A Bit of a Catch Up

victory-in-the-kitchenI’m finding the current situation in the world very weird. I’m not going to say anything more about this virus thing as I am well and truly tired of hearing about it. We are doing everything right though. Like everyone else we are trying to find things to do around the house and that isn’t too hard. For a start I have a lot of books I can read. I also have a 7 month old puppy to spend time with. So each day I ask myself- “will it be a quiet book and a cup of coffee?” or “will it be a crazy , high energy puppy to occupy my time?”


I have been reading a lot of photography magazines and watching you tube videos on the subject. So not reading a lot of novels. However I did start this one which I am enjoying so far at a fairly slow pace. It’s called Victory in the Kitchen: The Life of  Churchill’s Cook by Annie Gray. The blurb on the cover states, ” This is a book about Georgina Landmark. It’s about her life, her times and some of her employers, including Winston and Clementine Churchill. It’s about working class life, and women’s work and expectations, and it’s about domestic service at the highest level. It’s about British food and French influence, and the impact of war on the way we ate. Above all else, though, it’s the story of a woman who loved, loved and cooked her way through much of 20th century Britain, and, while her life is made more resonant by her relationship to her last employers, it remains Georgina’s story.

I might also add I love the cover of this book.

Other activities: 

90419399_3070627949638320_5357850227199967232_oWe have three cats and for entertainment they are quite hard on their cat tree. We replace the one in the house every few years by moving the old one outside to their enclosure and adding a new one to the living room. I ordered one online and it arrived in a flat pack package and I had to put it together. Once I sorted all the pieces and made sure everything was there I got it together this morning.  I had to spray vinegar water around it to keep little Ollie from grabbing pieces and running through the house with them. I often spray a bit of vinegar water on things I don’t want him to chew, such as the edges of furniture or power cords.  It works well as he hates the smell.


Our cats took one look at this tree, backed up and went, “Whoa! Check this out!!”  So far, we are getting gentle sniffing at it but not daring yet to venture onto it. I’m sure it won’t be long before they explore it properly,

Photography and bush walks with Ollie:

89828882_3055537494480699_5550781738684252160_oWe have a reserve behind our house that has trails that eventually lead to the pinnacle of Mt, Wellington.  Ollie and I took the camera out one beautiful autumn day and took some photos.  He sniffs out wallaby poo and I look for things to photograph. I thought I’d do a bit of macro work. These are the photos.

Well that pretty much sums up the week. I won’t go on too much about the cancellation of all of my activities I generally participate in. The Book group and Shakespeare group at Fuller’s book store have stopped though a Shakespeare activities is coming up soon online dealing with the sonnets. That should be fun.

The Play reading, Motorbike group rides and social events, the sketch groups at the 90047539_3055537341147381_6826748498633818112_omuseum and all photography events have been cancelled as well. Though the sketch group has a fb page and our photo club currently has a bingo game going on with our fb page.

In summary, it really is a strange time and I’m finding it quite interesting to see the progression of the government rules coming out daily. Tasmania is currently locked now. You can leave but you can’t enter without going into 2 weeks isolation though they are still working on how they monitor the caravans coming in on the ferries from interstate and driving around everywhere.  Governments are great at issuing orders before they work out how they are to be implemented and monitored.

90094922_3055537697814012_1509713474496757760_oAnd if I do get really bored there is Netflix though I don’t want to dive too deep into that entertaining activity.  Remember, I have all these books

I hope all of you out there are doing well and coping and staying well.  It is distressing to see what is happening with people losing jobs, getting sick and dying in large numbers around the world. But it is careful we balance these things out in our mind to prevent getting too depressed about it all. I appreciate all my blogger friends at this time and sometimes I don’t have time to comment on all the blogs I read, I do read most of them, most of the time. I appreciate seeing what others are doing during these weird times.



He was so exhausted after his bush walk. Check out the spots on the belly. I love puppy bellies.













masked penguin
Stay Well.

Simply Sunday

It’s been a pleasant weekend. There is a very large book sale down the road put on by Rotary club this weekend.  I took my motorbike down yesterday as Mr. Penguin was helping out on a friend’s farm.


I didn’t think I would find much and I wasn’t going to go but you know how it is. A very large book sale less than two kms away?  Would you at least check it out?  I did. I found six new books and I could not believe it.  The ones I found could not be left behind. It would keep me awake at night.  I went straight to the literature/classics section. Wasn’t interested in anything else.  Here you have them.

I have never read any of his books and I have always wanted to.


Very unfamiliar with this author but hey, it’s a Persephone. It must have merit.


  • Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory
  • Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock
  • Persephone (which you NEVER see in Tasmania) Saplings by Noel Streatfield


I like Hemingway a lot as long as I don’t have to read about his African hunting excursions and the Bullring in Spain.
I have a very small collection of Virago and think they are lovely books.
This is close in size to a coffee table book. Just beautiful.
  • A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • Over the Frontier by Stevie Smith – green Virago
  • The Illustrated Edition of Charles Dickens. A very large, double column gorgeous book filled with illustrations. Simply gorgeous.

The next thing I did was come home and culled 16 or 17 books from my shelf and they will be donated to the Red Cross book shop. I chose that shop because it is in the city centre and each time I visit it is full of young adult and the elderly picking through the books. They also sell them for the most affordable prices than other op shops. My shelves look emptier already. (*cough *sputter)


I had another weekend win today.  My good friend in Florida sent me a photo that was taken of her with a phone under a beautiful tree in Charleston, South Carolina.  She just returned from a short trip there. The problem is there were heaps of tourists and she asked me if I could get rid of the man dressed in orange.  This is an exercise I need to work on in Photoshop so I enjoyed trying. I didn’t think the result would be so good though so once again I am happy (and terribly surprised.)


She is dressed in red. Isn’t it a beautiful tree. So much clutter in the photo though. Everywhere !


Judy tree
1. Cropped it.  2.Got rid of people and the shed.  3. Brightened up her top. 4. Filled in the bare patch in background right and filled in the space between the branches.

I looks a lot better now.


The last thing that was a happy event today is that Ollie and I took a walk up to the fire trail up the road from our house. We used to go up and visit the donkey.  We would take her carrots. Odie and I did this a lot before he died.  But the last two times we visited the donkey was gone. As there’s been a drought I was worried they sold him. I was hoping they only moved him to a better paddock. He’s been gone all summer so I figured that was it.

Donkey 1

Today. as we walked up the road I heard the loudest, biggest braying. I couldn’t believe my ears. Ollie and I walked up to his regular paddock and lo and behold, she was there. He was on the far side of the paddock but as soon as soon as she saw us she walked over so we could pet her. I felt so bad I didn’t have a carrot for her as I usually do. She and Ollie sniffed noses.

Donkey 2
The two of them were really interested in each other. Ollie is more fearless than is good for him.

This weekend has been a good one and I am continuing ignoring all the hype about everything going on in the world at the moment. I really can’t take it much longer so I’m making a concerted effort to do other things that make me smile.

Okay, your turn…. What did you do this weekend?

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Currently reading a book about Antarctica. Would love to visit one day.

Documenting Life-What are their stories?

Spanish wash woman copy
Laundry lady in a Portuguese courtyard

Today I came across a photography competition (Lens Culture) being held somewhere. It’s online and international. I saw that the winners of the competition will have their photos exhibited somewhere in Paris. The competition closes in April and anyone can submit one single photo, five single photos or five photos that are part of a project where the photos are linked together to be a project or tell a sequential story. I chose the five single photos and I also paid the small extra fee to receive a critique back on them from the judges. If I am not going to end up in Paris at least someone from another part of the world will explain to me why not.

Now, I am not a professional photographer by any means as I’ve never made a cent from my photos.  But I am somewhat of a dreamer and I can see me walking in to the well lit gallery on a Parisian street with dozens of wonderful street photography hanging on the walls. Standing around in a quirky outfit with other people in interesting dress. I might even wear a hat. We’d be sipping champagne discussing the settings we used in our cameras and the experiences of dealing with the people we stalked through the streets.

(Though I am more of a photographer that sneaks up from behind.)

As it is fun to give things a go, even when you know you have no chance, being in that moment for a second, on a cold, blustery, rainy Tasmanian day is a fun way to live once in awhile.

Moscow Woman fix shoe
Making herself more comfortable on a street in Moscow while life passes by.

My favourite genre of photography is Street Photography.  Documenting life. Street photography are photos that presumably tell a story. I also try very hard to not take a photo of anyone holding a mobile phone unless it is imperative to the story.  All of us are living stories each day that very few people ever witness.  I like that about life.

Often I will sit in traffic and be stopped at a light. How often do you watch people cross the street in front of your car and wonder what’s in the shopping bag or think about where they are coming from? How did they spend their afternoon? Probably not too exciting but the thought does cross my mind. I enjoy looking at the expressions on their faces and while really stuck in a long line of traffic, begin to make up stories in my head about them.


Moscow Men and Dog
Two friends hanging out on a Moscow street. The dog has his own agenda.

Perhaps she wouldn’t be so cranky if her son hadn’t just slammed the car door on her and disappeared down the street. Or the three girls giggling because their school day has finished and they have big plans for the weekend.  How good will it feel for the elderly lady, carrying too many groceries in that bag, hoping she makes the bus and can finally relax when she gets home.  It is no wonder I love books so much. It also keeps me calm when some idiot does something on the road where I want to ram him or her. I won’t describe the stories I think up for that person but *hint* it involves crime and will I get away with it?

Morocco:    Waiting for his friend to come back with jumper cables maybe?

It is with the idea of these little stories happening every second of the day and night, right around the world that I decided to enter five of my favourite shots I have taken whilst travelling. I may never hear of them again which is most probable but I’ve had fun making up the dream and working with the photos.

I share them here with you today.

Cleaning lady
A Street Cleaning Woman on a street in Seville, Spain.

and last but not least…………….

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Penguin exploring Tasmanian wilderness.

Simply Sunday

map-of-italyThe past couple of weeks have been rather busy so I’ve been catching up on medical appointments, reading and socialising.


I’m dealing with too much pressure in one eye so getting that attended to. Drops and more drops. Treatable so no problem there.

My photography friend in Sydney and I had booked a month long trip to Italy, Croatia and Slovenia to begin in mid May in Milan and Venice. After agonising over it for awhile we decided we had to cancel. It is very disappointing but it would be more disappointing to get quarantined somewhere or to catch the virus everyone is sick of hearing about.  As the virus is so widespread in northern Italy, everything is closed up tight and the streets are empty. Though photography would have been great as nobody is walking around. We are  dealing with the travel agent and hopefully we’ll recover cancellation fees through travel insurance as we booked it last October before anyone heard of the virus.

Apologies for poor quality of phone photo

Another lovely event was held at Wrest Point Casino theatre. Margaret Atwood appeared interviewed by Australian journalist and television presenter Carolyn Baum. It was a lengthy interview attended by 800n people. She was intelligent, astute and extremely funny and the chat was great. During the intermission people could post their questions to a Twitter address and when we returned for the second half several of the questions were answered.  I enjoyed it thoroughly and to make matters even better, I won my ticket through Fullers Book shop.


The week before last a friend and I travelled up to the small country town of New Norfolk which is about a 45 minute drive north of Hobart. There is a new bookshop and a stationery shop with beautiful things in it. We wanted to see what it is like. The bookshop is called the Black Swan and has a lovely small cafe. We enjoyed some wonderful baked goods and cappuccinos and had a look through both the new and second hand books. The young owner had a good collection of vintage Penguin books on his shelf and I was only too happy to discuss all the books with him.  It was a lovely morning followed by a very good Pub lunch.

Fullers Book shop had some lovely events I attended this week.  First was the book group where we discussed The Godmother byFrench writer Hannelore Cayre.  Most in the group really enjoyed it.
Originally published in 2017 as La Doronne, later translated by Stephanie Smeethe into English and published in 2019.  A widowed woman, Patience,  in her fifties works as a French-Arabic translator employed by the French police who monitor Arabic drug traffickers through wire tapping.  She translates the conversations for them and it evolves that she starts to be less than honest with the police.  She is needing money to establish some security for her grown children and The Godmother (online)also to pay the fees for the nursing home her mother resides in. She ends up acquiring a very large haul of hashish and begins to sell it. The story deals with those activities, her boyfriend who happens to be a policeman and also the difficult relationship she has with her mother. She also adopts a wonderful retired police drug sniffing dog named DNA who is quite important in the book. (Nothing bad happens to the dog.) The book, at a mere 200 pages is concise, well written and everything is neatly woven together. There is a lot of black humour that keeps you chuckling here and there. I really enjoyed it. No spoilers (except for the dog) so if you like this kind of French noir crime you will enjoy this book.

Fullers also launched the new book just released by Tasmanian born historian Cassandra Pybus. It is the non fiction biographical tale of Truganini, an important Aboriginal woman who was born south of here in the early 1800’s. The book, told through journals and historical documents, all listed at the back of the book, is absolutely fascinating. Truganini was an important figure in Tasmanian history.  I started reading  the book the day of the launch.  I read half of it and couldn’t put it down. The Aboriginal people were completely annihilated from this state and/or moved to the islands to make room for white settlement. It is a horrifying tale but an important one that needs to be

Cover photograph by the late Tasmanian Photographer Peter Dombrovskis.

told. I hope this use this book in Tasmanian schooling as many do not know our history. The motivation for Ms Pybus to write the tale is because in her thirties she learned Truganini grew up on the land that was later acquired by Cassandra Pybus’s family on Bruny Island and Cassandra grew up in her footsteps. The book is very factual and not at all sensational. It is not sentimental but written in a style I enjoy and the individual tales are fascinating. The bookshop was packed with people who came to hear about her story and many were later seen to be leaving the shop with the book under their arm.Screenshot

Later that evening three of us went to the Playhouse Theatre to see the amateur play, Keeping Up Appearances. Most would be familiar with the British tv show with Hyacinth Bucket (Pronounced Bu-Kay) and her wacky family. My father’s second wife was much like her and I always get a kick out of it when I see it. We had a fun night out between the book launch and the play with a lovely Nepalese meal in between.

What I have described is only about half of what I’ve completed in the past fortnight but I did want to catch up with this and I’ve added a new category to my blog posts called Photo of the Week that I will post at the end introduced by the Penguin. Our photo club meeting is coming up soon and I needed to work on some photographs for our print and digital challenges.

Until next time…..Screenshot 1 copy





Architecture Don Quixote
Don Quixote mural taken in a Spanish courtyard- Spain for Architecture challenge for photo club.


Simply Sunday

Today is a beautiful day. Too lovely to be inside reading so I attended some outdoor events this weekend. Saturday saw three of us riding to Triabunna, up the east coast of Tasmania on motorbikes.  With the Coronavirus all of the crayfish that is usually shipped to China is staying in the state and we are enjoying it. We went to the harbour for fish and chips and I got a crayfish roll. A large roll with tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and a wonderful heaping pile of fresh crayfish.  We rode approximately 200 kms for this meal but a fun day.

Today the Hobart Photographic association had a scavenger hunt in Battery Point, Hobart. Battery Point is the oldest section of Hobart where the first settlers developed. It is full of lovely cottages and cafes. We had two hours, from 10 am to noon, to find a list of items. We all did well and I thought I would share them. We then went to a cafe for a coffee at noon and debriefed. The debriefing was mostly laughter.  We are going to have these photo club excursions once a month.  I’m looking forward to them.  We had about 15 people who took photos and then nine stayed for a coffee.  Here are the photos from the weekend.  I hope the weather is good where you are. We could use some rain but we might as well make a happy time out of the sunny days we have had this weekend.



Triabunna Tasmania Waterfront


Fish v an
Seafood Hut


crayfish roll
Crayfish roll



Something old (Lester- 15 years old)


A sign




Leading Line


Warm colour














Camera Penguin

Fullers Bookshop in Hobart- 100th Birthday

fullersbookshop-1024x688Yesterday I attended a wonderful event. I was invited to attend the 100th birthday celebration of Fuller’s Bookshop, a wonderful, family oriented, independent bookshop that I could live in.

Clive Tilsley Owner




The event was held at the beautiful, old Town Hall in the city with over 200 people in attendance.  The event opened with the owner Clive Tilsley giving a short welcome to everyone especially to the grandchildren of the original owner who flew in from all over the country to attend the event.  All of the staff were there and readers who have been customers, publishers or authors in the Fullers years. Several of the large publishing organisations in Australia had sent messages of congratulations including Text Publishing, Allen and Unwin and Penguin-Random House.

Upon arriving at the event each guest was given a small book detailing the entire 100 book histyear history. At the back is listed all of the shared reading events the store has held as well as the list of all of the books read over the years in the book group. Surprisingly there have only been there owners of this store over the past century.

I remember when I first discovered this store on a main street in Hobart. I fell in love with it immediately.  They are now in larger quarters with a lovely cafe at the back and I think it is probably the busiest store at any given time than any other shop in the city.  When so many stores are closing or relocating all around the city Fullers is always a bustling hub.

There are many events planned for this year and I am looking forward to all of them.

Rosalie Martin

Fullers held almost 90 events in 2019. They also share book groups the first week of each month, have held shared readings of many of the classics. There is also a strong interest in philosophical writings and this year I am attending a Shakespeare group focusing on the Roman and Greek plays.

There are three areas of interest that are supported heavily by Fullers.  The Smith Family foundation that is an Australian Children’s charity. Fullers organises donations of books to these children every year. A young woman spoke to us of her background in a disadvantaged family. She has just finished her Masters of Education degree.

Our young poetry reader.

Their other interest is supporting the projects that Rosalie Martin has achieved. Rosie is a speech pathologist and criminologist who runs literacy and communication programs in our state prison. Her organisation its called Connect 42: Connecting Through Language, Literacy and Love.

She was also the Tasmanian Australian of the Year for 2017 for her work in this field. In attendance at the event yesterday was a young woman who participated in Rosie’s program as a prisoner. She is now released. She read a poem she wrote about her five children she loves and how she is now working to get them all back from care.  I can only imagine the courage it took for her to stand on a stage in the Town Hall in front of 200 plus people and bare her soul as she did. It is through Rosie’s program with Fullers support that has given her the skills and courage to move forward with her life.

The other project Fullers have always supported is Indigenous Literacy.  The shop has a large Tasmania section and they focus especially on indigenous issues in Tasmania.

87 year old Ted Egan

As a result of this interest the special guest of the event was author and songwriter/singer Ted Egan who lives in the Northern Territory.  He was interviewed by Hilary Burden, a British/Australian author, journalist and broadcaster in launching Ted’s most recent autobiographical book Outback Songman: My Life.

According to Wikipedia Egan was born in Coburg Victoria moving to the Northern Territory in 1949 at the age of 16 in search of work and adventure. In his early career with the Department of Aboriginal Affairs he was mainly in the bush and engaged in jobs such as stock work and crocodile hunting while employed as a patrol officer and reserve superintendent. Later he was a teacher at bush schools. He was a member of the first National Reconciliation Council.

tedEgan was the sole teacher at the Newcastle Waters Station in 1965 and was stranded at the property for six weeks when the creek flooded. During this time no supplies were able to be delivered so Egan had to hunt for animals, such as bush turkey for food. He later returned to the station in 2012 for the book launch of Middle of Everywhere about life in the area.

Egan began recording in 1969 with “Drinkers of the Northern Territory” and has released 28 albums, mostly themed around outback life, history and Aboriginal affairs. He has been a consistent performer and tourer with his choice of instrument being an empty beer carton (aka Fosterphone or Victorphone) played by tapping with his hands and fingers. He has been a prolific writer and performer of contemporary folk songs. Many of these, such as ” Gurrindji Blues”, recognise Indigenous Australian heritage.

He demonstrated his wonderful skills using an empty beer carton as a musical instrument. It was great.

After all the speakers and book launch we were served sparkling wine and cake. The fullers 1entire audience broke into a the Happy Birthday song and three cheers were given. Then many were able to catch up with their fellow friends and readers.

I left the event feeling very fortunate and much a part of this large reading community we have in Hobart. If people think there is no future for the book they need to think again.


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Whew! What an event.

PS The Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) has published an article of this event with photos from the past 100 years. If you’re interested you can see it here.







A Riveting Sea Tale

yacht bookThe weather in Tassie has been ridiculous. On Friday it was 41C (104F) and tomorrow there is a prediction for snow in this state. Today is very windy so I haven’t ventured out as there are so many gum trees around our house I hate walking in the wind.  Gum trees are known as “widow makers” due to branches falling from the trees more easily than from other trees or the entire tree comes down due to their shallow root system.  So I am not doing much dog walking this weekend with little Ollie.

abc start
The boats leave Sydney Harbour

Instead I received this book about the 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht race where a very freakish Hurricane like weather system arose in Bass Strait and six sailors were killed in the race.  As much as I don’t like being on boats or ships in the ocean due to a number of reasons I have always enjoyed tales of the open ocean.  I’ve read several ocean books about storms,  solo races around the world or books about people who live on yachts and travel the world.  I find it fascinating but my pleasure is only gained vicariously.

In Australia on every Boxing Day (26 December) there is a yacht race that begins in Sydney Harbour and races south to Hobart in Tasmania.  Crossing Bass Strait between Tasmania and the mainland can be extremely gruelling due to the weather patterns and currents that are liable to come from many different directions and meet there.  I have crossed Bass Strait only four times on the overnight car ferry between Devonport in Tasmania’s northwest and Melbourne. I’ve had three quite smooth crossings but one crossing was like sitting in a loaded washing machine on a spin cycle that I don’t like to think of.  I spent the entire night on the bathroom floor.

abc yacht race
ABC archive photo

In 1998 a weather system popped up in the strait that no-one was sure about. The meteorologists spotted it but seemed to underrate its severity until well into the race.  They also used terminology that many of the yacht skippers found confusing, didn’t understand or weren’t aware of until too late.

The book is called The Proving Ground and is written by G. Bruce Knecht. It focuses on four particular yachts. Two of the yachts belong to billionaires and are sleek maxi yachts. One is a more historical, hand made yacht made of Huon Pine from the 1940’s I believe it was that had been fitted out to meet modern standards. Another yacht was smaller than the maxi’s and more to what the boats used to be before the maxi’s entered the arena. There are various categories for the winners such as first to cross the line and those smaller yachts that work to a handicap depending on its make up.

Wind speeds during the race.

The novel begins with introduction and information of the people on board. Some of their sailing history, how they came to be on the boats and importantly quite a bit of information about their personalities.

From start to finish there are variables the reader gets to know about some of the structural weaknesses and strengths of the boats, the interpersonal relationships of team members on a boat that often caused problems and the weather system.

Once the boats head into Bass Strait and the storm, chapters then arise about the people who fly the planes and helicopters in the rescues needed.  Midway through the book there are a series of black and white photos with names of the yachts and people only. No spoilers are given in the photography captions of who survives and who doesn’t.

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from ABC Archive

The final section is about the inquest held in Hobart and the testimony from the surviving sailors, meteorologists and rescue personnel.

“Of the 115 boats that started the race, just forty-three made it to Hobart. Six sailors died in this 54th Sydney to Hobart race. Seven boats were abandoned and five boats sank. More than twenty sailors were washed off their yachts, and fifty-five had to be pulled from the water by helicopters and rescue ships. It was easy to imagine how many of those rescues could have gone tragically wrong. (page 266)”

I began reading this book yesterday. I thought I would read a chapter or two then go off to do something else but it grabbed me. I finished it in two sittings. The book is 295 pages long. The weather descriptions grab the reader. The height of the waves they encountered is breath taking. Some of the waves are equivalent to four story buildings and higher. The boats roll 360 degrees over as sailors get tangled in ropes and cables and come out the other side after being trapped or submerged under their boats. The sounds of the wind masks out all conversation. Sone of the sailors continued to survive despite horrific injuries and incredible seasickness. There were also some ethical dilemmas that came up, misinformation and communication breakdowns that caused problems and were addressed during the inquest.

This is not a story one can really enjoy. You wouldn’t say, I enjoyed this book because it is not fiction and everyone does not live happily ever after. But it is riveting tale of what ocean racing sailors went through and what is involved in ocean racing at times. These are very brave people, many who live on the edge, some who have more money than brains, some who are following age old traditions of the sea. A compelling read.

The Proving Ground by G. Bruce Knecht- first published in Great Britain in 2001 by Fourth Estate- A division of Harper Collins.  Copies available through abebooks.com (here).

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From Simon and Schuster web page.

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