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TimSpalding

TimSpaldingVerified

Joined September 2017

LibraryThing founder, Litsy guardian. Father, hacker, bibliophile, ex-classicist, Catholic. Married to @LisaCarey. I read ancient history, classics, archaeology, church history, language, technology, and fiction of various sorts. Portland, Maine, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Kaş, Turkey.
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Les Miserables by Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
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TimSpalding
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Great book, recommended to me by a friend in pharma.

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TimSpalding
Artificial Intelligence For Dummies | John Paul Mueller, Luca Massaron
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Uh… okay.

Soubhiville What? Weird. 2w
wanderinglynn So weird. Where did you find it? (edited) 2w
TimSpalding Textbooks and, here, computer books are sometimes sold for cheap in India. If it costs $2 to make and you can get $6, you take it. But in the US you can sell it for $30. So you create different covers for different markets, and try this. Then some Amazon seller sells the Indian version to US people. (edited) 2w
30 likes3 comments
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TimSpalding
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Absolutely fantastic book, following on his history of the three councils. It‘s up there for me now with analytical essays by M. I. Finley and Arnoldo Momigliano in ancient history. O‘Malley is very old now, and I am dreading he will die soon. I hope we get a few more books out of him. In any case, with the continuing decline and polarization in Catholic intellectual life, I don‘t know who can succeed him.

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TimSpalding
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Went to Boston, came back with four boxes of lahmejun from Eastern Lamejun Bakery, four loaves of challah from Cheryl Anne‘s bakery, and six books from ⁦‪@HarvardBooks‬⁩. Good day.

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TimSpalding
The Third Reich at War | Richard J. Evans
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Fantastic book—so far mostly a social history of German genocide and cruelty. Little is new to me, but the details and analysis are superior, and the account of the effort to exterminate Germany‘s mentally and physically disabled adults and children taught me a lot.

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TimSpalding
Raven Used Book Shop (Northampton, MA) | Northampton, MA (Bookstore)
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Sunday book haul. Two parts internet, two parts New Testament, one part Roman History.

Suet624 You are an interesting person. :)
2mo
37 likes1 comment
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TimSpalding
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TimSpalding
Peril | Bob Woodward, Robert Costa
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The first half is fascinating, adding many piquant details to the (better) I Alone Can Fix It. But it was designed to cover both the end of Trump and the first months of the Biden administration. The latter is simply less interesting. I‘m very glad the Biden administration has been less interesting, but it doesn‘t make for an interesting story.

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TimSpalding
Peril | Bob Woodward, Robert Costa
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As good as I suspected it would be.

CoverToCoverGirl My Mom is currently reading this, so I expect she‘ll pass it along to me once she‘s finished. 2mo
34 likes1 comment
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TimSpalding
LibraryThing as a library service | Aina Manso Santolaria
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LibraryThing's new “Charts and Graphs“ feature is released! https://www.librarything.com/topic/334487

Texreader How exciting!! I look forward to checking it out. I mostly use the LibraryThing app though. I wish it had similar functions as the website 4mo
SkeletonKey I‘m dying to know what earthbound spirits reside in that blue part of the graph. 4mo
32 likes2 comments
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I sincerely hope this is some author‘s writing room. — Haskell Island, Maine

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Vacation!

TimSpalding Now the problem is: which one to go out in a literal kayak with… 🤔 4mo
Ruthiella Which ever one you don‘t mind losing if you capsize! 😆 4mo
quirkyreader Go with Pilgrim Confidential. 4mo
21 likes3 comments
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TimSpalding
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I have never laughed so hard while reading a tech book.

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TimSpalding

Well, that ended, thank God. The administration, not the book. I could have read more of the book.

Chrissyreadit It feels like we still have tremors and aftershocks unfortunately. 5mo
Susanita @Chrissyreadit Tremors and aftershock s describe the situation well. 5mo
25 likes1 stack add2 comments
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TimSpalding
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Bananas. Absolutely bananas. That is all.

Karisa So glad that episode in U.S. history is over… um 🤞 5mo
30 likes1 stack add1 comment
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TimSpalding
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Author lays out the data that liberals and conservatives “exposed” to “voices” from the other side don‘t get more moderate, but the opposite. I‘m not sure this is news. Social media Is not designed to persuade. I doubt that, before social media, conservatives would have become more moderate being exposed to Cuban communist signs either! But social media is explicitly tribal. Pissing off the other side is a feature, not a bug. So, not surprising.

sprainedbrain So very accurate. 5mo
31 likes1 comment
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TimSpalding
Pickpick

Finished. The earlier bits were the most interesting to me, as I knew some of the participants and events. Everything to do with Aaron was just gutting. The latter bits were also engaging. So with the short-lived tenure of Ellen Pao, although the divergent narratives make we question if we have a true account, and I wish Lagorio-Chafkin had been clearer in attributing her sources. It was fun to hear about Ohanian's romance with Serena Williams.

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TimSpalding
Old Professor's Bookshop | Belfast, ME (Bookstore)
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Saturday haul, split interests.

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Came back to this after a hiatus. Surfaces more of the story of Aaron and Reddit than I knew before—sad things I was only partially aware of. I was also struck by something that's probably well known; that Reddit's algorithm hid things with 5 down-votes, but showed them again, with a boost, if they got 100 down-votes, on the theory that the REALLY bad was fun. The future of social media was here; it just wasn't evenly distributed.

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TimSpalding
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An enjoyable non-technical introduction to AI history. It‘s even relatively sober; the history of AI failures and hype are a major sub-theme. Even so, as it approaches the present it gets carried away. The hype around self-driving cars was particularly strong, and I struggle to understand its 2021 publication date, in light of its unfulfilled predictions. The final chapter, in which Wooldridge does some philosophy is not impressive.

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One thing I like about A Very Short Introductions: no “let‘s me tell you about the time I got lost in Warsaw as a graduate student” or “let me tell you about the color of the sky that time I was bitten by mosquitos while I was digging for fossils with Sven, who was tall and wore sweaters that were…” and on and on.

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TimSpalding
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Panpan

I‘m a huge fan of Very Short Introductions, and therefore well versed in what can and can‘t be achieved in their short compass. Unlike every other such historical survey, this book is often little more than a dreary recitation of names and dates, dynasties and places. Not only is there little “why”—except on the topic of camels, oddly—there isn‘t much “what,” because listing names without any other context or elaboration tells us nothing.

TimSpalding I did learn a lot about camels in Islamic history and city planning. No, really. And that was interesting. Not worth it, though. 8mo
26 likes1 comment
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TimSpalding
Ferdinandus Taurus | Munro Leaf, Elizabeth Hadas
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Ferdinand, which my kid is reading in Latin, has Ferdinand leap up from his beloved cork tree, dislodging a cork sapling. Munro/Lawson didn‘t understand how cork trees made cork! But I wish this were a thing.

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I adored Ariel Sabar's Atlantic article thoroughly and completely demolishing the “The Gospel of Jesus' Wife“ as a fake. So I was looking forward to his book-length treatment. There's much to recommend here, but he gets a number of basic historical and theological issues dead-wrong and it's killing me. Most of all, he seems utterly ignorant of views held by non-western, non-Latin Christianity. [continued in comments]

Lauram This looks great! I‘m going to add it to my book club selection next month. 12mo
TimSpalding So we get this idea that the Church alleged that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute, which goes back to a homily in 591 by Pope Gregory, and which had no effect on the Greek tradition—let alone Armenian, Syrian, Ethiopic! The same goes for discussions of Augustine and original sin; Augustine was a big deal in the west, but not outside of it. From there he talks about clerical celibacy as if it were normative, universal, not a western, Latin thing. (edited) 12mo
TimSpalding Non-Christians today often equate Christianity with Catholicism and its offshoot, Protestantism. This is silly today, but as eastern Christians are no better than 15% of the Christian population, somewhat understandable. But for many centuries and very much the centuries when the “Gospel“ was allegedly written and translated, the east was *by far* the more significant Christian center. So it just throws the whole thing off. (edited) 12mo
TimSpalding There are a good many similar errors, and the overall effect is to reject the papyrus, but to swallow Karen King's larger (and, IMHO, overheated) ideological fixations, which work a lot better without east/west differences and against a modern religious context to which Christianity with origins east of Italy is a footnote. Anyway, I wasn't expecting this defect, and it irritates me. 12mo
CarolynM I don't blame you for being annoyed. 12mo
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I read this before 20, but a reread with my son finds it not only excellent, but one of the best things I‘ve read in years. Douglass is an absolute master of his craft. My son was so caught he listened to it twice.

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Fragile Things LP | Neil Gaiman
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I recently re-read Gaiman's Fragile Things, with “How to Talk to Girls at Parties“ which was turned into a movie so unlike the story, it's a wonder anyone paid rights for it. I suppose there are works you try not to pay rights for, and works you pay rights for, even if the result is devoid of any resemblance to the original.

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Charlotte's Web | E. B. White
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Some candidate!

Traci1 ❤❤❤ 13mo
AmyG 🙌🏻 13mo
Megabooks 👍🏻👍🏻💜💜 13mo
40 likes3 comments
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TimSpalding
Harry Potter | JK Rowling
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Prof. Trelawney. Prof. Flitwick and The Fat Friar (Hufflepuff ghost) #halloween

Chrissyreadit 🙌👏🎃 13mo
sprainedbrain Great costumes! 13mo
Bibliotekate Y‘all are the best. 12mo
53 likes3 comments
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TimSpalding
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Beeman's history of the writing of the Constitution is exhaustive in its detail, explores possibilities creatively without being merely speculative and is vivid without being amped up. Chapters on the Founders and slavery are particularly good. Oh, the title is absolutely not the thesis statement. Any account of the Constitution is liable to jingle jangle against American history again and again, but particularly so at this weird moment of crisis.

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Nancy Pearl! The authors are letting me interview them for the @LibraryThing State of the Thing. So I‘m zooming though it now.

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Chrissyreadit Hey Tim! I saw you are a hacker- any good book recommendations? My teen son is doing dual enrollment with classes is cyber security and programming, so very interested in all things hacking. @Cats4_days 1y
31 likes1 comment
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I hate this book. But I‘m giving it a little more time because it cost good money.

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The Power and the Glory | Graham Greene
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Rereading, or rather listening. God, I love this book.

Crazeedi A classic 1y
28 likes1 comment
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TimSpalding
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I enjoyed Facebook so much—and of course Levy‘s Hackers, which was massively influential on tween me—so I got this. Still, I‘m not sure I can stick through it—it‘s a 2011 book about Google and that feels passé.

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Levy is losing steam at the end. His bizarre framing of PHP vs. native development had me gasping—THIS is the guy who wrote “Hackers“? Now he's grinding his gears on a facile debate about free speech and censorship. Damn, I wish I could read this with someone with my level of engagement with these issues!

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The Anubis Gates | Tim Powers
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Listening to the Anubis Gates with my son. It's odd to have his introduction to Romantic poetry be an adventure involving, among other things, time travelers at a lecture by Coleridge and a magical clone of Lord Byron brainwashed to kill the king!

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Fascinating account. Also, as someone who started a social site in August 2005, and followed products and news closely, it's weirdly nostalgic.

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Reading Levy's Facebook book, which includes a lot of Zuckerberg biography, it occurs to me that biography hasn't progressed much intellectually since antiquity. We do not see the young Alexander or Zuckerberg except as a crude mirror of the adult one. Success is assumed, and the effects of success on the progress of an individual are ignored. Even lay history couldn't get away with this today, but it's standard in biography.

DGRachel That‘s interesting and something I never really noticed, but admittedly I don‘t read a lot of biographies. 1y
30 likes1 comment
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TimSpalding
Station Eleven | Emily St John Mandel
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Mehso-so

I was not impressed by Station Eleven. I didn't care about the characters and didn't find the observations or descriptions particularly apt. Certain stylistic tics drove me completely up the wall. A “literary“ style does not consist of constantly interrupting dialogue to say that something makes a character think of . It had its good points, but I'm baffled that anyone could *admire* this book.

Rissreads I loved this book! 1y
TimSpalding @Rissreads What did you love about it, though? Honestly, I'm baffled. 1y
readingjedi I agree. It really didn't move me at all. I particularly disliked the plot structure. 1y
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Rissreads I loved the story, the characters, everything! It just really resonated with me! 1y
Bklover I‘ve bailed on this book at least three times. I keep trying because everyone else seems to love it. Thank you, Tim. Now I can happily ignore it. 1y
TimSpalding @Bklover Glad I could help :) 1y
38 likes1 stack add6 comments
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TimSpalding
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Latin “novella” to do with Liam. I have to admire the cover design.

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Cold War: A New History | John Lewis Gaddis
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A good introduction to a period that felt permanent at the time, but feels insubstantial and remote now. I had hoped this would be much more substantial than the Very Short Introduction, also read recently. But it was still pretty basic.

Now, to find something more substantial, but still analytical, not a chronological doorstopper.

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I‘d heard negative things about it, but also about the movie, and when I saw the movie with Liam recently I was pleasantly surprised it. The book is different… and worse. The problem isn't the 80s pop-and nerd-culture nostalgia. I'm dead-center to much of what it idolizes—I'm the target audience!—and it didn't affect me much either way. No, it's the writing, and the thinking behind it. Boring.

TheAromaofBooks I also felt like the book had more of a downer vibe to it - I enjoyed both the book and the movie for different reasons, but while the movie seemed to focus more on themes of friendship and hope, the book seemed a lot more “actually virtual life really IS better than real life“ !! 1y
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This is the ultimate bed-time, “comfort” read. I fall asleep to it most nights now. I think I‘m weird.

Tanisha_A 😂 1y
Chrissyreadit I love it! And also am fascinated by languages. I wish I was a polyglot instead of a monoglot. 1y
Susanita Another language nerd here!🙋🏻‍♀️ 1y
38 likes3 comments
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TimSpalding
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Quite a read. I get people want to keep their hands clean, but I don't care about giving Bolton $0.50, and if classics taught me anything, it‘s how to read an author you neither like nor trust.

What's in it? Well, the president's fecklessness, narcissism and disloyalty were not news to me. But I'm always interested in seeing how the sausage is made or, here, made and then thrown out the window or hidden under the couch.

Apologies for the photo.

TimSpalding The whole reaction to the book continues to haunt me. I don't think Bolton will “earn out,“ but if he does, do we care? Should we really not read things that cast important light on public policy because we dislike the author? (Should Bolton have testified? I have to agree with him partially—he should have been subpoenaed. And, he's right, it wouldn't have made a difference.) 1y
TimSpalding Complaining about the money reminds of people who complain that the Mueller probe cost $32m dollars. A million for Bolton or 32m for an investigation are nothing sums against the importance of the topic. The other complaint is more worrying—that reading a “bad“ author is an act of support for the author and implies some sort of moral contamination that renders the reader objectionable as well. 1y
TimSpalding This sentiment is on the rise today. It occasions in me the darkest thoughts about the state of contemporary intellectual culture. I understand it with fiction well enough, but it's bonkers applied to the memoir of a high public official. Being able to learn from something, whether or not you agree with it or like the author, is a foundational intellectual skill, not a character flaw. (edited) 1y
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vivastory I think that readers are just tired of the fact that there's now an industry of former Trump officials (some as in the case of Bolton very recent WH employees) who are profiting off of Trump's behavior. With people like Bolton, as Colbert pointed out to him repeatedly in his recent interview, Trump was a known factor when he went to go work for him. So, for him to then leave & then publish a book acting surprise about his former supervisor's 1y
vivastory (cont.) behavior is (again in Colbert's words) “naive“. I do agree that Republicans would not have let him testify in the Senate hearing. They didn't let any other witnesses testify. There's no reason to think that they would let him testify. If he had they would have found a way to completely discredit him. 1y
callielafleur There fact that he is going to make so much money off this book is disgusting, and the fact that it won't move the needle at all on any repercussions to dear leader is upsetting. Basically at that point it's only good is titillation. Surely the publishing industry could use its power elsewhere. 1y
TimSpalding I don't know. I think the steady drip-drip-drip of such books has an effect. Bolton's book generated quite a few negative news stories, and added confirmation to some important details of Trump's unfitness. I'm sure it's tipped some people away from voting for Trump—no idea on how many. As for the publishing industry and power, publishing is neither a monopoly nor a broadcast medium, so I don't see how such power is supposed work here. 1y
Marla I‘m listening to it now and I‘m already halfway through and it hasn‘t even been 2 days. My husband was sitting in the room and said the book is very fascinating. I like hearing behind the closed door views and going ons. 1y
34 likes8 comments
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Past me left this irritable comment on a school commentary to Ovid. Present me agrees.

Leftcoastzen 😂👏 1y
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On Civil Rights kick, for obvious reasons. This is the companion to the PBS series, and it has an oral-history angle you couldn‘t pull off now, when even John Lewis is 80. The current anti-police brutality movement is in many ways more like the 50-60s struggle than much since. The big difference is how much organization, strategy and planning went into something like the Montgomery Bus Boycott. I hope that doesn‘t tell against the movement today.

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I love Latin. This guys lost his mind over it. What a profoundly dumb book.

Crazeedi My stats on my page are not updating! I have been at the same number for 2 weeks now, what is the problem @TimSpalding 2y
34 likes2 comments
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TimSpalding
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Christos Anesti!

Suet624 Thank you for all you do. 💕💕 2y
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Tim, who do I contact about blocking someone? I know Loranne isn‘t there anymore... 2y
49 likes2 comments
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TimSpalding
testing one two three | testing author
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Testing

Sace Watch ya testing? (I am nosy.) 2y
TimSpalding There seems to have been problems a while ago. But perhaps not now? 2y
Daisey I had trouble posting photos earlier but it‘s working fine again now. 2y
32 likes3 comments
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TimSpalding
Parnassus Books | Nashville, TN (Bookstore)
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Well, I made it to the Parnassus Books… in the Airport! #pla2020

Chrissyreadit What a fun place to find at the airport! 2y
TimSpalding @Chrissyreadit Actually, it's a pretty great bookstore, for an airport bookstore. Pretty full of books. Good selection. A few enjoyable thingies, but not taken over by them. 2y
Kaylamburson Did you get to go to the original one? It was very sweet. They had a mini door to get to the kids' section! 2y
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TimSpalding @Kaylamburson No, alas. @lisacarey promises we'll visit some day. 2y
Leftcoastzen Yay! 2y
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks 🙌🏻📚🎉 2y
Geenie 💖👍 2y
britt_brooke The airport location is pretty good! Hope you get a chance to visit the main one. 💚 2y
58 likes8 comments