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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Gladiator Days (Strong Adult Content)

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 Parental Warning - Strong Adult Content, Violence, Prison Scenes, (including a Murder caught on camera)

 

Gladiator Days: Anatomy of A Prison Murder, an HBO documentary – where a film crew visited multiple prisons throughout the United States, interviewing inmates, prosecutors and guards – many of the clips displayed at the beginning will be quickly recognized as they have aired on national news outlets. (The “Yard Fights” in California, the prisoner being attacked by a dog while offering no resistance, rioting, etc., etc.)However, the documentary focuses on an inmate on inmate assault and subsequent homicide, captured by the Central Utah Prison security cameras. (Central is located in Draper, Utah)
Troy Kell, at the age of 18, was originally sentenced to life without parole, for a murder that took place in 1986, in his home-state of Nevada. A friend of his, Sandy Shaw, asked Troy to stop a man from harassing her & her family, b/c he wanted her to pose nude. Troy Kell, nor the second boy, William, knew the victim – had never met him and would have had no reason whatsoever to attack the man had it not been for the female codefendant. William, had stolen the gun used in the crime from a neighbor’s home, made it available to Troy the night of the crime & it was subsequently located by Las Vegas PD in his home. The murder of 21 year old Cotton Kelly, in the desert, became known as the “Show & Tell Murder” because the female co-defendant, Sandy Shaw, returned to the seen of the crime multiple times showing the corpse off to her friends. One of the people that had seen this horrific scene reported it to the police.
Kell was transferred to Central Utah Prison as part of a prisoner exchange – and that is where he met Eric Daniels – a white supremacist, with multiple tattoos reflecting his personal ideologies – Daniels was initially sent to prison on a minimal forgery charge. He participated in a riot, was placed in solitary confinement & six months later he actively participated in every aspect of the attack and subsequent homicide.
The security tape that captured the attack is chilling, albeit incomplete – and at first seems to have nothing more to offer than a grotesque view of what humans are capable of doing to each other under certain conditions. However, there’s much more to be discerned from the tape, as well as, the documentary as a whole, if it is viewed with an unbiased, neutral opinion. For example, the extenuating circumstances that allowed three high risk inmates to be left, unsupervised in such close proximity of each other, the hand cuff key, the forged request, allowing an inmate that is on “lock-down” out of their cell, and lastly the amount of time that elapses before any authority figure intervenes – is absolutely reprehensible. (Considering the guards had access to multiple forms of non-lethal weaponry – and yet, not a single voice calls out over the intercom for the inmates to separate, “rack in”, get prone, nothing….Look at the time on the video – the difference between when the first blow was struck and when the victim receives CPR is well over an hour….)
Yes, there are parts of the video that are hard to watch, making it all the more important to not look away! Turning away, shielding ourselves from that which is ugly, unsightly and harsh is what allows this inhumane environment to exist in prison. Placing a non-violent criminal in a supermax facility, sentencing an 18yr old young man to LWOP set all this in motion. What possible good could come from such sentences? When a person is given no chance to do anything positive or constructive…when all hope has been forever erased… what is left? For those in prison…it’s simple – become the meanest, baddest, toughest individual in the house…why? To avoid being abused, defiled and degraded in the worst, most inhumane manner imaginable. And with 90% of inmates eligible for parole at some point in their lifetimes, these hardened, hardcore people will return to our communities and live in our neighborhoods,bringing with them all the hate, anger and bitterness the system instilled in them during their incareration.
I recommend anyone that is interested in “true crime,” human behavior, criminal justice, etc., and all parents should view this documentary, to familiarize themselves with the reality of the prison system – so as to better educate and hopefully deter their children from pursuing a similar path. An excellent tool for alternative schools and programs to utilize – without saying a word, with the simple push of a button the instructor can open the eyes of at risk youth…erasing the glamor and mystique so often associated

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Scooby Doo Wall Decal

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Scooby Doo Wall Decal



We ordered this for my granddaughter — she loves Scooby Doo. The decals were easy to remove from the backing, with equally smooth application. The 18×40 Scooby with the paw prints looks wonderful and makes a fantastic point of interest – SHE LOVES IT! It’s easy to clean, warm soapy water and a quick wipe and it looks brand new. It’s now been on the wall for six months and we haven’t experienced any pull aways, wrinkles, or discoloration. I recommend this product without reservation.

This set is also available  – we plan to get this for her playroom on her birthday.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cuckoo’s Calling by JK Rowling

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ISBN-13: 9781478980827

  • ISBN-10: 1478980826
  • Publisher: Mulholland Books
  • Audio: Hachette Audio
  • The Cuckoo's Calling
    by
    Robert Galbraith
     read by Robert Glenister


    Before anyone knew this novel was written by one of the world’s most beloved authors, it received praise from critics and readers alike. However the books started flying off the shelves of Amazon.com.uk once the deception was revealed, propelling the book from 5,076 to the top of the chart. Although JK Rowling was disappointed her identity didn’t remain a secret for a little while longer, she was well aware the clock was ticking. So why the pseudonym? She said it was freeing to write without the stress, pressure and hype. She was treated like any other debut crime writer, receiving 12 rejections!

    So what’s it about?
    Private investigator Cormoran Strike wounded war veteran, recently estranged from his longtime girlfriend, living in his office, down to one client and with creditors at the door, he can’t seem to catch a break. That is until John Bristow walks into his office with an extraordinary tale: his sister, supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, fell to her death a few months ago. The police ruled the death yet another sad suicide. But John refuses to believe his sisters’ fall was anything but murder. Strike takes the case, he needs this case, however, he gets more than he bargained for, as he’s plunged headfirst into a world that’s foreign to him in every way…desperate designers, millionaires, rock stars, and gorgeous super models. He’s also quickly introduced to pleasures of the flesh that can easily lead a man into temptation.
    It’s difficult to get to know or care about characters when there’s so many they are literally stepping all over each other. Never allowing the reader to really feel like they have learned anything about them beyond the surface stuff and this is hardly enough to build a relationship on. The story drags on far too long with nothing but page filler dialogue. This 450 page hardcover could easily have been whittled down to half as much, thus delivering a more concise and tightly woven story. I hope with this being the first in a new series that the follow up stories will light a fire within the listener (and/or reader), move much more swiftly, leaving the “blah, blah, blah” on the editing floor.

    audiobookcd Robert Glenister’s narration of “The Cuckoo’s Calling” is definitely an added bonus to this otherwise slow moving, almost stale at times story. The English accents are spot on and even the cursing is absolutely delightful and in no way detracts from the story. (Not just cursing for the sake of cursing, it actually fits the story.) Glenister gives each character a distinct and defining voice allowing the story to come to life through the listeners ear phones. Excellent narration!

    Bottom line:
    This is a “good” book, but not great. I do plan on reading the next book in the series, if for no other reason than to see if the story gets any tighter, so that I can get to know and possibly even like or dislike a character or two. You can’t help but compare this book to the best selling Potter series. Which isn’t fair – because it’s like comparing apples to softballs. Which is probably why JK Rowling adopted the pseudonym in the first place. She knew the comparisons would happen, as illogical as they are, simply because of the popularity of her first series, which went on to sell millions upon millions of copies in every conceivable language, in all four corners of the world. Few writers Ever experience such fame and wide spread recognition. But when trying to do something completely different from that which you have been known and loved for the world over, the popularity and recognition make it nearly impossible. I applaud her for having the gumption to step out as Robert Galbraith and swing for the fence!

    Happy Reading!
    RJ
    audiohachette

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

    Mirco One Touch Razor

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    Opening the box the first thing I noticed was the sleek travel case and modern attractive logo. The case closed with a ‘snap,’ tight and even on all sides. This may sound like “nit-picking,” but cases that fail to close properly is one of my pet peeves.

    WP_20131001_003

    Picking the razor up I was shocked by the weight. This is not a flimsy razor. Precision crafted from chrome plated brass you can tell the difference between this instrument and others simply by holding it in your hand. Placing a blade was quick and easy. And a simple twist opens the razor for a fast clean up!

    WP_20131001_005

    Because I was used to using plastic refillables or throw aways, the Micro One Touch took some getting used too. Which is why I felt it only fair to give it more time before rendering my opinion. I am certainly glad I did, because a week or two just wasn’t enough time for me to get used to the drastic difference between this razor and all the ones I’ve used since I first began shaving. The instructions are fairly complete and easy to follow. However, there are a few things that came with use and time. Try not to go over the same section without reapplying shaving cream, shave with the grain vs simply up and down and lastly don’t apply pressure, the razor requires no more pressure than that which is achieved by leaning your head sideways and placing the instrument on your cheek. May I also suggest using old-school shaving lather and a brush to apply thus avoiding propellants and added artificial lubricants. 

    The Micro One Touch would make a great Christmas gift!

    WP_20131001_009

    If you haven’t tried the One Touch, you should! Billed as “The Modern Version of A Timeless Classic,” this is the last razor you will ever buy. Made of solid brass, chrome plated and precision crafted for the perfect shave. You can order online today for $19.99 and receive the deluxe travel case and 12 replacement blades. Pay separate shipping & handling and receive a Bonus 12 blade pack and you have enough to last all year.

    WP_20131001_013

     

    Pawn Stars' Rick HarrisonAre you a Pawn Stars fan? Well this is Rick’s razor! click here to watch a short video promo

    Click Here to  visits Pawn Stars

    **Note: If you’re having trouble with harsh shaves, you may want to try a different brand of blade. All blades are not created equal, they have different coatings, grindings and metallurgies.

     

     

    Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and a very Merry Christmas!

    -Rj

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

    Banned Book List

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    Here’s a list of banned and challenged books.

    Friday, April 12, 2013

    Top Dog

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    Taste Test Reveals Top Dog for Summer Grilling


    (courtesy of Epicurious.com)

    After a blind taste test of 13 hot dog brands, we discovered one good enough to eat without a bun—plus two other notable franks.

    The ideal frank should be juicy, not mushy. It needs to be firm and have some snap when bitten into. It should have a robust flavor with a good balance of smoke and spice. Most importantly, it should be able to stand on its own, with or without condiments and buns.

    To pin down this perfect dog we tasted 13 varieties available nationwide. All brands were all-beef (no pork blends) and fully cooked. Several were marketed as all-natural and/or organic.

    Methodology: In a blind taste test, seven judges compared the flavor, consistency, and appearance of the hot dogs one at a time. All dogs were grilled at the same temperature until browned. (Some required more cooking time, since the thickness of the dogs varied.) We ranked them according to the Epicurious four-fork rating system (four being highest). One wiener was anointed our top pick, receiving 3 1/2 forks. Two runners-up would certainly find a spot on our grill.

     

    Best Overall

    Nathan's Beef Franks

    Nathan's Beef Franks

     ($5.69 for 8-count pack)

    Pros: "This dog has a smoky-sweet spiciness and is perfectly juicy," commented one taster. "I love how it's not mushy like Play-Doh; it has an unyielding consistency and a good wide girth," stated another.

    One taster said it best: "I knew it was the winner when I tasted it cold and it was still appetizing."

    Cons: A bit greasy.

    Visit Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs on the web

     

    First Runner-Up:

    Thumann's Beef Frankfurters

    Thumann's Beef Frankfurters

    ($6.99 for 8-count pack; available in more than 38 states, check company Web site for details)

    Pros: " There's a pickled sweet aroma, which I could taste in each bite," said one editor. "The neutral color and good, snappy skin made me feel like I was eating a classic New York City street 'furter."

    Cons: A little on the skinny side.

    Visit Thumman’s Deli Best on the web

     

    Second Runner-Up:

    Oscar Meyer Premium Beef Franks

    Oscar Meyer Premium Beef Franks

    ($2.99 for 8-count pack)

    Pros: "This pick has a very distinct taste," said one taster. "It's nicely seasoned with garlic and an intense smokiness that reminds me of beef jerky." Other judges found it not overly greasy and with just the right firm bite.

    Cons: This dog was oddly red and the texture spongy.

    Visit Oscar Meyer Beef Franks on the web

     

    article courtesy of Epicurious

    Friday, October 19, 2012

    NBA Finalists

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    It’s that time of year
    - Here are the 2012 Finalists…

    The judges have their work cut out for them … as has always been the case, the books that have made it to this stage are the cream of the crop – take a look at the finalists….

    Star

     

    Do you have a favorite?

    post a comment with your favorite or send us an email


    Send us an email

    FICTION

    Fiction Finalists

    FINALISTS:

    Junot Díaz, This Is How You Lose Her (Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group USA, Inc.)
    Dave Eggers, A Hologram for the King (McSweeney's Books)
    Louise Erdrich, The Round House (Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)
    Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)
    Kevin Powers, The Yellow Birds (Little, Brown and Company)

    POETRY

    2012 NBA Poetry Finalists

    FINALISTS:

    David Ferry, Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations (University of Chicago Press)
    Cynthia Huntington, Heavenly Bodies (Southern Illinois University Press)
    Tim Seibles, Fast Animal (Etruscan Press)
    Alan Shapiro, Night of the Republic (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
    Susan Wheeler, Meme (University of Iowa Press)

    NONFICTION
    2012 NBA Nonfiction Finalists

    FINALISTS:

    Anne Applebaum, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945-1956 (Doubleday)
    Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (Random House)
    Robert A. Caro, The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 4 (Knopf)
    Domingo Martinez, The Boy Kings of Texas (Lyons Press, an imprint of Globe Pequot Press)
    Anthony Shadid, House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

    YOUNG PEOPLE'S LITERATURE
    2012 NBA YPL  Finalists

    FINALISTS:

    William Alexander, Goblin Secrets (Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of
    Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing)
    Carrie Arcos, Out of Reach (Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing)
    Patricia McCormick, Never Fall Down (Balzer+Bray, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)
    Eliot Schrefer, Endangered (Scholastic)
    Steve Sheinkin, Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon
    (Flash Point, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press)
    New York (September 19, 2012) – The National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards, will present its 2012 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters to Elmore Leonard in recognition of his outstanding achievement in fiction writing. For over five decades, Leonard’s westerns, crime novels, serialized novels, and stories have enthralled generations of readers. Author Martin Amis will Save the Date for the 2012 NBA Dinner and Ceremonypresent the Medal to Leonard at the 63rd National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner at Cipriani, Wall Street, in New York City on Wednesday, November 14, 2012. Television and radio host, political and pop culture commentator, journalist, and actor Faith Salie will host the event. Today’s announcement coincides with the announcement by The Library of America that it will publish a three-volume edition of Leonard’s crime novels in its esteemed series beginning in fall 2014. National Book Foundation Executive Director Harold Augenbraum said of the selection, “For a half-century, Elmore Leonard has produced vibrant literary work with an inimitable writing style. We are particularly pleased that as we at the National Book Foundation recognize his achievement, the Library of America—which publishes, and keeps permanently in print, authoritative editions of America’s best and most significant writing—has announced that Leonard will join other great American authors in its literary pantheon.”
    Also on that evening, the National Book Foundation will bestow its 2012 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community on Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr., chairman and publisher of The New York Times, for his continuing efforts through the New York Times Book Review and online book coverage to ensure an ongoing conversation about books in American culture. While re-thinking and implementing innovative print and online initiatives at the Times, Sulzberger and the Times staff have shown their devotion to the coverage of books, whether by profiling authors and their work or reporting on literary culture as a whole. “It’s hard to overstate the impact of The New York Times on the discussion about books in America,” Augenbraum said. For well over a century, The New York Times has been central to America’s book culture.”
    Leonard is the twenty-fifth recipient of the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, which was created in 1988 to recognize a lifetime of literary achievement. Previous recipients include John Ashbery, Toni Morrison, John Updike, Norman Mailer, Joan Didion, Maxine Hong Kingston, Gore Vidal, and Tom Wolfe. This year’s ceremony marks the eighth year that the Foundation has presented the Literarian Award, which was established in 2005 to recognize an individual whose work has enhanced the literary world during a lifetime of service. Previous recipients include Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Robert B. Silvers and Barbara Epstein, Terry Gross, Barney Rosset, Dave Eggers, Joan Ganz Cooney, and Mitchell Kaplan.
    Nominations for these awards are made by former National Book Award Winners, Finalists, and Judges, as well as other writers and literary professionals from around the country. Final selections are made by the National Book Foundation’s Board of Directors.
    The twenty Finalists for the National Book Awards in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature were announced on Wednesday, October 10, 2012.


    63rd National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner
    Faith Salie

    Faith Salie -

    Host

    Faith Salie is a television and national public radio host, political and pop culture commentator, interviewer, “ethics expert,” journalist, and actor, as well as a Rhodes Scholar, who’s been a standup comedian. She’s written for Oprah.com, Slate.com, and CNN.com and The Huffington Post. She was the host and co-executive producer of the national public radio show “Fair Game from PRI with Faith Salie,” and is the co-host of a new public radio podcast, “Relations Show,” a slightly nerdy look at love, sex, and relationships.
    faithsalie.com



    TAKE A LOOK BACK AT PREVIOUS WINNERS


    1980 pb[n 1]
    John Irving
    The World According to Garp
    1981 hard
    Wright Morris
    Plains Song: For Female Voices
    1981 pb[n 1]
    John Cheever
    The Stories of John Cheever
    1982 hard
    John Updike
    Rabbit is Rich
    1982 pb[n 1]
    William Maxwell
    So Long, See You Tomorrow
    1983 hard
    Alice Walker
    The Color Purple
    1983 pb[n 1]
    Eudora Welty
    The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty
    1984
    Ellen Gilchrist
    Victory Over Japan: A Book of Stories
    1985
    Don DeLillo
    White Noise
    1986
    E.L. Doctorow
    World's Fair
    1987
    Larry Heinemann
    Paco's Story
    1988
    Pete Dexter
    Paris Trout
    1989
    John Casey
    Spartina
    1990
    Charles Johnson
    Middle Passage
    1991
    Norman Rush
    Mating

    1992

    Cormac McCarthy
    All the Pretty Horses

    1993

    E. Annie Proulx
    The Shipping News


    1994

    William Gaddis
    A Frolic of His Own
    1995
    Philip Roth
    Sabbath's Theater
    1996
    Andrea Barrett
    Ship Fever and Other Stories
    1997
    Charles Frazier
    Cold Mountain
    1998
    Alice McDermott
    Charming Billy
    1999
    Ha Jin
    Waiting
    2000
    Susan Sontag
    In America
    2001
    Jonathan Franzen
    The Corrections
    2002
    Julia Glass
    Three Junes
    2003
    Shirley Hazzard
    The Great Fire
    2004
    Lily Tuck
    The News from Paraguay
    2005
    William T. Vollmann
    Europe Central
    2006
    Richard Powers
    The Echo Maker
    2007
    Denis Johnson
    Tree of Smoke
    2008
    Peter Matthiessen
    Shadow Country
    2009
    Colum McCann
    Let the Great World Spin
    2010
    Jaimy Gordon
    Lord of Misrule
    2011
    Jesmyn Ward
    Salvage the Bones
    NONFICTION TITLES -
    1950
    Ralph L. Rusk
    The Life of Ralph Waldo Emerson (biog. Ralph Waldo Emerson)

    1951
    Newton Arvin
    Herman Melville (biog. Herman Melville)

    1952
    Rachel Carson
    The Sea Around Us
    1953
    Bernard A. DeVoto
    The Course of Empire
    1954
    Bruce Catton
    A Stillness at Appomattox (third of 3 vols)

    1955
    Joseph Wood Krutch
    The Measure of Man
    1956
    Herbert Kubly
    An American in Italy
    1957
    George F. Kennan
    Russia Leaves the War
    1958
    Catherine Drinker Bowen
    The Lion and the Throne (see Edward Coke)

    1959
    J. Christopher Herold
    Mistress to an Age: A Life of Madame de Staël (biog. Madame de Staël)

    1960
    Richard Ellmann
    James Joyce (biog. James Joyce)

    1961
    William L. Shirer
    The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
    1962
    Lewis Mumford
    The City in History: Its Origins, its Transformations and its Prospects
    1963
    Leon Edel
    Henry James, volumes II and III (biog. Henry James)

    1964
    to
    1983


    For two decades beginning 1964 there were multiple nonfiction categories, initially Arts and Letters; History and Biography; and Science, Philosophy and Religion. See also Contemporary and General Nonfiction.

    1984
    Robert V. Remini
    Andrew Jackson: The Course of American Democracy, 1833-1845
    1985
    J. Anthony Lukas
    Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families
    1986
    Barry Lopez
    Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape
    1987
    Richard Rhodes
    The Making of the Atomic Bomb
    1988
    Neil Sheehan
    A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam
    1989
    Thomas L. Friedman
    From Beirut to Jerusalem
    1990
    Ron Chernow
    The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance
    1991
    Orlando Patterson
    Freedom, Vol. 1: Freedom in the Making of Western Culture
    1992
    Paul Monette
    Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story
    1993
    Gore Vidal
    United States: Essays 1952-1992
    1994
    Sherwin B. Nuland
    How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter
    1995
    Tina Rosenberg
    The Haunted Land: Facing Europe's Ghosts After Communism
    1996
    James P. Carroll
    An American Requiem: God, My Father, and the War that Came Between Us
    1997
    Joseph J. Ellis
    American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson
    1998
    Edward Ball
    Slaves in the Family
    1999
    John W. Dower
    Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II
    2000
    Nathaniel Philbrick
    In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex
    2001
    Andrew Solomon
    The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression
    2002
    Robert A. Caro
    Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson
    2003
    Carlos Eire
    Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy
    2004
    Kevin Boyle
    Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age
    2005
    Joan Didion
    2005 The Year of Magical Thinking
    2006
    Timothy Egan
    The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
    2007
    Tim Weiner
    Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA
    2008
    Annette Gordon-Reed
    The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family
    2009
    T.J. Stiles
    The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt
    2010
    Patti Smith
    Just Kids (memoir)
    2011
    Stephen Greenblatt
    The Swerve: How the World Became Modern





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