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On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous | Ocean Vuong
Brilliant, heartbreaking, tender, and highly original poet Ocean Vuong's debut novel is a sweeping and shattering portrait of a family, and a testament to the redemptive power of storytelling On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family's history that began before he was born a history whose epicentre is rooted in Vietnam and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to the American moment, immersed as it is in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one's own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard. With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. The question of how to survive, and how to make of it a kind of joy, powers the most important debut novel of many years.
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CorgiBooks
Pickpick

Can't believe I forgot to review this! I mean I love poetic prose so this was always going to be one for me, the blend of the autobiographical stories and bittersweet ideals works perfectly and I thoroughly enjoyed it

5 likes1 stack add
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ItsAnotherJen
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Pickpick

"Did you know people get rich off of sadness? I want to meet the millionaire of American sadness. I want to look him in the eye, shake his hand, and say, 'it's been an honor to serve my country."

The title of this book made me want to read it more than anything. It's such beautiful writing, containing more meaning in some sentences than most books have in their entirety.
?❤

tokorowilliamwallace Yes, these people are called healthcare administrators, insurance companies, pharmaceutical administrators/medical supply companies. Insulin is more inaccessible and expensive here than in other countries of people I've talked to, including India and the Philippines! 1mo
88 likes4 stack adds1 comment
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rather_be_reading
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Book 207

Tera66 I'm starting this one tomorrow hopefully! 2mo
kamoorephoto I love the title of this book… 2mo
rather_be_reading @Tera66 so good. so sad 2mo
rather_be_reading @kamoorephoto def catches attention 2mo
62 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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Creme_de_la_them
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Pickpick

What a beautiful, complicated, hard book. This autobiographical novel is a letter to the author‘s mother. It covers topics like racism, immigration, war, imperialism, inter generational trauma, opioids and youth overdoses, sexuality, the intersection of race and sexuality, poverty, addiction, mental illness, abuse, and the way decades of manual labor break down a person‘s body. I highly recommend reading it.

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Tsalm1
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Pickpick

Book 14 of 2021 - can see why this has been so highly praised. Quite poetic at times, which I sometimes struggle to engage with, but definitely worth a read. Raw, honest and beautiful. 4 ⭐️s

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Creme_de_la_them

“Sometimes, when I‘m careless, I think survival is easy: you just keep moving forward with what you have, or what‘s left of what you were given, until something changes—or you realize, at last, that you can change without disappearing, that all you had to do was wait until the storm passes you over and you find that—yes—your name is still attached to a living thing.”

—Ocean Vuong

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NovelNancy
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“We try to preserve life -- even when we know it has no chance of enduring its body. We feed it, keep it comfortable, bathe it, medicate it, caress it, even sing to it. We tend to these basic functions not because we are brave or selfless but because, like breath, it is the most fundamental act of our species: to sustain the body until time leaves it behind“ (198).

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mirnass
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Pickpick

A young man of Vietnamese origine writes a letter to his illiterate mother. Amazing novel! Excellent story and style. Ocean Vuong is a promising young writer

19 likes1 stack add
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k8makesart
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"But why can't the language for creativity be the language of regeneration?"

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k8makesart
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"The girl, her ear pressed to the woman's chest, listens as if eavesdropping behind a door."

6 likes1 stack add
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GatheringBooks
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Eva2
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Pickpick

Beautifully written book.

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SanjanaGhosh
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Words like these make me wonder, how is such depth of thought or feelings even possible? This is so beautiful!

19 likes1 stack add
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itsyvetperez
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Pickpick

"Too much joy, I swear, is lost on our
desperation to keep it."

-- 5⭐️

#oceanvuong #bookstagram #bookstoread

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BekaReid
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Pickpick

Beautiful writing. Powerful story.

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BekaReid
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“Who will be lost in the story we tell ourselves? Who will be lost in ourselves? A story, after all, is a kind of swallowing. To open a mouth, in speech, is to leave only the bones, which remain untold.”

monalyisha I loved this book so much. 💗 6mo
BekaReid @monalyisha I'm nearly half way through it, and it's sooo good ❤️ 6mo
18 likes1 stack add2 comments
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KadeLexical
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To be a monster is to be a hybrid signal, a lighthouse: both shelter and warning at once.

13 likes1 stack add
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heyitsMacall
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Pickpick

This book! Such beauty! Books like these make me feel like a book snob. My book club read and discussed for this book and I loved sharing it with my friends 💕

29 likes1 stack add
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kaysworld1
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Pickpick

This book is a mixture of everything happy, sad, first times, heartbreak, loss, misunderstanding in mental health, read by Ocean himself with his emotional warmth and bluntness.

#currentlyreading #audiobook #autobiography #librarybook #readingthelibrary #readyforthefuture #readathon #reading #readingmyownbooks #loveislove #lgbtq #queerbooks #love

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Kdgordon88
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#CuriousCovers Day 7 #Gray

I started this one a while ago but it wasn‘t the right time. It‘s back on the shelf for now as I want to try again instead of making it a DNF.

Eggs The “right time” is important! ☑️🔘⚫️⚪️ 8mo
TieDyeDude Same. I look forward to trying it again 8mo
48 likes2 comments
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MamaMastracci
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My May 2021 reads. It‘s Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month and I wanted to honor that by reading #AAPI authors this month. There were some excellent reads this month!
#Bookworm #May2021Reads #AAPIauthors 📚🐛❤️

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DrexEdit
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Pickpick

How can this beautiful book be anything other than 5 ⭐ Such a powerful story told by a young writer with powerful skills. The language alone is worth reading this book. I read the book and tonight attended a live book event with Ocean Vuong. Such an amazing human being. These are the kinds of people I am just in awe of. So much generosity, so much love, so much empathy, so much knowledge!
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

DrexEdit They mentioned at the event tonight that a movie is being made from this book. I won't even bother with that. This book is not about visuals. It's pure, beautiful language! 9mo
ChaoticMissAdventures How lucky to see him. I agree, I loved the book and see no need for a movie because it was all about his beautiful language. 9mo
44 likes2 comments
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DrexEdit
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Starting a new book late on a Saturday night. Not getting much done tonight besides reading! 📖🤓

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rachaich
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Mehso-so

Hard.
Tough.
Didn't appeal...
The actual prose is sublime, so full and rich even when it's describing harrowing and harsh experience or landscape. But the story, the content, I struggled and would have given up except for it being a book club.

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rachaich
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So, book club pick... really like the blurb on the back but finding it a tough read...😏😏

Cupcake12 Pretty cover 🌺 9mo
rockpools Definitely! I was glad I‘d read it, but even more glad when I‘d finished it! 9mo
20 likes2 comments
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youneverarrived
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Pickpick

Four stars because there‘s no denying it‘s beautifully written. For a novel that deals with tough issues like mental illness, addiction and feeling displaced I didn‘t want to stop reading it, and read parts over again. It‘s not without its faults though - I didn‘t connect to the characters much and as beautiful as the writing is there were times it had a feeling of try hard about it. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Cathythoughts Great review! 10mo
AmyG I agree with what you wrote-great review. 10mo
See All 6 Comments
Liz_M Yes - beautiful, but distancing, prose! 10mo
youneverarrived @Liz_M exactly that! 10mo
64 likes1 stack add6 comments
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Liz_M
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Pickpick

Brought to the US as a toddler by an abusive, loving mother and sharing a home with a schizophrenic, wise grandmother, the narrator lives in an unsteady, harsh world that can only be stabilized by translation. As a letter to his illiterate mother, he writes himself into existence. Perhaps a too-much anticipated read. I‘ve loved other novels written by poets, with similar stories, but this was a little too ephemeral, too flitting, too inscrutable.

Liz_M 3.5⭐ @TheAromaofBooks this is my March #Bookspin. 10mo
TheAromaofBooks Great review!! 10mo
sarahbarnes Great review! 10mo
32 likes4 comments
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CuriousG
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I'm posting one book per day from the ever growing unread stacks in my personal library. No description or explanation, just books I own and plan to read. #tbr

Day 8

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juliegumdrop
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This has a very melancholy and lyrical feel to it.

britt_brooke It‘s profoundly sad, but also so beautiful. I read it in January and immediately knew it would be a top read for me this year. 💚 11mo
16 likes1 comment
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Jari-chan
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Pickpick

I've heard a lot about this book, but never really wanted to read it, until the #FoodandLit challenge came around 😅 And wow! - I'm stunned! Beautifully written, deep and filled with emotion, the book just sucked me in. This was so intense.

#Vietnam @Texreader @Butterfinger
#BookSpinBingo @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 11mo
BarbaraBB What a beautiful edition 😍 11mo
Butterfinger Great review. 11mo
TiminCalifornia Love the cover. 11mo
Texreader Beautiful review 11mo
41 likes1 stack add5 comments
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rockpools
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Pickpick

‘By then, violence was already mundane to me, was what I knew, ultimately, of love.‘

Beautifully written, often evocative, frequently distressing, this is the story of Little Dog, his mother and grandmother, and his first love, Trevor. Vuong looks at what it means to be the child of a survivor of war, and to be a child immigrant, acting as interpreter for a mother who doesn‘t have the language.

It‘s a pick because I can‘t describe it as so-so.

rockpools As a novel it‘s disorientating, with frequent timeshifts, not necessarily within Little Dog‘s lifetime. It reads like memoir, which makes it even more raw. I found the poetry sections easier, where you can abandon the need for narrative and appreciate the thoughts and language.

Like @squirrelbrain , I‘m glad to have read it, but... Thanks for the #buddyread Helen - not sure I‘d have actually got through it otherwise!
11mo
Librarybelle Great review! 11mo
See All 12 Comments
Nutmegnc “Beautifully written, often evocative, frequently distressing...” is the perfect description of this text. It wasn‘t easy to live with but I‘m so glad I read it. 11mo
Cathythoughts Great review 👍🏻❤️ 11mo
squirrelbrain Great review Rachel, and I don‘t think I‘d have finished it either if it hadn‘t have been for our #buddyread so thank you! 😘 11mo
rockpools @Librarybelle Thank you 😊 11mo
rockpools @Nutmegnc Thanks - this was a really tough read, wasn‘t it? 11mo
rockpools @Cathythoughts Thanks, Cathy 😘 11mo
rockpools @squirrelbrain I‘m on shiney happy reads for the rest of the month now. Just as soon as I finish Thin Places... And the rest of the ARCs in my heap! 🙄 Have a good week Helen xx 11mo
squirrelbrain I went straight into this one... I think it was more traumatic! (But actually I loved it) 11mo
rockpools @squirrelbrain What are we like?! 11mo
66 likes12 comments
review
Ididsoidid
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Pickpick

Beautiful writing, layered and lyrical. Not so much a narrative of events but an exposition of their emotional consequences. The family traumas and life‘s heartaches bearing on Little Dog‘s soul are perfectly and thoughtfully captured. 9/10

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rockpools
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“I always insist with a little mischievousness that I‘m writing something very normal, very common,” Vuong has said. “In fact, perhaps the middle class story is the exotic, is the rare, privileged gem that very few people get to experience.”

Quote from the New Yorker. The article/review itself gives an extensive summary of the entire plot of the book though - I know we‘re not in thriller territory, but I‘d really rather they didn‘t.

rockpools https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/06/10/ocean-vuongs-life-sentences

I‘d stopped reading, to Google, I wanted to know how much of this was Vuong‘s life. I‘ve seen it described as autofiction, and it seems there‘s a LOT of his own life in here.

Still reading I‘m afraid @squirrelbrain
11mo
Cathythoughts Beautiful photo 11mo
Cathythoughts And yes , that‘s very annoying when the story is given away .... 11mo
See All 7 Comments
rockpools @Cathythoughts Thanks Cathy. One day I‘ll find photos of something other than the beach on my phone... but probably not this weekend! 11mo
squirrelbrain You know me though Rachel, I‘m very much a speed reader, so don‘t apologise! How are you finding it now? 11mo
rockpools @squirrelbrain Working in the tobacco fields now. I‘m liking this section more, but I‘m still not entirely sure how I feel about it. Have a good weekend Helen 🙂 11mo
squirrelbrain I felt that it got better as it went on, and less of the more upsetting stuff too; or maybe I just got used to it. Have a lovely weekend! 11mo
52 likes7 comments
review
squirrelbrain
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Mehso-so

I‘m really conflicted on how to review this one. I thought the writing was beautiful but most of the subject matter was really upsetting, distasteful, violent, explicit.... I could go on.

I‘ll glad I read it but I‘m not sure I could recommend it... so i think it‘s going to have to be a so-so, purely for the content. The writing would be a pick.

What did you think Rachel? #buddyread

#readingasia2021 #vietnam

Cinfhen I thought this book was HEARTBREAKING but so emotionally raw/ I loved it ♥️but I can totally see why it‘s hard to recommend 11mo
BarbaraBB I agree with you too. I loved the book but do not often recommend it! 11mo
rockpools I‘m struggling a bit- hope to finish this weekend. It is beautifully written, but I keep putting off opening it... 11mo
See All 7 Comments
Librarybelle Great review! 11mo
Cathythoughts Good review ! I‘ll bd giving it a wide berth ... too many others to get to 👍🏻❤️ 11mo
Laughterhp Oh that‘s good to know! I was going to read this one, but ended up not requesting it from the library this month. Maybe I‘ll skip it. 11mo
squirrelbrain @Cathythoughts @Laughterhp - don‘t let me put you off as lots of Littens love it. I think it was just too tough for right now for me. 11mo
67 likes1 stack add7 comments
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rockpools
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OK @squirrelbrain - I‘m going into our #buddyread. The cover is also gorgeous. I‘m kind of expecting heavy, though 😔

TrishB It‘s heavy, but beautifully written. 12mo
rockpools @TrishB Scheduling some light and joyful trash for next week, then! 12mo
squirrelbrain I nearly started it yesterday but my Kindle was flat. 🤦‍♀️ All charged up now, so will start it later today. Looking forward to it! 12mo
rockpools @squirrelbrain Oh no! Have a good weekend, Helen. 12mo
52 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Paus0312

“To be gorgeous, you must first be seen..”

4 likes1 stack add
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Paus0312

“I miss you more than I remember you”

JoppaThoughts Such a stunning, heart-wrenching book. This quote made into my commonplace book as well. 12mo
7 likes1 comment
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TheBookHippie
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#poetry our local tree poet 🌳

Julsmarshall So cool! 12mo
TheBookHippie @Julsmarshall I love all of these that he does. They are so cool. 12mo
55 likes2 comments
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JoppaThoughts
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I finished reading this book for the first time a few weeks ago. I am reading it again. Slowly. Because that's what this book demands. It is a novel that exposes deep, personal, heart-wrenching truths. As any novel written by a poet must.

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Chavelafab
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Pickpick

Evocative, creative and thought provoking this novel is very rich. I loved the metaphors. Possible spoiler here: the style of the novel moves to poetry halfway which left me a bit lost. However the author explains it by wanting to create a fracture in the narrative. It‘s enlightening reading what inspired Ocean Vuong writing : https://lithub.com/ocean-vuong-the-10-books-i-needed-to-write-my-novel/

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Paus0312

“You think I‘m fucked up?”.... “I think you‘re just you”

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triplem80
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IndoorDame
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TheSpineView Wow! Great pick! 12mo
IndoorDame @TheSpineView this is one of my newer favorites! 12mo
TheSpineView @IndoorDame I understand why! 12mo
40 likes3 comments
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jenniferw88
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review
triplem80
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Pickpick

Beautiful, not boring.

#threewordreview

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candc320
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Pickpick

This one is a hard one for me to review. It‘s beautifully written and feels like poetry more than a narrative. The author reads the story and his voice and words were so beautiful that I zoned out a few times. It‘s also so utterly heartbreaking and sad that it was really hard to listen to sometimes. It‘s about love, loss, identity, race, sex, and so so much more! It thoroughly depressed me so I can‘t really say I enjoyed it. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

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Paus0312
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Good morning!!! New day, new book and new capuchino creamer!!!