Avengers Readathon 2019 | (Belated) Sign Up & TBR

So, I did something ill-advised… I decided to join in with (yet) another readathon. I went back and forth on whether I was taking part in this when I found out about it 1 day into the readathon itself. In fact, I sternly told myself ‘no, Emma, one readathon at a time, concentrate on OWLs’ but I’m nothing if not indecisive so I changed my mind when I saw friend and housemate Liz post her TBR to her blog. So I’m doing this readathon too now apparently.

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The Avengers Readathon is hosted by Noura from The Perks of Being Noura and it is taking place from 14th April until 14th May. (For more details, especially on the challenges, be sure to check out Noura’s blog.) I’m a little bit late in posting up this TBR but, handily, the books I’ve read in the past week or so still count towards some of the prompts from this readathon anyway so I’m counting them.

As you may be able to tell from the readathon title, this is a readathon centred on the MCU. Since we’re eagerly (/worriedly) anticipating Avengers Endgame this readathon can be a nice distraction from the Thanos-filled terror for a little while at least. As my own journey with the MCU began back in 2011 with the first Thor film I decided it would be remiss of me to choose any other character’s assignments to follow other than the Asgardian himself (although Captain Marvel sure did tempt me!) so here’s my TBR for the readathon:

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Norse Mythology: mythology book
A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

Thor: Book with one word title
Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Thor & Loki: book with siblings
Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

(1 of Iron Man’s assignments) Tony’s Suit: book with a red cover
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

(1 of Doctor Strange’s assignments) Master Sorcerer: book with magic/symbols
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

If I somehow manage to finish all these books (which I hope I do because the majority also appear on my OWLs TBR!), I’ll move onto a different characters’ assignments. It would be fitting to continue onto Loki’s challenges (especially since he’s, unsurprisingly, my fave MCU character), but we’ll see how it goes…

Are you doing the Avengers Readathon? Which characters’ assignments have you chosen to follow? If you’re not taking part in the readathon, still let me know what you’re planning to read in the next few weeks because I’m curious/nosy!


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5-Star TBR Predictions

Welcome one, welcome all! It’s been a few days since my last blog post and you may very well wonder why. Truth be told, it’s because I haven’t finished a book lately and that has been getting me down a little bit. It’s not like I haven’t been reading – I’m currently reading The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik, and A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (re-read). However, anyone who has read (or even seen) the first book in that little list will understand why it has been a while since I’ve finished a book – it’s HUGE.

The last book I finished was S.A. Chakraborty’s The Kingdom of Copper (I’m still not okay about it) back on 3rd March. For me, not being able to say I’ve finished a book in the last 10 days is… well… it’s not something that happens often. So, although I’ve made progress with all the books I’m reading at the moment, I’m not near finishing anything – Priory is the main reason for that as I’m fairly sure I’m going to LOVE this book, so I don’t want to rush reading it. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it also made me think about how I’m so sure I’m going to love this book that I’ve slowed down my reading pace.

Not only this, I also have a habit of putting off even starting books because I’m SO sure I’m going to love them and don’t want to prove (or, more scarily, disprove) my high hopes/predictions for them. I’ve seen many a Booktuber discuss their 5-star predictions and I thought I’d throw my own hat in the metaphorical ring whilst I was thinking about the topic. So here we have it, here are some books that I’m pretty damn sure could end up being 5-star reads for me:

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Femme FanTale Readathon | TBR

The Femme FanTale Readathon is taking place from 2-10 March and was created by Jean @ Bookish Thoughts and Jill @ The Book Neuk. The core idea behind the readathon is simple: read fantasy written by women!

Since I read a lot of YA fantasy anyway, and a lot of those authors tend to be female, it seemed ridiculous not to be participate in this celebration of female fantasy! There is a readathon challenge/prompt board to help shape your TBR (and Jean has been posting some incredible recommendations for each challenge on her Twitter in the run up to this readathon) but you can double-up on challenges I think. There’s no way I’ll read 12 books during the readathon but, hey, it helps to have choices, right?

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The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
Challenges fulfilled: queer, inspired by myth (George and the Dragon), standalone, adult

Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty
Challenges fulfilled: queer (?), historical fantasy, adult

Throne of Jade (Temeraire #2) by Naomi Novik (audiobook)
Challenges fulfilled: historical fantasy, adult

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho (audiobook)
Challenges fulfilled: BAME author, historical fantasy, adult

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
Challenges fulfilled: YA, BAME author, fairytale retelling

As you can tell, that’s quite enough books to be getting along with, and there’s no way I’m going to finish all of them (or, likely, even the majority of them) but God loves a trier, right?

If you’re taking part in the readathon, let me know on Twitter, as I’ll probably be hanging out there and on the hashtag for most of this upcoming week.


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Discussion | What’s Your Number (Of Unread Books)?

For months now I have had a plan, a dream if you will – that makes it sound far too inspirational, it’s really not – to finally, properly catalogue my books, not for bragging purposes or even really for inventory purposes, but rather because I actually want to make a concerted effort to curate my own personal library.

I’m a person who likes owning books and I’m finally, thankfully, in a place in my life both financially and practically where I have the space to have bookshelves and so own books as I wish. When I moved out of my parents’ house, this was one of the perks of renting my own place – I could have as many shelves and books as the space a house would allow, without any judgemental looks from my parents. I’m fortunate in that my housemate, Liz, thinks much the same way about books and we’re both quite happily creating our own little mini libraries of our book collection.

However, for some time now, I’ve wanted to have a better way of seeing what books I physically own, which of those I’ve read, and which I have yet to read. Inspired by Emma from Drinking By My Shelf’s Balancing the Books video series, I want to start culling my bookshelves so that I actually only own books I want to read at some point in the future. And yes, believe me, there are books on my shelves that I’m hanging onto for literally no reason other than I think I should be seen to own X book or Y book. That’s silly, I want to change that. Now, I’m not anywhere as near as disciplined as Emma is so I definitely won’t be balancing those books, but I would like to see the number of unread books decrease significantly. And no, I’m not aiming for ‘zero TBR’ because 1) I’d never make it, and 2) I actually don’t like the idea of not having unread books to hand if the mood to read takes me!

So this is it, guys, this is my confession, this is my number: as of today, Wednesday 27th February I own 622 books*. Of those I have read 286 and I have yet to read 336 of them.
*that I will be counting for this purpose, there are some kids books I keep for nostalgia purposes!

Now, these numbers could go up and down in the future – the simplest way that could happen would be if I buy books, which seems highly likely But, also, if I don’t want to own a book anymore and I unhaul it, I will be removing it from my spreadsheet which means, if I haven’t read it yet, great, my number will go down by 1 but if I have read it my ‘read’ number will instead decrease. Do you see my point? Regardless of the details, I’d like to get that number of unread books down by quite a bit. I’ve been doing Down the TBR Hole posts on this blog to cull my Goodreads To Be Read list but I think something also needs to be done to my actual physical TBR that I own right now and that is staring me in the face as I walk around my own home. Let’s see how I do, shall we?

Do you like owning a lot of books and having your own IRL TBR shelf? Are you not in a position to own a lot of books? Do you want to have a book collection of your own, and do you mind if this includes unread books as well as ones you’ve already read and loved? I find the different approaches to owning books really fascinating so please do comment below and share your opinions on it!


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Top Ten Tuesday | Ten Most Recent Additions to My TBR

Welcome one, welcome all, to Top Ten Tuesday! For those who are unaware (or who might need a reminder) Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by book bloggers and list lovers, The Broke and the Bookish, and is now hosted fantastically by Jana from That Artsy Girl! Each week a topic is chosen for bloggers to respond to.

I haven’t participated in a Top Ten Tuesday for a couple of months but I couldn’t pass up on this week’s topic since there are so many anticipated reads that I had recently came across my reading radar. In case it wasn’t already obvious, this week’s topic is The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List. I usually rank the selections for Top Ten Tuesday but since this week’s topic is about the most recent things added to your TBR I thought we could mix it up from my usual ways and go from the most recent to least recent (of ten) books added to my TBR list. These were all added in this last month so… I need to stop growing my TBR, clearly. Let’s waste no more time and dive straight in…

beholder1. The Beholder by Anna Bright

I’d heard this was a retelling by way of Cinderella meets The Odyssey but a lot of advance readers seem to be disputing that marketing claim. To me, I’m getting similar vibes as The Selection by Kiera Cass – so it’s no surprise to see that Cass has blurbed this book. Regardless of whether the marketing pitch is accurate or not, I’m still intrigued by this one because… ok, fine, I was lured in by the pretty cover and the promise of voyage by sea, ok?! But I mean, come on, look at it.

 

heroes2. Heroes: Mortals and Monsters, Quests and Adventures by Stephen Fry

The second of the ‘Stephen Fry takes on Greek mythology’ books, this one seems to concentrate on the heroes of the piece, rather than the gods which his previous Mythos focused on. I’m intrigued to read both and I’m sure I’ll pick up a copy of this via audiobook because there’s just quite a comforting thing abut listening to Stephen Fry narrating anything – this is definitely solely a byproduct of his Harry Potter audiobook narration, but I’m looking forward to seeing if that translates well into retelling myths and legends.

 

ladyhotspur3. Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton

I LOVED Tessa Gratton’s The Queens of Innis Lear and I had NO idea she was writing another book based on Shakespearean characters but I’m SO excited to hear she is! I don’t know what to expect from this one though since I think this is set in Innis Lear so I’m curious how that will affect the source material she’s drawing from Henry IV (which is one of my fave Shakespeare plays). I cannot wait for this one, though I’m seeing conflicting things about when it is being published – hopefully sooner rather than later!

 

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24in48 | Sign Up & TBR (January 2019)

24in48_v2-03_full-colorHowdy folks, it’s that time again: Emma foolishly signs up for another readathon! This time my foolishness will only last as long as a weekend, this upcoming weekend in fact, which will play host to the 24 in 48 Readathon. For those unaware of the readathon, you aim to read a total of 24 hours within a 48-hour period. That way, it’s not about reading X amount of books or fulfilling X amount of challenges. Instead, the readathon is mainly about focusing 24 hours worth of your time on reading. (For more info, go to the website!)

I’ll admit upfront: I have some misgivings about the 24 in 48 Readathon. Personally, for me, I don’t think it’s healthy. In the past when I have taken part and really tried to make it to the hallowed 24 hours goal, I’ve ended up having an absolute crap week after the readathon ends because my entire weekend was spent cooped up in the house, neglecting errands and housework and any other activity that wasn’t reading. I end up not eating properly, I end up not sleeping properly, and I end up not having the proper break that a weekend is meant to be. Therefore, I’ve recognised that sacrificing the 2-day break I get from work in order to just read isn’t completely healthy for me (but if it works for you, you do you!) so, this round, I’m not even going to try to get to 24 hours. Instead, I’m going to aim for 14 hours since I would work 7 hours a day and still have time to do other things without either being a detriment to the other. So, there we have it, less a 24 in 48 and more of a 14 in 48 – less impressive, I know, but hey, this is my readathon attempt and I’ll do it how I like!

With all that being said, let’s talk TBR. As always with my TBRs, I’m unlikely to finish everything on this list but I just like to have a nice stack of books to pick from which should hopefully cover most moods I might reasonably be in over the course of the weekend. Now let’s stop delaying and take a look at the TBR I’ve set myself:

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Enchantée by Gita Trelease
This is the book that I will likely be focusing on during the readathon. I’ve started reading it this week and it has been super fun so far and I have no idea where the story is going to go next so I’m itching to pick it back up and continue reading – there will be plenty of time to do that this weekend.

The Penguin History of the World by J.M. Roberts and Odd Arne Westad
I’ve set myself the goal of finishing this mammoth tone in 2019 so I’m making my way through it slowly. I still have a little bit to read to finish the section I’d like to have completed by the end of January so I’m including it in my TBR so I don’t forget about that!

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
I recently read and adored Chokshi’s latest novel, The Gilded Wolves, so I decided to go back and read her earlier books. Whilst perusing the library catalogue recently I noticed the branch closest to my work had a copy of this in stock and, well, I couldn’t resist deciding to add this to my TBR this weekend so that I had the excuse to go and borrow it sooner rather than later. I know next to nothing about this one so I have no expectations and am ready to be blown away! (Though I’ve heard whispers that this is a Hades and Persephone retelling… *King George voice* IS THAT TRUUUUU-E?)

Dark Satanic Mills by Marcus Sedgwick, Julian Sedgewick, John Higgins, and Marc Olivent
Whilst in the library picking up the book I mentioned above, I scoured the graphic novel section in search of some Loki: Agent of Asgard comic books that were allegedly on the shelves. I didn’t track them down (maybe they have disguised themselves as someone else? Would be about typical given their protagonist!) but this odd little book did catch my eye. I know nothing about it and barely even checked out the art style first to see if I enjoyed it so let’s just follow this whim and see where it takes us, shall we?

The Wicked + the Divine, Volume 1 and Volume 2 by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson, and Clayton Cowles
Whilst scouring through the graphic novel section of the library I also found the second volume of The Wicked + the Divine and remembered that I’d read the first volume some time ago and had been intrigued about picking up the rest of the volumes in the series. I never got around to buying them because I wasn’t quite sure if I liked it and, hey, those bindups are kinda pricey, but I’ll happily take advantage of my library to puzzle out if I do actually want to read the series or not. Hoping to re-read the first volume and then continue onto the second one over the course of the weekend.

Well, there we have it, that was my TBR for this weekend for the 24 in 48 Readathon. Are you taking part? Let me know in the comments if so, especially if you have a TBR because I’d love to be nosy and take a peek at it. Or, if you’re not taking part, still tell me what (if anything) you’re planning on reading this weekend.


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T5W | Top of Your TBR

Welcome one and all to this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post! For those of you who don’t know Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingerreadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is Top of Your TBR. I think we can assume this week’s topic is pretty self explanatory: pick the top five top priority books from your TBR. Considering my TBR is in the hundreds, you’d think this would be pretty easy, but I’ve been floundering over picking my next read as of late partly because of the agony of choice and also partly because there are quite a few of my anticipated releases of 2019 that are happening very soon so I don’t want to start too many other books as their release dates are creeping closer and closer. You might notice that theme in this list actually…

5. These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch

Since you’ll be hearing a lot of my anticipated 2019 releases in the rest of this list, I decided to include a title from last year that is absolutely top of my TBR. I didn’t manage to get to These Rebel Waves when there was the initial buzz around this book’s release and, even though I got a pretty edition in a Fairyloot box, it probably still wouldn’t be priority TBR if my housemate Liz hadn’t recently read it and said encouragingly that she thought I’d really like it. That kind of recommendation is enough to make me prioritise this.

 

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Winter Biannual Bibliothon 2019 | TBR

Hello everyone! As you can probably tell from the title of this post, this is a TBR post for the upcoming Winter Biannual Bibliothon. As I’m subscribed to one of the readathon’s hosts, LittleBookOwl on YouTube, I always see videos relating to this readathon but I’ve never taken part… until now! I’m finding out about this readathon a little late but still in enough time to get together a TBR and participate, even if it does overlap slightly with Bout of Books. Still, let’s see if we can start off 2019’s reading strong, shall we?

(I need the kick up the bum; I’ve only finished 1 book and it’s already 10th… who am I?)

For those who don’t know the Biannual Bibliothon takes place (yes, you guessed it) twice a year, there’s a summer and a winter edition and this is the Winter edition! It’s taking place between 12th until the 18th January – head over to the readathon Twitter for more info.

As well as fun Instagram and video challenges to keep you busy during the readathon, there’s a set of Reading Challenges to help choose your TBR:

Reading Challenges

1. Read the Group Book: Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean
Providing my order on Amazon comes through in time, I’ll try to get to this one which has been on my radar but not necessarily top of my TBR. I don’t know anything about Japan, to be honest, so maybe reading a Japanese-inspired fantasy could be the first step in broadening my horizons?

2. Read one of the hosts’ 5 star reads: Pivot Point by Kasie West, Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia, Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, Emergency Contact by Mary HK Choy
Ooo the temptation to re-read The Graveyard Book is SO strong! It’s one of my favourite books too and I’m well overdue a re-read. However I am going to resist (barely) and instead choose to read Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choy which is a book I know precisely nothing about. However, it’s available as an audiobook on Scribd and from its Goodreads reviews, I reckon it might be something I enjoy, especially if it is as cynical/bitter as one reviewer said it was!

3. Read a book that got you into reading
Matilda by Roald Dahl. Not only were Roald Dahl’s books some of the first I read, the entire spirit of Matilda champions reading so it’s the PERFECT book to read during a readathon.

4. Read an adult genre
Based on how Christina Lauren’s other books are I’m going to go ahead and assume that Dating You/Hating You is an adult contemporary/romance. It’s also a book I’ve been meaning to read ever since my friend Liz read it and said I’d probably really like the setup of the (inevitable?) couple who are both high-powered agents at competing Hollywood firms that end up merging, meaning they go up against each other for the same job. Sounds fun!

5. Combine your favorite genre with your least favorite format or the opposite
Well, my favourite genre is probably YA fantasy and my least favourite, I guess, would be ebook, so I’m going to pick… hmmm… let’s be prompt and read Enchanteé by Gita Trelease which I was just approved an eARC of and should get to sooner rather than later. It had the magic words in the synopsis “French Revolution” and I was instantly hooked.

6. Read a book with a cover you don’t like
You know, I’m not overly fond of the cover of Emergency Contact, from what I’ve seen of it on Goodreads. The pink and gold thing isn’t really working for me (though I’m sure it could be other people’s jams) so I’ll double-up on challenges with this book, I think.

7. Read a book by an author you’ve never read before
I’ve never read anything by Gita Trelease before… mostly because this is her debut novel but shhhhh, it’s not really cheating to double up on this challenge.

My TBR

Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean (#1)
Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choy (#2, #6)
Matilda by Roald Dahl (#3)
Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren (#4)
Enchantée by Gita Trelease (#5, #7)

 

There we have it, there’s what I will be attempting to read during the Winter Biannual Bibliothon. Are you taking part? Share your TBR below! Otherwise, tell me which book you’re planning on picking up next, I’d love to hear about it!


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Bout of Books 24 | Sign Up & TBR

Hello all and welcome to this, the first of the ‘Emma signs up for a readathon with an overly ambitious TBR she abandons almost immediately’ posts for 2019! This is fun, isn’t it? Exciting. Will it be more of the same in 2019 or will Emma actually follow through on the readathon aspirations she has this year? Who knows… only time will tell.

Quite handily for me, however, the first readathon I’m choosing to participate in this year is the Bout of Books readathon, a firm favourite of mine because of its low-key setup and challenges. In fact, there are no reading challenges or prompts that you have to fulfil with you TBR; rather, the main aim of Bout of Books is simply to read. I can get onboard with this. For those of you who haven’t come across Bout of Books before, here’s the schtick:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 7th and runs through Sunday, January 13th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 24 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.
– From the Bout of Books team

When it comes to Bout of Books, you are encouraged to be as low-key or ambitious as you like, it really is what you make of it. This potentially comes at quite a good time for me as I’ve been struggling these first few days of the month/year with what to read – sometimes, when you have SO MANY options to choose from, you actually end up struggling to decide on one. (Seriously, it’s a legitimate Thing.) At the suggestion of housemate and friend Liz (you may know her by my frequent mentions of Travel In Retrospect, I’m sure) I’m reading a kinda so-bad-it’s-good romance novel and it’s working as something of a palette cleanser. But I’m still eager to start my reading of other things too which is where Bout of Books comes in as it has forced me to confront the issue of my indecisiveness head on and pick a (albeit tentative) TBR for the upcoming week’s readathon.

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Discussion | TBRs – Guidelines or Rules?

Welcome folks, on this rather late evening, to another discussion post. Today, I’ve been (once again) poring over my remaining challenge prompts for an annual reading challenge, the reading prompts I want to cover in an upcoming readathon, and the TBR I set for myself back at the start of December. Trying to juggle all these things whilst also maintaining the motivation to actually read has led me to think… how do you see TBR lists? Do you treat them as rules or, as Captain Barbossa says, “more what you call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules”?

I know fellow readers who love a TBR. Those who relish the challenge. Those who love to stand in front of their bookshelves at the start of a new month and withdraw some books and place them proudly on their nightstand, ready to read throughout the month. Those who go to their local library, scribbled-down TBR list in hand, hunting for their next reads on the shelves and coming proudly home with their haul. Those who love to use challenges and readathons to help construct their monthly (and maybe even weekly) TBR lists. Those who love the satisfaction of being able to tick off/cross out a book from the same list once they’ve turned that last page.

Then, I know other readers – those who find TBRs nothing but restriction. Those who are well and truly mood readers and, when they wake up in a morning, don’t know at all what they’ll end up reading. Those who go into each month without their heads spinning with the particulars of this readathon or that book club reading list. Those who shudder away from making TBR lists because they feel like a teacher assigning you a book at school. And you may very well have wanted to read that particular book, but once someone has told you that you must, you lose all desire to do so because it has now become a chore. Those who may even go so far as to optimistically (/hopefully) construct a TBR list, only to find themselves completely ignoring it after they’ve finished writing it in their reading journal or on their blog.

I think I sit somewhere in the middle – I prefer to think of TBRs as guidelines. Even when I’m feeling at my most completionist, I very rarely set a TBR list and find myself completing every single book on there. I get bored. Or I lose motivation. Or I lost interest. Or I read a really great book that reminds me that I really want to read that other book with a similar theme, even if it wasn’t on the TBR I set mere days before. Even when it comes to short, week-long readathons, when I let myself construct a strict TBR in mind because of the short timeframe of the challenge, I often find myself deviating from my initial ideas, looking for alternatives that might be twisted to fit the challenge requirements.

I’m not posing this as a discussion point because I think either way (or anything in-between the two extremes) is the ‘right way’ to read. I’m just curious, because I see many a monthly TBR, but I don’t actually know everyone’s views on them to begin with. So, I’m asking you now: TBRs, do you treat them like rules or merely (vague) guidelines?


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