is such an important thing for people who are lower income or who have a very limited entertainment budget for other reasons. I am so grateful.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Jobs That Sound Interesting


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Thank you to Susan @Bloggin’ bout Books  who submitted the original topic for this week, “Bookish Jobs I Would Do For Free (Real or Imaginary).” 

A brown woman sitting at a desk and grinning while holding up her head with her left hand. She’s looking at something on her laptop. She is wearing a white and black striped sweater and holding a white mug in front of her with her left hand. I’m tweaking it a little because from what I have observed there’s already too much pressure to work for free in a lot of interests that attract people who are passionate about them. If you are a woman and belong to certain niche groups, the pressure can be even stronger due to stereotypes about women being inherently kinder and more generous than men (speaking again here in my experience. Your mileage may vary!)

This wouldn’t be a problem if we lived in a Star Trek world where everyone’s needs for clothing, education, housing, healthcare, and nutritious food are automatically taken care of for their entire lives.

It absolutely can be an emotionally healthy thing for people who have the time, money, and energy to devote their lives to their favourite topics or causes, but I’ve also seen it misused to extract far too many hours of unpaid work out of folks who deeply care about subject X but whose basic needs are NOT currently being met.

I’m ethically uncomfortable with those sorts of arrangements, so I’m going to be blogging about some bookish jobs that sound cool instead.

May we all someday have such abundance in our lives that we can do cool bookish jobs for free if we wish to, though!

 

Job: Researcher

Why It Sounds Interesting: Research is my idea of a good time. Before the pandemic began, I used to go to the library to look up all sorts of interesting topics from foster care to marsupials to the history of medicine and see how much I could learn about them. Now I dive deeply into these things at home instead!

 

Job: Indie/Small Press Book Reviewer

Why It Sounds Interesting: I know I blogged about this last summer, but there are so many amazing indie and small press books out there that I wish I could introduce to new audiences. I do what I can in my spare time, but it would be awesome if this could be a full-time, salaried position with benefits so that many more authors and readers could benefit from it.

 

Job:  Creative Writing Professor

Why It Sounds Interesting: Even if you happen to be born with an aptitude for writing, it still takes many years of practice to hone that skill. It would be so rewarding to teach others how to evaluate their own stories and make them sharper, crisper, and more imaginative.

 

Job: Bibliotherapist

Why It Sounds Interesting: Imagine combining the work of a therapist with that of a librarian! Bibliotherapists recommend specific books to their clients based on what their client currently needs, so being extremely well-read is an integral part of the profession which is honestly my idea of the perfect job.

 

Job: Bookish Event Planner

Why It Sounds Interesting: Word on the Street is a Toronto book festival that’s always well planned and delightful to attend. I wish that the event planners who work on that festival could organize all bookish events! In my opinion, festivals, book signings, book release parties, panels, talks, and other similar things often flow better when they’re designed and organized by people who are already passionate about reading in general and, even better, fans of the specific books and authors being featured there as well.

 

Job: Audiobook Narrator

Why It Sounds Interesting: A great narrator makes all the difference when I’m listening to audiobooks. I admire people who are able to narrate well and think that is a fabulous talent to have.

 

 

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An Anniversary Giveaway at Long and Short Reviews

Banner for the 16th Anniversary Party for the renowned book review site, Long and Short Reviews. Text on the blue banner reads: “16th Anniversary Party. August 21-25, 2023. Win $100 Amazon GC’s and more! Dozens of winners.” There are four balloons floating next to the text and little stars and confetti strewn throughout it as well to give it a celebratory feel as most book blogs don’t last this long!

 

Long and Short Reviews is celebrating their 16th anniversary this week.

Just like in previous years, they are hosting a virtual party on their website that includes a giveaway of Amazon gift cards and many other prizes.

If you want to join in and possibly win something cool, go to their website and fill out the Rafflecopter on as many posts as you wish.  There will be dozens of new posts every day this week, so keep checking back.

Every genre is represented: picture books, middle grade, young adult, non-fiction, inspirational, romance, erotica, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, horror, mainstream fiction, and more.

No matter what you like to read, someone will be discussing it over there.

They’re also promoting indie and small press books this week, so this is also a fantastic opportunity to get to know some new authors and find some hidden gems in your favourite genre or genres. I’ve had wonderful experiences doing that and can’t wait to see what’s in store this time.

The comment sections in previous years have been delightfully talkative and friendly, too, and I expect the same this year.

I hope to see all of my readers over there!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Things I’ve Quit Doing


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

This prompt was shared on October 6, 2015. I wasn’t aware of Top Ten Tuesday back then, so today I will reach back into time so I can borrow this idea and talk about bookish things I have quit doing.

Edit: Blogger/blogspot is once again being really finicky about letting me comment. A few of my comments are randomly going through, but most are being denied. I will keep trying but wanted to let everyone know what’s going on.

The word goodbye is written in white chalk on a black chalkboard. The chalkboard is sitting in a black mesh container on a wooden shelf. There is a plant growing out of a green drinking glass next to the chalkboard.

 

1. Setting Lofty Reading Goals 

I purposefully pick reading goals involving pages or books finished that I can easily accomplish so that this hobby continues to feel fun for me. I never want to feel stressed out by how much I have (or haven’t) been reading.

 

2. Giving Unsolicited Book Recommendations 

That is to say, I only give out recommendations to people who have either directly asked for one or who are close enough to me that I feel like I know their tastes in books quite well and who have told me it’s okay to share books I think they might like.

I never gave out a lot of unsolicited book recommendations in the past, but now even those occasional recommendations feel a little too close to unsolicited advice to me.

I’d rather gush about the books I love and let others decide for themselves if they want to read them in the vast majority of cases.

 

3. Accepting Unsolicited Book Recommendations 

Likewise, I’ve also become more cautious about accepting unsolicited book recommendations unless the person giving them is in my inner circle and knows my tastes well.

There are so many books in this world and such limited time to find the best ones. I will listen politely, of course, but I will only actually read a recommendation if the blurb sounds right up my alley.

 

4. Reading (Most) Bestsellers 

My reading tastes so rarely coincide with the bestseller list that I generally pay it no mind at all when deciding what to read next. (This is no way a commentary on people who do like really popular stuff or the books themselves. It’s simply an acknowledgement that I usually prefer other sorts of stories).

 

5. Entertaining Nonsense 

For example, I will stop reading a book if it promotes racist, sexist, homophobic, or other hateful beliefs.

(There’s a difference between writing about a character who says those things and promoting the ideas themselves to the audience as something admirable. I will read about the former but not the latter).

I also shake my head and ignore advertising that assumes that your membership in a specific group should mean you like X but not Y instead of encouraging everyone read whatever appeals most to them. <glares at Instagram and the sometimes weirdly narrow little boxes their ads try to put people in>.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Confessions


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Person holding a finger in front of the mouth of a small dog as if to keep him or her from speaking. For today’s freebie post I’m going to be sharing some bookish confessions.

(The dog in the photo isn’t mine. I simply thought it was an amusing illustration for this prompt).

1. Reading graphic novels definitely counts as reading in general, but I personally don’t enjoy that form of storytelling. I’d rather have more words and fewer pictures.

2. I am quick to give up on books I’m not enjoying. Life is too short to read something that doesn’t resonate with me.

3. Vlogging is scary and I never want to do it. Ha!

4. I do not understand people who judge others based on the genres they do (or don’t) read. It’s one thing to say that genre X isn’t your cup of tea and quite another to say that one type of storytelling is inherently better or worse than all others. Honestly, there are gems and duds in every genre.

5. Audiobooks work best as rereads for me. When I get distracted by my workout or cleaning, I like being able to immediately figure out what I missed in the last scene or two.

6. Some classic novels have passed their expiration dates (at least for me). I’ve loved some of them but been completely bored and confused by others.

7. As much as I love reading, I relish my reading breaks when the weather is nice enough for me to spend tons of time outside every day.

8. I don’t follow as many book bloggers as I used to. I felt slightly guilty for unfollowing them, but I simply don’t have time to keep up with as many of them as in the past.

9. Horror novels are best read in the middle of the day, not right before bed. Feel free to guess how many nightmares I had before I figured this one out.

10. I’m quietly suspicious of people who think fiction is a waste of time. While I’m sure there are exceptions to this rule, the folks I’ve met who think that way tend to be less empathetic than average and really struggle to see the world from other points of view. Fiction can teach us to appreciate the many shades of grey in a conflict (or  character, or real human being, or an issue), and it confuses me to meet folks who have such black and white thinking they can’t even enjoy a simple story.

What are your bookish confessions?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Reasons I’m Thankful for Books


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

A white plate covered with a grey napkin that has a sprig of red and brown berries and a card that says “thankful.”Credit for this Thankful freebie blogging idea goes to Rain City Reads who blogged about it in 2019.  It was a great idea for a post, and I’m grateful to use it today.

I will be mentioning the Covid-19 pandemic briefly in this post.

1) Meeting Likeminded Folks

Life can feel isolating and lonesome sometimes. There is nothing like getting to know a character, author, or fellow reader who shares your identity, or your diagnosis, or any other number of labels and realizing that you are not alone. Other people have been through X, too, understand even the parts of it that can be difficult to explain to those who haven’t had those same experiences.

 

2) Answering Common Questions about Group X

I’m the sort of person who is shy about asking people questions about the differences between us because I don’t want to be the tenth person to ask them that question this week or to make them feel uncomfortable. I’d much rather read a variety of perspectives about that topic so that I’ll at least have a framework of what is and isn’t appropriate to ask someone who may be from a completely different religion or culture (or what have you) than mine.

 

3) Providing an Education 

No one is ever too old or too young to learn new things. I think books are an excellent way to learn about so many different topics, from dark matter to math to the stories that I never learned in history class. In 2020, I found comfort in reading about the 1918 Flu of all things. Seeing how people dealt with that pandemic helped me figure out some good coping skills for this one.

 

4) Making Me Laugh

I know I talk about my love of humorous books a lot here, but I’ll say it again. Humour is an important part of life, and I think there’s value in seeking it out as often as you reasonably can.

 

5) Distracting Readers

This is related to #4, but we all need distractions from the troubles of this world after we’ve done what we can to reduce suffering and push things in a fairer and more peaceful direction. Reading something spectacular is one of the tools in my toolbox when I need to rest.

 

6) Showing a Better Future

Not to sound like a Pollyanna, but I think there’s something to be said for dreaming of the way things could be changed for the better in the future. People need hope, and stories can be a wonderful place to replenish that feeling if we read the right sorts of books.

 

7) Meeting Folks Who Are Nothing Like Me 

Whether they’re found in biographies or fiction, I think there’s a lot of merit to purposefully seeking out stories about people who might appear to have nothing in common with you at all at first glance. You can learn all sorts of interesting and useful things about them if you quietly listen to what they have to say.

 

Closeup of pages fanning up and out from an opened book. 8) Finding Good Quotes

I have not always been that reliable at writing down meaningful quotes from books, but I’m striving to be better at it. Quotes come in handy for all sorts of things, from reminding you about key moments in a story to providing motivation in difficult times and more.

 

9) Having Something Interesting to Talk About

This pandemic has made every day bleed into the last for me because of how repetitive so much of it has been as I dodged germs and avoided in-person socialization for most of it. There are only so many conversations I can have about the weather before I feel the urge to talk about something else, and books are a great place to start if the other person is at all bookish or interested in fiction.

 

10) Enjoying Some Non Screen Time

No, I’m not going to be putting down television, smart phones, or the film industry here. I think it’s silly to pit them against books as if one is better than the others.

Sometimes I watch TV or films. I surf the Internet a lot, too.  At other times, reading appeals to me more. I’m grateful for all of these forms of entertainment and how they’ve gotten us all through the past few years.

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