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(io9)   Good old fashioned brick and mortar bookstores are, sadly, dying out. There are many factors contributing to their demise; higher illeteracy rates, laziness, free wi-fi, inexplicable coffee cafes, and general malaise   (io9.com) divider line 255
    More: Asinine, Barnes & Noble, science fiction writers, online shopping, romance novels, charlie jane anders, bookstores, online communities, Citria Publishing  
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5563 clicks; posted to Main » on 15 Jan 2010 at 2:40 AM (4 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2010-01-15 02:24:25 PM
MuadDib: higher illeteracy rates

I really want to believe that was intentional, but my Scully sense is tingling.


Not sure if we should give subby the benefit of the doubt on this one.

/loves small bookstores
 
2010-01-15 02:24:31 PM
1lastcall: I have been intrigued by H of L, but I cannot tolerate scary books AT ALL, so I've been loathe to try it... too worried I'll get sucked in and end up a twitching mass of terror stricken jello by the end.

Likewise - it was my first foray into horror since an old copy of the Dunwich Horror I read as a teen. Depending on your personality, H of L is either not scary at all, or rather horrifying.

*mild spoilers in discussion, but nothing severe - if you've decided to read it, read no further*

It's not a slasher story - the few casualties are quite anticlimactic. After lengthy preamble, it starts out with a bit of oogah boogah scary-stuff, but moves away from that when the main plot really takes off. It does, however, thoroughly get under your skin and fark with your head. It also uses the ample footnotes to describe the many ways that real-world explorers died historically, and gives you a good idea what it would feel like to starve and freeze to death over the course of several days. The book is, obviously enough, about feeling *lost* (and hopeless), which is distinct from feeling afraid.

However, I couldn't decipher any of the puzzles, and quickly gave up because I wanted to follow the story.

Either way, my point is that in the end, Danielewsky is just trying to get under your skin and creep you out. DFW is talking about things that are far more real.
 
2010-01-15 02:34:01 PM
This:

I have no fear of the known, it is the unknown that can keep me up so many nights in a row that hallucinations become my constant companions. DFW is a mind fark, but not in the HOLY CRAP WHAT'S IN THE CLOSET kind of way, more the oh my god what is the point of it all anyway kind of way. Choose your poison. Enjoy it when you get to it, a metric sh*t ton of it made me laugh out loud.
 
2010-01-15 02:39:39 PM
As long as libraries are around, I don't give a damn. Libraries are the best thing ever. DVDs and books, for free. Whenever I want. And if they don't have what I want, they'll order it and notify me when it's ready to pick up. God damn I love libraries.
 
2010-01-15 02:41:14 PM
1lastcall: DFW is a mind fark, but not in the HOLY CRAP WHAT'S IN THE CLOSET kind of way, more the oh my god what is the point of it all anyway kind of way.

Yeah, that's my point - the DFW "oh my god what is the point of it all anyway" mindfark is far more likely to put me in a panic demanding a stiff drink than the "you're alone in a yawning, infinite void and you're going to die there... slowly" stuff from House of Leaves... but HoL did some good damage too.
 
2010-01-15 02:44:40 PM
This: 1lastcall: DFW is a mind fark, but not in the HOLY CRAP WHAT'S IN THE CLOSET kind of way, more the oh my god what is the point of it all anyway kind of way.

Yeah, that's my point - the DFW "oh my god what is the point of it all anyway" mindfark is far more likely to put me in a panic demanding a stiff drink than the "you're alone in a yawning, infinite void and you're going to die there... slowly" stuff from House of Leaves... but HoL did some good damage too.


Gimme mind fark any day. I can't take being ooga booga'd. Scooby Doo scares me.
 
2010-01-15 02:45:34 PM
morgantx: which Heinlein books aren't really appropriate for a 12YO (some of the more sexual ones, like "Stranger in a Strange Land", for example)

I was thirteen when I first read that, and the nasty, naughty sex farked me up for life. Not rly.
 
2010-01-15 02:47:49 PM
oldebayer: morgantx: which Heinlein books aren't really appropriate for a 12YO (some of the more sexual ones, like "Stranger in a Strange Land", for example)

I was thirteen when I first read that, and the nasty, naughty sex farked me up for life. Not rly.


I was a bit more freaked out by the cannibalism than the sex, personally. But you can't deny that there is a good bit of sex there that the kid's grandma would probably object to.
 
2010-01-15 03:00:19 PM
Russ1642: Why? Last time I was in a public library it was full of bums sleeping and kids selling drugs. Go to a B&M bookstore and they're selling books for way more than it costs at Amazon.


Barbecue Bob: You need to move from whatever shiithole you live in where they let bums and dealers hang out in your library.


aquaticphoenix: Seconded. If the library staff don't fancy kicking them out themselves, then they should either hire larger staff members or, y'know, call the cops.

/ good luck paying the library bouncers, though



Just a thought. Why not let the local cops know that there's always free good coffee and doughnuts available at the library, if they agree to sweep the place out. Quite a bit cheaper than bouncers.
 
2010-01-15 03:00:47 PM
morgantx: oldebayer: morgantx: which Heinlein books aren't really appropriate for a 12YO (some of the more sexual ones, like "Stranger in a Strange Land", for example)

I was thirteen when I first read that, and the nasty, naughty sex farked me up for life. Not rly.

I was a bit more freaked out by the cannibalism than the sex, personally. But you can't deny that there is a good bit of sex there that the kid's grandma would probably object to.


Speaking of it, I've never actually read Stranger. Is it actually good? I enjoyed Moon Is A Harsh Mistress on a good popcorn level, and read some of his juviniles back in the day... and read one of his later oh-God-I'm-an-old-man-who-is-gonna-die-soon books (Cat Who Walks through Walls), and it obviously wasn't intended for me - it was a love-letter to his fans and his wife.
 
2010-01-15 03:06:37 PM
This: I've never actually read Stranger. Is it actually good?

I'd say so. But I only read it once, and that was 14 years ago, so I may have missed something. Go into it with few expectations and you'll probably enjoy it more. FWIW, I thought The Forever War by Joe Haldeman was a much better book than Starship Troopers, so take that into account as well.
 
2010-01-15 03:09:40 PM
Stranger is good, but it's not as good as it's hyped up to be. It's a work of its time-very infused with sixties sensibility, examining the culture of that period in an "if this, then what?" sort of way. Though I actually DID read it when I was about twelve or thirteen, and neither the sex, nor the cannibalism really bothered me. But I'd already encountered the whole "cannibalism as funerary ritual" idea elsewhere at that point. (Anne Rice, before she got religion and lost her editors.)

TMIAHM is actually a better book, structurally speaking. But Heinlein has a little something for everybody- I'm actually partial to the weirder, later stuff, after most folks think he'd lost his fool mind. (To Sail Beyond the Sunset is perhaps my favorite book of all time.)
 
2010-01-15 03:10:06 PM
I have so many books, I can't keep track of them all when I'm out on the prowl for new ones. I'm trying to solve my problem by scanning them into Librarything
All I need now is a smart phone to access the list via the interwebs while I'm shopping and the whole list will be at my fingertips.

//Too poor just yet for internet on the mobile
 
2010-01-15 03:14:01 PM
Half Price Books here is hit or miss. The local Walden Books is liquidating. Borders and B&N shut down the independents. Why does Amazon rock? Discounted books with free shipping over $25 and no sales tax for customers in Texas. Amazon's used book dealers are awesome. One hand delivered one of my daughter's textbooks to her duplex in Waco. (Sic 'em Bears!)

Some farkers love to talk crap about Texas. There are literate people here. There are excellent schools here. The best part is that you don't have to work several jobs to rent a shiatty apartment in a scary part of town.

///Thirty year fixed rate mortgage on one federal job///
//3000 square foot house with yard//
/Nice suburb ten miles from downtown/
 
2010-01-15 03:15:50 PM
danceswithcrows: This: I've never actually read Stranger. Is it actually good?

I'd say so. But I only read it once, and that was 14 years ago, so I may have missed something. Go into it with few expectations and you'll probably enjoy it more. FWIW, I thought The Forever War by Joe Haldeman was a much better book than Starship Troopers, so take that into account as well.


... sounds like we're on the same page then. Too bad Haldeman can only produce good books once in a while, and has to crank out garbage to fill the store shelves to keep food on his table.

Also: for those who don't know, Spider Robinson's wife is dying of cancer, and they need money.
 
2010-01-15 03:19:18 PM
GAT_00: Did anyone else notice the irony of illiteracy spelled wrong in the headline, or was that just me?

I thought that was possibly intentional. Maybe an obscure Mr. Show reference?
 
2010-01-15 03:40:03 PM
This: I've never actually read Stranger. Is it actually good?

It's good enough to be worth reading, if only on a "popcorn" level. (I think I ate Doritos while reading it.)

I grew up on Heinleins "juveniles," of which Have Space Suit, Will Travel and Citizen of the Galaxy are probably the best. Of his later work, I like Double Star, Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, in roughly ascending order. After that, his work dropped off significantly -- not that that's a bad thing, since a lot of writers only manage one or two really good books.
 
2010-01-15 03:46:23 PM
Anodos: and I'm pretty sure that there are literary traditions in Egypt, Lebanon (although some of that may be done in French,)

For one, a little thing called the Library of Alexandria comes to mind :)

Anyway, I'd really like to be able to read Arabic - lots of fascinating historical stuff I'd like to check out. I do wonder how difficult it is to learn. You mention it doesn't have vowels? I assume it's similar to Hebrew in that regard?
 
2010-01-15 03:46:48 PM
This: Too bad Haldeman can only produce good books once in a while

The library where I grew up had a bunch of his books. I read a few more of them later. A few years back, I thought, "If you only read Forever War, Forever Peace (unrelated to Forever War), and possibly There Is No Darkness, then you'd have pretty much read the books Haldeman's written that are actually worth reading." I Could Be Wrong.
 
2010-01-15 03:52:25 PM
I didn't shed a tear when NetFlix knocked brick and mortar movie rental stores out of the market, and I won't shed a tear when Amazon does the same to the bookstores. Internet provides better selection, cheaper prices, and shipping directly to my house.
 
2010-01-15 03:52:48 PM
oldebayer:

Oh heck yeah :) Have Space Suit, Will Travel is what got me into Heinlein's generation in the first place. Before that, I'd only really read what I could find in the grade school library (which means H G Wells and Jules Verne - not that there's anything wrong with that, but I swear, they didn't have a book that was under 70 years old).
 
2010-01-15 03:55:34 PM
LouDobbsAwaaaay: I didn't shed a tear when NetFlix knocked brick and mortar movie rental stores out of the market, and I won't shed a tear when Amazon does the same to the bookstores. Internet provides better selection, cheaper prices, and shipping directly to my house.

Has anyone here used their Netflix accounts with their Xbox 360s to watch stuff instantly? Sweet jebus that owns. It's like... the future!
*stars in eyes*
/easily impressed
 
2010-01-15 04:00:17 PM
danceswithcrows: I think the series has sort of plateaued, myself, but it's a pretty high plateau. Butcher's done a decent job of writing an 11-book series and avoiding most of the "OMG formula!" traps that authors can fall into. That's something a lot of series authors fail at.

Oh, YOU obviously don't know the game-changing spoiler for Changes, the new novel set to come out in April. If you don't, whatever you do, do NOT read the Amazon plot summary, do NOT go on the Jim Butcher forums, and do NOT read the dust jacket before you read the book.
 
2010-01-15 04:11:06 PM
danceswithcrows: This: Too bad Haldeman can only produce good books once in a while

The library where I grew up had a bunch of his books. I read a few more of them later. A few years back, I thought, "If you only read Forever War, Forever Peace (unrelated to Forever War), and possibly There Is No Darkness, then you'd have pretty much read the books Haldeman's written that are actually worth reading." I Could Be Wrong.


Been a long, long time since I read it, but All My Sins Remembered was also good.
 
2010-01-15 04:16:55 PM
This seems like a good place to thank the farker who recommended "The Yellow Lighted Bookshop." LOVED it! All you bookstore lovers should check it out.

Between my Sony Reader, the library, used book sales, and occasional trips to Borders, I have enough to feed my 20+ books a month habit.

And for all of you Dresden Files fanboys (and girls) out there:
 
2010-01-15 04:18:31 PM
Dammit, my pic didn't work. Here's the link:
http://www.bowlofserial.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/full_dresden3.jpg
(Harry riding Sue)
 
2010-01-15 04:28:43 PM
1lastcall: Book snobs remind me of the douchebags that walk around with Kierkegaard prominently displayed so everyone can see how deep and intellectual they are, but when questioned couldn't answer as to his philosophies.

Heh.

The closest I come to this is carrying around the works of Charles Bukowski, who should be the patron saint of we FARKERS, IMHO.

/ has a wide range of taste regarding reading material.
// everything from "The Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius to DC Comics "52" series...
 
2010-01-15 04:33:27 PM
Forbidden Doughnut: 1lastcall: Book snobs remind me of the douchebags that walk around with Kierkegaard prominently displayed so everyone can see how deep and intellectual they are, but when questioned couldn't answer as to his philosophies.

Heh.

The closest I come to this is carrying around the works of Charles Bukowski, who should be the patron saint of we FARKERS, IMHO.

/ has a wide range of taste regarding reading material.
// everything from "The Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius to DC Comics "52" series...



"Factotum" was a pretty good read.
 
2010-01-15 04:33:36 PM
MycroftHolmes: And I guess you are one of those guys who feels entitles to free service from 'associates' because, well, you want it.

Hah, to the contrary. I'm an "associate" my self. I was merely pointing out that brick and mortar stores have a lot of overhead that internet sellers don't. Hence their demise.
 
2010-01-15 04:37:55 PM
Abstruse: Oh, YOU obviously don't know the game-changing spoiler for Changes

Hm. The only way that could go back to the stuff established in the previous books is if the kid dies at the end--which could happen, but wouldn't be all that popular with readers. It's a bit too literary/depressing for the genre. I think. ICBW. Or if there wasn't really a kid, but that'd be a horrible cop-out. No, I haven't read the spoilers, I'd rather be semi-surprised when I finally get around to reading it.

This: All My Sins Remembered was also good.

The library back in Michigan didn't have that one, so I never saw it. Now I have something else to pick up on the next library trip....
 
2010-01-15 04:43:17 PM
Anyone have any good suggestions for a fantasy or sci-fi series to tide me over until Robert Jordan's last books are released? Thinking about picking up some Dan Abnett and the Gaunt's Ghosts series.

\glad they are finishing up his series, can't wait until november though...
 
2010-01-15 04:43:40 PM
1lastcall: Book snobs remind me of the douchebags that walk around with Kierkegaard prominently displayed so everyone can see how deep and intellectual they are, but when questioned couldn't answer as to his philosophies.

I guess you must be talking about Soren. I have only read his brother Hans's cookbook, which has a marvelous recipe for prune Danish.
 
2010-01-15 05:05:18 PM
oldebayer:
I have twice made the detour to Archer City, TX to visit Larry McMurtry's used book shop. Four buildings full of goodies. If I'd had a U-Haul trailer, I could have filled it.


You JERK!

As if I'm not broke enough!

/Didn't know that was there
//Have way too many books already...
 
2010-01-15 05:09:38 PM
I was too tired to expand upon the Powell's comment last night...

Price is my huge issue with Barnes & Noble, and also the fact that there's no used books that I've noticed. There's also no sense of community or ownership in any of the (like I said earlier) large corporate/franchise bookstores.

In an average week, I have at least one post-sushi/post-coffee walk down to Powell's with a fifteen dollar spending limit. This week's fifteen yielded a brand-new hard-cover copy of Bob Woodward's The Commanders (west side of the purple room) and two used Battlenet books (in the Gold room which was the H.P Lovecraft wall before they rearranged). Then every time I find myself with a book that I don't want to read over and over again, I can go down to Powell's with my books I don't need over-packing our large supply of shelves, and I can either get cash or agree to Powell's credit, which gives you 20% more to spend than if you went with cash.

It's a part of the community and psyche of its city. A group of people who find themselves bored will often wind up in Powell's. First dates have been known to happen at Powell's. I think one of the best ways in the entire world to get a basic grasp on who a person is is to wander through Powell's with them.

The coffee shop is all local and has a large room with a ton of tables, usually at least half full, where you can browse your books, play a game of chess or Go with a stranger, or watch the busy hours of the street outside. There's no rush, there's no, "Sorry, you've been here for two hours and only paid us 2 dollars for that latte, get out".

If more bookstores were Powell's, bookstores would probably outlast humanity. At which point orangoutangs will be forced to maintain them.

PS: Since they rearranged, I'm in credibly bummed that there is no longer an aisle titled "Erotica and Nautical Fiction."
 
2010-01-15 05:09:54 PM
Jesus Christ it's a lion! Get in the car!: Anyone have any good suggestions for a fantasy or sci-fi series? Thinking about picking up some Dan Abnett and the Gaunt's Ghosts series.

I enjoyed Hyperion and its sequels, by Dan Simmons. It's like The Canterbury Tales with a 9-foot-tall indestructible four-armed killing machine made out of bladed weapons. Perdido Street Station and The Scar by China Miéville if you'd like something a bit more steampunk and literary. Iain M. Banks's Culture novels are practically all worth reading.
 
2010-01-15 05:14:05 PM
CrispFlows: Even if Amazon provides previews, There's still the wait period.

Less than 60 seconds for Kindle.

I love my Kindle! And I'm saving bookshelf space for the books I can't live without.
 
2010-01-15 05:22:41 PM
danceswithcrows: I enjoyed Hyperion and its sequels, by Dan Simmons. It's like The Canterbury Tales with a 9-foot-tall indestructible four-armed killing machine made out of bladed weapons.

The big problem with the Hyperion series (really, a pair of pairs more than a series) is that Simmons obviously was not plotting the whole thing from the start - each volume is full of piles of retcons.

The first book, I agree, is wonderful... but it ends on a cliffhanger. The second one is good (though not as good as the first) and provides resolution for the first book.

The third and fourth are a good messianic-heroic-adventure story, but don't measure up to the first and are plagued with retcons. Still, good reads.
 
2010-01-15 05:26:17 PM
danceswithcrows: Hm. The only way that could go back to the stuff established in the previous books is if the kid dies at the end--which could happen, but wouldn't be all that popular with readers. It's a bit too literary/depressing for the genre. I think. ICBW. Or if there wasn't really a kid, but that'd be a horrible cop-out. No, I haven't read the spoilers, I'd rather be semi-surprised when I finally get around to reading it.

The kid's the spoiler. I mean it's the first line of the book and I suspected it, but it still came out of left field for me.
 
2010-01-15 05:37:27 PM
I bought me a sony e-reader for deployments but I seem to be reading more and more books on that instead of heading over to the bookstore myself.
 
2010-01-15 05:40:17 PM
danceswithcrows: Jesus Christ it's a lion! Get in the car!: Anyone have any good suggestions for a fantasy or sci-fi series? Thinking about picking up some Dan Abnett and the Gaunt's Ghosts series.

I enjoyed Hyperion and its sequels, by Dan Simmons. It's like The Canterbury Tales with a 9-foot-tall indestructible four-armed killing machine made out of bladed weapons. Perdido Street Station and The Scar by China Miéville if you'd like something a bit more steampunk and literary. Iain M. Banks's Culture novels are practically all worth reading.


Thanks! I know what to keep an eye out for when I finally get some cash! >=3
 
2010-01-15 05:53:46 PM
Perhaps if I couldn't buy books off of Amazon (real books, not e) for half of what B&M book stores sell them for I would be more inclined to give them my business.

That and the unhelpful staff, not having complete series, most of the books being a disorganized mess and numerous other problems also contribute to me not going into their stores.
 
2010-01-15 06:27:05 PM
Person: numerous other problems also contribute to me not going into their stores

For me it's the numerous miles I have to drive -- over a hundred in any of three directions -- to get to one of their stores.

There is one -- Hastings -- about twenty miles away, that is surprisingly good for a chain. They have used books, videos, comics, etc. And even a little coffee bar. Plus -- and this is something I've never seen in Border's or Barnes and Noble -- a tornado shelter.
 
2010-01-15 07:02:22 PM
Forbidden Doughnut: 1lastcall: Book snobs remind me of the douchebags that walk around with Kierkegaard prominently displayed so everyone can see how deep and intellectual they are, but when questioned couldn't answer as to his philosophies.

Heh.

The closest I come to this is carrying around the works of Charles Bukowski, who should be the patron saint of we FARKERS, IMHO.

/ has a wide range of taste regarding reading material.
// everything from "The Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius to DC Comics "52" series...


His poetry should be required reading for the ENTIRE WORLD. Ok, maybe a tad excited there ... but I do wish everyone would read it. I think they'd change their minds about the accessibility of poetry. (Also, every time I hear the name Charles Bukowski I have to remember if it's the author or Charles Bronson's original name. Snort.)

/Book nerd humor FTW.
 
2010-01-15 07:04:59 PM
oldebayer: 1lastcall: Book snobs remind me of the douchebags that walk around with Kierkegaard prominently displayed so everyone can see how deep and intellectual they are, but when questioned couldn't answer as to his philosophies.

I guess you must be talking about Soren. I have only read his brother Hans's cookbook, which has a marvelous recipe for prune Danish.


That single sentence is filled without about five layers of hilarious goodness. You may carry whichever book you choose, good sir.
 
2010-01-15 07:40:30 PM
I shop anywhere I can buy books, online, my book clubs, at new bookstores, used bookstores, secondhand stores, yard sales....
I check my local library about once a month, they pull books off the shelves on a fairly regular basis and sell them for next to nothing. I love books, and have 80 to 90 books in my "to read" pile.
I have people at several secondhand stores that put back books for me to check out before they even put them out, they know they will have a good home if I buy them.
 
2010-01-15 09:54:34 PM
FarkingUpTheWrongTree: Anodos: and I'm pretty sure that there are literary traditions in Egypt, Lebanon (although some of that may be done in French,)

For one, a little thing called the Library of Alexandria comes to mind :)

Anyway, I'd really like to be able to read Arabic - lots of fascinating historical stuff I'd like to check out. I do wonder how difficult it is to learn. You mention it doesn't have vowels? I assume it's similar to Hebrew in that regard?


I had/have a lot of trouble with the pronunciation, and the lack of vowels in everyday written Arabic makes it so that you have to learn most words by memorization (and dialect differences make the vowels functionally like Chinese characters - they change from region to region even though Arabic is written the same everywhere)but it's not that difficult in principle, just time-consuming... to be fair/clear I only took a single year and was taking other languages at the time, which is a bad way to learn in retrospect.
 
2010-01-16 12:49:46 AM
Two of them just died by me and while I'm not happy, I got cheap The Walking Dead trades and some hardcovers for 4 bucks out of it. I mainly use the library, books went up too fast in price for me to be able to pick them up the way I used too.
 
2010-01-16 01:07:59 AM
PhaserQuest: Acre

They closed Acres of Books down last year or in 2008. They were going to put condominiums in, but the building facade was declared a landmark. So the owners got bought out and the building is just sitting there.
 
2010-01-16 09:47:43 AM
robmilmel: I think the used bookstores are still doing OK, they're largely small local places. You can actually talk lit and get advice on authors you might like from them, as opposed to national chains where all they can tell you is where the coffee bar is.

I work at a major chain as my second job, and would be happy to talk lit and give advice on authors if people would just stop asking me for Glenn Beck's new book; that one book by Karen Kingsbury; or the bathroom.
 
2010-01-16 12:42:33 PM
Anodos: FarkingUpTheWrongTree: Anodos: and I'm pretty sure that there are literary traditions in Egypt, Lebanon (although some of that may be done in French,)

For one, a little thing called the Library of Alexandria comes to mind :)

Anyway, I'd really like to be able to read Arabic - lots of fascinating historical stuff I'd like to check out. I do wonder how difficult it is to learn. You mention it doesn't have vowels? I assume it's similar to Hebrew in that regard?

I had/have a lot of trouble with the pronunciation, and the lack of vowels in everyday written Arabic makes it so that you have to learn most words by memorization (and dialect differences make the vowels functionally like Chinese characters - they change from region to region even though Arabic is written the same everywhere)but it's not that difficult in principle, just time-consuming... to be fair/clear I only took a single year and was taking other languages at the time, which is a bad way to learn in retrospect.


Was this at a Uni? I'm not sure if they offer Arabic where I am.

The vowel/memorization bit does sound familiar as in Hebrew, but then, English has so many moranically spelled words that make no phonetic sense, I suppose we have to do the same thing more than we realize.
 
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