Category Archives: homepage gallery

First Thursday: Wilderness Survival

First Thursday: Wilderness Survival

Thursday, April 2nd; 7 PM

Do you think you have what it takes to survive in the wild? Craig Sloan, a Mill Valley Fire Department firefighter, Marine, and all-around awesome human being is going to teach us the essentials of wilderness survival at this hands-on workshop. We will learn how to create a shelter, trap and forage for food, and how to avoid getting eaten by a bear. So if you don’t like being mauled by large animals, you should definitely come to this workshop!

For high school students only. Registration strongly recommended and greatly appreciated. Register here.

Craig’s bio:craig

Craig started his fire service career with the Mill Valley Fire Department after graduating from Tamalpais High School in 2002.  Shortly after graduating, Craig enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he served with honor and distinction for 5 years.  Craig was honorably discharged at the rank of Sergeant and rejoined our department in 2010 as a Firefighter-Trainee.  Craig started his new assignment as a Firefighter on November, 11th, 2011 – Veteran’s Day. 

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TBT: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Published May, 2013 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

475 pages

How do you rid the earth of humans? You rid the humans of their humanity.

Cassie Sullivan is on the run. Months ago, an alien mothership ominously appeared in the sky, and at first there was nothing. But then, the waves started. The first wave fried all electronics and motors–cars, phones, planes, emergency sirens. The second wave caused the sea to rise up and destroy every coastline on earth. The third wave was a disease that killed off almost everyone who remained. The fourth wave was a group of special trained alien assassins–silencers–released to pick off the remaining humans. Nobody knows that the fifth wave will be.index

Cassie Sullivan is on the run. Silencers look just like humans, so to stay alive, she has to stay alone and stay on the move. Told in fragments and flashbacks, and from multiple points of view, The 5th Wave paints a ragged picture of earth over the course of a slow and grueling apocalypse. For Cassie, there is no last fight, no final battle field. There is only kill or be killed, and her one rule: Trust no one. Which works well, until it doesn’t.

As a character, Cassie is complex and interesting. She isn’t a brat who spends the whole book whining about how unfair her life is, nor is she the model citizen who is convinced that her moral high ground will bring her victory over evil. She is just a teenage girl trying to survive in the woods. She has character flaws and selfish wishes and hopes for herself. She is brutally honest about the possibility of her own survival.

Yancey’s writing style is equally compelling. The book reads a little bit like a train of thought, and the way Yancey weaves together plot and memories to advance the story leaves the reader wanting more of both. While some of the technical parts of the science fiction are less interesting or even confusing, for the most part this book portrays the best and worst of humanity–how we cling to the past, and how far we will go to save our loved ones.

 

Genre: Science Fiction

Keywords: aliens, family, apocalypse, trust, love

Best quote: “We’d stared into the face of Death, and Death blinked first. You’d think that would make us feel brave and invincible. It didn’t.”

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Video from the Slam Poetry Competition 2015

Thank you so much to everyone who came out and made the Slam Poetry Competition such an amazing evening! Video of the performances can be found here. Pictures of the event can be found here and the hard copies of the poems are coming soon!

Big thanks to Chinaka Hodge for being our fabulous emcee and for Kate Axelrod, Ryan Kawamoto, and Tamarah Phillips for doing a great job as judges.

Watch the video of the 2014 Slam Poetry Competition here.

See pictures from the 2014 Slam Poetry Competition here.

 

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Handpicked March 2015

Mosquitoland
by David Arnold
Published 2015 by Viking Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780451470775

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:

“I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange.”

After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the “wastelands” of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.

So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.

Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, “Mosquitoland” is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

When Reason Breaks
by Cindy L Rodriguez
Published 2015 by Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children’s Books
Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9781619634121

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:
A Goth girl with an attitude problem, Elizabeth Davis must learn to control her anger before it destroys her. Emily Delgado appears to be a smart, sweet girl with a normal life, but as depression clutches at her, she struggles to feel normal. Both girls are in Ms. Diaz’s English class, where they connect to the words of Emily Dickinson. Both are hovering on the edge of an emotional precipice. One of them will attempt suicide. And with Dickinson’s poetry as their guide, both girls must conquer their personal demons to ever be happy.

In an emotionally taut novel that is equal parts literary and commercial, with a richly diverse cast of characters, readers will relish in the poetry of Emily Dickinson and be completely swept up in the turmoil of two girls fighting for their lives.

Promposal
by Rhonda Helms
Published 2015 by Simon Pulse
Paperback, English. ISBN: 9781481422314

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:
Prom should be one of the most memorable nights of your life. But for Camilla and Joshua, some elaborate promposals are getting in the way. Will they be able to land their dream dates in time for the dance?

Promposal (n.)–an often very public proposal, in which one person asks another person to the prom, eliciting joy or mortification.

Camilla can’t help hoping her secret crush, Benjamin, might randomly surprise her out of the blue with a promposal. But when she’s asked to prom by an irritating casual acquaintance–who’s wearing a fancy tux and standing in front of a news crew–she’s forced to say yes. However, all hope is not lost, as a timely school project gives Camilla a chance to get closer to Benjamin…and it seems like the chemistry between them is crackling. Is she reading into something that isn’t there, or will she get her dream guy just in time for prom?

Joshua has been secretly in love with his best friend Ethan since middle school. Just as he decides to bite the bullet and ask Ethan if he’d go to prom with him, even if just as friends, he gets a shocking surprise: Ethan asks Joshua for help crafting the perfect promposal–for another guy. Now Joshua has to suppress his love and try to fake enthusiasm as he watches his dreams fall apart…unless he can make Ethan see that love has been right in front of his eyes the whole time.

The road to the perfect promposal isn’t easy to navigate. But one thing’s certain–prom season is going to be memorable.

After Us
by Amber Hart
Published 2014 by Kensington -Teen
Paperback, English. ISBN: 9781617731181

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:
“Beautiful, lyrical writing and a dangerously suspenseful plot. . .an unforgettable novel that readers will love.” –Lucy Connors, author of “The Lonesome Young”

Sometimes secrets kill. Maybe slowly, maybe painfully. Maybe all at once.

Melissa smiles. She flirts. She jokes. But she never shows her scars. Eight months after tragedy ripped her from her closest friend, Melissa is broken. Inside her grows a tumor, fed by grief, rage, and the painful memory of a single forbidden kiss.

Javier has scars of his own: a bullet wound, and the memory of a cousin shot in the heart. Life in the States was supposed to be a new beginning, but a boy obsessed by vengeance has no time for the American dream. To honor his familia, Javier joins the gang who set up his cousin’s murder. The entrance price is blood. Death is the only escape.

These two broken souls could make each other whole again–or be shattered forever.

Our time will come. And we’ll be ready.

Last Time We Say Goodbye
by Cynthia Hand
Published 2015 by Harper Teen
Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780062318473

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:
From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand comes a gorgeous and heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and letting go.

Since her brother, Tyler, committed suicide, Lex has been trying to keep her grief locked away, and to forget about what happened that night. But as she starts putting her life, her family, and her friendships back together, Lex is haunted by a secret she hasn’t told anyone–a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.
In the tradition of Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why, Gayle Forman’s If I Stay, and Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall, The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a thoughtful and deeply affecting novel that will change the way you look at life and death.

Tragic Age
by Stephen Metcalfe
Published 2015 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9781250054418

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:
This is the story of Billy Kinsey, heir to a lottery fortune, part genius, part philosopher and social critic, full time insomniac and closeted rock drummer. Billy has decided that the best way to deal with an absurd world is to stay away from it. “Do not volunteer. Do not join in. “Billy will be the first to tell you it doesn’t always work– not when your twin sister, Dorie, has died, not when your unhappy parents are at war with one another, not when frazzled soccer moms in two ton SUVs are more dangerous than atom bombs, and not when your guidance counselor keeps asking why you haven’t applied to college.?

Billy’s life changes when two people enter his life. Twom Twomey is a charismatic renegade who believes that truly living means “going a little outlaw.” Twom and Billy become one another’s mutual benefactor and friend. At the same time, Billy is reintroduced to Gretchen Quinn, an old and adored friend of Dorie’s. It is Gretchen who suggests to Billy that the world can be transformed by?”creative acts of the soul.”?

With Twom, Billy visits the dark side. And with Gretchen, Billy experiences possibilities.

Billy knows that one path is leading him toward disaster and the other toward happiness. The problem is–Billy doesn’t trust happiness. It’s the age he’s at. The tragic age.

Stephen Metcalfe’s brilliant, debut coming-of-age novel, “The Tragic Age,” will teach you to learn to love, trust and truly be alive in an absurd world.

Alex as Well
by Alyssa Brugman
Published 2015 by Henry Holt & Company
Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9781627790147

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:
Alex is ready for things to change, in a big way. Everyone seems to think she’s a boy, but for Alex the whole boy/girl thing isn’t as simple as either/or, and when she decides girl is closer to the truth, no one knows how to react, least of all her parents. Undeterred, Alex begins to create a new identity for herself: ditching one school, enrolling in another, and throwing out most of her clothes.But the other Alex–the boy Alex–has a lot to say about that. Heartbreaking and droll in equal measures, “Alex As Well “is a brilliantly told story of exploring gender and sexuality, navigating friendships, and finding a place to belong.

Everything Leads to You
by Nina LaCour
Published 2014 by Dutton Books
Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780525425885

Find this book in our catalog.

A love letter to the craft and romance of film and fate in front of–and behind–the camera from the award-winning author of “Hold Still.”

A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world.

Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She’s enigmatic…. She’s beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.

This Side of Home
by Renee Watson
Published 2015 by Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children’s Books
Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9781599906683

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:
Identical twins Nikki and Maya have been on the same page for “everything”-friends, school, boys and starting off their adult lives at a historically African-American college. But as their neighborhood goes from rough-and-tumble to up-and-coming, suddenly filled with pretty coffee shops and boutiques, Nikki is thrilled while Maya feels like their home is slipping away. Suddenly, the sisters who had always shared everything must confront their dissenting feelings on the importance of their ethnic and cultural identities and, in the process, learn to separate themselves from the long shadow of their identity as twins.

In her inspired YA debut, Renee Watson explores the experience of young African-American women navigating the traditions and expectations of their culture.

Red Queen
by Victoria Aveyard
Published 2015 by Harper Teen
Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780062310637

Find this book in our catalog.

Jacket Notes:
Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard’s sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king’s palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?

Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood–those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard–a growing Red rebellion–even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

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Creative Writing Links and Wisdom

Thanks to the weekly Creative Writing Workshop for high school students, I do a lot of reading about writing. It seems selfish to keep such a plethora of knowledge to myself. If I find an article/post/cat gif that I, in my totally subjective way, find pertinent to the craft of writing, I will share it here. Generally speaking, I will only post the title and/or first few lines of something, with a link to the full text. If nothing else, this will be a useful repository for me to collect the interesting writing articles I find and usually promptly forget about. There may only be a few pieces to start, but I promise to continue to add more. If you come across something you think should be here, email me or post it to the Facebook page (which pretty much only I read) and I will repost here.  Read/Write on!

~Katiechuckwendig

  • All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.– ERNEST HEMINGWAY

  • I don’t follow Quora much but this showed up in my inbox and if Lois Lowery is talking about the process of writing a novel, I want to read what she has to say.
  • This illustrated version of Charles Bukowski’s “air and light and time and space” is awesome. 
  • I am living by this excerpt from Anne Lamott’s great book on writing, Bird By Bird.
  • I mean, you can be sure I am going to include lots of quotes from my boy Hemingway on this page: 

“When I am working on a book or story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day next you hit it again.” - ERNEST HEMINGWAY

  • Although this does not bode well for me, as I am actually the least athletic/exercise-y person alive, I am sure what Rebecca Makkai says is true:

“My cures for writer’s block are alarmingly pragmatic and physical. So pragmatic that they arrange themselves in list form! To wit: 1. Get up and walk around. A few years ago, I realized that the solutions to most of my writing problems would come to me in the bathroom. It wasn’t the bathroom itself, of course, that was magic, but the act of getting up from my desk and walking there, getting the blood flowing, and tearing my eyes away from the computer screen. So now, when I’m staring down a huge plot problem, I take a long walk—without a notepad. It’s nearly always solved by the time I get back. 2. Vitamin B. It’s better than caffeine. It makes you both calmer and smarter. I keep a bottle on my desk. 3. If you can, sleep late. That last cycle of sleep is when the weird dreams come, the ones you’ll actually remember. (And how great is it to say, “I have to sleep late for work?”) 4. Yoga. My point with all of these being: Writing isn’t entirely mental. You’re a physical being, and sometimes when your writing is broken, it’s your body that needs attention, not your mind.”
—Rebecca Makkai via The Millions

  • Finished a draft of something? Here are six questions to ask your reader to ensure they give helpful feedback.
  • Failure is Our Muse by Stephen Marche (good, because one of my stories keeps getting rejected and it’s giving me a sad!)
  • “You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.” JOSEPH CAMPBELL

  • What Writers Can Learn from “Goodnight Moon” by Aimee Bender
  • Fiction Writer's Cheat Sheet by RipleyNox

    Fiction Writer’s Cheat Sheet by RipleyNox

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Exclusive Interview with Mallory Ortberg

We are incredibly lucky to have Mallory Ortberg, co-founder of  The Toast, and author of Texts From Jane Eyre speaking at our First Thursday event. You can check out her very serious, scholarly articles like Gleeful Mobs Of Women Murdering Men In Western Art History, How To Tell If You Are In A High Fantasy Novel, and Literary Quotes That Double As Excellent Mantras During A Final Set (Or: Things I Have Whispered Quietly To Myself At The Gym) at the Toast. She was kind enough to sit down with us for an interview.

1. What was your favorite book as a teenager? Are there any books you think all young adults should read?

“The Inimitable Jeeves,” P.G. Wodehouse. I’m so glad I read Wodehouse as a teenager because there was always plenty of fiction encouraging me to Take My Feelings Seriously, but not nearly enough encouraging me to take the world lightly, and I’m grateful for that.

2. What were you like in high school?MalloryOrtberg

AVERAGE. I put forth effort toward things I was naturally good at and avoided things that didn’t come easily to me. I wore a lot of chunky Mary Jane platforms and did a lot of theater. I kissed roughly six people, but I hadn’t kissed anyone at all until the last month of my junior year, so I felt like I had some catching up to do. I played competent tennis. I ran a very slow mile. I took a C in swimming because I was unable to dive. I went to the California State Summer School for the Arts in northern LA county and had the best summer of my life.

3. What is the best thing about (co) running your own website?

Working with Nicole Cliffe, who is my sun, moon and stars.

4. Any advice for aspiring young writers?

Write a great deal, and try to get paid for it. Write more about things that genuinely interest you rather than try to sound like an interesting person.

5. What are you most looking forward to in 2015 (other than coming to the Mill Valley Library, duh)?

The Turner Classic Film festival in LA! I go every year.

6. What do you want to talk about at the MVPL First Thursday event?

I am up for talking about all kinds of things! Being an English major and living a mildly successful life! The Western canon! How to get a book published! Starting your own business! The Brontes!

**For high school students only. Registration required. Register here.

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Loneliness FAQ by Maxine Flasher-Duzgunes

Loneliness FAQ*

By Maxine Flasher-Duzgunes

 

Q: What is loneliness?

A: A state of being, commonly one of the symptoms of mild depression, involving a failure to close the distance between the people around you. This can be expressed as both physical and emotional: your gut often tells you to hold someone’s hand, whereas your mind scolds you for giving it the least of a try.

Q: Who gets lonely?

A: More people than you think: maybe the prep school girl who keeps twisting her hair at church. When everyone’s still in prayer, she glances in your direction, wondering if she should glance a little while longer. It could be the dude in the basketball shorts who comes to English class for lunch. You’re there too, striking up a conversation until he says he has to go to the library. You stay. Even your science teacher: never a word about his family, not a baby picture, not a Christmas card. He’s at his desk from 6:00 to 6:00, closer to his papers than say, an actual breathing set of eyes.

Q: Am I at risk for loneliness?

A: Yes. An abundance of time spent lacking the company of others is true to loneliness: logging in a journal, star-gazing, shuffling through the four contacts on your phone, going down lists of to do’s three months after you said you’d do them, resorting to text marathons with your mother, refusing to answer the phone.

Q: Can loneliness be controlled?

A: Primarily, no. It’s not the people that forget about you, so much as the people you (frequently more than sometimes) force yourself to forget. Environmental factors: the means you were raised, the school you go to, were never meant to beat you into the android that you’ve become. However, as self-esteem directly affects your willingness to become the Charlie Chaplain like bum everyone avoids, it’s up to you to say you want in on the one-man club.

Q: Is there an absolute cure for loneliness?

A: Subjecting yourself to prolonged sessions with strangers. Say, placing yourself into an unnatural conversation: having a go at discovering common interests. And above all, making people like you.

Q: Was that last answer truthful?

A: Of course not. It’s essentially known that adolescents like you have difficulty accepting their disease, disorder, disability…whatever. Everyone you care about (the few people there are left) lie to you. Rejecting their intuition says that they hope you won’t die an old maid. Ninety-five years, you’re still attached to the tennis balls on your walker, in a cabin by the sea. The others you used to love probably would be too dead cold to visit you, while in their will, they give you a minor mention. Some inheritance, some money, some land, but that really doesn’t compare to the last words they let loose on their deathbed. They whisper, your elbow crunching the hospital mattress. They say: You’re not lonely. You’re not depressed. You’re just a writer.

 *Editor’s note: inspired by Aubrey Hirsch’s piece, “Multiple Sclerosis FAQ

 

pixabay.com/en/photos/hut/

pixabay.com/en/photos/hut/

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Creative Writing Workshops; Wednesday nights from 7-8:30 PM

creativewritinginstagramForget essays and homework; discover what it means to let creativity run wild and write for pleasure at these weekly creative writing workshops. We will read and discuss poetry, fiction, non-fiction, slam poetry, and any other type of writing that strikes our fancy. These workshops offer the opportunity to explore your writing skills in a relaxed, informal environment. Creative Writing Workshops aren’t about getting a good grade or writing a critical analysis, they are about trying new things and creating something exciting to put on a blank page.

313393_283129255049078_100000560186552_1070834_1377457794_nIf you don’t feel like writing, that’s fine too, you are always welcome to just hang out, eat candy, and listen to what others have to say. 

Student writing can be found here.

Like our Facebook page here.

Creative Writing links of interest can be found here.

Contact Katie (workshop facilitator and Young Adult Librarian) here. 

Workshops are open to high school students only

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Personalized Reading Lists (PeRLs)

Not sure what to read next?

Why waste your time reading book description after book description when you could have a librarian (me!) create a personalized reading list for you, based on your preferences? Just contact me and we will set up an interview, either in person or through email. Open to high school students. 

image via: http://bit.ly/1BW4Wv8

image via: http://bit.ly/1BW4Wv8

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Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Published September, 2014 by Simon Pulse

599 pages

Darcy Patel wants nothing more than to be a real-life novelist, so she couldn’t be happier when Paradox Publishers picks up her two-book series. She convinces her parents to let her defer college and moves to New York to pursue her career. Lizzie lives inside Darcy’s first novel Afterworlds. After surviving a terrorist attack and escaping certain death, she finds she has a newfound power to travel into the realm of the dead, where she meets ghosts and gods alike. These two story lines parallel each other throughout the novel as we learn more and more about writing, editing, and life indexas young people find their way. There is also a serious creep factor when Darcy writes about how some of her ghost characters died.

I had mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it had a strong plot and many funny lines in both halves of the story–Lizzie’s and Darcy’s. On the other hand, I often run into problems with Westerfeld’s female characters. Just as in his other series, Uglies, I found both Lizzie and Darcy could be rather annoying at times. They are both insecure and spend a decent amount of time ignoring their loved ones and making rash decisions that are clearly bad for them. Darcy grows up a lot in the first few hundred pages, but Lizzie remains frustrating for most of the story.

For readers who are interested in the publishing world, interesting ideas about ghosts and the afterlife, and two love stories, and a long ride, this book is the way to go. For readers who don’t want to spend 600 pages on a story with characters you won’t always love, I would recommend something shorter.

Genre: Realistic/Supernatural Fiction

Keywords: Ghost, Publishing, Love, Writing, Stories, Afterlife

Best Quote: “Hiding from the truth was worse than being lied to.”

 

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