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VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22):

William Boyd writes novels, which require him to do copious research about the real-world milieus he wants his fictional characters to inhabit. For example, to ensure the authenticity of his book Waiting for Sunrise, he found out what it was like to live in Vienna in 1913. He compares his process of searching for juicy facts to the feeding habits of a blue whale: engorging huge amounts of seawater to strain out the plankton that are good to eat. Ninety percent of the information he wades through is irrelevant, but the rest is tasty and nourishing. I suspect you'll thrive on a similar approach in the coming weeks, Virgo. Be patient as you search for what's useful.

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