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Social Scientists & Psychologists

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  1. 14.6 hrs • 8/9/2016 • Unabridged

    For readers of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks comes a propulsive, haunting journey into the secret history of brain science by Luke Dittrich, whose grandfather performed the surgery that created the most studied human research subject of all time: the amnesic known as Patient H. M. In 1953, a twenty-seven-year-old factory worker named Henry Molaison—who suffered from severe epilepsy—received a radical new version of the then-common lobotomy, targeting the most mysterious structures in the brain. The operation failed to eliminate Henry’s seizures, but it did have an unintended effect: Henry was left profoundly amnesic, unable to create long-term memories. Over the next sixty years, Patient H. M., as Henry was known, became the most studied individual in the history of neuroscience, a human guinea pig who would teach us much of what we know about memory today. Patient H.M. is, at times, a deeply personal journey. Dittrich’s grandfather was the brilliant, morally complex surgeon who operated on Molaison—and thousands of other patients. The author’s investigation into the dark roots of modern memory science ultimately forces him to confront unsettling secrets in his own family history, and to reveal the tragedy that fueled his grandfather’s relentless experimentation—experimentation that would revolutionize our understanding of ourselves. Dittrich uses the case of Patient H. M. as a starting point for a kaleidoscopic journey, one that moves from the first recorded brain surgeries in ancient Egypt to the cutting-edge laboratories of MIT. He takes readers inside the old asylums and operating theaters where psychosurgeons, as they called themselves, conducted their human experiments and behind the scenes of a bitter custody battle over the ownership of the most important brain in the world. Patient H. M. combines the best of biography, memoir, and science journalism to create a haunting, endlessly fascinating story, one that reveals the wondrous and devastating things that can happen when hubris, ambition, and human imperfection collide.

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    Patient H.M.

    14.6 hrs • 8/9/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 12.2 hrs • 4/26/2016 • Unabridged

    Professor of psychiatry Elyn R. Saks writes about her struggle with schizophrenia in this unflinching account of her mental illness. In The Center Cannot Hold, Saks draws readers into a nightmare world of medications, a misguided health care system, and social stigmas. But she would not be defeated. With a strength and force of will that most can only imagine, Saks reclaimed her life and went on to achieve great success.

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    The Center Cannot Hold

    12.2 hrs • 4/26/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 13.2 hrs • 5/29/2015 • Unabridged

    In Universal Man, noted biographer and historian Richard Davenport-Hines revives our understanding of John Maynard Keynes (1883–1946), the twentieth century’s most charismatic and revolutionary economist. Keynes helped FDR launch the New Deal, saved Britain from financial crisis twice over the course of two World Wars, and instructed Western nations on how to protect themselves from revolutionary unrest, economic instability, high unemployment, and social dissolution. Isaiah Berlin called Keynes “the cleverest man I ever knew”—both “superior and intellectually awe-inspiring.” Eric Hobsbawm, the twentieth century’s preeminent historian, considered him as influential as Lenin, Stalin, Roosevelt, Hitler, Churchill, Gandhi, and Mao. Keynes was nothing less than the Adam Smith of his time: his General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, published in 1936, became the most important economics book of the twentieth century, as important as Smith’s Wealth of Nations in inaugurating an economic era. Keynes’ brilliant ideas made possible thirty-five years of prosperity after the Second World War, the most sustained period of rapid expansion in history. And now, in the wake of the 2008 global economic collapse, he is once again shaping our world. Every day we are likely to hear about “Keynesian economics” or the “Keynesian Revolution,” terms that testify to his continuing influence on both economic theory and government policies. Indeed, with the thorough discrediting of his opponents—Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Alan Greenspan, and other supporters of the notion that capitalism is self-regulating and needs no government intervention—nations across the world are turning to Keynes’ signature innovations: above all that governments must involve themselves in their economies to stave off financial collapse. Previous biographies have explored Keynes economic thought at great length and often in the jargon of the discipline. Universal Man is the first accessible biography of Keynes and reveals Keynes as much more than an economist. Like many Englishmen of his class and era, Keynes compartmentalized his life. Accordingly, Davenport-Hines views Keynes through multiple windows: as a youthful prodigy, a powerful government official, an influential public man, a bisexual living in the shadow of Oscar Wilde’s persecution, a devotee of the arts, and an international statesman of great renown. Delving into Keynes’ experiences and thought, Davenport-Hines shows us a man who was equally at ease socializing with the Bloomsbury Group as he was persuading heads of state to adopt his policies. Exploring the desires and experiences that compelled Keynes to innovate, Davenport-Hines is the first to argue that Keynesian economics has an aesthetic basis. In this book we come to understand not just the most endearingly influential economist of the modern era, but one of the most gifted and vital men of our times: a disciplined logician with a capacity for glee who persuaded people, seduced them, subverted old ideas, and installed new ones; a man whose high brilliance did not give people vertigo, but clarified and lengthened their perspectives. Engaging, learned, and sparkling with wit and insight, Universal Man is the perfect match for its subject.

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    Universal Man

    13.2 hrs • 5/29/15 • Unabridged
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  4. 2.5 hrs • 4/23/2015 • Unabridged

    This work, unsurprisingly, offers invaluable insights into the life and times of Charles Darwin, his personality and the formative influences that made him what he was, for here we have his own words and “voice” at the close of a prodigiously productive career. He tells of his childhood, his student days at Edinburgh and Cambridge, his love of beetles, shooting and geology and of his grandfather, Josiah Wedgwood. He talks at some length about his meetings with the great scientific men of the age, his attitudes to his critics, to religion and of his theories of evolution. He also discusses his scientific methods and the background to the publication of many of his works including The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man, and how he came to join the Beagle as naturalist. This is an indispensable work for any student of Darwin, of evolution, and conceivably, creationism. It is undoubtedly the autobiography of a great man. Note: This is the version authorized and edited by his son, Francis. Francis Darwin and Charles’ wife Emma censored and excised some passages, in part to limit references made to his home life.

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    The Autobiography of Charles Darwin

    2.5 hrs • 4/23/15 • Unabridged
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  5. 3.3 hrs • 11/4/2014 • Abridged

    Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, MD, is the woman who has transformed the way the world thinks about death and dying. Beginning with the groundbreaking publication of the classic psychological study On Death and Dying and continuing through her many books and her years working with terminally ill children, AIDS patients, and the elderly, Kübler-Ross has brought comfort and understanding to millions coping with their own deaths or the deaths of loved ones. Now, at age seventy-one facing her own death, this world-renowned healer tells the story of her extraordinary life. Having taught the world how to die well, she now offers a lesson on how to live well. Her story is an adventure of the heart—powerful, controversial, inspirational—a fitting legacy of a powerful life.

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    The Wheel of Life

    3.3 hrs • 11/4/14 • Abridged
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  6. 3.9 hrs • 8/21/2014 • Abridged

    This concise introduction explains clearly the basic concepts of Jungian psychology: the collective unconscious, complex, archetype, shadow, persona, anima, animus, and the individuation of the Self. Anthony Stevens examines Carl Jung’s views on such disparate subjects as myth, religion, alchemy, “synchronicity,” and the psychology of gender differences. He devotes separate chapters to the stages of life, Jung’s theory of psychological types, the interpretation of dreams, and the practice of Jungian analysis. Stevens also argues that Jung’s visionary powers and profound spirituality have helped many to find an alternative set of values to the arid materialism prevailing in Western society. Jung’s theories remain among the most fascinating of those developed by twentieth-century psychologists, and this introduction will prove popular among a wide range of listeners—even those outside of the psychological fraternity.

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    Jung

    3.9 hrs • 8/21/14 • Abridged
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  7. 3.9 hrs • 8/21/2014 • Abridged

    Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, revolutionized the way in which we think about ourselves. From its beginnings as a theory of neurosis, psychoanalysis developed into a general psychology which became widely accepted as the predominant mode of discussing personality and interpersonal relationships. Anthony Storr investigates the status of Freud’s legacy today and the disputes that surround his theories. This is the first of several releases from Oxford University Press’ highly successful Very Short Introduction series.

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    Freud

    3.9 hrs • 8/21/14 • Abridged
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  8. 0 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5
    11.8 hrs • 12/17/2013 • Unabridged

    A pioneering neuroscientist shares his story of growing up in one of Miami’s toughest neighborhoods and how it led him to his groundbreaking work in drug addiction. As a youth, Carl Hart didn’t realize the value of school; he studied just enough to stay on the basketball team. At the same time, he was immersed in street life. Today he is a cutting-edge neuroscientist—Columbia University’s first tenured African American professor in the sciences—whose landmark, controversial research is redefining our understanding of addiction. In this provocative and eye-opening memoir, he recalls his journey of self-discovery and weaves his past and present. Hart goes beyond the hype of the antidrug movement as he examines the relationship among drugs, pleasure, choice, and motivation, both in the brain and in society. His findings shed new light on common ideas about race, poverty, and drugs, and explain why current policies are failing. Though Hart escaped neighborhoods that were dominated by entrenched poverty and the knot of problems associated with it, he has not turned his back on his roots. Determined to make a difference, he tirelessly applies his scientific research to help save real lives. But balancing his former street life with his achievements today has not been easy—a struggle he reflects on publicly for the first time. A powerful story of hope and change, of a scientist who has dedicated his life to helping others, High Price will alter the way we think about poverty, race, and addiction—and how we can effect change.

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    High Price

    11.8 hrs • 12/17/13 • Unabridged
    0 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5
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  9. 8.3 hrs • 9/12/2013 • Unabridged

    New York is a city of highs and lows, where wealthy elites share the streets with desperate immigrants and destitute locals. Bridging this economic divide is New York’s underground economy, the invisible network of illicit transactions between rich and poor that secretly weaves together the whole city. Sudhir Venkatesh, acclaimed sociologist at Columbia University and author of Gang Leader for a Day, returns to the streets to connect the dots of New York’s divergent economic worlds and crack the code of the city’s underground economy. Based on Venkatesh’s interviews with prostitutes and socialites, immigrants and academics, high-end drug bosses and street-level dealers, Floating City exposes the underground as the city’s true engine of social transformation and economic prosperity, revealing a wholly unprecedented vision of New York. A memoir of sociological investigation, Floating City draws from Venkatesh’s decade of research within the affluent communities of Upper East Side socialites and Midtown businessmen, the drug gangs of Harlem and the sex workers of Brooklyn, the artists of Tribeca and the escort services of Hell’s Kitchen. Venkatesh arrived in the city after his groundbreaking research in Chicago, where crime remained stubbornly local: gangs stuck to their housing projects and criminals stayed on their corners. But in Floating City, Venkatesh discovers that New York’s underground economy unites instead of divides inhabitants: a vast network of “off the books” transactions linking the high and low worlds of the city. Venkatesh shows how dealing in drugs and sex and undocumented labor bridges the conventional divides between rich and poor, unmasking a city knit together by the invisible threads of the underground economy. Planting himself squarely within this unexplored world, Venkatesh closely follows a dozen New Yorkers locked in the underground economy. Bangledeshi shop clerks like Manjun and Santosh navigate immense networks of illegal goods and services, connecting inquisitive tourists with sex workers and drug dealers. Hispanic prostitutes like Angela and Carla feel secure enough in the new city to leave their old neighborhoods behind in pursuit of bigger money, yet abandon all the safety they had when their clients were known locals. Rich uptown women like Analise and Brittany have the changing city at their beck and call, but both turn to sex work as an easy way to make ends meet without relying on their family fortunes. Venkatesh’s greatest guide is Shine, an African American drug boss based in Harlem who hopes to break into the elusive, upscale cocaine market. Without connections among wealthy whites, Shine undertakes an audacious campaign of self-reinvention, leaving behind the certainties of race and class with all the drive of the greatest entrepreneurs. As Shine explains to Venkatesh, “This is New York! We’re like hummingbirds, man. We go flower to flower…Here you need to float.” Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New York’s Underground Economy chronicles Venkatesh’s decade of discovery and loss in the shifting terrain of New York, where research subjects might disappear suddenly and new allies emerge by chance, where close friends might reveal themselves to be criminals of the lowest order. Propelled by Venkatesh’s numerous interviews and firsthand research, Floating City at its heart is a story of one man struggling to understand a complex global city constantly in the throes of becoming.

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    Floating City

    8.3 hrs • 9/12/13 • Unabridged
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  10. 35.3 hrs • 5/14/2013 • Unabridged

    Robert Oppenheimer was among the most brilliant and divisive of men. As head of the Los Alamos Laboratory, he oversaw the successful effort to beat the Nazis in the race to develop the first atomic bomb—a breakthrough that was to have eternal ramifications for mankind and that made Oppenheimer the “father of the atomic bomb.” But with his actions leading up to that great achievement, he also set himself on a dangerous collision course with Senator Joseph McCarthy and his witch-hunters. In Robert Oppenheimer, Ray Monk, author of peerless biographies of Ludwig Wittgenstein and Bertrand Russell, goes deeper than any previous biographer in the quest to solve the enigma of Oppenheimer’s motivations and his complex personality. The son of German-Jewish immigrants, Oppenheimer was a man of phenomenal intellectual attributes, driven by an ambition to overcome his status as an outsider and penetrate the heart of political and social life. As a young scientist, his talent and drive allowed him to enter a community peopled by the great names of twentieth-century physics—men such as Niels Bohr, Max Born, Paul Dirac, and Albert Einstein—and to play a role in the laboratories and classrooms where the world was being changed forever, where the secrets of the universe, whether within atomic nuclei or collapsing stars, revealed themselves. But Oppenheimer’s path went beyond one of assimilation, scientific success, and world fame. The implications of the discoveries at Los Alamos weighed heavily upon this fragile and complicated man. In the 1930s, in a climate already thick with paranoia and espionage, he made suspicious connections, and in the wake of the Allied victory, his attempts to resist the escalation of the Cold War arms race led many to question his loyalties. Through compassionate investigation and with towering scholarship, Ray Monk’s Robert Oppenheimer tells an unforgettable story of discovery, secrecy, impossible choices, and unimaginable destruction.

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    Robert Oppenheimer

    35.3 hrs • 5/14/13 • Unabridged
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  11. 10.6 hrs • 4/9/2013 • Unabridged

    Kristine Barnett’s son Jacob has an IQ higher than Einstein’s, a photographic memory, and he taught himself calculus in two weeks. At nine he started working on an original theory in astrophysics that experts believe may someday put him in line for a Nobel Prize, and at age twelve he became a paid researcher in quantum physics. But the story of Kristine’s journey with Jake is all the more remarkable because his extraordinary mind was almost lost to autism. At age two, when Jake was diagnosed, Kristine was told he might never be able to tie his own shoes. The Spark is a remarkable memoir of mother and son. Surrounded by “experts” at home and in special education who tried to focus on Jake’s most basic skills and curtail his distracting interests—moving shadows on the wall, stars, plaid patterns on sofa fabric—Jake made no progress, withdrew more and more into his own world, and eventually stopped talking completely. Kristine knew in her heart that she had to make a change. Against the advice of her husband, Michael, and the developmental specialists, Kristine followed her instincts, pulled Jake out of special education, and began preparing him for mainstream kindergarten on her own. Relying on the insights she developed at the daycare center she runs out of the garage in her home, Kristine resolved to follow Jacob’s “spark”—his passionate interests. Why concentrate on what he couldn’t do? Why not focus on what he could? This basic philosophy, along with her belief in the power of ordinary childhood experiences (softball, picnics, s’mores around the campfire) and the importance of play, helped Kristine overcome huge odds. The Barnetts were not wealthy people, and in addition to financial hardship, Kristine herself faced serious health issues. But through hard work and determination on behalf of Jake and his two younger brothers, as well as an undying faith in their community, friends, and family, Kristine and Michael prevailed. The results were beyond anything anyone could have imagined. Dramatic, inspiring, and transformative, The Spark is about the power of love and courage in the face of overwhelming obstacles, and the dazzling possibilities that can occur when we learn how to tap the true potential that lies within every child, and in all of us.

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    The Spark

    10.6 hrs • 4/9/13 • Unabridged
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  12. 13.0 hrs • 5/10/2012 • Unabridged

    Few historians end up as historical actors in their own right, but Bernard Lewis has both witnessed and participated in some of the key events of the last century. When we think of the Middle East, we see it in terms that he defined and articulated. In this exceptional memoir he shares stories of his wartime service in London and Cairo, decrypting intercepts for MI6, with sometimes unexpected consequences. After the war, he was the first Western scholar ever invited into the Ottoman archives in Istanbul. He coined the term “clash of civilizations” in the 1950s, when no one imagined that political Islam would one day eclipse communism. A brilliant raconteur with an extraordinary gift for languages (he mastered thirteen), he regales us with tales of memorable encounters with Edward Kennedy, the Shah of Iran, Golda Meir, and Pope John Paul II, among many others. September 11 catapulted him onto the world stage as his seminal books What Went Wrong? and Crisis of Islam leaped onto bestseller lists. In his first major book since the second Iraq war, Lewis describes how—contrary to popular fiction—he opposed the war and reveals his exchanges with the Bush administration, outlining his far greater concerns about Iran. For more than half a century, Bernard Lewis has taken influential and controversial positions on contemporary politics and on the politics of academe. A man of towering intellect and erudition, he writes with the flair of Toynbee or Gibbon, only he has seen more and is much funnier.

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    Notes on a Century

    13.0 hrs • 5/10/12 • Unabridged
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  13. 20.2 hrs • 9/13/2011 • Unabridged

    In a sweeping narrative, the author of the megabestseller A Beautiful Mind takes us on a journey through modern history with the men and women who changed the lives of every single person on the planet. It’s the epic story of the making of modern economics, and of how economics rescued mankind from squalor and deprivation by placing its material fate in its own hands rather than in Fate.   Nasar’s account begins with Charles Dickens and Henry Mayhew observing and publishing the condition of the poor majority in mid-nineteenth-century London, the richest and most glittering place in the world. This was a new pursuit. She describes the often heroic efforts of Marx, Engels, Alfred Marshall, Beatrice and Sydney Webb, and the American Irving Fisher to put those insights into action—with revolutionary consequences for the world. From the great John Maynard Keynes to Schumpeter, Hayek, Keynes’s disciple Joan Robinson, the influential American economists Paul Samuelson and Milton Freedman, and India’s Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen, she shows how the insights of these activist thinkers transformed the world—from one city, London, to the developed nations in Europe and America, and now to the entire planet. In Nasar’s dramatic narrative of these discoverers we witness men and women responding to personal crises, world wars, revolutions, economic upheavals, and each other’s ideas to turn back Malthus and transform the dismal science into a triumph over mankind’s hitherto age-old destiny of misery and early death. This idea, unimaginable less than 200 years ago, is a story of trial and error, but ultimately transcendent, as it is rendered here in a stunning and moving narrative.

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    Grand Pursuit

    20.2 hrs • 9/13/11 • Unabridged
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  14. 7.5 hrs • 5/12/2011 • Unabridged

    The Psychopath Test is a fascinating journey through the minds of madness. Jon Ronson’s exploration of a potential hoax being played on the world’s top neurologists takes him, unexpectedly, into the heart of the madness industry. An influential psychologist who is convinced that many important CEOs and politicians are, in fact, psychopaths teaches Ronson how to spot these high-flying individuals by looking out for little telltale verbal and nonverbal clues. And so Ronson, armed with his new psychopath-spotting abilities, enters the corridors of power. He spends time with a death-squad leader institutionalized for mortgage fraud in Coxsackie, New York; a legendary CEO whose psychopathy has been speculated about in the press; and a patient in an asylum for the criminally insane who insists he’s sane and certainly not a psychopath. Ronson not only solves the mystery of the hoax but also discovers, disturbingly, that sometimes the personalities at the helm of the madness industry are, with their drives and obsessions, as mad in their own way as those they study. And that relatively ordinary people are, more and more, defined by their maddest edges.

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    The Psychopath Test

    7.5 hrs • 5/12/11 • Unabridged
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  15. 20.1 hrs • 2/1/2011 • Unabridged

    From the author of the New York Times bestseller Chaos comes an outstanding biography of one of the most dazzling and flamboyant scientists of the twentieth century that “not only paints a highly attractive portrait of Feynman but also … makes for a stimulating adventure in the annals of science” (New York Times).

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    Genius

    20.1 hrs • 2/1/11 • Unabridged
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  16. 10.6 hrs • 10/14/2010 • Unabridged

    This is an unusual and uncommonly moving family memoir, with a twist that gives new meaning to hindsight, insight, and forgiveness. Heather Sellers is face-blind—that is, she has prosopagnosia, a rare neurological condition that prevents her from reliably recognizing people’s faces. Growing up, unaware of the reason for her perpetual confusion and anxiety, she took what cues she could from speech, hairstyle, and gait. But she sometimes kissed a stranger, thinking he was her boyfriend, or failed to recognize even her own father and mother. She feared she must be crazy. Yet it was her mother who nailed windows shut and covered them with blankets, made her daughter walk on her knees to spare the carpeting, and had her practice secret words to use in the likely event of abduction. Her father went on weeklong “fishing trips” (a.k.a. benders), took in drifters, and wore panty hose and bras under his regular clothes. Heather clung to a barely coherent story of a “normal” childhood in order to survive the one she had. That fairy tale unraveled two decades later when Heather took the man she would marry home to meet her parents and began to discover the truth about her family and about herself. As she came at last to trust her own perceptions, she learned the gift of perspective: that embracing the past as it is allows us to let it go. She illuminated a deeper truth—that even in the most flawed circumstances, love may be seen and felt.

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    You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know by Heather Sellers

    You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know

    10.6 hrs • 10/14/10 • Unabridged
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