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Author Topic: What is everyone reading?  (Read 369290 times) Average Rating: 5
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« Reply #2340 on: May 04, 2012, 04:54:41 PM »

The Better Angels of our Nature - Why Violence Has Declined, by Steven Pinker

I haven't read anything by him before, but I downloaded a sample of his latest from amazon as I thought the premise was interesting, and was pretty quickly hooked. Bought it. Engaging writing style. Lots of interesting data. Compelling.

Pinker is great and probably right for the most part, though a review I read said he kind of glosses over Christianity's role in declining violence, i.e. the modern lack of violence is entirely due to Enlightenment values, even though there was an appreciable decline already in the early Middle Ages.

Your "Enlightenment" was delivered to you by the Muslims, not Christians.

Historically speaking, I can get behind this assertion.  They conquered many ancient civilizations - the Romans, Indians, and Persians being the most important - and adopted their knowledge and then disseminated it to any other civilizations they conquered or warred with.  Islam has bloody borders, but bloodshed is the most effective transfer of knowledge. 

They just didn't "disseminate it" they conducted thoughtful research and expanded on known knowledge and methods and blazed new roads in what would be the end of the trivium of Scholasticism all the while perfecting it.




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« Reply #2341 on: May 04, 2012, 05:06:29 PM »

The Hobbit, by JRR Tolkien. Been probably 20 years since I read it.  Shocked Gotta reread it in preparation for the movie.

Confessions, by St. Augustine. I'm gonna get all the way through this time, I just know it!

The Weight of Glory (And Other Addresses), by C.S. Lewis. Small little book (66 pp.) of sermons/addresses or whatever.
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« Reply #2342 on: May 04, 2012, 05:26:17 PM »

The Hobbit, by JRR Tolkien. Been probably 20 years since I read it.  Shocked Gotta reread it in preparation for the movie.

Confessions, by St. Augustine. I'm gonna get all the way through this time, I just know it!

The Weight of Glory (And Other Addresses), by C.S. Lewis. Small little book (66 pp.) of sermons/addresses or whatever.

You are just trying to bother me . . . I see through you.
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« Reply #2343 on: May 04, 2012, 05:29:48 PM »

The Hobbit, by JRR Tolkien. Been probably 20 years since I read it.  Shocked Gotta reread it in preparation for the movie.

Confessions, by St. Augustine. I'm gonna get all the way through this time, I just know it!

The Weight of Glory (And Other Addresses), by C.S. Lewis. Small little book (66 pp.) of sermons/addresses or whatever.

You are just trying to bother me . . . I see through you.

 Cheesy

It's not my fault that those are the books I found at the used book store that interested me.
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« Reply #2344 on: May 04, 2012, 06:39:49 PM »

Speaking of which, used bookstores usually have some cool stuff- I always find some weird 1970s science fiction and potboilers when I go there. Need to do that again.   Wink Cheesy
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« Reply #2345 on: May 04, 2012, 10:49:35 PM »

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« Reply #2346 on: May 08, 2012, 12:22:05 PM »

At the Corner of East and Now, by Frederica Mathewes-Green.

So far I really like it. I wanted to read Facing East more, but they didn't have it for Nook, Kindle or iBooks. Oh well.
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« Reply #2347 on: May 08, 2012, 12:37:05 PM »

The Fort by Bernard Cornwell, author of the Sharpe Series.  It's about the Revolutionary War up in Maine (then part of Massachusetts).  One character is a rebel and another is British (referred to as "Devils" in the book).  Should get a good view of both sides which is kind of interesting.  Looks like Paul Revere is going to play a role in the story.  He's an interesting character but all most people know about is the "the British are coming, the British are coming!" bit. 
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« Reply #2348 on: May 08, 2012, 04:18:00 PM »

Just got the following book in the mail today: Dynamic of Destruction: Culture and Mass Killing in the First World War

Basically, it studies WWI and how it produced the essential acceptance of mass killing and violence that it produced on a cultural level. It also discusses how the results of this war created an environment that allowed for the rise of communism, fascism, and Nazism.
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« Reply #2349 on: May 08, 2012, 08:41:32 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Just got the following book in the mail today: Dynamic of Destruction: Culture and Mass Killing in the First World War

Basically, it studies WWI and how it produced the essential acceptance of mass killing and violence that it produced on a cultural level. It also discusses how the results of this war created an environment that allowed for the rise of communism, fascism, and Nazism.
Interesting.  I'd say that mass killing and violence were nothing new to European culture before World War I.  However what is clearly different, is the mechanization of war and violence, which makes it methodical, robotic, and menial.  Europeans had always been accustomed to people dying in large numbers.  After all, why in part were the Spanish and English so comfortable with witnessing the suffering of the Indians from disease in the Americas? Simple answer, disease at that pandemic scale had already been affecting Europe for hundreds, indeed a thousand years before that, in a crass kind of way both emotionally and even theologically the European mind had become desensitized to the suffering of disease.  Now the Civil War and later WWI were different entirely.  People died in their tens of thousands daily, by the work of machines, by the work of logistical planning, by the use of technology.  Death became a statistic because to machines that's all we are. 

Today we have M.A.D, mutually assured destruction, which supposedly cross-cancels mutual threats.  Weirdly, the Russians just last week threatened the potential for a preemptive nuclear strike against US cities in retaliation for the European Missile Defense system.  Lives become 1s and 0s.  But doesn't Facebook do the same thing?


stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #2350 on: May 08, 2012, 09:00:24 PM »

Today we have M.A.D, mutually assured destruction, which supposedly cross-cancels mutual threats.  Weirdly, the Russians just last week threatened the potential for a preemptive nuclear strike against US cities in retaliation for the European Missile Defense system.  Lives become 1s and 0s.  But doesn't Facebook do the same thing?

Facebook is much worse than mutually assured destruction.

It renders all its participants zeros.
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« Reply #2351 on: May 08, 2012, 10:15:19 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Just got the following book in the mail today: Dynamic of Destruction: Culture and Mass Killing in the First World War

Basically, it studies WWI and how it produced the essential acceptance of mass killing and violence that it produced on a cultural level. It also discusses how the results of this war created an environment that allowed for the rise of communism, fascism, and Nazism.
Interesting.  I'd say that mass killing and violence were nothing new to European culture before World War I.  However what is clearly different, is the mechanization of war and violence, which makes it methodical, robotic, and menial.  Europeans had always been accustomed to people dying in large numbers.  After all, why in part were the Spanish and English so comfortable with witnessing the suffering of the Indians from disease in the Americas? Simple answer, disease at that pandemic scale had already been affecting Europe for hundreds, indeed a thousand years before that, in a crass kind of way both emotionally and even theologically the European mind had become desensitized to the suffering of disease.  Now the Civil War and later WWI were different entirely.  People died in their tens of thousands daily, by the work of machines, by the work of logistical planning, by the use of technology.  Death became a statistic because to machines that's all we are. 

Today we have M.A.D, mutually assured destruction, which supposedly cross-cancels mutual threats.  Weirdly, the Russians just last week threatened the potential for a preemptive nuclear strike against US cities in retaliation for the European Missile Defense system.  Lives become 1s and 0s.  But doesn't Facebook do the same thing?


stay blessed,
habte selassie

Mass killing is nothing new anywhere, but what set WWI and history since then apart is that now it's viewed as a more or less a product of certain policies. It could be unintended, such as an ill-conceived war, or intended, such as the Holocaust, the gulags, Mao, even the acceptance of abortion on demand. We are fulfilling that quote Stalin supposedly said: "One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic."
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« Reply #2352 on: May 09, 2012, 02:48:47 AM »

Fail. Wrong thread.
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« Reply #2353 on: May 10, 2012, 12:53:26 PM »

I'm currently reading Herman Wouk's The Winds Of War, I'm also starting on The Hunger Games.  In a few moments I'm going to read the local newspaper over lunch, that tells you how reduced our daily here in Indy has become.  Sad
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« Reply #2354 on: May 13, 2012, 02:27:39 PM »

The Birth of Tragedy, by Nietzsche
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« Reply #2355 on: May 13, 2012, 02:58:01 PM »

The System of Antichrist: Truth and Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age, by Charles Upton
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« Reply #2356 on: May 16, 2012, 09:50:08 PM »

One of my goals for the summer is to read Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited.
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« Reply #2357 on: May 16, 2012, 10:19:40 PM »

On the Human Condition, by St. Basil the Great (trans. and intro by Nonna Verna Harrison). A collection of several texts by St. Basil on... well... the human condition  Grin  The texts included are:

- On the Origin of Humanity, Discourse 1: On that which is according to the image
- On the Origin of Humanity, Discourse 2: On the human being
- Homily Explaining That God is Not the Cause of Evil
- Homily against Anger
- Homily on the Words "Be Attentive to Yourself"
- Letter 233, to Bishop Amphilochius, Who Has Asked a Question
- Long Rules, Selections
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« Reply #2358 on: May 17, 2012, 12:40:56 PM »

The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis a.k.a. Master Yoda

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« Reply #2359 on: May 19, 2012, 08:08:17 AM »

The Papacy by Abbe Guette and The Pilgrim Continues His Way.
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« Reply #2360 on: May 27, 2012, 07:14:44 PM »

Understanding Islam, by Frithjof Schuon
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« Reply #2361 on: May 27, 2012, 07:48:17 PM »

I love my Kindle, but now I have too many irons in the fire. I like to read one book at a time, but now I've found myself reading three or four books at once. Not used to that. Currently I'm reading:

The Bystander: John F. Kennedy and the Struggle For Black Equality by Nick Bryant

Good read so far. Exposing the cynical nature of JFK and revealing him to be much less than the champion of Civil Rights that he is proclaimed to be. But objectively written.


In God We Don't Trust by David Bercot

Also very good so far, shattering the prevalent myth that the foundational actions and policies of the United States were the result of true faith in God.


Shakey: Neil Young's Biography by Jimmy McDonough

As a Neil young fan, this book is enjoyable and informative. However, as much as I like Neil Young, I'm not sure he warrants 800 pages.


Soul Sacrifice: The Santana Story by Simon Leng

A very good book that really focuses on Santana's music rather than the typical rock star gossip.



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« Reply #2362 on: May 27, 2012, 10:38:40 PM »

Quote
I love my Kindle, but now I have too many irons in the fire.

I hear ya! I have the very same problem.  Tongue
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« Reply #2363 on: May 30, 2012, 10:55:35 PM »

One of my goals for the summer is to read Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited.
That's on my list too.
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« Reply #2364 on: June 04, 2012, 06:27:25 AM »

The Grammatically Correct Handbook: A Lively and Unorthodox Review of Common English for the Linguistically Challenged, by Ellie Grossman. Mostly just basic stuff (latter vs. later, either/or vs. neither/nor, etc.)

The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God, by Carl Sagan (ed. by Ann Druyan). Still too early in the book to comment much (though I think I may have read this before... hmm...)   It has given me time to reflect on why some didn't like him, though (or popularizers in general).
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« Reply #2365 on: June 04, 2012, 08:50:27 AM »

"We the Living" by Ayn Rand.
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« Reply #2366 on: June 04, 2012, 01:22:32 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!



The Bystander: John F. Kennedy and the Struggle For Black Equality by Nick Bryant

Good read so far. Exposing the cynical nature of JFK and revealing him to be much less than the champion of Civil Rights that he is proclaimed to be. But objectively written.


Any good? Kennedy's involvement in both initially bolstering and yet at the same time absolutely thwarting the Civil Right's Movement should make some interesting reading.  Kennedy is a complicated figure who like Lincoln has become highly romanticised.  The reality is that Kennedy was ever the politician, and was politically afraid to step up to the racist structure of the Democratic Party of his time, and also to challenge the war machine in Vietnam which he was hoping to prevent.  As an individual, Kennedy supported both Civil Rights and avoiding the Vietnam War, but his policies didn't get to reflect those realities. Kenney was a shrewd politician, and the underlying flaw of democracy is that sometimes a majority of people want injustice.  That is when we need monarchy or at least some good  but idealistic caudillo to shake things up out of principal.  Of course conversely, our pseudo-democracy forces Americans to actually and systematically change the super structure from the bottom up, which is equally beneficial in the long run, but just takes all the more time and effort.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #2367 on: June 05, 2012, 11:34:23 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!



The Bystander: John F. Kennedy and the Struggle For Black Equality by Nick Bryant

Good read so far. Exposing the cynical nature of JFK and revealing him to be much less than the champion of Civil Rights that he is proclaimed to be. But objectively written.


Any good? Kennedy's involvement in both initially bolstering and yet at the same time absolutely thwarting the Civil Right's Movement should make some interesting reading.  Kennedy is a complicated figure who like Lincoln has become highly romanticised.  The reality is that Kennedy was ever the politician, and was politically afraid to step up to the racist structure of the Democratic Party of his time, and also to challenge the war machine in Vietnam which he was hoping to prevent.  As an individual, Kennedy supported both Civil Rights and avoiding the Vietnam War, but his policies didn't get to reflect those realities. Kenney was a shrewd politician, and the underlying flaw of democracy is that sometimes a majority of people want injustice.  That is when we need monarchy or at least some good  but idealistic caudillo to shake things up out of principal.  Of course conversely, our pseudo-democracy forces Americans to actually and systematically change the super structure from the bottom up, which is equally beneficial in the long run, but just takes all the more time and effort.

stay blessed,
habte selassie


Yes bredren, it's fascinating so far. I couldn't resist jumping ahead to the chapter "Go Mississippi" which gives a detailed chronology of Kennedy's chess match with racist Mississippi governor Ross Barnett. Interestingly and surprisingly, it reveals that Kennedy was not nearly as shrewd of a politician as he's made out to be either (of course, I think Castro proved that). He caved into Ross Barnett way more than he should have, and lives were lost because of it. (And to Mississippi's shame, the Jackson reservoir still bears Ross Barnett's name. We did change the name of the ariport to Jackson/Evers Airport, which was great, but it's disgraceful that the reservoir is still called "The Ross Barnett Reservoir.")


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« Reply #2368 on: June 06, 2012, 09:03:58 PM »

A lighthearted break from the PhD
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« Reply #2369 on: June 09, 2012, 01:21:36 PM »

A History of God: The 4,000 Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, by Karen Armstrong
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« Reply #2370 on: June 09, 2012, 05:08:18 PM »

A History of God: The 4,000 Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, by Karen Armstrong


She's a good writer. I've read her book on Islam and also her autobiography.


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« Reply #2371 on: June 09, 2012, 05:11:20 PM »

A History of God: The 4,000 Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, by Karen Armstrong

Save yourself the time. Guess when you have plenty though, what does it matter?

She is terrible.
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« Reply #2372 on: June 09, 2012, 05:16:45 PM »

Seriously if I hear someone say 50 Shades of Grey is a good book I'm going to strangle them.
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« Reply #2373 on: June 09, 2012, 05:23:29 PM »

Seriously if I hear someone say 50 Shades of Grey is a good book I'm going to strangle them.


Devil book from what I hear.



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« Reply #2374 on: June 09, 2012, 05:26:07 PM »

A History of God: The 4,000 Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, by Karen Armstrong

Save yourself the time. Guess when you have plenty though, what does it matter?

She is terrible.



She is not an Orthodox Christian, and she is certainly way too ecumenical and too liberal for my tastes. However, if you know this going in then you can still gain a lot from her. She is very knowledgable about religion and she is an excellent writer in my opinion.


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« Reply #2375 on: June 09, 2012, 05:35:22 PM »

Due to some recent return to old friends . . .

Two texts in theory:

One by a man who will be considered the most important and creative thinker in the last half of the 20th century (it could be argued it is Niklas Luhmann):



I have a different edition without such ridiculous cover design. But couldn't find it quickly on google images.

For the most "productive" thinker of the last two decades and since I've been reading Hegel, Marx, Freud, and Lacan again:



A return to his explosion into the Anglosphere, as far as I can recall.

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« Reply #2376 on: June 09, 2012, 05:39:58 PM »

One of these days I'm going to get around to reading In Search of Lost Time by Proust.
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« Reply #2377 on: June 09, 2012, 05:49:39 PM »

A History of God: The 4,000 Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, by Karen Armstrong

Save yourself the time. Guess when you have plenty though, what does it matter?

She is terrible.



She is not an Orthodox Christian, and she is certainly way too ecumenical and too liberal for my tastes. However, if you know this going in then you can still gain a lot from her. She is very knowledgable about religion and she is an excellent writer in my opinion.


Selam

I read a book of hers while waiting for a woman to get ready to go out, before I cared about Orthodoxy Christianity or being involved in anything "religious". While offering much laughter, it was terribly written.

It was a helpful exercise, as I was able to quickly gauge the woman's intellectual capacity and propensity to the worst sorta liberalism, when she explained to me how interesting and "informative" the text was and how she came to better understand "religious people" especially Christians.

The problem is not the ecumenicism. Aside from the writing, she belongs in the heap of trash of x studies, in this case religious studies, which doesn't properly understand its own history of thought, necessarily "Western", then attempts to reduce everything else in the world to its own uncritical understanding of its own metaphysics.

No thanks.

[/rant]

But as they say:



Which actually is just another installment in the patronizing toward the Black Man long series of tales of Whitey Knows Best.


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« Reply #2378 on: June 09, 2012, 05:50:41 PM »

One of these days I'm going to get around to reading In Search of Lost Time by Proust.

You must.

A book to be read every decade of your life.

Or so those I know and respect insist.

Proust is why God made the French.
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« Reply #2379 on: June 09, 2012, 05:59:18 PM »

A History of God: The 4,000 Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, by Karen Armstrong

Save yourself the time. Guess when you have plenty though, what does it matter?

She is terrible.



She is not an Orthodox Christian, and she is certainly way too ecumenical and too liberal for my tastes. However, if you know this going in then you can still gain a lot from her. She is very knowledgable about religion and she is an excellent writer in my opinion.


Selam

I read a book of hers while waiting for a woman to get ready to go out, before I cared about Orthodoxy Christianity or being involved in anything "religious". While offering much laughter, it was terribly written.

It was a helpful exercise, as I was able to quickly gauge the woman's intellectual capacity and propensity to the worst sorta liberalism, when she explained to me how interesting and "informative" the text was and how she came to better understand "religious people" especially Christians.

The problem is not the ecumenicism. Aside from the writing, she belongs in the heap of trash of x studies, in this case religious studies, which doesn't properly understand its own history of thought, necessarily "Western", then attempts to reduce everything else in the world to its own uncritical understanding of its own metaphysics.

No thanks.

[/rant]

But as they say:



Which actually is just another installment in the patronizing toward the Black Man long series of tales of Whitey Knows Best.



Like I said, I've only read two of her books. One on Islam and the other was her autobiogrpahy "The Spiral Staircase." I found her writing highly readable and very informative. But then again, I am a simple man who likes to understand what I read the first time without having to read the same paragraph again and again to discern it's meaning (like I had to do with your post above. Wink)


Selam
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« Reply #2380 on: June 09, 2012, 06:19:34 PM »

For the most "productive" thinker of the last two decades and since I've been reading Hegel, Marx, Freud, and Lacan again:



A return to his explosion into the Anglosphere, as far as I can recall.


I like Zizek, when I can understand what the hell he is saying, myself not being that bright or grounded in philosophy and all...

My current reading:

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« Reply #2381 on: June 09, 2012, 06:29:40 PM »

Currently snailing along in Heretics, hopefully will make it to Orthodoxy (G.K. Chesterton) before the summer ends. Tongue
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« Reply #2382 on: June 09, 2012, 06:33:08 PM »

Seriously if I hear someone say 50 Shades of Grey is a good book I'm going to strangle them.

I said the exact same thing to a group of people about a month ago.

Except I said: if I hear someone say 50 Shades of Grey, I will strangle them.

The judgement was irrelevant.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2012, 06:34:12 PM by orthonorm » Logged

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« Reply #2383 on: June 09, 2012, 06:38:16 PM »

Currently reading The Portrait of Dorian Gray
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« Reply #2384 on: June 09, 2012, 06:43:00 PM »

The Ice Princess, by Camilla Lackberg.
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