Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Dividing My Books

    This summer I've moved house three times. My job and my partner are in two different states, a common problem for my generation of college professors. I count myself lucky that our jobs are only a few hundred miles apart, which means the highway and not the airport. But keeping a one-person apartment in each place has stopped making sense, so we've bought a house in one city and rented a professional's bachelor pad, a short walk from my office, in the other. Voila! Three moves: from my partner's old place to the new house, from my old apartment to my new one, and from my old apartment to the house. If anyone needs some spare boxes, I'll leave them in the comments section.

    And yes, I have the carbon footprint of a brontosaurus. Any time someone wants to put some money into high-speed rail, or simply stop beating up on Amtrak, that would help me turn the guilt into something practical.

    Although it's definitely a first-world, luxury-box problem, packing for more than one destination turns out to be slow and complicated. The two great questions of moving, "Should I keep this?" and "How do I fit it in the box?" have picked up a dilatory and nagging third, "Which place should this go?" Should this pot or pan go to the kitchen I share with my partner, or become part of the bachelor-pad cooking set? Which umbrella goes where? You can't simply stow it all in boxes and load it into a truck; every individual object needs to be considered. Again, this complication, like so many other wastes of energy and time, grows from luxury. Could there be a more privileged question than "How do I divide my overly numerous possessions between my multiple homes?" (Except of course, "How do I get this done before my trip to Europe?")

    The big problem for me, as always, is my books. I have far too many and, of course, not nearly enough. Even after I part with some, there are hundreds and hundreds to sort. Faced with so many books, and so many different places to keep them, I'm forced to consider why, specifically, I keep each book, what I'm likely to do with it, and why I find myself in the various places I keep them. At the very least the problems of privilege should make you think about your privilege. Why have I amassed all of these objects?

    Some I need for work, which usually passes as a bullet-proof excuse in our culture. I couldn't do my teaching, my research, or my professional writing without a whole lot of books. In fact, my job requires more books than I could ever personally own. No one can teach college literature without a college library, and no one can write a scholarly book without a serious library AND inter-library loan. But there are plenty of books that I either use all the time or am likely to need unexpectedly. I want to be able to check them when I need them, and I don't want to hog the library's copies for months or years. A few are old and relatively valuable, things I've tracked down on the used-book market over the years, and I've often been grateful for those purchases. Those books have helped me out of more two-in-the-morning research puzzles than I should be having at this age, and saved the day when I needed to fact-check something right before a deadline.

    Some books I have for personal and sentimental reasons. Some are beloved favorites, which I've read and reread over the years and expect to read again. Some are by friends or members of my family. A few are autographed by someone famous, or soon to be famous. A few others are collectible for one reason or another, and a bunch of old science-fiction paperbacks are collectible in the sense that I collected them because those particular books have gotten hard to find. Some I have because, frankly, I feel like should have them. (Yes, Moby Dick is surely available in the public library and no, I won't reread it over the next two years, but I have it in the house for the same reason I have a copy of The Federalist: I'm an American.) And of course, there's a pile of books that I have because I'd like to read them.

    Some of the division is easy. The personal keepsakes and collectibles, the books by friends, and the inscribed gifts almost all go to the house. Who knows what my autographed copy of Blowing Smoke will be worth some day?

    Other books obviously go to my campus office: textbooks and student anthologies, books I often consult while planning lessons, works about teaching methods and about academia itself. The "advice for new faculty" books are no longer for me to read but to lend out to new colleagues, and belong close at hand in my office.

    But things get complicated fast. I occasionally use those expensive old reference works to plan lessons, but mostly use them for research and writing, so they stay at the house in my study. I almost never get much writing done in my campus office, where I'm generally busy with teaching tasks or committee work. And I expect to do more of my writing at the house than I get done in the new apartment, where I will probably only manage to get one solid block of writing time a week. So every book in my academic field has to be examined. Is this a teaching book, or a writing book? If it's both, how often do I use it for one and how often for the other? In the meantime, dividing the books involves planning my weeks, plotting out which of my tools will be in this or that place at this day or that hour. This collection of essays will be in my office, which means using it while I am on campus. This invaluable research tool is shelved in my house, which means using it for research early on weekend mornings, or on Sunday afternoons. This is what I hope or expect to get done in my apartment near campus, and these are the books I need to leave there in order to accomplish that.

    The new working week apartment is the part I don't quite have in focus yet, the place where I can't quite imagine myself. I have very few work-related books there, since I will almost always be just coming from or about to go to one of the other two places. It holds several books that I can read one section at a time (essay collections, back issues of McSweeney's, superbly organized works of non-fiction). It has enough fuller-bodied works to keep me from being bored when I eventually, inevitably, get snowed in for an extra night or over a weekend. (In some ways, the bookshelf there is like the bookshelves in summer homes, except that it's the winter non-vacation home.) And since almost all the bookshelves there are in the living room, where visitors can see them, those books need to look minimally respectable. Although I hate to admit it, one of the reasons I own books is to display them, and thereby to display certain things about myself: education level, personal tastes and interests, things like generation and background. So the books in my living room don't necessarily need to be impressive (because the most impressive ones are in another living room), but they can't make me look like a mess either. It's a truth that I don't like, but books are partly about the face I show to others, and the face I show myself.

    My books feel to me, on some deep and irrational level, like my most important possession, my patrimony. "Books constitute capital," as Jefferson said. Some people own land, and I own a library. They are the visible embodiment of the educational and cultural privileges I've been given, which can otherwise seem evanescent. Degrees are abstractions; books are solid. Slowly mastering the particular intellectual training demanded by my field is a much less tangible achievement than amassing hundreds of well-chosen volumes. It's not so much that I have the books to show other people what a scholar I am. It's that I have them to remind myself. Years ago, when I drove across the country to start Ph.D. work, I left behind all of my books except the ones I would actually need for my specific academic work (just a milk crate or two loaded into the car). And that was a reasonable decision, but a depressing one in the long run. After a while I slightly felt cut off from the world of reading and writing that my work was allegedly about. Why study English lit if it means not having your favorite novels with you, and not owning any poetry that you wouldn't write an essay about? I don't have that problem today, with a dozen boxes still left to unpack. But the sorry truth is that I only feel at home when I've put books on the shelves. They are a physical connection to my chosen work, and to all the reasons that I chose it.



    This is interesting.  I just embarked on a big book reorganization and packing project this week too, and had to make these kinds of decisions.  I think I have about 2000 books in the house, and I packed up about 600 of them this week and reorganized the rest.

    To make a long story short, more than half of the books I packed away were on various political topics popular over the last decade: Middle East history, Islamic culture and history, terrorism and the war on terror, the Iraq War, Bush and his various shenanigans, oil politics, etc.

    Putting all this stuff in boxes and putting them in storage was my way of saying to myself that the post-9/11 chapter of my life is over, and I have moved onto other interests.

    I feel refreshed and refocused.  And I'm glad all the stuff I really want to read is now on some shelf, in a logical arrangement, and not buried under one of several stacks.

    I hear you, Dan. I think a lot of my topical books went to the apartment (they're nice presentable hardcovers, mostly), and I think the next round of purging will take more of them away. The political biographies might or might or might not stay, depending on how well they're written, but I don't need a bunch of books that are about the burning issues of 2005 or 2009. (OMG! Bush is screwing up the war!!1! is no longer as relevant as it was.)

    The Audacity of Hope is slated for the used-book shop, not because I'm going to abandon Obama at election time, but because it's a campaign book for a campaign that's over. I don't need to reread Obama's plans for his first term. I been there before.

    One sad thing about the kindle is that I'm no longer collecting books that I can put on a shelf. On the other hand, it doesn't take too many books to fill up a Manhattan apartment.

    Yeah. My kindle's another post, but one of the things it's going to help me get rid of a lot of cheap paperbacks of classics, which I had just to make sure I had some copy of, whatever, Dostoevsky.

    And of course, I'm going to be consuming more audiobooks because of the weekly commute.

    I haven't gone Kindle, or Nook, and since I envision a lower-powered future, I probably won't. We buy a lot of our books at the Salvation Army store for pennies on the dollar, then get around to reading them whenever.

    A lot of energy goes into producing a dead-tree version of a book, Donal. Plus moving copies around the continent, pulping those that don't sell, etc. It's great if you can find what you want at the Sally Ann, but for new releases we're all going to have to go digital. Eventually. I haven't yet, but I can see the writing on the subway walls and tenement halls.

    A lot of energy goes into running all these servers, too.

    True. But there's no excess run. One download and you're done. Net energy saving.

    I'd prefer to see a dust to dust analysis of the paper vs digital delivery systems before I give up my books. For one thing, if I get laid off, I can cancel all my utilities and still read them in daylight.

    I only recently got a Kindle.  I use it for reading a lot of cheap public domain stuff.  But so far I haven't found it very useful for frontlist titles.  The Kindle e-book price is too high, usually only a couple of dollars less than the p-book price.   Print books are still a higher quality and more easily browsable product that will last for many decades.  But Kindle ebooks are in a proprietary format that might only last as long as Kindle lasts as an enterprise.  How do I know I won't have to buy that ebook again in two or three years?  If I'm buying only electrons, I need the prices to be lower.

    I appreciate the kindle's portability and the instant gratification of impulse purchases. Kindle browsing is annoying, but I've found the search feature to be a huge benefit.

    PS You needn't worry. If something should happen to the kindle enterprise, I'm sure that there will be conversion programs for the format.

    Tell that to all those old 8-tracks.

    I have trouble communicating with old 8-tracks. They don't get me.

    I humbly submit this comment.  I am an avid reader relative to subjects that may interest me.  I have built shelving of pure walnut filled with books that I reference from time to time or utilize, technically, on a frequent basis.

    Most of the books I read, I complete and contribute to a library.  Shelves filled with once-read books do not enthrall me nor give me a false sense of scholarly superiority.

    For every philosophy,  I can read a well thought-out opposite and equal supposition.  Etc, etc.  As I read, I (rightly or wrongly) evolve.

    In my opinion, a book on a shelf that goes on-read is the equivalent of an entombed coffin.  These books are not trophies to be hung on walls-they must be shared.

    I do not have a degree and am one you would class as uneducated.  I maintain that you could triple your book collection and that your IQ  would not increase by one point.

    Very respectfully submitted.

    This is where I am now, too. During my last (and hopefully final for a long time) move, my wife and I were in our usual position of considering which books (and other stuff) we could give away, and I decided on the magic number 10 as the number of books I would hold on to. I realize this probably gives Dr. Cleveland the shivers, but I now refuse to own more than 10 physical books at a time. Four of the books I kept were written by Larry Gonick. Another of my favorites is ShrinkLits. I also have my favorite copy of my CRC, as well as my dad's. The first of those was bought for me by my wife a long time ago, and I still occasionally peruse it when I'm bored, and the latter is a keepsake from when my dad was in college (and the speed of light was actually different).

    I find both that I go back and read books I've read or just bought at a later date, and that sometimes my daughter thumbs through and reads my old books. So I don't mind having them around.

    The kinds of books I used to be likely to go back and read were technical books. I now use the internet to find most of the information that I found in those books. Conversely, most books I read for pleasure are one-time only books, although a few are good enough to be exceptions to that rule. Of those, only a few of them actually benefit from being printed on dead trees.

    I'm going to leave the rest of this post alone, but I don't believe that everyone without a formal degree is uneducated. And I never said I did. (I don't keep copies of Shakespeare, Melville, Hemingway, or Ray Bradbury because I think people who didn't go to college are ignorant. None of those people went to college.)

    I'm happy to have you disagree with the opinions I express, but not to put words in my mouth and then complain about the terrible things I've said.

    I guess you could say I'm uneducated, too, in the formal sense.  No degrees here.  But I think I understand the point of Doc's piece.  He's writing as a book lover, not just a book reader.  There is a huge difference, and Doc is not trying to make you believe he's smarter because of the books on his shelves, he's attempting to come to terms with his feelings about his books.  It's a passion for the feel of a book in hand.  It's the thrill of finding a book you'd forgotten you had, holding it close, like an old friend.  A row of books on a shelf is a beautiful thing.

    If you don't feel it, you don't feel it.  Nothing against you.  Or him.

    Passion for the feel of a book in hand.

    And the thrill of finding a book....

    I got started collecting books in S. Cal. before the internet made everyone into a book scout. I love the feel of books, the way they change a room, I value them as objects and I occasionally read one. What I can't shelve I have in storage units and if I never open a book store, I hope one of my grand children will. I can pick one up and tell you where I bought it and the price. It's a history. It's part of my history.
    I like walking into any used book store, not too many of them left, and picking them clean within an hour. I can tell you if a book man has just been there by looking at what's not there, or how much dust is on the top of the books. Never buy a bad book and never leave a good one behind. I like spotting a forgery. I like jostling other book scouts at estate sales, seeing something before they do. I love the dust jackets. In the dust jackets is part of the story of 20th century design. I buy some books just for the jacket, I regard them as original iconic art. And let's get something straight. The demise of book stores is a Republican plot to transform all literature and information into electronic form so that it can be distorted.

    I like the look of books, I like what's in them, I like everything about them.

    In other words, Oxy, you are a hoarder of books.

    You're all right, Oxy.  There's no such thing as a hoarder of books.  It's written somewhere.  Honest.


    Not that either of y'all would have that problem, but it does exist. (My mom's a professional organizer who works with hoarders. My dad is a border-line hoarder. They're divorced.)

    What you can do there is level out the stacks. Then go to Home Depot and buy a 4X8 sheet of plywood and some cement blocks. You can get them up much higher in the room.

    omg, what I wouldn't give to go through that pile!  Does that make me a bibliomaniac?  I don't pile books on the floor. That should count for something.

    Bibliomania (book hoarding) is an obsessive-compulsive disorder involving collecting books that are neither useful to the collector nor intrinsically valuable. Symptoms of bibliomania include buying multiple copies of the same book and edition and accumulating books beyond possible capacity for use or enjoyment.


    Ramona, anymore bookstore adventures recently? The bookstore closest to me is closing - a Borders. I am quite upset by it. But I am trying to be brave and strong.

    I agree - you can never have too many books!

    Em, I'm back in the boonies again.  Real bookstores are far, far away.  But the WalMart, more than an hour away, only stocks Republican Right Wing political books.  I do cover them up with Romance books whenever I'm there but it's not the same as the work I'm obliged to do at Books-a-Million, the blatant bastion of Winger books.

    This particular WalMart is the site of my march through the store with Genghis's book riding cover up in the kid seat of my cart.  Nobody, and I mean nobody noticed.  So disheartening.  It's no fun trying to be a maverick up here.  (But thanks for asking.)

    I used to go to the original Border's in Ann Arbor years ago, when it was still the one and only.  I loved going there and could spend hours losing myself in the stacks on both floors.  Everyone who worked there took pride in knowing everything there was to know about books and writers.  What a great place. 

    I was stunned when they allowed themselves to be bought by K-Mart, of all companies. and now I'm saddened but not surprised by their closing.  I think the bookstores of the future will be small independents staffed with people who actually know something about the books they stock.  Sort of like the old days, before the mega-stores.   Round and round we go.


    You covered the right wing books up with romance books? Is there a difference? Both need the reader to transport themselves to an imaginary world where people behave in a strange manner and have well built men on the front cover with shirts ripped open as they...oh wait. Maybe they are not exactly the same. (Although I don't really know for sure considering I have never read a conservative political book or a romance novel. So, by all means, correct me if I am wrong.)

    I can see you going through Wal Mart clearing your throat loudly so people will look at you and see G's BS in your basket. Sorry it didn't work out so well. That would have been funny to see!

    I have found the people working at Borders to be quite knowledgeable as well. It is quite sad as some of the people working there have been there since I moved here 3.5 years ago. This is their job and they are losing it without too many places to go where they can use that knowledge. Hopefully Borders is helping people find work.

    Political books and romance novels do have much in common, don't they?  I hadn't thought of it before.  By the way, when I tried to get attention for Blowing Smoke, the only way that book could end up in my cart was for me to order it online and pick it up in the store.  There was no way I was ever going to find that subversive book sullying their shelves!

    Another thing about the original Borders:  They refused to carry romance novels.  I was in there one day when a woman came in asking for some books and the clerk had to tell her that they don't have any of those titles  It was a genre they didn't carry.  She was outraged.  She stormed out kind of shouting, "What kind of a book store is this?"  I guess they could get away with that in Ann Arbor but I'll bet they carried them later when they became a chain.   They're undoubtedly their bread and butter.

     Me, too.  Amen and then some.  And boy do I like you for writing that.  Perfect.

    Much obliged, Ramona.

    I love dust jackets and book covers, too.  Here's one I bought because of the cover (The Bird Artist by Howard Norman):


    When I read the first paragraph, I was hooked:

    My name is Fabian Vas.  I live in Witless Bay, Newfoundland. You would not have heard of me.  Obscurity is not necessarily failure, though; I am a bird artist and have more or less made my living at it.  Yet I murdered the lighthouse keeper, Botho August, and that is an equal part of how I think of myself.

    It didn't disappoint.  I go back and read passages just for pure enjoyment.  The same with "The Shipping News", which also takes place in Newfoundland.  Too many others to list, none of which are Newfies.  But with fiction, I'm usually grabbed by the first paragraph or at least the first page.  With non-fiction I'll dig deeper before I make a judgment.

    Great cover. That's a winner. And I love the first paragraph. I'll get a copy on my next trip to half price books. Check out the other jacket design on the U.K edition. (Abebooks). I think it's fascinating the different "take" on the U.K and U.S. version. My guess is that the U.K was too ambiguous and would also appear morbid here. Supposedly the U.K version is the true "first".

    It's a truth that I don't like, but books are partly about the face I show to others, and the face I show myself.

    Why do you not like this?  Okay, I generally know the answer to this.  But we are social creatures.  And we are creatures of language.  We want to be known. To be understood. For people to see our "true" selves.  If we use books to achieve this, what is wrong with that?

    The only thing to be ashamed of is display something, like a book or a work of art, that reflects not who we are but who we would like people to think we are.  It is a matter of authenticity. 

    I proudly display my collection of Herbert Blau books because I have read them intensively, agree with much of what is within their covers, and have intensely grappled with the questions and issues that are contained within them.  In essence, they have contributed to who I am.  Just as Obama tee in 2008 showed the world where one stood, our books can be "this is who I am."

    So, if those books are part of who you, do not be ashamed of showing them.  Just don't think that it make you more special.

    Well, yeah, AT. I think it's a sliding scale. We all display certain things about ourselves, although at a certain point it crosses the line into fakery. I think I feel sheepish because I'm very aware of that line, and aware that it can be blurry.

    I wouldn't, for example, fill my living room with books that I don't like or haven't read because I think they're impressive or make look more impressive than I am. And actually, the books with the most intellectual snob value are kept upstairs, in the study, because I only have them to use them.

    In any case, I don't have my books to make me feel better than other people, or smarter. I have them to remind me what I value.

    I have them to remind me what I value.

    That's an interesting statement, and one I can understand. However, that type of sentiment can also lead to hoarding. I obviously don't know you well enough to know whether you have those tendencies, and I don't expect that you're at grave risk, but I thought I'd throw it out there all the same. For me, if I don't think there's a greater than 5% chance I'm going to read them again in the next 5 years, I don't think they're worth keeping, with the two exceptions being my dad's CRC and my grandmother's Bible.

    According to the authorities in such matters, the correct ratio is 80 percent read / 20 percent plan-to-read, and hide the trashy sci-fi/crime/romance in the second row.

    Ha. My wife reads mostly mysteries, Nora Roberts and the like, so they're in front of all my books.

    the correct ratio is 80 percent read / 20 percent plan-to-read, and hide the trashy sci-fi/crime/romance in the second row.

    What did I just say about "books by friends and family members?"

    To be proudly displayed on the mantle, of course

    When we retired we went from an eight room house to what is basically a three room cabin.  I've collected books since my Raggedy Ann phase when I was seven years old, and in my larger house they took up book shelf after book shelf and nearly every available space.  For months before we moved I agonized over which ones would make the cut, because even I knew I couldn't take them all.

    It was hard but I did it.  I cut the numbers nearly in half and felt pretty good about it.  But then I started unpacking them and realized how foolish I was to think I could find space for what I'd brought.  I went through them again and gave a couple of boxes to the local library.  Then I started collecting books again.  It's an addiction, isn't it?

    I can rationalize all I want about why I need these particular books, but the truth is, I don't need all those books.  I want them.  I have a sign over my desk that says, "A house without books is like a room without windows". 

    I still give away books, but when I collect the giveaways, I put them aside for a couple of weeks and then go through them again.  I have never not taken some of them back, but I've finally come to grips with the fact that there is no book that is lost to me forever.  If I give one away and realize later that I can't live without it, I can usually find it in used form somewhere.

    One thing I catch myself doing often is wasting time searching all over for a book I'm sure I still have.  Because in my mind I still have it.  (Maybe that's good enough.)


    Addiction? Maybe.

    I should clarify.  I don't collect books simply to add to a collection or to make the room look good.  I actually do choose my books as likely reading material.  And I actually do get around to reading about 80% of them sooner or later.  The other 20% I've skimmed and found wanting or are leading a lonely existence still waiting to be discovered.  They're the ones that are most dispensable and give me a false sense of righteous sacrifice when I box them up and give them away. 

    But I can't go any place where there are books without wanting some of them.  In that sense, it's an addiction.

    Oh, no need to explain. I feel you. I don't own anything that I don't think would be worth reading again. But sometimes, when I'm culling books to take to the used-book shop, I'm attacked by misplaced feelings of pity for living novelists whose work I didn't like. ("But it's his first novel! He must have worked so hard on it!") There's part of me that doesn't want to admit that a working artist, any working artist, isn't getting my support.

    Ha ha. I feel the same way when I buy a book off of a remainder table.  (I bought Bill Moyers' "On Democracy" that way.)  I know the author won't get anything from my purchase and that just doesn't seem fair. 

    Still, I do love a bargain...


    Find out what some are worth.


    I have a copy of "Remembrance Rock" signed by Carl Sandburg that I found in the bottom of a box at a garage sale and bought for 50 cents.  It turns out that Sandburg must have been signing books in his sleep, he signed so many.  So his signature isn't worth much.  Just my luck.  But I still love having it.

    I love stories like that. To me it's better than keeping a journal. I once researched the number of signed first editions of an author on the internet. Mystery writer, I think one of the best. Turns out the number of signed copies of his first book was fairly low so I bought all that I could find. Now there are only one or two available and I had to laugh recenly at one bookseller's description "signed copies of his first book have become quite rare". Now one of my grandchildren will eventually run across a box of his books and say to themselves, "What do you suppose grandpa was thinking when he did this?"

    Thanks for this, doctor. I needed to think about the number of books jammed into my modest-size apartment. Beginning with the number of bookcases. Yikes! Way too many.

    To my credit, I have (with rare exceptions) stopped buying new books. My to-read stack keeps growing, but mostly through gifts from friends and family. Often they're totally right about what interests me; if not, their selections are fascinating clues as to who they think I am. Then there's stuff friends have written. Those books get fast-tracked -- because I know they are going to ask.

    I do concede I'm a book hoarder. Sometimes it pays off, like when my kid showed me his freshman reading list, and I could pluck off the shelf several volumes I had used in my own first year. I saved a bundle, too. It made lugging a ton of books around for three decades through multiple house moves somehow seem all worthwhile.

    I can relate. To me books feel sacred because a 250 page Thoreau book isn't just a hardcover with paper in between it, it is days, months, years worth of someone's thoughts and beliefs, and actions. The knowledge in books is humbling to me. My living room/library is full of bookshelves and books and I love it that way. Way better than a 70 inch tv taking up an entire wall! (In my opinion.)

    When I stayed at my parent's house a few years ago I at first only brought a few of my books and had the rest in storage but over the months the inventory at my parent's house got larger and larger and... Pretty soon I had transferred most of my books to their house. I constantly refer to my books so I can feel your pain.

    Nice thing about digital readers is the Project Gutenberg. All your classics for free. Also there is a fantastic app called British Library 19th Century Collection. You can read a scanned copy of an original print. They have a selection of books from fiction to history, travel, geology, etc. I love it! I have tried to just buy new books electronically although I still collect old books and will keep doing so. It is a passion of mine. One downfall to the electronic book though is you can't get autographs. I bought Blowing Smoke last week electronically. Guess I will have to try to get Genghis' signature electronically.

    Well good luck with making your decision as to which book goes where. I imagine it will be a rather dynamic process. But whatever the case, whatever situation you find yourself in, wherever you are - May the book be with you.


    I could have put this in the news section, but it seems to fit here:
    It will doubtless be objected that we have the internet, and thus all the information we could possibly need. We do indeed have the internet, where sites discussing the current color of Lady Gaga’s pubic hair probably outnumber sites discussing Newberry Award books by a thousand to one. We have an effectively limitless supply of information, but then it’s not information that I got from reading The White Stag at age eight, and it’s not a lack of information that’s dragging us down to a sorry end. 

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