Wednesday, 1 March 2017

February Books


February has been a dull month - ate a lot of comfort food and ended it filling my face with pancakes. I've heard of January blues, but February was tough for me with days of disappointment.

One thing I carried on was reading, and felt incredible about this month...
















After deciding to take on the Popsugar reading challenge, I have realised I need to read 3 or 4 books each month. After reading 6 books last month as described here, I thought I might continue that success. However I picked slightly bigger books, so might be able to make it up in March.

1. A book that is a story within a story


















Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Cloud Atlas was utterly disappointing to me. 7 stories within a story and didn't take to one - I couldn't understand how they connected. There was one story with a slight take one flew over the cuckoo's nest. I'm impressed I finished the book, but I didn't understand it. It's probably not my kind of book. Anyone who has read it, can you please explain what happened?

2. A book set in two different time periods


















The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Having watched the film and loved it, I was excited to give this a shot. I was not disappointed. I'm not usually one for love stories, but this wasn't a typical love story. It had magic, intrigue and drama. Clare and Henry meet in different time periods. She first meets him when she's 6 and he's 42, he first meets her when she's 20 and he's 28. There are some things that happen in the film that don't happen in the book and vice versa, but I still loved both in their different ways. I was a bit disappointed by the end. I don't want to give too much about what happens with the characters, but I will say I was disappointed that it went from 2008 to 2053. It would have been nice to know a bit about what happened in between that 45 odd years.

3. A book with career advice


















The Zen of Fundraising: 9 Timeless Ideas to Strengthen and Develop your Donor Relationships by Ken Burnett
This one might be boring to many, but it is fascinating to me. I love fundraising - it is my one true love. Unfortunately on the way to the career path, it has broken my heart and rejected me more than once, but like any true love, you know you learn from it. Probably not the best analogy. I read a book telling you 89 principles of good fundraiser conduct, and advice to getting the best from donors. It describes the best things to do, and think every detail makes sense. I disagree that charities neglect donors like the author  makes out. My favourite passage is as follows:

















"Learn twelve keys to world-class donor service.

  • Be committed. You and your donor service staff have to really like donors and to be really committed to offering them first-class service.
  • Be properly resourced. Customer service is something that shouldn't be done on the cheap. The service function needs proper planning and demands the allocation of sufficient resources. If you skimp you'll probably do more harm than good.
  • Be consistent. Good service raises expectations. People need to know they can depend on certain standards of performance at all times, whenever needed.
  • Be quick. Delayed responses irritate. Prompt responses please.
  • Be appropriate. Tailor your response to your donors. Avoid waste and overindulging customers.
  • Be personal. People like to be remembered and addressed by name.
  • Be recognised. That way you'll increase your chances of being liked. This is where, as I've said elsewhere, you should publicise your nonprofit's service personnel and show their pictures. Stress they are there only to serve donors.
  • Be meticulous. Keep first-class records, so you can act on these twelve keys and more.
  • Be there. You can't go home when your donors need you. If a twenty-four-hour service seems over the top, at least operate a facility for voice messages. It may be that your organisation's service department will be in most demand in evenings from 6.00 P.M. to 9.00 P.M. If so, pay staff a bit extra to cover those hours.
  • Be open and honest. Never cover up.. If your department or organisation have screwed up, say so quickly and explain it fully. Donors will love you for it.
  • Be cheerful and helpful. Never let donors feel that asking is a trouble. That's what you are there for - to help them.
  • Teach customer care to all your colleagues. I have never forgotten a simple piece of advice from the days when I sold advertising space over the telephone - smile and dial. When you smile while talking on the phone, what you are saying sounds much better at the other end. It really works. Try it. (Tell your colleagues first; otherwise they'll think you've gone mad)."


Now I can't decide which book to stick to, but reading the autobiographies: The Life of Lee by Lee Evans and I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb.



Let me know what you think. Have you read any of the books described? Are you doing a reading challenge this year?

115 comments:

  1. I was disappointed with Cloud Atlas as well. I received it as a gift but I couldn't get past the first 20 pages... just not my cup of tea. Richard B

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    1. I felt like i must be stupid not to take to it as it was highly regarded lol

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  2. Ohh what a shame about Cloud Atlas. I really should break out of my regular genre and read soem different books. Mich x

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    1. That's why I liked the sound of popsugar challenge - makes me read a different variety and things i might not have otherwise picked :) x

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  3. Lee Evans Is an absolutely crazy funny guy so I bet his book would be a crack to read. Thanks for sharing your Feb reads with me!

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    1. When I saw it, I knew it would be a funny read x

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  4. I should really get back to reading. It always helped me de stress!! I love The Time Traveller's Wife!!

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    1. It was a fab book and helps me too :) makes me feel like I've done something at least!

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  5. I loved I am Malala, I would deifnitely reccomend it (definitely over Lee Evans haha!) xo

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    1. Yeah very different haha. Enjoying I am Malala and very different biographical content! Lee Evans will probably be what I need after such a serious book :) x

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  6. I need to start reading again. Ever since having my son I have not been reading as much as I used to. I am reading the Throne of Glass series right now. I really liked the Time Traveler's Wife when I read it!

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    1. It can be hard to make time and sometimes a lot to take in. I had struggled to read after graduating uni as read so much during my course and found it hard to just take in :)

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  7. I have the time travellers wife but haven't actually read it! I do plan to sometime this year...

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    1. It looks big but was one of those books I couldn't put down :) x

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  8. I've heard similar from other people about Cloud Atlas so won't be picking it up. I love The Time Traveller's Wife though

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    1. Yeah it's just an incredible read :)

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  9. The time travelers wife is one of my favorite books. Much different from the movie.

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  10. I would love to read The Time Travellers Wife, I read a bit briefly ages ago but never finished it x

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    1. At one stage, I couldn't put it down. Definitely recommend it to you! x

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  11. Haven't read any of the books yet

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    1. Well recommend all but cloud atlas

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  12. I'd love to read more books this year but with a new baby I just don't have the time. I'd recommend the Lee Evans book, he's had a really interesting life!

    Becca
    www.Queenbeebecca.com

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    1. Don't know much about him so will be interesting :)

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  13. I hope March is a better month for you. I like the sound of The Time Travellers Wife. Kaz

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    1. All about attitude so will have to see :)

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  14. Have you seen the film - cloud atlas? It a bit a weird one. So I'm interested to read the book. xx

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    1. No but think i might to help make sense of it now :)

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  15. Loved your list, I managed to read loads in February but know loads who didn't so much! I love The Time Traveller's Wife, such a lovely story! The Lee Evans book is fab by the way!

    Emmie
    www.carpediememmie.co.uk

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    1. That's good :) I'm liking it so far but not that far into it as keep switching between the two books :) be interested to know what you read!

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  16. I wish I had the time to read let alone a couple books a month. I always go in spurts where I will read a lot then not read for a couple of months.

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    1. Unusual for me, but been good to read more and some things i might not typically pick up x

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  17. I have wanted to read Time Traveller's Wife!Thank you for sharing!

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  18. I've never read Cloud Atlas the book, but I watched the movie and I thought it was sooo bad:(

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    1. Good to know - thought it may make more sense to watch haha

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  19. That is quite a reading list! i am very stuck in my chick-lit ways and should definitely step out of my comfort zone and read something different!

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    1. That's where the challenge comes in handy :) i am reading things i might not typically and enjoying a lot

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  20. I haven't read any of these books. They do look good x

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  21. I really liked Cloud Atlas! It was a bit bizarre but I enjoyed it.

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    1. Explain! I felt too stupid to understand it lol

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  22. I am currently reading The Hunt Of The Grimalkin. I do want to read the Time Traveler's Wife though. I have heard good things.

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  23. I started reading the time travellers wife but at the time I just wasn't that into it, I need to get back into it soon x

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    1. That's a shame - really enjoyed it. Don't typically like romantic type books x

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  24. oh the time travellers wife looks like somethig i would enjoy reading

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    1. It's brill - couldn't put it down x

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  25. The Time Travellers Wife really really upset me and I remember crying all night when I read it. I never react like that to books, so very very odd.

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    1. Didn't cry, but i can relate. The end got me

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  26. I have not read any of these books. Will look out for them.

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  27. I should really start reading more often. While I haven't read Cloud Atlas, I have seen the movie. I know the movies are never quite the same, but I didn't understand the movie. I thought for sure the book would have been more clear and understandable, so it's disappointing to hear it's not.

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    1. Usually find the movies easier, but guess not lol

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  28. I think Malala is an amazing woman. I've seen the film of the Time Travellers wife a while ago

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    1. She is younger than me and done more to impact the world! Incredible :)

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  29. I haven't read The Time Travellers Wife but I have seen the film and I thoroughly enjoyed it xxx

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    1. You'll definitely enjoy reading then :) x

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  30. I have I am Malala sitting on my bookcase - a birthday present from my mum - but haven't started it properly yet; you've reminded me that I need to do so! x

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    1. You should - hugely inspiring read! Not just Malala that you learn to be incredible :) x

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  31. I've watched the movie of the Time Travelers Wife but never read the book. I'm sure I'd love it as the film was excellent. I am Malala is supposed to be an amazing read too!

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    1. I recommend it as couldn't put it down. More than half way through and incredible so far :)

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  32. Your review of Cloud Atlas is interesting, as I was about to buy it and read it. I've heard a lot of mixed reviews on it.

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    1. Just couldn't picture any of it and went over my head

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  33. I don't do an official challenge, I just make sure I read a little each day. It might only be a couple pages, but I stick to it!

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    1. Good! :)reading in any way is fab. This is my first reading challenge

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  34. February is always my blue month!!! January I don't mind so much and yes it is the month of comfort food too!

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  35. You have totally put me to shame, I cant even remember the last time I picked up a book!

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    1. Should have seen me last year! Probably very similar lol

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  36. STICK WITH MALALA! I recommend it to every one of my friends haha!

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  37. Sadly I have not read any if these books and have only been reading personal finance and non-fiction books about blogging etc. I need to read more ;-)

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    1. Reading is all about learning so that's fab. From reading zen of fundraising, I realised i needed to read more books relating to career i wish to pursue so admire your method :)

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  38. These look like great books. I loved the movie version of Times Travellers Wife. If you haven't read it already, I highly recommend Behind Closed Doors by B A Paris.

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    1. Not heard of that. Hope it fits into the popsugar challenge or will look it up for 2018 :) is i similar?

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  39. I'm glad that despite the tough days, you still pushed through with something you enjoyed doing--reading. :) I wish I was a fast reader like you--seemed like you read a lot in just one month!

    KatrinaJeanCarter.wordpress.com

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    1. Not usually but was determined to do the challenge!

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  40. I'm not a huge reader, and I feel like I should be. I just don't have the time! Between my 3 kids and my blog my time is pretty much spent! But I think I need to make more of an effort. Thanks of sharing these. Will have to check out Time Travelers Wife.

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    1. Books can difficult to get into. Feels like selfish time to me haha

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  41. I read The Time Traveler's Wife years ago and enjoyed it. I haven't read the other books you shared. Don't worry about not enjoying or understanding Cloud Atlas. Everyone doesn't like the same writing styles and/or genres.

    I don't usually participate in reading challenges that set forth books for you to read as my TBR (To Be Read) list is rather lengthy.

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    1. It's good for me as don't have a big TBR list. It also gets me to read books that I probably wouldn't normally

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  42. I haven't read any of these but I like the sound of The Time Traveller's Wife.

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    1. It is a great book - couldn't put it down!

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  43. Absolutely love reading; I just don't get enough time to do so. I read the Lee Evans book last year, and it made me cry. I'm currently reading Bear Grylls book, which am finding quite eye opening.

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    1. Bear Grylls would probably be amazing. Ooh onto that now as finished I am Malala

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  44. I love the Time Traveller's Wife. I'm doing the goodreads challenge again this year but going for 80 books instead of 100!

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  45. I really love reading too. Thing is, I read for a living so when I relax I usually do some crafting or watch the TV. When we go on holiday though I usually get through at least 3 books - some great suggestions here...

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  46. For once I preferred the film for The Time Travellers Wife to the book and it is very rare I say that x

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  47. Sorry to hear that your February wasn't great. But like you I ate a lot of pancakes as well! Not read any of these books so thanks for the suggestions x

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  48. Numbers 2 and 3 definitely caught my eye. Number 2's plot seems crazy fascinating!! 3 just sounds a lot useful, mostly because I'd love to create serious fundraising events in the future. Cheers!

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  49. Hahaha I love how honest you are about not getting the first book!! Honestly sometimes book like that throw me too!

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  50. I love The Time Travellers wife, it's one of my favourite books ever, and loved the film too x

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  51. I've never heard of any of these books! I'm intrigued by the times travellers wife xo

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  52. I tried to read Cloud Atlas but I just couldn't get into it!

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  53. Oooh I love the Time Traveller's Wife, I need to read a little more! xo

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  54. Ooh the time travellers wife sounds good! Really want to read that one!!

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  55. I hope March treats you better than February. I am Malala is a very easy to read book, yet has a powerful message.

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  56. I read The Time Travellers wife too, I think it was rather disappointing too.

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  57. I've heard great things about Zen! I will have to start it this month for sure!

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  58. Sorry to hear about cloud atlas, we never realised it was stories in a story. Sounds intriguing though x

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  59. I also enjoyed the Time Travelers Wife. Go for I am Malala, I have no idea who Mr. Lee is. lol

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  60. I loved the time travellers wife. One of the few books I have managed to read recently.

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  61. I have a time travelers wife but never read it, although I did love the movie! My reading challenge is to read 50 books this year, essentially round about one a week. The problem is I chose to read big books which is a little harder!

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  62. I tried Cloud Atlas a few years ago and gave up, so well done for sticking with it! I just couldn't get into it at all :/ I love The Time Traveller's Wife, though, still not seen the film...

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  63. sorry February wasn't a great month for you, hoping march is kinder, great list, I must look at getting one to read x

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  64. Reading 3 or 4 books a month would be a challenge for me I don't even have time to read 1. My girls are doing a reading challenge though one has read about 4 books so far.

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  65. I have just purchased I am Malala so looking forward to reading it.

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  66. You must be a super fast reader! The zen of fundraising looks perfect i need to give that a read as I do fundraising as part of my job x

    Miss Kitty Kaos - Adventures Of A Riot Grrrl

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  67. I'd love to read the time travellers wife and I am malala. They both look so interesting! :)

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  68. I am an avid book lover and without a doubt I read at least a chapter each night so some great choices here for me to look at

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  69. not read any of these books but they sound interesting, I need to add them to my wishlist

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  70. Some good book reviews here least I know which ones to read and not read. Thanks hun :) x

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  71. Of these three, the only one I have read is The Time Traveler's Wife. I read it even before the movie was released and I absolutely loved it. I have been wanting to read I Am Malala, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

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  72. I really should make time to read more. It's always interesting to compare books that have been turned into films too :)

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