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Thread: What book are you reading?

  1. #1051
    The Anger Shaman of the .Org Content Manager Voigtkampf's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    Just finished Haruki Murakami "Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman" short stories collection. The man encouraged me to and embrace accept my own short stories, no matter how insane or mundane they might appear to the general public.

    Trying to force my way through Stephen King's "Lisey's Story", but it actually physically hurts to see that genius becoming - IMHO, ofc - anything less than a brilliant writer.




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  2. #1052
    Grand Patron's Banner Bearer Senior Member Peasant Phill's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    Started with the first book of Stieg Larsson's Milennium series. Let's see if the hype is deserved.
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  3. #1053
    Poll Smoker Senior Member CountArach's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    Pawnee: The Greatest Town In America. This book was written entirely by the writers for Parks and Recreation (ie - the funniest show on television by a very long way) and it details the town's history, looks at the various people who live in it and is just absolutely astounding. I can't believe they wrote it just based on a single episode in which the main character Leslie published this very book whilst preparing to run for higher office.
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  4. #1054
    The Director Senior Member Pogo Panic Champion, Roach Kill Champion, Snowboard Slalom Champion, Space Rescue Champion, Monkey Jump Champion, Graveyard Champion, Invasion 2196 Champion, Rally 2100 Champion, Missle Attack Champion, Ninja Kid Champion, Ninja Turtles 1 Champion, Pop-Up Killer Champion, Mosquito Kill Champion, Ratman Ralph Champion, Mahjong Connect Champion, Tontie Champion GeneralHankerchief's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by CountArach View Post
    Pawnee: The Greatest Town In America. This book was written entirely by the writers for Parks and Recreation (ie - the funniest show on television by a very long way) and it details the town's history, looks at the various people who live in it and is just absolutely astounding. I can't believe they wrote it just based on a single episode in which the main character Leslie published this very book whilst preparing to run for higher office.
    Such a good show. I'll have to pick it up now.
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  5. #1055
    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peasant Phill View Post
    Started with the first book of Stieg Larsson's Milennium series. Let's see if the hype is deserved.
    NO

    It has everything that makes the genre such a joke, people just don't behave like that. Sloppy writing all style, zero believability. The movies are ok though that is one HOT vikingchick
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    this supports and the people from

  6. #1056
    Grand Patron's Banner Bearer Senior Member Peasant Phill's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fragony View Post
    NO

    It has everything that makes the genre such a joke, people just don't behave like that. Sloppy writing all style, zero believability. The movies are ok though that is one HOT vikingchick
    I heard the opposite.
    I'll see for myself. For reference I disliked Dan Brown's book as well as the movie adaptation.
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  7. #1057
    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    Comparable to a Dan Brown book in making you feel that you are reading a movie script. To both their credit people who usually don't like to read pick it up en masse, which is always good
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    this supports and the people from

  8. #1058
    Remember Rule #1 Senior Member Sasaki Kojiro's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    God and Gold Britain, America, and the making of the modern world, by walter russel mead.

    Looks at the last few hundred years of history from the perspective of the maritime liberal capitalist societies of the UK and the US which he relates very closely. Then looks at the wider foreign policy issues and what light is shed on them. Interesting book, puts a different perspective on history.

    Also, I found this bit very amusing:

    "Seats in the House of Commons were openly bought and sold, as were the votes of the electors. In 1734 Anthony Henley, a British MP from Southampton, wrote a letter in answer to constituents' complaints about his support of the excise tax:

    Gentlemen:
    I received yours and I am surprised at your insolence in troubling me about the excise. You know what I very well know, that I bought you. And I know well what perhaps you think I don't know, that you are now selling yourselves to somebody else. And I know something you don't know, that I am buying another borough. May God's curse light on you all. May your houses be as open and as common to all excise officers as your wives and daughters were to me when I stood for your scoundrel corporation.
    "
    Last edited by Sasaki Kojiro; 02-13-2012 at 02:34.

  9. #1059
    10x10 Senior Member Gelatinous Cube's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    Gentlemen:
    I received yours and I am surprised at your insolence in troubling me about the excise. You know what I very well know, that I bought you. And I know well what perhaps you think I don't know, that you are now selling yourselves to somebody else. And I know something you don't know, that I am buying another borough. May God's curse light on you all. May your houses be as open and as common to all excise officers as your wives and daughters were to me when I stood for your scoundrel corporation.
    All of a sudden I feel slightly better about modern politics.
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  10. #1060
    Camel Lord Senior Member Capture The Flag Champion Martok's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    Concurrent with The Name of the Wind (which I'm now about 80% of the way through), I've also begun reading What If? 2. It's a collection of essays written by by various historians & professors examining how the world might be different had certain historical events gone a different way.

    The reading is a bit dry at times, but still interesting. I've now finished the first essay, which contemplates how Western philosophy might have changed had Socrates died in his mid-forties at the Battle of Delium (in which he fought), which was before he became truly well-known. Have just begun the next essay, which looks at a world in which Antony & Cleopatra won the Battle of Actium (and how they might have been victorious in that battle). Good stuff so far.
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  11. #1061
    Ja mata, TosaInu Senior Member edyzmedieval's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    Night Train to Lisbon, by Pascal Mercier.
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  12. #1062
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    Dune, on the Kindle naturally.

    Never actually sat through the whole film and wanted to see if it's as good as people say, not too bad so far but only read 15% of it.

  13. #1063
    Moderator Moderator Fisherking's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    I am almost finished with Why the West Rules~ for Now, by Ian Morris.

    I can’t say enough good about it. Anyone who likes history shouldn’t miss this book.


    Education: that which reveals to the wise,
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  14. #1064
    Remember Rule #1 Senior Member Sasaki Kojiro's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fisherking View Post
    I am almost finished with Why the West Rules~ for Now, by Ian Morris.

    I can’t say enough good about it. Anyone who likes history shouldn’t miss this book.
    hmm, I googled it and found this review and response. I have to say I came away with a very poor opinion of Morris.

  15. #1065
    Moderator Moderator Fisherking's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sasaki Kojiro View Post
    hmm, I googled it and found this review and response. I have to say I came away with a very poor opinion of Morris.
    The book is not your typical History. It is a multi disciplinary study of human social development. It looks for patterns of history, rather than the traditional names, dates, and places and dose not go in-depth into what we all know or can find elsewhere.

    It is a first attempt at using history as a prediction tool.

    As social development is the focus it dose tend to cut short personalities focusing on the ups and downs of development in the eastern and western core areas.

    Frankly I find the review to be little more than sniping missing the point completely, however, if you have not read the book that would be most difficult to tell.

    I wish I had more time to do justice to both the review and response but my time at the moment is short.

    There are plenty of positive review of this work. Buying this particular review is a mistake, to me.

    Read it and write your own.


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  16. #1066
    Remember Rule #1 Senior Member Sasaki Kojiro's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fisherking View Post
    The book is not your typical History. It is a multi disciplinary study of human social development. It looks for patterns of history, rather than the traditional names, dates, and places and dose not go in-depth into what we all know or can find elsewhere.

    It is a first attempt at using history as a prediction tool.

    As social development is the focus it dose tend to cut short personalities focusing on the ups and downs of development in the eastern and western core areas.
    Hmm, well I read some of it. But this is my main problem with the book. He pushes everything into the pattern he wants. I find his description of the forces of history to be absurd. On the whole the book seems very shoddy

    Frankly I find the review to be little more than sniping missing the point completely, however, if you have not read the book that would be most difficult to tell.

    I wish I had more time to do justice to both the review and response but my time at the moment is short.

    There are plenty of positive review of this work. Buying this particular review is a mistake, to me.

    Read it and write your own.
    Duchesne does have a huge chip on his shoulder. But I just finished his book "The Uniqueness of Western Civilization". In the first part of it he gives a detailed critique of many of the books Morris relies on. They are quite bad. I found his analysis of the different techniques this group of historians (which seems to include Morris) uses to twist things the way they want to be very revealing. The rest of his (D's) book is pretty good to.

    By the way, did you see this bit from the Duchesne review?

    In a lecture he gave at the Carnegie Council, October 28, 2010, Morris said the following regarding the arrival of Europeans in the Americas: ‘There are other factors as well involved of course, but the Europeans are the ones who settle in the Americas, take it over, and kill the enormous majority of the native population with their disgusting European germs
    That about sums up Morris.

    Another telling bit quoted in that review is the part where after he is forced to acknowledge that Newton's book was great he hurries to mention the Salem witch trials and how Newton got into numerology. He is very agenda driven.

    Anyway. Not to trash your taste or anything...

  17. #1067
    Moderator Moderator Fisherking's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sasaki Kojiro View Post
    Hmm, well I read some of it. But this is my main problem with the book. He pushes everything into the pattern he wants. I find his description of the forces of history to be absurd. On the whole the book seems very shoddy



    Duchesne does have a huge chip on his shoulder. But I just finished his book "The Uniqueness of Western Civilization". In the first part of it he gives a detailed critique of many of the books Morris relies on. They are quite bad. I found his analysis of the different techniques this group of historians (which seems to include Morris) uses to twist things the way they want to be very revealing. The rest of his (D's) book is pretty good to.

    By the way, did you see this bit from the Duchesne review?



    That about sums up Morris.

    Another telling bit quoted in that review is the part where after he is forced to acknowledge that Newton's book was great he hurries to mention the Salem witch trials and how Newton got into numerology. He is very agenda driven.

    Anyway. Not to trash your taste or anything...

    I am not clear at all on your objections to the book.

    I assume you are questioning his data sources, no? Or is it something else?

    Is it the whole concept that history can be used as a tool to evaluate what came before and use it to figure out what is likely in the future?

    I took most of his quips with a grain of salt. None seemed exactly mean spirited. His point of view in most regards seemed like mainstream academia.

    Citing Newton as a closet alchemist should be nothing new or earth shaking to anyone fimilier with him, nor dose it undo his works.

    Some of his main points were; that lazy, frightened, and greedy people are those driving social development, that people in large groups are pretty much the same, and that the great and the foolish only serve to speed up or slow down events in development.

    I think that most of us could agree with at least two out of the three without coming to blows. I will leave it open as to which two any one wishes to choose.

    I was much more interested in the concept of using history to predict than I was with any one set of data points.

    I certainly don’t believe that this is the end all be all of the world but I did think it contained some valid ideas and analysis, from the data he chose to use.

    The ending is a bit strained. It dose not leave much room for alternatives but maybe some of us will live to see if he got it right.

    I merely think that these ideas are worth considering and perhaps someone else could do a better job with different data sets, if that is what you mean.


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  18. #1068
    Remember Rule #1 Senior Member Sasaki Kojiro's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fisherking View Post
    Is it the whole concept that history can be used as a tool to evaluate what came before and use it to figure out what is likely in the future?
    I've always considered that to be history, though, it seems like that's why people study history to me. His concept seems to be more about using statistics, a kind of data driven approach.

    Citing Newton as a closet alchemist should be nothing new or earth shaking to anyone fimilier with him, nor dose it undo his works.
    It's not new...but my impression of the book is that he's too motivated to lift up china and downgrade the west. And since this is his motivation he has to "balance things out" after he's mentioned newton by bringing up witch burning etc. The first part of Duchesne's book goes into a bit of detail about the various authors from this school of thought and the way they try and twist certain things to reach this result. It makes the whole book questionable.

    Some of his main points were; that lazy, frightened, and greedy people are those driving social development, that people in large groups are pretty much the same, and that the great and the foolish only serve to speed up or slow down events in development.

    I think that most of us could agree with at least two out of the three without coming to blows. I will leave it open as to which two any one wishes to choose.
    I don't think people in large groups are pretty much the same. Different cultures can lead to very different mentalities even when looking at the group on the whole. The other two aren't things I would say either...

    I think whenever someone tries to use a system to evaluate history they will end up distorting things in order to make them fit into the system. Because a system isn't useful if it is very complicated, and yet history is complicated.

    ************************

    Just finished "The Birth of the Modern: 1815-1830 by Paul Johnson. Very good book. My only complaints are that from time to time some modern political issue will come into play and he gets biased. Also that he's a little too credulous regarding lurid anecdotes.

    He tries to cover everything interesting about the time period and does a good job at it...really makes it come to life. He quotes a lot from diaries from the time period. But it's not just disconnected anecdotes, he relates it back to show how things were changing into the modern era in many ways. So he will be discussing carriages and will tell about what it was like to ride in them and how many varieties there were that we don't even think about, and how often there were accidents and fatalities, and then turn that into a discussion of the roads and how the were modernized, and then finally to the railroads.

  19. #1069
    Moderator Moderator Fisherking's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sasaki Kojiro View Post
    I've always considered that to be history, though, it seems like that's why people study history to me. His concept seems to be more about using statistics, a kind of data driven approach.



    It's not new...but my impression of the book is that he's too motivated to lift up china and downgrade the west. And since this is his motivation he has to "balance things out" after he's mentioned newton by bringing up witch burning etc. The first part of Duchesne's book goes into a bit of detail about the various authors from this school of thought and the way they try and twist certain things to reach this result. It makes the whole book questionable.



    I don't think people in large groups are pretty much the same. Different cultures can lead to very different mentalities even when looking at the group on the whole. The other two aren't things I would say either...

    I think whenever someone tries to use a system to evaluate history they will end up distorting things in order to make them fit into the system. Because a system isn't useful if it is very complicated, and yet history is complicated.

    That was not my impression. I don’t think he glorified China at the expense of the West.
    It is handled fairly well, so far as I am concerned.

    Charts and graphs can be useful tools and are not that new to history. We analyze the differences between combatants in wars or economic rivalries. This is just with a broader set of values. Cultural values can speed up or slow down developments in different fields but they don’t stop them taking place.

    I don’t remember the point he was making with the witch burnings but it was no OMG moment.

    I think you have taken on a few preconceived biases, of others, and allowed them to color your opinion.

    In many ways I find it hard to think we are talking about the same book.

    Of course you may see it as academic or historical heresy but to me it is just a slightly different approach and I do think it sheds some light into some very complex issues.


    Education: that which reveals to the wise,
    and conceals from the stupid,
    the vast limits of their knowledge.
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  20. #1070
    Remember Rule #1 Senior Member Sasaki Kojiro's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    Peter the Great: His Life and World by Robert Massie.

    Very good book about an interesting person and time period...started off a little shaky but the great northern war part was excellent. Massie is of the 'don't judge' school which makes for some weird moments, but he gives you more than enough to judge for yourself.

  21. #1071
    Tovenaar Senior Member The Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    Fisherking, if you want to hear why historians have a problem with an author like Morris, it's this exactly:

    Quote Originally Posted by Fisherking View Post
    It is a first attempt at using history as a prediction tool.
    History isn't a tool for predicting anything. It's history. It never repeats itself and the only thing you can learn from it is how not to repeat mistakes in past situations -- which will never occur again. It may provide interesting parallels but nothing else.

    Don't get me wrong -- the contribution Morris wrote together with Walter Scheidel in the excellent volume they co-edited, The Dynamics of Ancient Empires, was great historical theory. But no historian today can seriously support what Morris essentially presents in the book you read: a reworked, Anglicized version of Fernand Braudel's famous histoire de la longue durée (in essence: the only important history is long-term history, and that is the history of the [constant] effect of geography on societies). So, Morris is hardly being original; he simply reworks a much older hypothesis for the consumption of a wider Anglophone audience unfamiliar with the works of the Annales school, of which Braudel was the dean.

    In fact, anybody who's read Braudel's magnum opus, La Méditerranée, can tell you that even Braudel was not able to prove his much-cherished theory of geography determining long-term history. The vast majority of the first part of La Méditerranée (in which he describes the geographic factors affecting all Mediterranean societies, and thus the longue durée of his chosen subject) is economic and social rather than geographic, and thus by Braudel's own terminology not long but medium-term history. His book was seminal and the extent of his knowledge and ingenuity staggering, but still he could not make the longue durée believable. If Braudel couldn't do it, then I sincerely doubt Ian Morris can. Geographic determinism is simply not a viable school of thought.
    Last edited by The Wizard; 03-31-2012 at 17:33.
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    Urwendur Ûrîbêl Senior Member Mouzafphaerre's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?


    Finnegans Wake
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  23. #1073
    Remember Rule #1 Senior Member Sasaki Kojiro's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    Guadalcanal Diary: Richard Tragaskis. Compiled from his notes that he took as a war correspondent through the first 6 weeks or so of Guadalcanal. Definitely stays upbeat for the benefit of the wartime audience back home, but that's part of the charm. It's interesting to see the story told from the 1st person point of view of someone who has limited information about what's going on.

  24. #1074
    Tovenaar Senior Member The Wizard's Avatar
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    Reading a great Dutch translation of the Iliad by Patrick Lateur, set in the same hexameter as Homer used.
    "It ain't where you're from / it's where you're at."

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  25. #1075
    Urwendur Ûrîbêl Senior Member Mouzafphaerre's Avatar
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    Makes one want to learn some ORGish Dutch.

    No, not now at any rate...
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    Remember Rule #1 Senior Member Sasaki Kojiro's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    Storm of Steel: Ernst Junger. Fantastic WWI book, drawn from his diary, vivid descriptions of his experiences. I find it bizarre that I only heard of this book a few months ago while "all quiet on the western front" is everywhere even though it's a fictional novel written by someone who saw far less action than Junger.

  27. #1077
    Ni dieu ni maître! Senior Member a completely inoffensive name's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    For God, Country and Cola-Cola. It takes me forever to read books because I waste so much time on the computer or at uni. :(
    In all these papers we see a love of honest work, an aversion to shams, a caution in the enunciation of conclusions, a distrust of rash generalizations and speculations based on uncertain premises. He was never anxious to add one more guess on doubtful matters in the hope of hitting the truth, or what might pass as such for a time, but was always ready to take infinite pains in the most careful testing of every theory. With these qualities was united a modesty which forbade the pushing of his own claims and desired no reputation except the unsought tribute of competent judges.
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  28. #1078
    Sovereign Oppressor Member TIE Fighter Shooter Champion, Bugz Champion, Reactor Champion, Starcastle Champion, Turkey Shoot Champion, Juggler Champion Kralizec's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    Just finished reading Our man in Havana by Graham Greene (bestest spy novel ever) and Robots and Empire by Isaac Asimov. Not sure yet what I'm going to read next.

  29. #1079
    Apr 04-Nov 11 Senior Member Strike For The South's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    What hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America 1815-1848 by Daniel Walker Howe

    I recomend it if you are about to spend a lengthy bout in prison
    "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
    With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

  30. #1080
    10x10 Senior Member Gelatinous Cube's Avatar
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    Default Re: What book are you reading?

    Re-reading the Dune series for the hundred billionth time. Never gets old. Brainfood, I say!
    "The mind commands the body, and instantly it obeys. The mind commands itself, and meets resistance."
    ~St. Thomas Aquinas

    "Mon aéroglisseur est plein d'anguilles"

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