Book Review

A Wallace Wyss Book Review of “Mille Miglia 2015 -The Official Book”

December 27, 2015 in Book Review / guest contributor / Race Car / Rally / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss

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BOOK REVIEW

Title: Mille Miglia 2015 -The Official Book

Publisher: Giorgio Nada Editore

Size: 240 x 330 mm

Length: 288 pages

Photographs:  Hundreds of photographs in color and  black and white

Language:  Italian /English

Binding:  Hardback with dust cover

Paper: 170 gr. coated paper

Prices:
USD: 98.00
CND: 119.00
Euro: 68.00

REVIEW BY WALLACE WYSS

I remember going to the re-creation of the Mille Miglia sometime in the ‘80s. It was sort of like going to a party where part of the party was hopping in your vintage sports car and tearing across Italy full tilt boogie for 1,000 miles, stopping only for refueling and more partying along the way. The book says 438 vintage cars participated in the 2015 event plus 61 Ferraris and 34 Mercedes that were tribute entries of more recent vintage.

I don’t think a rally could be held with such zest in the U.S., too many laws to break but in Italy they have a police escort and it’s fairly safe, or as safe as you can be with 60-year old cars and some drivers who are older than the cars!

This book is… Continue reading →

A Wallace Wyss Book Review of “Art of the Corvette”, by author Randy Leffingwell

December 26, 2015 in American / Book Review / guest contributor / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss

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BOOK REVIEW, by Wallace Wyss

Title: “Art of the Corvette”, by author Randy Leffingwell

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Motorbooks (December 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0760346402
  • ISBN-13: 978-0760346402
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 1 x 12.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds
  • Price: $33.80

Let’s face it—back in the Fifties and Sixties, American cars were, uh, how can the son of a UAW worker say this tactfully—somewhat thrown together. In fact the old joke was that at the end of the assembly line was a big hulk whose job it was to make that door fit, god damn it, by slamming his body against it.

So that’s one reason there hasn’t been a book like this on too many American cars, a book devoted to photographing perfect specimens- because there really weren’t that many. This book has many Corvettes that are so beyond perfect, it’s hard to believe they came out of the factory that way but I guess to please the NCRS, you have to be able to do your car the ideal way it would have been built, so somewhere out there are perfect examples of each generation.

And Randy Leffingwell, one time LA Times photographer, is the guy to do it because he really tries hard to capture a car on film (well, digital images now). Usually Randy shoots outdoors but this book was done with Tom Loeser, a co-photographer as it were, and marks Randy’s entrance into studio shooting which is more about indoor studio lighting, a whole different art.

And if you like Corvettes, it’s a happy result—you see the beauty of some designs as you have never seen them before—you can appreciate them more than you ever have.

One mis-direction, though, is that… Continue reading →

A Wallace Wyss Book Review of “All the Cars: MASERATI” by author Giorgio Cancelleri

December 24, 2015 in Book Review / guest contributor / History / Italian / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss

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BOOK REVIEW
Title: All the Cars: MASERATI

Author: Giorgio Cancelleri

Publisher: Giorgio Nada

Length: 351 pages

Format: vertical

Binding: Hardbound 

REVIEW BY WALLACE WYSS

Giorgio Nada Editore, an Italian book publisher who do car books in English, is doing a great service with these hardbound one-marque guides. I previously reviewed the Ferrari one by Gianni Cancellieri and have to say I enjoyed this one even more.

The format is to give each model of car two pages—then to have a painting on the right hand page and a photo on the left. I was happy with most of the illustrations as being fair representations of the cars that section is about except for the 1961 mid-engine Maserati 63—can’t make out the shape — just looks like a blob. The usual photo he has on the opposite page is no help because on that page is an X-ray view.

The book is mostly about production cars so I was surprised to see… Continue reading →

A Wallace Wyss Book Review of “The Complete Book of Porsche 911: Every Model Since 1964”, by author Randy Leffingwell

December 15, 2015 in Book Review / German / guest contributor / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss

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BOOK REVIEW

Title: The Complete Book of Porsche 911- Every Model since 1964
Author: Randy Leffingwell
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Motorbooks; First edition (October 22, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0760339392
ISBN-13: 978-0760339398
Product Dimensions: 10 x 1 x 11.2 inches
Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds
Price: $45

REVIEW BY WALLACE WYSS

Now the ironic thing about reviewing this latest book on Porsche by Randy Leffingwell is that his chief competition are other books by Randy Leffingwell about Porsches. He must have a half dozen of them!

It seems he has forgotten his former loves, like farm tractors, and other marques, and is now running full tilt boogie toward embracing Porsche. I would say, among car historians, he is their No. 1 fan.

At first I was put off by…

 

Continue reading →

A Wallace Wyss Book Review of “Mercedes Benz 300SL Vom Rennsport zur Legende (From racing to legend)”, by authors Mike Riedner & Gunter Engelen

December 11, 2015 in Book Review / German / guest contributor / History / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss

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BOOK REVIEW

Title: Mercedes Benz 300SL Vom Rennsport zur Legende (From racing to legend) German language version
Authors: Mike Riedner/Gunter Engelen
Publisher: Motor Buch Verlag
Photos by: Hans-Dieter Seufert Motorbuch-Verlag
Binding: softbound
Pages: 288 pages
Price: Currently on sale in Germany for 19.95 Euro. 

Described by one review as “The German standard compendium for every 300 SL enthusiast”, this edition by Mike Riedner and Günter Engelen is softbound, apparently the third edition of a book first published way back in 1989. Now I know there are a lot of books on the 300SL but this one, to a former gullwing owner, is extremely satisfying so I am recommending on the basis of its artwork for the 300SL enthusiast even though it repeats some pictures and facts found in other books.

Why then do I recommend it? Because for those who do not have those more expensive hardbound coffee table books, this book still serves a purpose, shining a light on the engineering of the early racing models, such as a roadster version in ’52 that I have not seen before, where the passenger side is blocked off. In those photos it appears to be very Porsche 356-inspired. A lot of the other 300SL books dwell on the production car but this book gives equal space to the race cars, the pre-production styling prototypes and the final production cars.

The printing is on slick paper and… Continue reading →

A Wallace Wyss Book Review of “N.A.R.T A Concise History of the North American Racing Team 1957-1982”

December 8, 2015 in Book Review / guest contributor / Italian / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss

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BOOK REVIEW

N.A.R.T A Concise History of the North American Racing Team 1957-1982

Author: Terry O’Neil

Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Veloce Publishing (December 14, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1845847873
ISBN-13: 978-1845847876
Product Dimensions: 10 x 1 x 10 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
Price: $100.00

REVIEW BY WALLACE WYSS

There needed to be a book written about NART, the acronym for North American Racing Team.

Why? Because Luigi Chinetti Sr. and Jr. are two important personalities who essentially paved the way for acceptance of Ferrari in America.

Luigi Sr. drove Ferraris in racing, and later pioneered selling them in the U.S.

The British author of this book… Continue reading →

A Wallace Wyss Book Review of “Bentley Since 1965” by author James Taylor

November 30, 2015 in Book Review / English / Wallace Wyss

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BOOK REVIEW : “Bentley Since 1965”

Author: James Taylor

Publisher: Crowood Press

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: The Crowood Press UK (October 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184797371X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847973719
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.7 x 10.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Price: TBA

REVIEW BY WALLACE WYSS

This book is a good argument for how different Bentleys are from Rolls Royces. True, for decades, they were made by the same firm, and at times it seemed all that separated the two marques was the shape of the grille cavity and the emblems, but this book gives several examples of how hard Bentley designers and engineers have tried since 1965 to make certain each new model Bentley is different from a Rolls, even if early on they were sharing the same chassis and engine. Continue reading →

Wallace Wyss Reviews “911 LOVE”, by author Edwin Baasake

November 23, 2015 in Book Review / German / guest contributor / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss

51BOOK REVIEW

TITLE: “911 LOVE”, by author Edwin Baasake

  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Delius Klasing Verlag GMbH; 2 edition (December 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3768836657
  • ISBN-13: 978-3768836654
  • Product Dimensions: 12 x 1.4 x 12.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 pounds
  • Price: $99

First of all, the name Edwin Baaske is unknown to me; turns out he is a journalist and author. He is Head of Corporate Publishing & Automotive Books at Delius Klasing Publishing House, so basically the publisher he works for published his book.

When I first looked at it I was surprised that it was so involved in showing exactly who bought each of the 911 cars shown and how that car, or their several 911 cars, fits in with their life style. Now this book is good ammunition for my frequent  arguments I have on my radio show with co-host Clark Price, who says he does not ever buy a car (and he has many) for status, merely for impressing people. I can’t say the people portrayed in this book bought any of their 911 cars for status, it’s evident that they just love the car and everything it stands for—perfection in styling and mechanical assemblage. Continue reading →

A Wallace Wyss Book Review of: “Ford GT- How Ford Silenced the Critics, Humbled Ferrari and Conquered LeMans”, by author Preston Lerner

November 13, 2015 in American / Book Review / guest contributor / Race Car / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss

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BOOK REVIEW

Title: Ford GT: How Ford Silenced the Critics, Humbled Ferrari and Conquered LeMans

Authors: Preston Lerner, Photography by Dave Friedman

Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Motorbooks (November 9, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0760347875
ISBN-13: 978-0760347874
Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 1.2” x 12.5 inches”
Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
Price: $60
Review by Wallace Wyss

When I heard there was a new book out on the Ford GT40, a car I am particularly interested in (still proud that the Yanks beat the Euros at LeMans), I was eager to see it. I especially liked the subtitle because it shows how doubtful the Europeans were when Ford said they were coming into endurance racing and gives you a heads up that you are going to learn how Ford eventually achieved their goal despite the doubting Thomases.

When I got it, as a review copy, I was happy to see that it is a finely printed book, that the fidelity of images is top notch, especially in the color reproduction.

And the words are all newly written by Preston Lerner, an old hand in the automotive history world. But as I leafed through the book, I wondered… Continue reading →

A Wallace Wyss Book Review of “Jaguar E-Type- The Complete Story” by author Jonathan Wood

November 10, 2015 in Book Review / English / guest contributor / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss

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BOOK REVIEW

Title: Jaguar E-Type The Complete Story

Author: Jonathan Wood

Series: Complete Story
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: The Crowood Press (November 5, 1998)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1861261470
ISBN-13: 978-1861261472
Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.5 x 10.2 inches
Recommended retail Price: $29.95

REVIEW BY WALLACE WYSS

The Jaguar E-Type (known as XKE to Americans) is a remarkable car, especially when you see one now and realize this car is over 50 years old and looks totally modern.

This book by Johnathan Wood, first published in 2008, is an excellent overall view of the car, how it came to be, and the changes that occurred to it throughout its run.

The personalities of the car’s creators come through well. From Sir William Lyons who founded Jaguar before the war (known as SS cars before the war, a name they understandably had to change after WWII), to the later designers and engineers that developed it. Particularly interesting is… Continue reading →

A WALLACE WYSS BOOK REVIEW: “My Porsche Book: The Iconic 356s”, by Author: Rene Staud

November 9, 2015 in Book Review / German / guest contributor / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss

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BOOK REVIEW: “My Porsche Book: The Iconic 356s”

Author: Rene Staud
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Delius Klasing Verlag GMbH;
Language: English,/German
ISBN-10: 3667101244
ISBN-13: 978-3667101242
Product Dimensions: 11.6 x 1.1 x 11.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 5.6 pounds
Price: approximately $60 (see note below)

Now the trouble with vintage cars is that they are rarely photographed by pros. I am not saying you can’t find a lucky shot in a book where there’s pictures taken at some event like the Rolex Revival at Monterey, but the photographs in this book of cars are not “lucky shots”,  but rather all carefully positioned and planned shots, compositionally complementary to the background. Lights are used to “fill in” parts of the body to bring out the shape, the whole nine yards.

Though I personally never bothered with owning lights to light up cars, I am familiar with the process, having worked in advertising writing ads for automakers and having worked on magazines like Motor Trend that had their own photo studio.

So when a German named Rene Staud wrote a book called “My Porsche Book, the Iconic 356s”… Continue reading →

BOOK REVIEW BY WALLACE WYSS: “Carrera” by Rolf Sprenger and Steve Heinrichs

November 7, 2015 in Book Review / German / guest contributor / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss

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BOOK REVIEW BY WALLACE WYSS:”Carrera”, by authors Rolf Sprenger and Steve Heinrichs

Hardcover: 860 pages
Publisher: Delius Klasing Verlag GMbH; Bilingual edition (January 17, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 3768837505
ISBN-13: 978-3768837507
Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 2.4 x 12 inches
Shipping Weight: 8.6 pounds
Price: $129.99

At some point, there has to be a limit to how much a book can weigh, because at some point it becomes too cumbersome to lug around. This book, at 8.8 lbs. is pushing my limit. I could only carry one and had to find a heavy bag to hold it.
On the other hand, it is a magnificent accomplishment, at 860 pages, hardbound, with many historical pictures. The subhead is “The Porsche 4 cam motor and the early years of Porsche Motorsports.” Its scope covers from the 356 to the 550 Spyder to the 904 GTS.
Personally I think the 904GTS deserves its own book. Since each one is now a million dollar car, I assure you would have its own audience. Leaving that section out to be in another book would have made this book easier to handle, at, say, only six pounds.
Yet, I am sure the authors would say: “But the 904 had a 4-cam engine so needs to be with its brethren.” Continue reading →

A Wallace Wyss Book Review of “Exotic Barn Finds”, by author Matt Stone

November 5, 2015 in Barn Find / Book Review / guest contributor / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss

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BOOK REVIEW

Title: Exotic Barn Finds

Author: Matt Stone

Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: CarTech (October 9, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1613252021
ISBN-13: 978-1613252024
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 11 inches
Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
Price: $24.95

REVIEW BY WALLACE WYSS

Matt Stone is a car collector (Maserati, Jaguar, DeTomaso etc.), a former editor of Motor Trend, a sometimes judge at Pebble Beach, and a sometime employee of major collector car auction companies. All of that comes into play in the writing of his book “Exotic Barn Finds.”

Stone chose, for his first entry into this exciting new niche of car histories, to specialize in “exotic” cars which a subhead on the car defining those as Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin and more.

As opposed to Corvettes, Mustangs, Vipers, etc. Continue reading →

A Wallace Wyss Book Review of “Jaguar E-Type The Complete Story”, by author Jonathan Wood

November 5, 2015 in Book Review / English / guest contributor / History / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss

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BOOK REVIEW

Title: Jaguar E-Type The Complete Story

Author: Jonathan Wood

  • Series: Complete Story
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: The Crowood Press (November 5, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861261470
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861261472
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.5 x 10.2 inches
  • Recommended retail Price: $29.95
     

REVIEW BY WALLACE WYSS

The Jaguar E Type (known as XKE to Americans) is a remarkable car, especially when you see one now and realize this car is over 50 years old and looks totally modern.

This book by Johnathan Wood, first published in 2008, is an excellent overall view of the car, how it came to be, and the changes that occurred to it throughout its run.

The personalities of the car’s creators come through well, from Sir William Lyons who founded Jaguar (known as SS cars before the war, a name they understandably had to change after WWII) before the war, to the later designers and engineers that developed it. Particularly interesting is… Continue reading →

BOOK REVIEW: “The Book of the Porsche 356” Author: Brian Long

October 24, 2015 in Book Review / German / guest contributor / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss

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BOOK REVIEW

Title; “The Book of the Porsche 356”

Author: Brian Long

Publisher: Veloce Ltd.

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845840356
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845840358
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Price: $41 The hardcover book is horizontal in format, and that’s good for car books because it allows the pictures to be bigger on the page.  Also he has some pictures of 356 cars in various races like LeMans or an alpine rally but not nearly enough, such as having only one picture of one in the Carrera Panamericana and that picture with a lot of people blocking off the view of the car! I quibble with some of the facts, which makes me think this is not a book for the real expert, for instance he says 25 Speedster 1600GTs were built in 1959, when most people say Speedster production ceased in 1958. (I am in a search for the SN and confirmation of that now). In the section on Abarth Carrera GT/L cars—the ones bodfied in Italy—he says Zagato bodied them when it is well known that Zagato, not wanting to offend its Italian customers by  bodying a German rival, palmed the job off on a lesser known coachbuilder who even absconded before the cars were done.
  •   I think, in my brief interaction with Porsche fans in writing my own books, I find that  they are among the most persnickety of all car fans when it comes to facts, so it’s important to re-check these facts on obscure models because there are devotees to each of these obscure models who know the facts and will point out your mistakes.
  •  Throughout the book, there is a history of 356  development, of which the most interesting picture is a Speedster with a different windscreen than that used on the production car.
  • Priceless are the factory color shots Long has of 356s being built in Zuffenhausen. I also like the occasional poster or ad he has, some seem so quaint in their ‘50s depictions.
  • You might wonder, why are we reading a review of a book that’s been in print since 2008? The answer is that this is a revised version of the book which has been out on the market for some years. I read that this new version has  more than 100 new photographs and lots of interesting new material. And Porsche 356 cars, whether pre-A, A, B or C,  are showing, in my observation, among the fastest depreciation of any postwar sports cars.
  • Review by Wallace Wyss continues on following page 

Continue reading →

THE WRITING OF A BOOK: “DeTomaso: the Man and His Machines”, by Wallace Wyss

October 17, 2015 in American / Book Review / guest contributor / History / Italian / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss


2007
    When I was young and naïve I wrote a book for a publisher in England, Osprey, called DeTomaso Automobiles. Not only did I never get a royalty but they gave the book to a pirate publisher who doesn’t pay royalties either (no wonder some Brits were among the first pirates!).

    Anyway decades passed and, while up in Monterey,  I met David and Linda Adler while they were driving their Group 3 Pantera race car on the street—a car with Webers, bundle of snakes exhaust, the whole nine yards. They had bought Pantera International, a club, and were producing a magazine of which I became the editor. After awhile I amassed enough information to do a book for them called DeTomaso: the Man and his Machines.

    At the time there was no glossy book on DeTomaso, unless you count Henry Rasmussen’s Panteras for the Road, which was already out of print.

     DeTomaso, as a brand, had not yet arrived so to speak, not like Ferraris of which there were already fifty books on the market. We decided to do it first class, hardcover, slip cover, color inserts, over 100 black and white pictures. We went to Dai Nippon in Japan for first class binding and reproduction. The book had a many page color section showing stock Panteras, Panteras, Vallelungas, Mangustas, and Longchamps.

 In addition there were several chapters on racing, and I was fortunate enough to fly to Europe to buy pictures right in Italy, pictures of Group 4 racers, prototype Formula cars, and of DeTomaso himself.

    I even visited the DeTomaso factory in Modena. I didn’t talk to DeTomaso himself who as absent and was too timid to talk to Mrs. DeTomaso though it was clear that, in her husband’s absence she ran the roost. In fact, at the time I couldn’t think of another automaker where the two owners in charge had FIA racing licenses and had raced at tracks like LeMans. Continue reading →

Book Review of “Intermeccanica: The Story of the Prancing Bull”, by author Andrew McCredie

October 8, 2015 in American / Book Review / guest contributor / History / Italian / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss

20BOOK REVIEW BY WALLACE WYSS
Title: Intermeccanica: The Story of the Prancing Bull, originally published May 1, 2010–

by Andrew McCredie (Author), with Paula Reisner

· Hardcover: 192 pages
· Publisher: Veloce Publishing (May 1, 2010)
· Language: English
· ISBN-10: 1845842499
· ISBN-13: 978-1845842499
· Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 0.8 x 10.2 inches
· Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
· Price: $79.95

I would like to start out this review by saying this is, above all, a love story of a couple that bonded on cars when they first met (he was reading a car magazine in college and she noticed and said she came from a car-fan family), a relationship which lasted several decades until his death.
Andrew McCredie’s book “Intermeccanica: The Story of the Prancing Bull” from Veloce Publishing in England is also the story of the development of one project after another, most of which resulted in some cars, interesting cars, cars which after decades of being in the shadows are coming to the attention of collectors. I speak of cars like the Apollo, the Torino, the Italia and the Indra.
The Reisners are behind them all, except the Apollo which started out with three buddies from SoCal, one of whom ran into Frank at the Monte Carlo GP and when asked what he did for a living, Reisner gave the right answer: “I build cars.” Continue reading →

BOOK REVIEW: “CLEWORTH- an ARTFULLIFE”

September 14, 2015 in Book Review / Wallace Wyss

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BOOK REVIEW: CLEWORTH: an ARTFULLIFE

Design Studio Press

ISBN 978-1-62465-016-1

Hardcover

168 pages

Price: $54.95

11.75” x 11.75”

Review by Wallace Wyss

I have known Harold Cleworth for nigh onto 30-40 years.

The painting he did that struck me back then most was the black 300SL Gullwing Mercedes or maybe the black 427 Cobra, which happen to be two of my favorite cars (I previously owned two Gullwings, and I wrote three books about Cobras). I know that he came from a 24 sheet (billboard) painting background so I realize that part of the appeal of his work is that he does it so it looks more striking from a distance than close up. It’s an art a lot of artists who work on canvas only don’t know about–how to make sure your work comes together from a distance.

This book, which I gather is Harold’s own response to the oft-asked question “Why don’t you do a book?” is a… Continue reading →

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