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Thread: Books We Read/Listen To

  1. #301
    Quote Originally Posted by USS Utah View Post
    If you haven't read them yet, I highly recommend the three books by DeVoto, The Year of Decision: 1846, Across the Wide Missouri and The Course of Empire.

    I bought a book last week about western history, Men to Match My Mountains by Irving Stone. Looks really good.
    In that same time period I would highly recommend "What Hath God Wrought, the Transformation of America 1815-1848." It is part of the Oxford History of the United States and I enjoyed it as much as any history book I've ever read.

  2. #302
    Quote Originally Posted by Utebiquitous View Post
    OrangeUte,
    I can add a personal recommendation on Whirlwind. I've read a lot on the American Revolution and haven't read a better book.

    Question for the board: Has anyone read "Andersonville?" It's a historical fiction on a southern POW camp. I'd love some thoughts on it if anyone's read it.
    Andersonville is on my short list. I'm glad to get the recommendation on Whirlwind.

    Years ago I read a biography about George Washington by Benson Bobrich named "angel in the worldwind" that I thought was terrific.

  3. #303
    Quote Originally Posted by USS Utah View Post
    If you haven't read them yet, I highly recommend the three books by DeVoto, The Year of Decision: 1846, Across the Wide Missouri and The Course of Empire.

    I bought a book last week about western history, Men to Match My Mountains by Irving Stone. Looks really good.
    Great suggestions! Western expansion is absolutely fascinating. Those were tough individuals.

  4. #304
    The Professor and the Madman.
    This is the story of the relationship between the professor leading the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary, and it's major contributor over a 40 year period.

    Boring Background: The English language was never officially set in stone with a compendium until the OED was created between the 1860s-1920s, whereas French was compiled in the 1700s and Italian in the 900s.

    People were attempting to find (through crowdsourcing) the earliest-known usage of words, with the book and context containing the word. People would read ancient books, note the usage of specific words, and send them to this Oxford professor to compile.

    Good stuff: the major volume contributor to the effort turned out to be a Yale-educated, American, civil war doctor who was a paranoid schizophrenic, and lived in an asylum after murdering a man in London while on a schizophrenic episode.

    His episodes tended to happen only at night, and every night he believed that people would crawl through the floorboards, grab him, and make him have sex with young girls or would do horrible sexual things to him.

    During the daytime he was entirely normal and lucid as long as he could stay focused on a singular task. He read books voraciously and one day a book included the volunteer pamphlet from the society compiling the dictionary. He began documenting and categorizing the interesting words he would find.

    He wrote to the group and offered to help, but then didn't make contact for several years. After his silence he wrote again and asked where they stood, and at the time the hundreds of volunteers were looking for the earliest-known usage of the word 'Ant'. By that time he had already moved beyond the letter E and had many thousands of words documented and meticulously categorized.

    The Professor had no idea he was in an asylum as the address just went to Broamoor, which was both the name of the asylum and of the town it was in. After many years the professor came to realize that he was dealing with a mental patient and travelled to meet the man. Their working relationship eventually lasted through the 4 decades required to compile the dictionary.

    The book was an interesting study of the man's descent into mental illness, his methods of coping, and of the fanatical devotion to a project that seemingly can only come with very different frame of reference on the world. I wondered while reading whether he would have ever been able to accomplish any of the work in today's society with modern medications and treatments. Would killing his haunting schizophrenic delusions also have destroyed his singular ability to research the language to the extent he did?

    Also worth noting was the apparent fact that a certain degree of what we term 'mental illness', being somewhat outside of the range of what we consider to be 'normal', can have very positive benefits to go with the negative affects in some circumstances. We have a number of friends with autistic or Aspergers children, and while they can seem to have serious problems interacting with others in a 'normal' sense, they can be well off the charts brilliant and capable in other areas. In some ways the future will belong to people with a great attention to detail, but without a need for the same level of social norms we have today. That sounds somewhat autistic by modern standards.

  5. #305
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Books We Read/Listen To

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthwestUteFan View Post
    The Professor and the Madman.
    This is the story of the relationship between the professor leading the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary, and it's major contributor over a 40 year period.

    Boring Background: The English language was never officially set in stone with a compendium until the OED was created between the 1860s-1920s, whereas French was compiled in the 1700s and Italian in the 900s.

    People were attempting to find (through crowdsourcing) the earliest-known usage of words, with the book and context containing the word. People would read ancient books, note the usage of specific words, and send them to this Oxford professor to compile.

    Good stuff: the major volume contributor to the effort turned out to be a Yale-educated, American, civil war doctor who was a paranoid schizophrenic, and lived in an asylum after murdering a man in London while on a schizophrenic episode.

    His episodes tended to happen only at night, and every night he believed that people would crawl through the floorboards, grab him, and make him have sex with young girls or would do horrible sexual things to him.

    During the daytime he was entirely normal and lucid as long as he could stay focused on a singular task. He read books voraciously and one day a book included the volunteer pamphlet from the society compiling the dictionary. He began documenting and categorizing the interesting words he would find.

    He wrote to the group and offered to help, but then didn't make contact for several years. After his silence he wrote again and asked where they stood, and at the time the hundreds of volunteers were looking for the earliest-known usage of the word 'Ant'. By that time he had already moved beyond the letter E and had many thousands of words documented and meticulously categorized.

    The Professor had no idea he was in an asylum as the address just went to Broamoor, which was both the name of the asylum and of the town it was in. After many years the professor came to realize that he was dealing with a mental patient and travelled to meet the man. Their working relationship eventually lasted through the 4 decades required to compile the dictionary.

    The book was an interesting study of the man's descent into mental illness, his methods of coping, and of the fanatical devotion to a project that seemingly can only come with very different frame of reference on the world. I wondered while reading whether he would have ever been able to accomplish any of the work in today's society with modern medications and treatments. Would killing his haunting schizophrenic delusions also have destroyed his singular ability to research the language to the extent he did?

    Also worth noting was the apparent fact that a certain degree of what we term 'mental illness', being somewhat outside of the range of what we consider to be 'normal', can have very positive benefits to go with the negative affects in some circumstances. We have a number of friends with autistic or Aspergers children, and while they can seem to have serious problems interacting with others in a 'normal' sense, they can be well off the charts brilliant and capable in other areas. In some ways the future will belong to people with a great attention to detail, but without a need for the same level of social norms we have today. That sounds somewhat autistic by modern standards.
    That book is going on my list. Thanks.

    I do like the trend in treating mental illness and the steady loss of stigma attached to it. (We fear what we do not understand!) For example, "mood disorder" or "bipolar disorder" are much more useful terms than "insane" or "crazy" or "schizophrenia" (and I'm NOT criticizing your use of that term -- it's just an example).


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    Last edited by LA Ute; 01-22-2017 at 02:57 PM.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  6. #306
    OrangeUte,
    You're one of the first people I know who's read Bobrich's "Angel in the Whirlwind." That is a fantastic book. Sounds like we need to get in the same book group.

  7. #307
    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    That book is going on my list. Thanks.

    I do like the trend in treating mental illness and the steady loss of stigma attached to it. (We fear what we do not understand!) For example, "mood disorder" or "bipolar disorder" are much more useful terms than "insane" or "crazy" or "schizophrenia" (and I'm NOT criticizing your use of that term -- it's just an example).


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    I thought of you when I wrote the review. I think you will enjoy it. It is a quick read.

    If nothing else it demonstrates the monumental quantity of work that lies behind pedantry.

  8. #308
    Finished the subtle art of not giving a f@$!. https://www.google.com/amp/s/markman...ing-a-fuck/amp

    If you can handle some f bombs it is a really interesting and introspective. Its not about indifference but about choosing what to give a f about

    Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk
    "Be a philosopher. A man can compromise to gain a point. It has become apparent that a man can, within limits, follow his inclinations within the arms of the Church if he does so discreetly." - The Walking Drum

    "And here’s what life comes down to—not how many years you live, but how many of those years are filled with bullshit that doesn’t amount to anything to satisfy the requirements of some dickhead you’ll never get the pleasure of punching in the face." – Adam Carolla

  9. #309
    Quote Originally Posted by Mormon Red Death View Post
    Finished the subtle art of not giving a f@$!. https://www.google.com/amp/s/markman...ing-a-fuck/amp

    If you can handle some f bombs it is a really interesting and introspective. Its not about indifference but about choosing what to give a f about

    Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk
    Based off your recommendation I just read it. A good read for anybody (who can tolerate an occasional f-bomb).

    Lots of good takeaways, pertinent to this day and age though is the notion of "outrage porn".


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  10. #310
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Books We Read/Listen To

    I finished all 12 of the Poldark books. They were fun to read and quite engrossing. They're not novels - together they are a saga. The author does a nice job of getting us to care about the characters, and that made it a fun experience.

    Now I am reading "Dombey and Son" by Charles Dickens. For the first time ever I am having a hard time with a Dickens novel. It is a slog. I will keep at it, however.


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    Last edited by LA Ute; 01-28-2017 at 07:31 PM.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  11. #311
    Space by James Michener

    An epic novel about America's space program. Beginning on October 25, 1944 and spanning almost 40 years, the story follows five principle characters and their families, a German rocket engineer, a naval hero turned U.S. senator, an American aeronautical engineer sent to rescue Peenamunde Germans who later works for the NACA and then NASA, a naval aviator who becomes an astronaut, and his wife who works in Washington for the Senate space committee. Another important character is a con man who first exploits the UFO craze before "finding religion" and then pushing an anti-scientific creationist agenda. The story includes fictionalizations of real events like the Battle for Leyte Gulf as well as purely fictional events like an Apollo 18 mission to the far side of the moon, it is the kind of saga over an extended period of time that Michener was known for. Excellent.

    There was a miniseries based on the book which aired in 1985, which I found on You Tube. While the series overall is good, a few changes made by Hollywood almost ruined it for me.

    --

    Franklin D Roosevelt: A Rendezvous with Destiny by Frank Freidel

    "The Republicans say officially that the President is an impulsive, uninformed opportunist, lacking policy or stability, wasteful, reckless, unreliable in act and contract. . . . Mr. Roosevelt seeks to supervene the constitutional process of government, dominate Congress and the Supreme Court by illegal means and regiment the country to his shifting and current ideas -- a perilous egomaniac.

    "The Democrats say officially that the President is the greatest practical humanitarian who ever averted social upheaval, the wisest economic mechanician who ever modernized a government . . . savior and protector of the American way -- including the capitalist system -- and rebuilder of the nation. . . . Mr Roosevelt has constructed, with daring and fortitude, a sound bridge from the perilous past to the secure future.

    "He is not wholly either, and he is certainly something of both."

    So wrote Arthur Krock, a prestigious columnist with the New York Times, in 1936. While Krock had the opinion that Roosevelt was much more of how the Democrats viewed him, Freidel's portrait finds FDR more in the middle. Roosevelt could be an impulsive opportunist, but he was at times more concerned with controlling the deficit than he probably should have been, and thus hardly wasteful or reckless. FDR at times pushed boundaries, even going too far with proposals to reform the Supreme Court, but he was hardly a dictator. Roosevelt sought to be pragmatic, and he was motivated by humanitarianism, but he was not always wise. While the New Deal did provide relief, it did not end the Great Depression, and recovery was often undone by fiscal caution. When war erupted in Europe in 1939, and there was no longer a need or desire for fiscal discipline, only then did the Depression end as America became the Arsenal of Democracy.

    It was in his role as commander in chief that FDR was most impactful, but not all for the good. The Roosevelt administration found the Russians to by untrustworthy when it gave recognition to the Soviet Union during the first term, which makes it all the more baffling that FDR thought he could trust Stalin at Tehran and Yalta in making the agreements that would create the post war world. Because of the war, Roosevelt ran successfully for a third and fourth term, but by 1944 his health was so poor that this alone should have disqualified him for that fourth term. He would live long enough to travel to Yalta and return home to explain what occurred there, before finally succumbing to a cerebral hemorrhage at Warm Springs, Georgia.

    Freidel was the first major biographer of FDR, and this single volume biography was his sixth book about Roosevelt. At the time of its publication (1990), this was considered by some to be the best single-volume biography of FDR. It is excellent, indeed.

    --

    George Washington's Journey: The President Forges a New Nation by T. H. Breen

    In the fall of 1789, and later in the Spring of 1791, George Washington, the first president of the United States under the constitution, left the capitals -- New York and Philadelphia -- to tour New England and the southern states. Washington wanted to meet with ordinary Americans and convey to them the importance of a strong federal union. In the process, the president demonstrated himself to be the master of political theater who wrote the rules every president since has followed when they have gone before the people. Breen takes the reader on the journey with Washington, allowing them experience with Washington the parades and celebrations as the hero of the Revolution visited early American towns and cities. The author also examines the issues of the day, the realities of political theater, Washington's talents and the message he took to the people. Excellent.

    --

    The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John Le Carre

    Alec Leamas is sent to East Germany is a faux defector with information meant to persuade the Abteilung that its head of counterintelligence is actually a British spy. But the case unravels with unexpected twists on the way to the climax at the Berlin Wall. The spy thriller everyone should read. Fantastic! The novel was made into a movie starring Richard Burton, which is also excellent.


    "It'd be nice to please everyone but I thought it would be more interesting to have a point of view." -- Oscar Levant

  12. #312
    Quote Originally Posted by Utebiquitous View Post
    OrangeUte,
    You're one of the first people I know who's read Bobrich's "Angel in the Whirlwind." That is a fantastic book. Sounds like we need to get in the same book group.
    Let's do it! we should get a Utahby5 book club going.... could be a lot of fun. one person picks a book per month. coordinate an hour each month to have that person lead us in a discussion by teleconference. I would definitely be very much down with that.

  13. #313

    M.I.A. - Half a century ago, an American commando vanished in the jungles of Laos.

    Not a book, but a fascinating read nonetheless:

    M.I.A. - Half a century ago, an American commando vanished in the jungles of Laos. In 2008, he reappeared in Vietnam, reportedly alive and well. But nothing was what it seemed.


    https://magazine.atavist.com/mia

  14. #314
    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeUte View Post
    Let's do it! we should get a Utahby5 book club going.... could be a lot of fun. one person picks a book per month. coordinate an hour each month to have that person lead us in a discussion by teleconference. I would definitely be very much down with that.
    +1!

  15. #315
    you, me, and utebiquitous. we are really getting tons of support for this. I think we should have a book a month, chosen by a member of the club, with discussion throughout the month on a thread dedicated to that book. who wants to go first?


    Quote Originally Posted by Brian View Post
    +1!

  16. #316
    I'm sure we could get LA Ute, USS and a few others. Fun idea. I may be a little reluctant to discuss via teleconference. Alternatively, we could post some comments/questions as we go along and some wrap up discussion here on the forum. Anyway - love the idea and would definitely participate.

  17. #317
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Utebiquitous View Post
    I'm sure we could get LA Ute, USS and a few others. Fun idea. I may be a little reluctant to discuss via teleconference. Alternatively, we could post some comments/questions as we go along and some wrap up discussion here on the forum. Anyway - love the idea and would definitely participate.
    I'm in. Maybe just virtual discussion online would work?


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    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  18. #318
    Quote Originally Posted by Utebiquitous View Post
    I'm sure we could get LA Ute, USS and a few others. Fun idea. I may be a little reluctant to discuss via teleconference. Alternatively, we could post some comments/questions as we go along and some wrap up discussion here on the forum. Anyway - love the idea and would definitely participate.
    It would depend on the books. I have a wide range, but not just anything will work for me.
    "It'd be nice to please everyone but I thought it would be more interesting to have a point of view." -- Oscar Levant

  19. #319
    Quote Originally Posted by USS Utah View Post
    It would depend on the books. I have a wide range, but not just anything will work for me.
    let's do it. you can jump in if you like the book and add to the discussion. You also read more abundantly than many of us so we may go much slower than you. who knows. I like the idea of digital group where we pose questions, offer thoughts, and discuss.

    Can I go first?

  20. #320
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeUte View Post
    let's do it. you can jump in if you like the book and add to the discussion. You also read more abundantly than many of us so we may go much slower than you. who knows. I like the idea of digital group where we pose questions, offer thoughts, and discuss.

    Can I go first?
    Dive in!
    I'm still slogging through Dickens' "Dombey and Son," and I doubt anyone else will be interested in that one (I can barely get through it myself).

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  21. #321
    I will post a book in a new thread tomorrow. Hopefully at least 4 or 5 of us will participate.

  22. #322
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    I'm on a campaign to read books I should have read in high school or college but missed. Now it's Tess of the d'Urbervilles. Wish me luck..

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  23. #323
    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    I'm on a campaign to read books I should have read in high school or college but missed. Now it's Tess of the d'Urbervilles. Wish me luck..
    You didnt read that in Dr.Scanlon's class? What is the matter with you.

    You will need luck. Its Dombey and Son but shorter, drearier, and more melodramatic.

    I have been doing the same thing. My daughter is a junior in high school, and I have been reading books along with her for the past two years that I somehow missed in h.s--Lord of the Flies, Grapes of Wrath, the Stranger, Crime and Punishment (which I read in college). I just finished reading Hamlet with her and it is now on to --you guessed it--Rosenkrantz and Guilderstern are Dead. Surely you read that for Scanlon. Doing this with my daughter actually brings back lots of memories.

    I was surpirsed at how much I liked Grapes of Wrath. I even went back and wathed the Henry Fonda movie.

  24. #324
    Senior Member Scorcho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    I'm on a campaign to read books I should have read in high school or college but missed. Now it's Tess of the d'Urbervilles. Wish me luck..
    High School? Shouldn't that be Letters to the Penthouse Forum, or Cracked Magazine

  25. #325
    Lord of the Flies - there's a book I could read again. Terrific. Crime and Punishment was another terrific read. Although I don't think I could read that again. That's a powerful book that took over a lot of my thinking while reading it.

  26. #326
    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    I'm on a campaign to read books I should have read in high school or college but missed. Now it's Tess of the d'Urbervilles. Wish me luck..

    Ugh!! Tess of the Durbers should be on a list of "books you shouldn't have read in high school." But LA will love it; there is so much sex!

  27. #327
    Quote Originally Posted by Applejack View Post
    Ugh!! Tess of the Durbers should be on a list of "books you shouldn't have read in high school." But LA will love it; there is so much sex!

    and guilt and shame
    Last edited by concerned; 02-16-2017 at 09:59 AM.

  28. #328
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by concerned View Post
    and guilt and shame
    Dr. Scanlan talked about it often but I never read it. That's the guilty part for me. I'm also curious about Hardy because the characters in Madding Crowd were so interesting and human.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  29. #329
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Utebiquitous View Post
    Lord of the Flies - there's a book I could read again. Terrific. Crime and Punishment was another terrific read. Although I don't think I could read that again. That's a powerful book that took over a lot of my thinking while reading it.
    I'm halfway through Crime and Punishment but put it down. I will pick it up again. When I am running training sessions I often create hypothetical stories using a character named Raskolnikov. Very few people get it.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  30. #330
    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    Dr. Scanlan talked about it often but I never read it. That's the guilty part for me. I'm also curious about Hardy because the characters in Madding Crowd were so interesting and human.


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    Don't forget the sex!

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