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      Summer Supporter Giveaway   08/31/2020

      Going on a Summer Holiday (Sort Of...)     The summer giveaway for Patreon supporters is finally here and this time we're doing something a little bit different. I want supporters to tell me where you would go on holiday, if you could go anywhere. The winner will receive a bookish prize based on their answer!   Terms and conditions are as usual. Patreon supporters will be automatically entered into the giveaway and selected at random. As we're a little late this year the draw will be held on the second weekend of September. If you aren't currently a supporter but want to be involved in the giveaway you can sign up to support us here:   https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum  
Janet

Janet's Log - Stardate 2014

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048-2014-October-24-TheMoonsaBalloon_zps

 

The Moon’s a Balloon by David Niven

 

The ‘blurb’

David Niven is remembered as one of Britain's best-loved actors. The archetypal English gentleman, he starred in over ninety films. He is equally remembered as the author of this classic autobiography. In his first volume, he remembers his childhood and school days, his time at Sandhurst and his early army service. He recalls America during the prohibition era and days in Hollywood before the Second World War. Of the war itself, he tells of family life back in Britain and his time on the front line in France and Germany. The Moon's a Balloon is a wonderful record of a truly remarkable and warm-hearted man, told in his inimitable style.

 

I think I’ve probably only seen two films with David Niven in them!  They are The Pink Panther (but not for about 35 years!) and Disney’s Candleshoe which is a brilliant (but maybe only in my opinion!), but often overlooked, children’s film (I have the book on my wish list to see how it compares).  However, I remember that when I was a child this book was on my parents’ book shelf and I was intrigued by it because I liked the look of the sparkly-eyed man on the cover.  So when I saw that this was a 99p Kindle Daily Deal book I snapped it up.

 

The Moon’s a Balloon (the title comes from a poem by e. e. cummings) covers the period from Niven’s birth in 1910 to the 1970s.  It contains anecdotes (not all of them about Niven are true – some were drawn from other people’s lives and embellished) and shameless name-dropping – but is also a very interesting read.   Niven found success in America but left Hollywood behind to join up when war was declared in 1939 – he fought for the duration, returning to America when the war ended and managing to get back into films, despite fears that the film industry had moved on without him.  He comes across really well – people warmed to him.   On reading up about Niven after I finished the book it seems that behind the contented façade, his home life in later years was not always happy but Niven does not go into this in his book. 

 

This book is more than an autobiography and I really enjoyed it.  There is a second part, of which I was unaware, called Bring On The Empty Horses which I would like to read at some stage.

 

The paperback edition is 336 pages long and is published by Penguin.  It was first published in 1972.  The ISBN is 9780140239249.   I read the Kindle version.

 

4/5 (Very enjoyable)

 

(Finished 24 October 2014)

 

 

 

“who knows if the moon's
a balloon,coming out of a keen city
in the sky--filled with pretty people?
( and if you and I should

get into it,if they
should take me and take you into their balloon,
why then
we'd go up higher with all the pretty people

than houses and steeples and clouds:
go sailing
away and away sailing into a keen
city which nobody's ever visited,where

always
it's
Spring)and everyone's
in love and flowers pick themselves”
 
e e cummings

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Nice review of The Handmaid's Tale. I have attempted to read it several times (I think I finished it each time, but it was mostly skimmed), but could never fully appreciate it. Perhaps I was too young, but whatever the case I have still kept a copy on my bookshelf, because I'm convinced I will understand and enjoy it more fully at some point.

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I'm not sure I'd have got on with it if I'd tried it even 10 years ago. I hope that if you do try it again then you enjoy it more.  :)

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049-2014-November-03-WhenMrDogBites_zpsc

 

When Mr Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan

 

The ‘blurb’

Dylan Mint has Tourette's. Being sixteen is hard enough, but Dylan's life is a constant battle to keep the bad stuff in - the swearing, the tics, the howling dog that seems to escape whenever he gets stressed... But a routine visit to the hospital changes everything. Overhearing a hushed conversation between the doctor and his mother, Dylan discovers that he's going to die next March. So he grants himself three parting wishes or 'Cool Things To Do Before I Cack It'. But as Dylan sets out to make his wishes come true, he discovers that nothing - and no-one - is quite as he had previously supposed.

 

I first saw this book a few months ago when visiting Waterstone’s in Cirencester with a pair of lovely like-minded book worms!  :D

 

Despite liking the sound of it, I didn’t buy it as we were going on holiday and I was trying to be good, so I was pleased to spot it on Amazon for 98p last month!

 

It’s teen fiction and the protagonist is a sixteen-year-old boy called Dylan who lives with his Mum in Scotland and attends Drumhill School which is a school for children with additional needs.  Dylan has Tourette’s syndrome but apart from that he’s just like any other sixteen-year-old boy.  However one day after overhearing his consultant and his mother talking in hushed tones, Dylan discovers that he doesn’t have very long to live, and so he starts of bucket list.  It doesn’t have many things on it, but Dylan is determined to finish it before he dies, and with the help of his trusty ‘best bud’, Amir, Dylan sets out to achieve his aims…

 

I really enjoyed this book.  I don’t know a great deal about Tourette’s.  I do know that most people think it’s all to do with swearing, but that it doesn’t always have that as a symptom.  However, Dylan does swear and he also shouts out inappropriate things.   When things are really bad, Mr Dog comes out.  Dylan has no control over Mr Dog when he appears, although Dylan does his best to keep him in check.   As the book unfolds, Dylan discovers that things aren’t always the way they seem – and that sometimes people can be very surprising.

 

There are a few twists at the end of the book.  I guessed a couple of them pretty early on but it didn’t spoil what was a very enjoyable story.  :)

 

Having finished the book and then read up about it, there is a bit of criticism of the language used and also accusations that the book is racist.  I really do not think that’s the case though, and in fact Dylan abhors racism, but some people are racist so the book just reflects life – it’s not written to offend.  Maybe if you don’t like bad language this book isn’t for you, but the swearing is in context and as such I don’t think it is offensive. 

 

Dylan is an endearing character whose heart is in the right place:

 

 

’That’s what I want to be when I grow up – caring and gentle,’

[he says], because that’s what all good men should be like. 

Even if you don’t have money to buy swanky dinners in flashy restaurants

like Nando’s or T.G.I Friday’s or wear trendy clothes

or have a shit-hot hot-rod car, you can still be gentle and caring. 

All those other things don’t really matter that much.

 

 

There is no arguing with that! 

 

If you liked The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer or The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon then I think you’ll probably enjoy this one too.  :)

 

The paperback edition is 384 pages long and is published by Bloomsbury.  It was first published in 2013.  The ISBN is 9781408838365.   I read the Kindle version.

 

4/5 (Very enjoyable)

 

(Finished 3 November 2014)

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This sounds like an interesting book, I'm glad you enjoyed it :)! Great review, Janet.

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I've just watched a documentary on Tourette Syndrome called Tourettes: I Swear I Can't Help It which was really interesting.  I remember watching some of John's story (he features in this one but was in a more-famous called John's Not Mad which came out in 1989) when it first aired. 

 

It was really interesting.  Some parts are funny - they shouldn't be, but they are, and the sufferers laugh about it too.  There is a more serious side to it too with people sometimes hurting others or even themselves.  John says that when he puts the hob on he sometimes gets the urge to put his hand flat on the heat - and if he stands near a river he wants to jump in.   He has a dog, Tilly, on whom he dotes - sometimes he tells her to cross the road when a car is coming but she knows whether to or not, fortunately.

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I gave up on A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby. :(  It just wasn't doing it for me and there are too many other books to read.  I started All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot a few days ago and I'm loving it!

 

I need to start Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese for my Book Club soon.  I wish we'd got a shorter one as I'm just so busy at the moment so I'm feeling a bit under pressure!

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I have All Creatures Great and Small on my TBR, I'm glad to hear you're enjoying it :).

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I gave up on A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby. :(  It just wasn't doing it for me and there are too many other books to read.  I started All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot a few days ago and I'm loving it!

 

I need to start Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese for my Book Club soon.  I wish we'd got a shorter one as I'm just so busy at the moment so I'm feeling a bit under pressure!

I read A Long Way Down for my book group a few years ago, and I didn't like it much either, but unfortunately, I did feel the need to finish it to discuss it in the group. I hasn't put me off reading his other novels … although I haven't actually got around to any of them yet! :giggle2:

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I've been catching up with your read, it's been ages again! =( 
 
 

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
 
 
We picked some pea pods, opened them and ate the peas inside.  Peas baffled me.  I could not understand why grown-ups would take things that tasted so good raw, and put them in tins, and make them revolting.

 

Lol – I have to agree with him!

 
Haha, well said and very apt! =D
 
This is going on my wishlist, thanks for the review! I'm not a dedicated fan of Gaiman's like some are, but this sounds like an interesting novel. 
 

Ugh! *Shudders* At great personal expense (of my nerves, not financial!) I managed to find the clip I was referring too. I was wrong - he wasn’t actually strapped to the bed, but ugh! I’d blanked out the fact he was playing a priest!

Click to enlarge... if you dare!   
 
attachicon.gifThe lives and loves.jpg


=D  I'm sorry Jänet, I hope you've by now recovered. Although me bumping this image up on your thread is doing you no favors.... :blush:
 
 


I do quite often, actually! Not always favourably – apparently it makes me impossible to search for…!


This is re: you being Jänet on FB. I'm so very sorry it makes you impossible to search for :giggle2: But that might be a blessing in disguise... At least you won't get any useless and annoying friend requests from people who look up everyone they've met even for a second. Those sort of people won't bother to spend much time on tracking someone up, if it proves to be difficult.  
 
 

036-2014-July-07-TheRadleys_zpsf6b9eaeb.
 
The Radleys  by Matt Haig
 
...
 
 
As I said, it wasn't at all what I was expecting, but had I known what the subject-matter was I wouldn't have picked it up, so it's just as well I didn't or I would have missed out on a cracking story!   This is my first book by Matt Haig, but I’m sure it won’t be my last! 


I'm really glad you enjoyed this, especially when it's the type of book you wouldn't normally read, and was surprised by the content. It's fun to be surprised every now and then, especially if it's a good kind of surprise =D
 
 

They went up to Kent to stay with their Godmother. They’ve been going up for a week in the summer for the last five years – the first four years by train and this year with Luke driving. It was a bit scary for me as he’d only passed his test 9 days earlier! They came back today and I’m pleased to report that both journeys, plus all the driving Luke did up there, were done safely. I wasn’t so much worried about him (he’s a good driver – his instructor was very complimentary), but rather about him not anticipating what other drivers might do on the motorways, as you have more than one other lane to contend with.


I bet you were on your tiptoes the whole while, what with Luke driving there the first time. You're a Mom, you can't help it! And I know what you mean about trusting Luke's driving skills, but worrying about the traffic. I'm glad to hear it went well, I'm sure it was a big deal for him and a big deal for you, too, and you will feel more at ease the next time :smile2:

 

As alluded to above, Pop is accused of indecent assault.   Pop and the other ‘regular’ characters don’t take the situation seriously though.  I have mixed feelings about this part of the book.  Whilst Pop’s behaviour is acceptable in the books and is just part of his character and is written to be amusing rather than sinister, and although it appears that Mrs Jerebohm is overreacting, I think the flippant way it is written is rather “of its time”.   Disturbing to the modern reader is the line by “if you’re going to be raped you might as well relax and enjoy it while you can” spoken by one of the female characters, Pop and Ma’s friend Angela Snow.  I know it’s because it was published in the 60s but it did shock me and leave a feeling of distaste in my mouth and somewhat tarnished my enjoyment of it.  


Oh dear :o I don't think one would get away with saying something like that these days. It's definitely 'of its time'. But I know it's very difficult to get around it and not be bothered by it. :(
 
 

I have said it elsewhere but I thought I would add it was lovely to meet Janet last night. Time flew by and I'm afraid I forced us both into very late dinners because we were nattering!

It was brilliant to chat face to face after so long chatting online. It was really easy too, we had lots to say which was great and I was also privileged to meet Janet's husband who was also lovely! Had such a nice evening.


How lovely to hear you've been able to meet Jänet! :smile2: This forum is getting more and more closely knitted, more and more people meeting each other in the real life. I love it :D
 
 


I saw this at the library, the title caught my eye, and only after I'd read the blurb did I notice that it's by Solomons :) Oddly enough, though, I didn't like the sound of the blurb at the time and put the book back on the shelf. Your review on it has changed my mind, it's going up on the wishlist!  Even the synopsis sounded a lot more intriguing in your post, for some reason? :D How odd is that.
 
 

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer


I'm really happy you enjoyed this one! I've actually borrowed it from the library, the copy's in my room. I love the cover, and it's a real shame about the bloody sticker on your copy! Why do they do that sort of thing?!   :banghead: 
 

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The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

So glad you enjoyed the book! :) And hey, it's a dystopian, so that's another sci-fi book you've read :D I think someone on here recently read the book and didn't like it at all, and I felt bad for the book. So I'm all the more happy to read your favorable review. Especially since you didn't sound too keen at the idea of having to read the book when you found out it was chosen for the book group.

 

I think the book is a very harrowing read, and thought provoking, like you said. I came across the work as a movie first, by accident. And I was in elementary school, and me and my cousin were home alone and started watching the movie. You can imagine a lot of it went straight over our heads and it wasn't very comfortable viewing :D We didn't watch the whole movie, because our parents came home too early. The atmosphere of the movie stayed with me though, for years, and of course I had to re-watch it as an adult.

 

 

When Mr Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan

 

 

I came across a copy of this at the library a few weeks ago, I picked the book up because there was a dog in the title :blush: It sounded really interesting and the book made its way to my wishlist. And it's staying there more solidly now that I've read your review on it :smile2: I loved The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time so that's another incentive for sure. 

 

I've just watched a documentary on Tourette Syndrome called Tourettes: I Swear I Can't Help It which was really interesting.  I remember watching some of John's story (he features in this one but was in a more-famous called John's Not Mad which came out in 1989) when it first aired. 

 

It was really interesting.  Some parts are funny - they shouldn't be, but they are, and the sufferers laugh about it too.  There is a more serious side to it too with people sometimes hurting others or even themselves.  John says that when he puts the hob on he sometimes gets the urge to put his hand flat on the heat - and if he stands near a river he wants to jump in.   He has a dog, Tilly, on whom he dotes - sometimes he tells her to cross the road when a car is coming but she knows whether to or not, fortunately.

 

What a brilliant title - "I Swear I Can't Help It"! :cool: The documentary sounds really interesting, I'll have to watch it if I have the chance some day. I can't imagine what a life with Tourette's can be like. But I admire anyone who knows that they can't help their condition and try and make most of it by not taking it or life or themselves too seriously. I've seen this guy on youtube who has Tourette's, and he videos himself singing songs. He starts cussing mid song and he'll throw his arms around and stuff, but he won't edit or censor it; he's there to sing a song and that's what he does. Here's one video of him in case you're interested in watching:

 

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I loved your review of The Handmaid's Tale, Janet. :) I'd love to revisit the book one day.

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A shame Cutting For Stone has been chosen so late in the year J, when I know you get busy with Christmas (And other things, I always seem to get less reading done in the last couple of the months of the year until the last week, when I'm traditionally off!)

 

I remember it taking me a while but it being utterly worth it.

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I gave up on A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby. :(  It just wasn't doing it for me and there are too many other books to read.

 

Can't say I blame you for giving up on A Long Way Down. I finished it, but just barely. :smile:

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I've had to cull some emoticons...
 

I've been catching up with your read, it's been ages again! =(

It’s hard to keep up sometimes, isn’t it. :) Thanks for popping by.
 

This is going on my wishlist, thanks for the review! I'm not a dedicated fan of Gaiman's like some are, but this sounds like an interesting novel.

I’ve only read his novels aimed at children. Well, I think Stardust is actually classed as an adult’s book – he says as much in it when he says it must be as it contains the ‘F’ word! :giggle2: I haven’t actually looked at the others but I will at some stage.
 

=D I'm sorry Jänet, I hope you've by now recovered. Although me bumping this image up on your thread is doing you no favors....

:lol: *Shudders* No sleep for me tonight! :giggle:




This is re: you being Jänet on FB. I'm so very sorry it makes you impossible to search for :giggle2: But that might be a blessing in disguise... At least you won't get any useless and annoying friend requests from people who look up everyone they've met even for a second. Those sort of people won't bother to spend much time on tracking someone up, if it proves to be difficult.

Yes, this is very true. I don’t suppose I’ll change it now – anyone who needs to find me probably already has or can do so through mutual friends!
 

I'm really glad you enjoyed this, especially when it's the type of book you wouldn't normally read, and was surprised by the content. It's fun to be surprised every now and then, especially if it's a good kind of surprise =D

It was such a great surprise. There was very little ‘blurb’ on the back cover, although maybe the picture on the front should have been a clue! I have The Humans on my wish list as a result of this, and of some recommendations on here. :)
 

I bet you were on your tiptoes the whole while, what with Luke driving there the first time. You're a Mom, you can't help it! And I know what you mean about trusting Luke's driving skills, but worrying about the traffic. I'm glad to hear it went well, I'm sure it was a big deal for him and a big deal for you, too, and you will feel more at ease the next time

I’m not quite as nervous as when he first passed – but I’m still nervous for him when he goes on long journeys. I don’t think you really learn to drive until after you’ve passed your test and go out on your own.
 

Oh dear I don't think one would get away with saying something like that these days. It's definitely 'of its time'. But I know it's very difficult to get around it and not be bothered by it. :(

I have one left in the series and I will read it at some stage, but none of them have lived up to the first one, which was really very good. I have a few other books by this author on my wish list – they are bound to be dated but I think he’s a great storyteller, so hopefully there will be some good ones – if I ever get round to them! Too many books, too little time!
 

How lovely to hear you've been able to meet Jänet! This forum is getting more and more closely knitted, more and more people meeting each other in the real life. I love it :D

I’ve known Alex for a long time (pre-BCF) so it was so great to finally meet her, and she was every bit as lovely in real life as on the internet. I hope we can meet again some time.
 

I saw this at the library, the title caught my eye, and only after I'd read the blurb did I notice that it's by Solomons Oddly enough, though, I didn't like the sound of the blurb at the time and put the book back on the shelf. Your review on it has changed my mind, it's going up on the wishlist! Even the synopsis sounded a lot more intriguing in your post, for some reason?  How odd is that.

Perhaps your book had different ‘blurb’? They do sometimes vary from edition to edition. I didn’t enjoy it as much as her first two but it was still very enjoyable. :)
 

I'm really happy you enjoyed this one! I've actually borrowed it from the library, the copy's in my room. I love the cover, and it's a real shame about the bloody sticker on your copy! Why do they do that sort of thing?!

The cover is so pretty, isn’t it. I do hope you enjoy it when you get round to it.

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So glad you enjoyed the book! :) And hey, it's a dystopian, so that's another sci-fi book you've read :D I think someone on here recently read the book and didn't like it at all, and I felt bad for the book. So I'm all the more happy to read your favorable review. Especially since you didn't sound too keen at the idea of having to read the book when you found out it was chosen for the book group.

 

I think the book is a very harrowing read, and thought provoking, like you said. I came across the work as a movie first, by accident. And I was in elementary school, and me and my cousin were home alone and started watching the movie. You can imagine a lot of it went straight over our heads and it wasn't very comfortable viewing :D We didn't watch the whole movie, because our parents came home too early. The atmosphere of the movie stayed with me though, for years, and of course I had to re-watch it as an adult.

That’s one of the great things about book club – it makes us read books we might not otherwise have chosen. :) It was so good! My Mum has a similar taste in books to me and she didn’t enjoy Oryx and Crake very much, which added to my cautiousness. I think she might try this one now as I’m sure she’d like it.

 

I haven’t come across the film version. I shall have to keep an eye out for it on TV now. Is it a good adaptation?

 

I came across a copy of this at the library a few weeks ago, I picked the book up because there was a dog in the title :blush: It sounded really interesting and the book made its way to my wishlist. And it's staying there more solidly now that I've read your review on it :smile2: I loved The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time so that's another incentive for sure.

 

What a brilliant title - "I Swear I Can't Help It"! :cool: The documentary sounds really interesting, I'll have to watch it if I have the chance some day. I can't imagine what a life with Tourette's can be like. But I admire anyone who knows that they can't help their condition and try and make most of it by not taking it or life or themselves too seriously. I've seen this guy on youtube who has Tourette's, and he videos himself singing songs. He starts cussing mid song and he'll throw his arms around and stuff, but he won't edit or censor it; he's there to sing a song and that's what he does. Here's one video of him in case you're interested in watching:

I’ve just watched the video you linked – thanks. :) That chap’s tic is really bad, isn’t it. It must be so physically tiring for him. The book was very enjoyable. :)

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I loved your review of The Handmaid's Tale, Janet. :) I'd love to revisit the book one day.

Thanks, Kylie.  :)  We had a great discussion at book club - it's certainly a very thought-provoking book. 

 

A shame Cutting For Stone has been chosen so late in the year J, when I know you get busy with Christmas (And other things, I always seem to get less reading done in the last couple of the months of the year until the last week, when I'm traditionally off!)

 

I remember it taking me a while but it being utterly worth it.

My reading has definitely slowed down.  I still haven't started it - I'm going to try to have a good crack at the James Herriot book (I'd really like to finish it first) but if I don't finish soon I will have to put it to one side to get this finished.  There is one lady in our group (a very good friend of mine) and she often doesn't manage to finish some of our smaller books so I think she's going to really struggle to finish this - especially as she has three children and is a teacher - it's a busy time of year for her.  I read the first page or so yesterday and loved the writing and felt immediately engaged, so hopefully that'll help.  It's just a shame it's not available for Kindle as it's a big 'un!  :giggle2:

 

Can't say I blame you for giving up on A Long Way Down. I finished it, but just barely. :smile:

I think I remember you saying you weren't impressed.  Well done on actually finishing it. :)

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I had the weirdest dream last night! Kylie and I were at Chester zoo waiting for Sari who was late. When she arrived we were a bit surprised because she'd turned into a 4' tall penguin!

 

The zoo keeper said she was a new species and would have to stay and as he was leading her away to tag her I made him promise he'd call her Frankie! :blush::lol:

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Bahahaha! :rolol: That's the funniest dream ever, Janet! Poor Frankie! But I think she'd make a cute penguin. :yes:

 

I love the level of detail in your dream—the zoo keeper didn't just lead Frankie away, but he led her away to 'tag her'.  :haha: Were we really only 'a bit' surprised? :D

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