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Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World
Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World | Sarah Weinman
39 posts | 37 read | 152 to read
"The Real Lolita is a tour de force of literary detective work. Not only does it shed new light on the terrifying true saga that influenced Nabokov's masterpiece, it restores the forgotten victim to our consciousness." --David Grann, author of Killers of the Flower MoonVladimir Nabokov's Lolita is one of the most beloved and notorious novels of all time. And yet, very few of its readers know that the subject of the novel was inspired by a real-life case: the 1948 abduction of eleven-year-old Sally Horner.Weaving together suspenseful crime narrative, cultural and social history, and literary investigation, The Real Lolita tells Sally Horner's full story for the very first time. Drawing upon extensive investigations, legal documents, public records, and interviews with remaining relatives, Sarah Weinman uncovers how much Nabokov knew of the Sally Horner case and the efforts he took to disguise that knowledge during the process of writing and publishing Lolita.Sally Horner's story echoes the stories of countless girls and women who never had the chance to speak for themselves. By diving deeper in the publication history of Lolita and restoring Sally to her rightful place in the lore of the novel's creation, The Real Lolita casts a new light on the dark inspiration for a modern classic.
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Samplergal
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Pickpick

This book was amazing. It appears that our genius story of Lolita was simply “ripped from the headlines”. Not proven, the author has researched Nabokov and it seems the literary novel that most can‘t stomach, is eerily similar to a case in New Jersey. Really good stuff. #MayMadness #bannedBook (or at least about a banned book) #24B4Monday 5🌟 book four!

Clwojick Looks good! I‘m stacking 📚 3w
Samplergal @Clwojick I‘d suggest reading Lolita first. Buy extra soap. It‘s disturbing. I actually ended up listening to Jeremy Iron read it. He was in the second Lolita movie. It made HH despicable. 3w
Clwojick Ooooooo. Okay! 😱 3w
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Megabooks Very good book! 3w
jb72 Great job! I haven‘t read Lolita yet, but it‘s on my TBR and now so is this book. Thanks! 3w
Leftcoastzen I really enjoyed this book. 3w
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Samplergal
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Current audiobook sitting by the pool. #greatread #roughlife book about#bannedbook. #24B4Readathon

Clwojick 👏🏻👏🏻 Great choice! 3w
TheReadingMermaid Sitting by the pool? *Jealous* 😊 3w
Andrew65 So cold here I‘d free in minutes if not seconds if I was sat by a pool! 3w
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Samplergal @Andrew65 Sorry. South Florida is great this time of year. I‘ve been in the pool yesterday and today. Stay warm. 3w
Samplergal @TheReadingMermaid Yeah. Lived in cold country most of my life. This is better. 🌞 3w
Andrew65 @Samplergal Very Cold for the time of year! 3w
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js0315
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Mehso-so

I've been reading this for awhile now and really thought this was going to be a good one, but I agree with a lot of others that said this could've been better written. The author doesn't seem to be a very reliable source.

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SomedayAlmost
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Murder by the Book is a dangerously great place to spend Independent Bookstore Day! #indiebookstoreday #shopindie #staffpicks #mbtbhouston #mysterythrillercrime

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jouleian

Well, now that I've finished Lolita...I figured I could try my hand at this. And the gross part is she is actually mentioned in Nabokov's novel by name, towards the end.

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Ephemera
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Pickpick

I have never read Lolita and after reading this book, I doubt I ever will. This is a non-fiction account of the abduction of 11 year old Sally Horner in 1948 by a pedophile rapist. Sally was with this man for almost two years, until she was rescued in San Jose, CA. Not only do we learn about a crime most of us never heard about, we also find out what influence it had on Vladimir Nabokov, the author of Lolita. Quite interesting, 4 out of 5 stars.

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danimgill
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Mehso-so

I probably would have gotten more out of this if I‘d ever read Lolita but it was still an interesting true crime story. It was very well-researched but the writing itself fell flat for me throughout much of the book.

Cinfhen Darn, just bought this on #KindleDailyDeal 3mo
danimgill @Cinfhen It‘s still worth reading, especially on a deal! I just didn‘t feel as caught up in the writing as I have in other true crime books (I‘ll Be Gone in the Dark and Devil in the White City are two of my faves of this genre) 3mo
Cinfhen I read a fictionalization about the Sally Horner kidnapping so I feel like I know a lot about this case already. But like U said $1.99 can‘t go wrong. 3mo
danimgill @Cinfhen thanks for sharing the title, adding that to my TBR! 3mo
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BookishMarginalia
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KathyWheeler
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Pickpick

I‘m ambivalent about this book. Sally Horner‘s story is compelling and sad, and the book is very readable. However, Weinman seems to view, despite any real evidence except his unwillingness to discuss it, Nabokov‘s use of the Horner story as nefarious. It‘s problematic in other places as well; first she discusses a note card in Nabokov‘s papers referring to Horner, then later she says the archives contain no mention of her. A qualified pick.

KathyWheeler At another point, she said a woman had two daughters; then 2 months later, when they meet Sally, there are 3 daughters — 5, 6, & 7. So it‘s not like one could‘ve been born in the interval. (edited) 4mo
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Leftcoastzen
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Pickpick

Nabokov was working on the book that would become Lolita for years and the author contends that the kidnapping of Sally Horner would fill in details to make that book a reality.A tale that combines Sally Horners difficult story with literary detective work to find connections of the facts with literary inspiration.
Horners story is heartbreaking.

batsy I want to read this! Just need prepare myself for what a brutal story it'll be. 4mo
Leftcoastzen @batsy Since the case is so old , there are not brutal details yet us readers can sadly fill in the blanks. 4mo
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KathyWheeler
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Tonight‘s non-fiction reading.

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Leftcoastzen
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In this book Sarah Weinman tells the story of the kidnapping of Sally Horner and makes the case if it wasn‘t for #ThatGirl Nabokov would have never written Lolita .He always admitted Sally‘s case as an influence,but this author contends that the depth of the connection might run deeper.And I‘d know if I agreed if I ever got it off of TBR mountain and read it.
#TimbitTunes

TheKidUpstairs Sounds fascinating. I think I'd rather read this than Lolita! 4mo
Cinfhen It‘s on my TBR too!! I bought it as a #KindleDailyDeal recently 4mo
Cinfhen I recommend this fictionalized account of Sally Horner‘s story @TheKidUpstairs @Leftcoastzen it was excellent 4mo
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Leftcoastzen @Cinfhen I read Rust and Stardust, I liked it a lot. 4mo
jveezer The two-month review podcast talked a little bit about this in discussing the Nabokov section of Dubravka Ugresic‘s novel Fox. Very interesting. 4mo
Leftcoastzen @jveezer I will have to check that out! 4mo
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Megabooks
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Pickpick

Fascinating investigation into the harrowing story of the real-life girl that inspired Nabokov to finish Lolita. This book skips into Nabokov‘s life and inspirations, but mostly it follows Sally, the 11 year old kidnapped by pedophile Frank La Salle and taken across the country for 21 months. The author deeply investigated this story. She was able to speak to some witnesses and children of them with shocking revelations in ch. 29. 4⭐️ #BINGO!

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MrBook Great review!!! 4mo
Megabooks @MrBook Thank you 😊 4mo
Cinfhen Oh, good idea for the #NonFiction2019 prompt!!! I bought this book on a #KindleDailyDeal recently🤓 looking forward to reading it now. BTW: did u ever read this fictionalized story about Sally Horner 4mo
Megabooks @Cinfhen No! But I‘m adding it to my TBR now. Thanks!! I hope you enjoy this nonfiction. (edited) 4mo
Cinfhen I wonder how they will compare xx hope you‘re doing well!!! 4mo
Megabooks @Cinfhen I wonder what people would think of Lolita today in the age of #metoo and with the greater awareness of how many children are sexually abused. I think what people got from Lolita bothered Nabokov‘s wife, Vera. And I am doing okay. Not better yet but closer!! 😁👍🏻 4mo
Cinfhen Glad to hear you‘re on the mend 🧡 4mo
Reviewsbylola I can‘t wait to read this!! 4mo
Megabooks @Reviewsbylola I think you‘d enjoy it! 4mo
Reviewsbylola It‘s on my TBR so I‘m confident I‘ll get to it eventually. 😆 4mo
Megabooks @Reviewsbylola sometimes I feel like the guy in the Twilight Zone. I just wish I could be alone with all the books and infinite time to read. Then I break my glasses! 4mo
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Megabooks
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Oh you guys!! Litsy has turned me into a true crime reader!! 😱 I never thought I‘d get into this genre since I don‘t like “fake crime” (fiction mysteries, etc.), but I‘m really starting to like it.

gradcat Warning: It can become an obsession—it happened to me! ⚠️ 😂 4mo
Megabooks @gradcat I can definitely see that happening! 4mo
Reviewsbylola Glad you‘re coming over to the dark side. 😆 4mo
Megabooks @Reviewsbylola Hehehehehe! ☠️ 4mo
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gypsymoon
Pickpick

I really enjoyed this book. Well researched, informative, fascinating, and heartbreaking. I was at times devastated, furious, and dumbfounded. It was an excellent read and I would highly recommend it.

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RidgewayGirl
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Fascinating story about the crime that helped Nabokov write Lolita, or the crime that he was at least aware of and mentions in the novel.

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EleniKara
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When my non-reader best friend remembers that I mentioned wanting to read this book once and bought it for my birthday 😍😍 what a sweetheart!

Reviewsbylola I want to read this one badly! 5mo
EleniKara @Reviewsbylola I‘ll be sure to let you know how it is when I get to it! Very excited, seems incredibly fascinating! 5mo
Crazeedi Never heard of his one, it sounds very interesting ! 5mo
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whatsthEStorey
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Mehso-so

The true story of Sally Horner‘s kidnapping that inspired Nabakov. It‘s a sad story worth knowing, especially as Lolita has often been portrayed as a vixen rather than victim in pop culture. Unfortunately, not much of Sally‘s story remains today and the writing fell flat, so this book was not as compelling as it should have been.

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cdreincarnate
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Mehso-so

Fascinating topic, but it could have been better executed. Weinman isn‘t a good writer and some of the conclusions she draws are tenuous at best, while she appears to completely miss other parallels between the two crimes. My guess is that it was hastily written, but it was still worthwhile to read about the real-life abduction with too many similarities to Lolita‘s story to be coincidental.

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cdreincarnate
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Um, you do realize you published the photo alongside your “description” of it and we can therefore clearly see that neither is his hair tousled nor are his eyebrows raised. Why bother printing misinformation alongside contradictory evidence? How am I supposed to believe anything else in this book?

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m.galehuxley
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This story is very sad and fascinating. The author‘s tone bothered me for some reason I can‘t explain fully yet, but I‘m glad I read it. It‘s also interesting to learn about how Nabokov likely drew much Lolita from Sally Horner‘s story, and why he would want to keep that obscured.

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LauraBeth
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Mehso-so

⭐️⭐️⭐️ If you love true crime and the behind-the-scenes of how a book came to fruition (in this case, Nabokov‘s Lolita), you‘ll enjoy this. It wasn‘t quite my cup of tea but I didn‘t bail, so...

Crazeedi Your kitty is precious 7mo
Lcsmcat 😻😻 7mo
JoScho Oh gray cat looking so calm and sweet. 7mo
AlaMich Hi Gray Cat! 7mo
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Morr_Books
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Pickpick

I thought this was a great analysis of Lolita and comparison to the real life kidnapping of Sally Horner, which I had known little about prior to listening to this book. I had a couple issues with the writing, but overall enjoyed this book.

Velvetfur I've never heard about this! Thanks for bringing it to my attention, I'll Google this case 👍 7mo
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Skeebies05
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Pickpick

Ugh what a terribly sad story :( This one will stick with me for a bit. Poor girl. 😢 This the last page of the book.

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LauraBeth
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I honestly just want to live my life using author names and/or main characters as adjectives in everyday conversation. Quixotic. Nabokovian. Raskolnikovian. Just to be obnoxious.

MayJasper 😀 8mo
tournevis You and me both! 👍 8mo
RestlessFickleBookHoarder Poe-etic 🤣Sorry. Couldn't resist. 8mo
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heikemarie That scenario sounds kafakesque 😂 8mo
LauraBeth @RestlessFickleBookHoarder and @heikemarie y‘all are the worst 🤣🤣🤣 8mo
LauraBeth @MayJasper, @tournevis, @Megara I want to update the list and be all, “That‘s so Ng” or “Murakami-esque” 8mo
minkyb It is quite fun! 8mo
mdhughes72 How about Brobdingnagian? 8mo
LauraBeth @mdhughes72 I haven‘t heard that word in about 30 years (since I read GT in college)! Best one yet! 8mo
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LauraBeth
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“The appreciation of art can make a sucker out of those who forget the darkness of real life.”

LeahBergen I‘ve been eyeing this one. 8mo
LauraBeth It‘s good so far @LeahBergen! “...the story of Sally Horner is the story of so many girls and women, not just in America, but everywhere. So many of these stories seem like everyday injustices - young women denied opportunity to advance, tethered to marriage and motherhood. Others are more horrific, girls and women abused, brutalized, kidnapped, or worse.” 8mo
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Bookish_B
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Pickpick

I've never read Lolita. I know zero about Nabokov so maybe that's why I enjoyed this. I had no preconceived notions about the work of fiction and relied solely on what the author was telling me. There's a lot of guesswork by the author because there's a lot that's not known but I appreciated the effort! 😊

Purrsistently I just listened to the audiobook of this and thought it was great! 8mo
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teainthelibrary
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All cozy on the couch and ready to spend this chilly evening starting this.. I‘ve heard great things and if it‘s even half the reading experience Lolita was, I‘ll be very happy!

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Chocamanda
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Today we kick off the beginning of Chocolate Season! (Yes, in my world, that‘s a thing 😝). I‘m cooking brittle, cutting truffles, making fancy chocolate granola, and listening to this fascinating audiobook. It‘s narrated by Cassandra Campbell who is one of my favorite narrators, and the book itself is compulsively readable. Weinman looks at Nabokov, Sally Horner, and other cases relevant to the topic and period. One of my faves for 2018 I think.

Reviewsbylola I def want to read this! 8mo
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Vocalities
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Pickpick

The book sheds a lot of light not only on Sally Horner, but also all the related people in her life that have since been forgotten. Detectives and friends, judges and family members. It fleshed out Horner's life about as much as possible, given how little remains.

I went into this book as a fan of true crime, but I think it works better as a companion piece for Lolita itself, giving context and insight into the book and its creator.

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BooksAtNight
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Me: “I just need to pick up a hold.”
Also me: “these books aren‘t checked out they‘re so unloved I must take them home and cuddle them”
Also me: “shhhh, don‘t talk to me about the 20 library books at home”
#libraryhaul #bookaddict

mcipher Yeah. I am right there with you!! 9mo
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Vocalities
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I read Lolita last week just so I'd have the context to fully appreciate this book. Strangely, my annotated copy of Lolita made no mention of this case even though the novel mentions Sally Horner by name.

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kate_reads
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Pickpick

I‘m pretty new to nonfiction and true crime—but after hearing the editor talk about it at BEA, I was sold. I thought this was well-done and super interesting. I recently read RUST & STARDUST which is a retelling of Sally Horner‘s kidnapping so this was timely and fit in perfectly.

MicheleinPhilly Those are some pretty impressive #BOTM stacks! 10mo
emilyhaldi I can‘t stop looking at the background stacks 😍 10mo
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WellReadCatLady
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Loving this #arc so far

Lcsmcat Intriguing. I did not know this. 10mo
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Matilda
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Today‘s #bookmail !

Reviewsbylola I really want to read this!! 12mo
Vertabrain I‘m so jealous!! Please let us know what you think. 12mo
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MrBook
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#TBRtemptation post 2! #BEA18 Edition! An Adult Editors' Buzz book. The gripping true-crime investigation of 11-year-old Sally Horner's 1948 abduction and how it inspired Nabokov's classic novel, beloved & notorious at the same time. Reams of documents, and interviews with those still alive, being this crime narrative, cultural history, & literary investigation to vivid life. This book is being talked about EVERYwhere! #blameLitsy #blameMrBook 😎

Godmotherx5 I‘m hooked. 12mo
LikelyLibrarian I read Lolita last year, under protest, and (gulp) I loved it. It was fascinating and beautifully written and the author‘s use of first-person POV was disturbing and thought-provoking. I just may have to read this too 😏 (edited) 12mo
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MarticaMustRead
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??? #BEA18 #BookExpo #LibrarianLife #WorkPerks #LitsyLovesLibrarians #LibrariansOfLitsy #ForTheLoveOfBooks #BookCoverLove #LunchtimeReading

A hungry Martha makes for a grumpy #BookExpo attendee .... very late lunch stop after attending the Adult Book Buzz panel & picking up these lovely galleys!

Super intrigued for the tagged book about the real life child kidnapping that inspired the famous "Lolita" classic. #TrueCrime

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Liberty
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Reading this upcoming true crime book while I wait to watch the Golden State Killer press conference. ☠️

MidnightBookGirl The struggle for the wait is real! 14mo
Cinfhen Did you read 14mo
Sophoclessweetheart Lolita is one of my favourite classics... I think I need to read this. 14mo
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Liberty @Cinfhen No, I was waiting to read this first. 14mo
Cinfhen I‘ll be curious to hear your thoughts on Rust & Stardust. I thought it was really interesting ~ I‘m excited to read the book you tagged! Thanks for posting & sharing (edited) 14mo
Vertabrain I can‘t wait for this to be released. Waiting for more details on the EAR! 14mo
129 likes24 stack adds6 comments