Books Thread

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dogstar
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Re: Books Thread

Post by dogstar »

Despite the fact that I'm still working managed to read a few books over the last few weeks:

CJ Samsone - Lamentation (detective novel set in London at the time of Henry VIII)
Margaret Attwood - Alias Grace

Just started on Allison Moorer's - Blood which is really good
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rlipps
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Re: Books Thread

Post by rlipps »

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Just finished this last night. I'm a huge fan of the author, as he has created a massive media presence in Kentucky focused on UK Athletics via his website and radio show. I know Moscow Mitch isn't popular, and this book helps show why and always shows how he inexplicably keeps getting reelected.

Zip City
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Re: Books Thread

Post by Zip City »

Just finished a re-read of "As I Lay Dying" by William Faulkner. Such a gorgeous book

I'm going to try reading "Sound and the Fury" again, though past attempts have left me befuddled. That book is written in such a stream of consciousness way that it can be truly maddening to follow
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Coney
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Re: Books Thread

Post by Coney »

On February 18, 1965 an overflow crowd packed the Cambridge Union in Cambridge, England to witness James Baldwin and William F. Buckley Jr. debate the topic, "the American dream is at the expense of the American Negro." The two men were less than a year apart in age, but lived in vastly different parallel worlds. This outstanding book describes those worlds and each man's influences and achievements, and how they danced around each other as cultural influencers, culminating in this debate. The author Nicholas Buccola is a professor of political science at Linfield College in Oregon, but the feel of the book is as though written by a reporter--kind of like All the President's Men. After reading it last year, I tried to push it on every one I know, even my 94 year old mother, who is presently reading it. It felt very current and important then, and even more so now. It provides deep context for the very issues screaming in our collective faces: "In the midst of this continuing racial nightmare, the conservative movement that Buckley did so much to create and champion has coalesced around a politics of racial resentment and nationalist authoritarianism. While some of the rhetoric and policy debates have evolved, the core issues that divided Baldwin and Buckley remain as relevant as ever."


https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/fire ... ok-review/
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Beaverdam
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Re: Books Thread

Post by Beaverdam »

I just finished rereading A Brave New Word!

Zip City
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Re: Books Thread

Post by Zip City »

Finishing up "Light in August" by William Faulkner. I'm not counting, but there has to be about 500 uses of the n-word in this book. Yeesh
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Re: Books Thread

Post by John A Arkansawyer »

Zip City wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 1:11 pm
Finishing up "Light in August" by William Faulkner. I'm not counting, but there has to be about 500 uses of the n-word in this book. Yeesh
That sounds like about a chapter of Kesey's Sometimes A Great Notion, and it's mostly white guys calling each other that non-ironically, to boot. That's only one reason it's the greatest novel I've ever read.
Last edited by John A Arkansawyer on Wed Jun 17, 2020 3:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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jr29
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Re: Books Thread

Post by jr29 »

I know there are some Larry Brown fans on here so I thought I'd share this....
I believe Larry's last published work before he passed was Billy Ray's Farm. It was a book of essays with the title of the book coming from an essay about Larry's son's desire to become a cattle man. Billy Ray was a teenager then and he had a ton of trouble getting started. Perhaps the most powerful part of the essay is Larry's description of the agony he felt to watch his son try so hard and want something so bad only to see everything turn to shit.
Fast forward 15 or so years Billy Ray became a part time dairy farmer. He worked other full time jobs and slowly got his dairy operation off the ground.That was in 2009.
I knew about Brown Family Dairy but I'd never sought out any of their products. A few weeks ago I decided to change that and I drove about thirty minutes south of Memphis to the Hernando Farmers Market in Hernando, Mississippi. I expected a casual stroll up to the Brown Dairy trailer, get my milk, and get on my way. What I found was a line, probably 75 people deep, waiting to get their products from Billy Ray's Farm. After asking around it seems that is normal. The Brown Family Dairy certainly seems like it is everything Larry had dreamed for his son.
Damn good milk too.

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Re: Books Thread

Post by beantownbubba »

Nice story, jr.

I'm just posting this as a reminder to myself that I keep meaning to report on some of my latest reading but never quite get around to it. Hopefully this will be a spur. Hope it's not too annoying.
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Cole Younger
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Re: Books Thread

Post by Cole Younger »

A History of Hunting the Great Smokey Mountains. The first chapters that highlight the days of the Cherokee and the hunting prowess of Dragging Canoe and his war chiefs was some of my favorite as somebody who loves the history of the Southeastern Indians. Dragging Canoe is a particularly fascinating figure to me. Partly because while there is enough written about him to illustrate what an extraordinary man he was but also because there is enough unknown to make him fairly mysterious. His warnings to the Cherokee nation relative to the European settlers and his steadfastness in waging war on what he recognized as a conquering people strikes a chord with me. He knew he was right so he didn’t care what cost him. Of course he was far from perfect and made it easy to cast him as a savage through some of his actions. Fascinating figure all the same.
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Flea
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Re: Books Thread

Post by Flea »

Cole Younger wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 2:35 pm
He knew he was right so he didn’t care what cost him.
That would be a great epitaph.
Now it's dark.

Cole Younger
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Re: Books Thread

Post by Cole Younger »

Flea wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 7:57 pm
Cole Younger wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 2:35 pm
He knew he was right so he didn’t care what cost him.
That would be a great epitaph.
Man you couldn’t ask for better.
A single shot rifle and a one eyed dog.

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Shakespeare
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Re: Books Thread

Post by Shakespeare »

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Loved this. Easy to get through in a few sittings but the whole time I felt like I'd definitely come back to this sometime, and books rarely do that for me.

It's based around two characters and told through alternating first person chapters. Very few more than two pages. The dude works at a bookstore, the woman writes children's books, they meet at a zoo and bond over freeing the turtles. It's one of those books that hinges almost entirely on inner monologues but had plenty of plot to push it forward, and the two perspectives added a lot.

Hoban is more known for his children's books and while this was firmly intended for adult readers, it had a levelheaded, wistfully naive tone that definitely felt rooted in juvenile literature. Equal parts funny and sad and I was pleasantly surprised that it avoided the obvious conclusion I saw coming early on. Really good book!

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Re: Books Thread

Post by John A Arkansawyer »

This might be the best graphic novel I've ever read. I can't think of a better one. I didn't realize it was set in a lightly-disguised early-sixties Birmingham, Alabama. I probably should have. I can't recommend it too strongly--you should get a copy. Or two.

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Shakespeare
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Re: Books Thread

Post by Shakespeare »

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i hated this book! i think the perks of being a wallflower is fantastic (and i read it at least half a dozen years too late for what i imagine is its prime impact) and guess its cool that he finally follows it up with something so different but woof

credit due for being a 700 page behemoth i could get through in 5 days but jesus christ was it bloated. i can set aside the fact that the plot got worse the more scary it got because maybe literary horror just isnt for me (shirley jackson might be the closest ive come to the genre? yet i enjoy horror movies, idk!) but he seemed to think simply the more he drew it out the darker it would seem and that absolutely was not the case. there were so many bits hed repeat over and over again for effect, some of them being cringey the first time, and it was never as richly layered as it seemed to think it was. chapters were mostly short and covered a bunch of characters so idk if id quite say the book dragged but after a generally well paced first 100-200 pages it flew off the rails hard. could have covered the rest in 100, 200 tops. the whole thing really came off like no one edited it whatsoever, and it never really did settle itself as adult/young adult/teen content

and to top it all off (SPOILER) it wraps up as an extremely lazy christianity allegory

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Shakespeare
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Re: Books Thread

Post by Shakespeare »

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Didn't like this very much. It's about a writer waking up with amnesia and eventually conversing at length with his muse in not particularly subtle fashion about the nature of writing. general theory seems to be it was rooted in fowles bitterness at critics that didnt udnerstand him. Occasionally it hit on a decent psychological back and forth (almost recalling fowles' the collector, which I loved) but generally dragged way too much and there was no real plot at all. Quick read at least

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This was excellent. Refreshingly straightforward narrative after reading two books that tried to do way too much

Plot was a road trip gone bad sort of deal and the whole thing definitely had a 50s noir feel to it, but it played with elements of romance, mystery, psychology, even a bit of dark comedy. It deviated from this in its final third but early on it was shades of a Charles portis novel, a great thing indeed.

It takes place over a holiday weekend in the northeast and absolutely nailed that unique balance of stress and relaxation. Pretty much perfectly paced too. Only 154 pages but not a single one wasted. Real promising sign for the rest of simenons stuff, which ill start looking for next time im at the library

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Thought this was just alright. It's premise, a woman who seals herself in her apartment for 30 years, seemed relevant nowadays but I felt like it didn't focus on that in enough length. Also bounced around between a bunch of other, less interesting, stories. Not bad by any means but can't say I loved it

That said It all occurs around the angolan independence so there may have been some layers that went over my head there.

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Re: Books Thread

Post by beantownbubba »

Where the Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens. I can sort of see what all the fuss is about but I have to say that if I had read it early I would not have predicted its mass success. An enjoyable book for sure and some parts are truly wonderful but it suffers at the back end because the mystery/courtroom stuff does not measure up to what came before. Kya is a wonderful character, though, no doubt about that.

A Delicate Truth - John Le Carre. Somehow I missed this one when it was new. Solid but an only so so plot balanced by good characters makes it mid level Le Carre which is still pretty damn good.

Munich - Robert Harris. Another solid effort by an author who can do better. A fine WWII spy thriller that ticks most of the boxes just not the ones that lift the genre into something more.

An Officer and a Spy - A very good [barely] fictional re-telling of the Dreyfus affair.

Mistress of the Ritz - Melanie Benjamin. A bit soapy but a very enjoyable WWII Paris spy novel, a sub-genre of its own that I really enjoy. Excellent depiction of that time and place, the spy stuff is pretty good and the couple at the center of the book are most interesting and likeable.

The Collector's Apprentice - B.A. Shapiro - More Paris, this time in the 1920's. More soap but also very enjoyable with a very likeable plucky (a word one doesn't hear much anymore) central character. A possible bonus for some: A portion of the novel takes place in Philadelphia and there are some good based on real life portraits of prominent citizens from that time.

The Bones of Paris - Laurie R. King - More Paris in the 20's. A good mystery with a good new to me detective. This was the second book in the series and was more than good enough to make me seek out the first which imo wasn't as good. The detective's romantic life is most interesting.

The Paris Architect - Charles Belfoure. Guess what? Another spy thriller set in WWII Paris. A bit of a different take because the central character is an architect as is the author. A fair amount of architectural detail which is either very interesting or very boring depending on one's inclinations but it does provide some fresh perspective in a well trod field. Enjoyable but not great.

Masked Prey - John Sandford. I keep reading this series because of my remaining loyalty to the truly terrific early entries. After a long period that has to be filed under "mailing it in" the past couple, including this one, are a marked improvement. Not up to the classics but more than good enough for the purpose and I didn't feel like a sap for reading it. If you're not familiar w/ the series, start at the beginning and you won't be disappointed. If you're a long time fan who's been turned off by some of the lesser efforts I don't think you'll be disappointed by this one.
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Re: Books Thread

Post by beantownbubba »

I'm not much of a fan of short stories/novellas (not exactly sure of the difference) so despite being a big Don Winslow fan, I don't know if I would have picked up his latest, Broken, if I had known it was a story collection. That would have been a mistake. Perhaps not his best, but that's an awfully high bar and these stories fit comfortably in a nice niche hovering below that bar. I especially love how characters from other stories and older novels regularly pop up in the stories and Winslow's wit and ability to spin a yarn are much in evidence. Recommended (but read the novels first, especially the cartel trilogy).
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Shakespeare
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Re: Books Thread

Post by Shakespeare »

couple recent ones

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Alright, didn't really care for it though. This guy goes to jail and gets out and finds himself an accidental swami figure.

Kinda realized over the years that written satire generally doesn't do a lot for me, and in this case it was too much of an obvious spiritual parable for me to feel much invested in the plot along the way. Not much into literature that feels like a means for book club prompts more than a great story

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Been thinking a bit about stuff I've read since I finished school and decided to reread a few favorites. Something about reading completely on my own terms has taken a certain element of thought away I think. Not necessarily a bad thing but I wondered if maybe there's more to the stuff I've loved in that time that I missed because there was no pressure to think much about any book beyond whether I wanted to keep reading.

Anyway this was first up and only took an afternoon. Not sure I got as much out of the second time through as I expected but i like the book a lot. Narrator's kinda a piece of shit, but a thoughtful piece of shit, and even though it's fairly light on characters there's a lot going on around the few it does have.

Recently grabbed gides the counterfeiters from the library so that's on the horizon too

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wonderful book. i dont generally love historical fiction (comes off like a lazy gimmick for me a lot of the time) but the way this used the WWII backdrop was really effective. probably in large part because it never fully abandoned its sense of whimsy (the main characters uncle is a well known kite maker and kites become a recurring motif) without totally making light of the situation. made it easy to sorta forget that WWII was happening, but when it did enter the narrative it was mostly at a distance, and approached from a perspective that was less typically political and more cultural and personal. interesting stuff! maybe it had a bit too all around happy an ending but everything that ended well had a bumpy road getting there so it didnt come off cloying for me at all. id like to read a bit more about garys life because some of this seemed derived from his own military experience

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excellent book. definitely requires a tolerance for "bad man does bad things" stories but it navigated that well. without revealing too much its about the son of a brothel owner in an occupied ~wwii era city that begins a life of crime for who knows why. based on what i knew about it going in i expected a little more tension but its not really that kind of book. very light on gory details in fact, which was a nice surprise. its bleak though, no doubt about that. written in close third person but none of the supporting characters were wasted.

i finished it alone around 11 pm with a light rain outside and it was kinda perfect. dudes hit two home runs for me so far. i think whats most impressive for me so far is how tight his writing is. both this and red lights tell a great story, far from straightforward, but without any drags at all. could easily go for twice as many pages but he keeps them lean without sacrificing anything. cant wait to read more.

beantownbubba
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Re: Books Thread

Post by beantownbubba »

I haven't read any Simenon in a while. Thanks for the reminder.

That Raymond Gary sounds interesting. I'll be on the lookout for it.
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beantownbubba
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Re: Books Thread

Post by beantownbubba »

There is a character in John Grisham's The Whistler named Cooley, no first name (or maybe no last name, it's not clear; in any case just one name). Just sayin'.
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Re: Books Thread

Post by bovine knievel »

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“Excited people get on daddy’s nerves.” - M. Cooley

chuckrh
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Re: Books Thread

Post by chuckrh »

great read

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chuckrh
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Re: Books Thread

Post by chuckrh »

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beantownbubba
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Re: Books Thread

Post by beantownbubba »

chuckrh wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 9:03 am
Image
Hadn't realized this is finally out. How exciting! Really looking forward to it but I'm like number 2,000 on the digital library list.

What did you think/how does it compare to the earlier ones?

Some recent reads:

The Chemist by Stephenie (her spelling) Meyer. It's not very often that one comes across an original take on the thriller genre. This is not perfect but its freshness and the appeal of the main character (the chemist in case you were wondering) make it worth a look.

Red Notice by Bill Browder - A truth is stranger than fiction true story that reads like a novel. Captivating story, surprisingly well written.

The Book Thief - Martin Zusak. Had been hearing about this one for a while but only just got around to reading it. Wonderful portrayal of WWII as seen from a small town German girl. Once again, the main character is compelling and her story is terrific and well told.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead - Another one I've been meaning to get to for a while and also worth the wait. A new take on an old story very well told. The slightly mystical aspects are generally not "my thing" but they worked well here.
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chuckrh
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Re: Books Thread

Post by chuckrh »

beantownbubba wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:15 pm
chuckrh wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 9:03 am
Image
Hadn't realized this is finally out. How exciting! Really looking forward to it but I'm like number 2,000 on the digital library list.

What did you think/how does it compare to the earlier ones?

Some recent reads:

The Chemist by Stephenie (her spelling) Meyer. It's not very often that one comes across an original take on the thriller genre. This is not perfect but its freshness and the appeal of the main character (the chemist in case you were wondering) make it worth a look.

Red Notice by Bill Browder - A truth is stranger than fiction true story that reads like a novel. Captivating story, surprisingly well written.

The Book Thief - Martin Zusak. Had been hearing about this one for a while but only just got around to reading it. Wonderful portrayal of WWII as seen from a small town German girl. Once again, the main character is compelling and her story is terrific and well told.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead - Another one I've been meaning to get to for a while and also worth the wait. A new take on an old story very well told. The slightly mystical aspects are generally not "my thing" but they worked well here.
I'm about halfway through. I've enjoyed the whole series. JK Rowling knows how to tell a story & is a master at developing characters. I care not about her politics, world views, etc. This is very good so far. I had to go down to the mall zone to get a minor computer issue fixed. Only $5! I stopped at Barnes & Noble (both places not actually in the mall) & got the new Ken Follett, too. Getting a workout with these 900 page epics, haha. Despite being drained from last night's glorious vanquishing of the NE Patriots ;) , been busy today. Also got my mega flu shot, so will be queasy for a few days. Hope it works this year. Waiting for the Raiders debut in Vegas in the Death Star. Raiders are my AFC team since childhood. I think old Al Davis would be proud of his son's accomplishments. Nobody (NFL, Vegas sharpies, etc) took him seriously & he got everything he wanted & then some. I think he would've preferred to stay in Oakland but he wasn't getting any help from the government etc. Stadium looks cool. I also like how Mark Davis won't attend games in person as long as the fans can't. I think they will do well in Vegas.

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Re: Books Thread

Post by beantownbubba »

chuckrh wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:54 pm
I think old Al Davis would be proud of his son's accomplishments. Nobody (NFL, Vegas sharpies, etc) took him seriously & he got everything he wanted & then some. I think he would've preferred to stay in Oakland but he wasn't getting any help from the government etc.
Ummm, I think Al's most famous quote is "just win, baby."

Generally speaking fucking over governments is not my favorite part of football, but the Raiders may be the one exception to that. I'm pretty sure that at this point and only by NFL standards, they are the one non-big money team so I can understand the con/extortion a little more.
chuckrh wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:54 pm
Despite being drained from last night's glorious vanquishing of the NE Patriots
I actually looked it up to be sure, and I'd say "vanquish" is a tad hyperbolic. Beat 'em, no doubt, and earned the W. But vanquished? I think not.
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chuckrh
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Re: Books Thread

Post by chuckrh »

beantownbubba wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 5:30 pm
chuckrh wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:54 pm
I think old Al Davis would be proud of his son's accomplishments. Nobody (NFL, Vegas sharpies, etc) took him seriously & he got everything he wanted & then some. I think he would've preferred to stay in Oakland but he wasn't getting any help from the government etc.
Ummm, I think Al's most famous quote is "just win, baby."

Generally speaking fucking over governments is not my favorite part of football, but the Raiders may be the one exception to that. I'm pretty sure that at this point and only by NFL standards, they are the one non-big money team so I can understand the con/extortion a little more.
chuckrh wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:54 pm
Despite being drained from last night's glorious vanquishing of the NE Patriots
I actually looked it up to be sure, and I'd say "vanquish" is a tad hyperbolic. Beat 'em, no doubt, and earned the W. But vanquished? I think not.
The Oakland Coliseum is really bad. It is falling apart & had issues like sewage backing up in the stadium & a rat problem, etc. When the Raiders lost out on their LA bid (which was a little bit of a ruse) the stadium commission actually increased the rent substantially. I really hope the A's can get out of there, too. A little hyperbole in regards to the Patriots in Seattle is to be expected. We don't even need to go there....

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