Shelf Awareness for Thursday, March 1, 2018


Penguin Press: Win a collection of some of this fall's best nonfiction

Scholastic Focus: Scholastic is proud to introduce a new imprint of beautifully written and carefully researched MG and YA nonfiction—coming Fall 2018

Other Press: Something Great and Beautiful: A Novel of Love, Wall Street, and Focaccia by Enrico Pellegrini

Canongate Books: The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry

Katherine Tegen Books: Time Castaways #1: The Mona Lisa Key by Liesl Shurtliff

News

B&N Third Quarter: Sales Drop 5.3%; Net Loss of $63.5M

In the third quarter ended January 27, total sales at Barnes & Noble fell 5.3%, to $1.2 billion, and the consolidated net loss was $63.5 million, compared to net earnings of $70.3 million in the same period a year earlier.

In the quarter, sales at stores open at least a year fell 5.8% "primarily due to lower traffic." The company noted that in January, comp-store sales fell 3.5%, a slight improvement.

"While we were disappointed with our holiday sales, comparable store sales trends did improve in January," said B&N CEO Demos Parneros. "We have initiated a strategic turnaround plan that is centered on growing the business and enhancing shareholder value. In the short term, we are focused on stabilizing sales, improving productivity and reducing expenses. Achievement of our longer-term goals requires a significant multi-year transformation. We expect our plan to provide consistent improvement beginning in fiscal 2019 and beyond."

Last month, B&N began what it called "a companywide expense reduction plan," which included the layoffs of an undisclosed number of booksellers. "This plan includes a new store labor model that provides greater flexibility and better customer service by eliminating tasks and allowing booksellers to focus more on customers. The company estimates that these actions will result in annual cost savings of approximately $40 million."

The company also said that its long-term strategic plan is "focused on the following four key elements: 1) strengthening the core business by enhancing the customer value proposition; 2) improving profitability through an aggressive expense management program, which will be used to fund growth initiatives; 3) accelerating execution through simplification; and 4) innovating for the future, which will position the company for long-term growth."


World Editions: You Have Me to Love by Jaap Robben, translated by David Doherty


Sherman Alexie's Response to Harassment Accusations

Sherman Alexie

After a month of online charges that he has been abusive to many women, particularly Native American women, author Sherman Alexie issued a statement yesterday. It's a mix of admission and denial and, as with so much of the matter, it's somewhat vague.

"Over the years, I have done things that have harmed other people, including those I love most deeply," Alexie wrote. "To those whom I have hurt, I genuinely apologize. I am so sorry.... There are women telling the truth about my behavior and I have no recollection of physically or verbally threatening anybody or their careers. That would be completely out of character. I have made poor decisions and I am working hard to become a healthier man who makes healthier decisions. Again, I apologize to the people I have hurt. I am genuinely sorry."

But at the same time, Alexie rejected "the accusations, insinuations, and outright falsehoods" made by Litsa Dremousis, author of Altitude Sickness, the most open and active of the women who have accused Alexie of misbehavior. Alexie admitted to being "consenting sexual partners" with Dremousis, a relationship that ended in 2015, adding that last October, she sent an e-mail to his wife about the previous relationship and "posted something on my wife's Facebook page." After that, "Ms. Dremousis has continually tweeted and spoken in public about my behavior, making accusations based on rumors and hearsay and quoting anonymous sources."

For her part, on Facebook, Dremousis responded by saying that some of Alexie's statement is "accurate. Some is not. Part of his statement about me [is] 100% false. I've never written on his wife's Facebook page. I don't even know if she has a Facebook page."

While she apparently hasn't accused Alexie of harassing her, she has said he had harassed perhaps as many as 80 women, who have been in touch with her, and in October, just as the #metoo movement began to spread across the country and internationally, she "confronted him about his sexual harassment of women."

She stressed that she was open about their affair. "I knew he'd use a consensual affair which ended w/ us staying good friends as a way to discredit dozens of women *who consented to nothing*."

She ended: "A man I confronted four months ago about his sexual harassment of women finally issued a statement wherein he doesn't deny it. That's all I'll say I'll for now."

The accusations involve sexual harassment and charges that Alexie threatened the careers of any women who might talk publicly about his behavior. Some of the charges were made on the comments thread of a School Library Journal article about sexual harassment in children's publishing, where last month several people said Alexie had harassed them or they had witnessed behavior that might have been or led to harassment.

None of the charges by the women are on record yet, making them difficult to evaluate. But many in the book world have reacted negatively to Alexie, who, of course, had been beloved by many booksellers, for his work, for his portrayals of Native American life and for providing the inspiration to create Indies First Day, the event on the Saturday after Thanksgiving that seeks to unite writers and indie booksellers. His YA novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, and he has won many other awards, including the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature. And just last month, as the accusations were coming to light, Alexie won the 2018 Carnegie Medal for literary excellence in nonfiction for You Don't Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir.

As the Seattle Times noted yesterday in a story about the Alexie statement, the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, N.Mex., has renamed its Sherman Alexie Scholarship the MFA Alumni Scholarship. And as reported by Seattle Met, Debbie Reese, editor of the American Indians in Children's Literature, has removed Alexie's photo from the AICL's gallery of Native writers and illustrators.

Booksellers are debating how to react, particularly whether or not to stock his titles and how to display them. (More about that in an upcoming article.)


Disney-Hyperion: I Lost My Tooth! (Unlimited Squirrels) by Mo Willems


BookPeople's Steve Bercu to Retire

Steve Bercu

Steve Bercu, who has been CEO of BookPeople, Austin, Texas, for almost 20 years, plans to retire from full-time bookselling this coming June.

As part of the transition, Elizabeth Jordan has been named general manager of BookPeople. She has worked at the store since 2002 as a bookseller, manager, adult book buyer and inventory operations supervisor. In her new position, she will oversee day-to-day operations of the store, with an emphasis on improving communication among departments, creating efficiencies and increasing sales.

Consuelo Wilder, a former sales floor manager at the store, has been named the adult book buyer and inventory operations supervisor. In her new role, Wilder will curate the selection of frontlist and backlist adult books and manage a staff of assistant buyers, inventory managers and the shipping and receiving departments.

During his time at BookPeople, Bercu built the store into a national literary destination and was a driving force behind the buy local movement--which in some ways started with Keep Austin Weird. He was also president of the American Booksellers Association, and during his presidency, he focused on expanding rapid replenishment programs, simplifying coop, extended terms for publisher payments and moving special sales to local independent bookstores.

We've always found Steve to be a remarkably smart bookseller and hilarious person. We will miss him and his dry wit.


Mandevilla Press: Assassins by Mike Bond


Silver Unicorn Bookstore Opening in West Acton, Mass.

The Silver Unicorn Bookstore is opening this month in West Acton, Mass. With 1,100 square feet of selling space, the store will stock some 5,000-6,000 titles and feature a range of subjects, including fiction, nonfiction, children's and young adult. It will also carry educational toys and games, bookish gifts such as journals, tote bags and other items, including a small selection of chocolates, caramels, nuts and more. The store will sell gift cards, memberships and subscriptions, in order to give customers a range of options.

The store will emphasize community events, including author readings/q&as, children's story times, adult book clubs, events with community and business leaders.

Paul Swydan

A graduate of Paz and Associates' bookstore bootcamp, owner Paul Swydan has spent 14 years in baseball--seven with the Colorado Rockies Baseball Club, and seven with baseball analysis website FanGraphs. He was a writer and editor for FanGraphs and managing editor of the Hardball Times. He edited and/or produced six editions of The Hardball Times Baseball Annual, as well as the baseball novel When the Sparrow Sings. He has also written for Boston.com, the Boston Globe, ESPN the Magazine, ESPN.com, MLB Insider, Pitchfork, Baseball Prospectus, BP's book Mind Game, MLB.com, Fox Sports, SB Nation, Lindy's and many other publications.

"I came to the idea of owning a bookstore in a bit of a meandering way," he wrote. "First, Willow Books in Acton [owned by David Didriksen] closed [in early 2017], and many of my friends and fellow parents were saddened by this. As I got to thinking more about starting my own store, I read this article in the New York Times that quoted Emma Straub and Jeff Kinney, and in it one of those interviewed (I think it was Emma) said that if your town can support a farmer's market, it can support a bookstore. Acton does indeed have its own farmer's market (it'll be just a couple streets down from my store), so that got me thinking even more."

After attending bookselling school on the advice of Deb Sundin, former manager of Wellesley Books, Swydan wrote a business plan. Then "a space in the neighborhood I wanted magically came free, and I was somehow able to find a bank that wanted to do business with me. It all came together very quickly, and now here I am, hoping to be open in mid-to-late March!"


Obituary Note: Betty Joe Wolff

Betty Joe Wolff, longtime owner of Page & Palette Books, Fairhope, Ala., died on February 22 at the age of 91.

"Her passion was books and she purchased Page & Palette in 1972 in downtown Fairhope, creating a haven for readers and authors alike," her wonderfully personal, humorous obituary said. "Many people attribute the rich writing culture in Fairhope to Granny's decades of promoting books and bringing in authors from around the nation to our little town. Thousands of authors had their first signing at Page & Palette, along with Fannie Flagg and countless others." The Fairhope Center for the Writing Arts named the home of its visiting writers, Wolff Cottage, in her honor.

Page & Palette is now owned by Wolff's granddaughter Karin Wolff Wilson, who runs it with her husband, Kiefer. (Wilson was elected mayor of Fairhope in 2016 and is a former president of the Southern Independent Booksellers Association.)

A memorial service will be held tomorrow, March 2, at 1 p.m. at St. James Episcopal Church in Fairhope. In lieu of flowers, please make contributions either to St. James Episcopal Church, 860 N. Section St., Fairhope, Ala. 36532 or to Wolff Cottage, Fairhope Center of the Writing Arts, P.O. Box 826, Fairhope, Ala. 36533.


Notes

Dudley's Bookshop Gets Shout Out from Men in Blazers

For indie bookshop-loving soccer fans, this might be the coolest video yet. Posted Tuesday on the Facebook page of Dudley's Bookshop Café, Bend, Ore.:

"For those of you that might be fans of Men in Blazers, we just got a shout out from Rog in the studio. How cool is that?!? The book comes out just in time for World Cup season and should be a hoot."

The book, Men in Blazers Present Encyclopedia Blazertannica: A Suboptimal Guide to Soccer, America's "Sport of the Future" Since 1972 by Roger Bennett and Michael Davies, will be published by Knopf in May.


Personnel Changes at Hachette, Orbit Books

Shawn Foster has been promoted to executive director of children's sales at Hachette Book Group. She has been with the company since 1992 and was most recently national accounts manager for Barnes & Noble children's. She joined Little, Brown in 1992 and was a field sales rep from 1995 until 2001, when she rose to national accounts manager, taking over sales responsibility for Barnes & Noble in 2002.

---

At Orbit Books:

Alex Lencicki has been promoted to v-p, marketing and publicity director.

Ellen Wright has been promoted to associate publicity director.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Lamont U-God Hawkins on Morning Edition

Tomorrow:
NPR Morning Edition: Lamont U-God Hawkins, author of RAW: My Journey into the Wu-Tang (Picador, $27, 9781250191168).

Steve Harvey repeat: Holly Robinson Peete, co-author of Same But Different: Teen Life on the Autism Express (Scholastic, $9.99, 9780545094696).

The Splendid Table: Pascal Baudar, author of The Wildcrafting Brewer: Creating Unique Drinks and Boozy Concoctions from Nature's Ingredients (Chelsea Green, $29.95, 9781603587181).


This Weekend on Book TV: In-Depth with Jeff Shaara

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, March 3
5:45 p.m. Eric Motley, author of Madison Park: A Place of Hope (Zondervan, $24.99, 9780310349631), at Lemuria Books in Jackson, Miss. (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

6:30 p.m. Michele Rigby Assad, author of Breaking Cover: My Secret Life in the CIA and What It Taught Me about What's Worth Fighting For (Tyndale, $25.99, 9781496419590). (Re-airs Sunday at 3 p.m.)

7:45 p.m. Vegas Tenold, author of Everything You Love Will Burn: Inside the Rebirth of White Nationalism in America (Nation Books, $27, 9781568589947), at Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, N.Y.

8:45 p.m. Ryan Anderson, author of When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment (Encounter, $27.99, 9781594039614). (Re-airs Sunday at 4:15 p.m.)

10 p.m. Joanne Lipman, author of That's What She Said: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together (Morrow, $28.99, 9780062437211). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Jorge Ramos, author of Stranger: The Challenge of a Latino Immigrant in the Trump Era (Vintage, $15, 9780525563792). (Re-airs Sunday at 6:30 p.m.)

Sunday, March 4
12:15 a.m. Danielle Thomsen, author of Opting Out of Congress: Partisan Polarization and the Decline of Moderate Candidates (Cambridge University Press, $28.99, 9781316635032). (Re-airs Sunday at 7:45 p.m.)

1:30 a.m. Joseph A. Califano Jr., author of Our Damaged Democracy: We the People Must Act (Touchstone, $27, 9781501144615). (Re-airs Sunday at 5:30 p.m.)

12 p.m. Live In-Depth q&a with military historical fiction author Jeff Shaara. (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

10:45 p.m. Yasha Levine, author of Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet (PublicAffairs, $28, 9781610398022).



Books & Authors

Awards: Story Prize; U.K. Children's Book Finalists

Elizabeth Strout has won the Story Prize for Anything Is Possible (Random House). After an evening of readings by and conversation with the three finalists last night in New York City, she received $20,000 and an engraved silver bowl.

The judges praised the winner: "The intelligent prose is seemingly humble but elegant in its subtlety and enchanting in its overall effect. The blade of her wit is so sharp, you barely feel it until after the slice. Strout is a specialist in the reticence of people, and her characters are compelling because of the complexity of their internal lives, and the clarity with which that complexity is depicted. It is a sublime pleasure to read her work."

The runnersup--Daniel Alarcón for The King Is Always Above the People (Riverhead Books) and Ottessa Moshfegh for Homesick for Another World (Penguin Press)--each received $5,000.

---

Finalists have been announced for the Children's Book Award 2018, which is coordinated by the Federation of Children's Book Groups and voted for by children across the U.K. Category winners and the author of the best children's book will be unveiled June 9 at an awards ceremony in London. This year's shortlisted titles are:

Books for Younger Children
Edgar and the Sausage Inspector by Jan Fearnley
Mrs. Mole, I'm Home! by Jarvis
The Secret of Black Rock by Joe Todd-Stanton
I Dare You by Reece Wykes

Books for Younger Readers
The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson
The Explorer by Katherine Rundell
The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Books for Older Readers
I Have No Secrets by Penny Joelson
Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen
Ink by Alice Broadway


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, March 6:

The Sandman by Lars Kepler (Knopf, $27.95, 9781524732240) continues the Detective Inspector Joona Linna crime series, set in Sweden.

Crimson Lake: A Novel by Candice Fox (Forge, $25.99, 9780765398482) is a thriller about an Australian detective wrongly accused of an abduction.

Panorama by Steve Kistulentz (Little, Brown, $27, 9780316551762) follows a cable news pundit whose sister dies in a major plane crash.

The Last Jedi: Expanded Edition by Jason Fry (Del Rey, $28.99, 9781524797119) is an expanded novelization of the latest Star Wars movie.

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano, translated by John Brownjohn (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, 9781328863577) begins a mystery series starring a Sicilian retiree.

Restore Me by Tahareh Mafi (HarperCollins, $18.99, 9780062676368) is the fourth installment in the Shatter Me series.

The Illuminae Files #3: Obsidio by Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Knopf, $19.99, 9780553499193) concludes the stories of teens Kady, Ezra, Hanna and Nik.

The Big Picture: The Fight for the Future of Movies by Ben Fritz (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780544789760) shows recent transformations in the film industry.

Falling with Wings: A Mother's Story by Dianna De La Garza and Vickie McIntyre (Feiwel & Friends, $26.99, 9781250143334) is the memoir of a country music star's family.

This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide by Geneen Roth (Scribner, $26, 9781501182464) traces one woman's path to a happier life.

The Away Game: The Epic Search for Soccer's Next Superstars by Sebastian Abbot (Norton, $26, 9780393292206) chronicles a soccer scouting program across Africa funded by Qatar.

The Flavor Matrix: The Art and Science of Pairing Common Ingredients to Create Extraordinary Dishes by James Briscione and Brooke Parkhurst (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780544809963) uses computers to expand culinary creativity.

Paperbacks:
The Lying Game: A Novel by Ruth Ware (Gallery/Scout Press, $16.99, 9781501156205).

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (Norton, $15.95, 9780393356182).

Movie:
A Wrinkle in Time, based on the classic sci-fi/fantasy children's book by Madeleine L'Engle, opens March 9. Ava DuVernay (Selma) directs a cast including Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Michael Peña, Zach Galifianakis and Oprah Winfrey. A movie tie-in version (Square Fish, $8.99, 9781250153272) is available.


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcover: An Indies Introduce Title
Freshwater: A Novel by Akwaeke Emezi (Grove Press, $24, 9780802127358). "A full and arresting examination of the search for a sense of belonging to one's self, Freshwater reads like the result of a successful dinner party hosted by Chimamanda Adichie, with a guest list featuring Octavia Butler, Neil Gaiman, Salman Rushdie, Helen Oyeyemi, and several preeminent cultural and sociological scholars. Freshwater follows Ada, a child born with 'a foot on the other side,' through her early life in Nigeria and her emigration to America, where she is trailed by many forces from the lands she left behind. It gives us new vocabulary and territories for exploring the awkwardness of intersections that we encounter--gender, culture, tradition, history, personal mythology--and how one might go about locating herself in the pull of so many competing influences." --Sarah Bumstead, Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, Calif.

Hardcover: An Indies Introduce Title
Mothers of Sparta: A Memoir in Pieces by Dawn Davies (Flatiron, $24.99, 9781250133700). "It has been many years since I can recall encountering such a moving collection of essays. Dawn Davies paints a searing account of her life, from the dating years through the joys and the darkness of motherhood. This engaging debut combines striking prose with fearless honesty to create a profound and thoughtful work. It is a completely immersive experience and one that will leave readers with much to contemplate long after they turn the last exquisite page." --Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, Minn.

Paperback
This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jerkins (Harper Perennial, $15.99, 9780062666154). "This book ravaged and then healed my weary soul. A micro and macro look at the exhaustion and triumph of black womanhood, Jerkins' essays are poignant enough on their own. When linked together in her book, the pieces become the subtle knife cutting through the membrane of gender and racial disparity that covers our country. Jerkins uses herself not simply as a reference point, but as a dissection, laid on the table and explained." --Hannah Oliver Depp, WORD, Brooklyn, N.Y.

For Ages 4 to 8
Stella Díaz Has Something to Say by Angela Dominguez (Roaring Brook, $16.99, 9781626728585). "Stella is an endearing protagonist, with all the shyness, dreams, and fascinations of childhood. While especially relevant for readers from dual-language families and schools, everyone will root for Stella as she tries to make friends, ignore the haters, and create the best animal project ever. Crossing my fingers that this becomes a series!" --Cecilia Cackley, East City Bookshop, Washington, D.C.

For Ages 9 to 12
Winterhouse by Ben Guterson, illustrated by Chloe Bristol (Holt, $16.99, 9781250123886). "Do you like curling up with a cup of cocoa and a puzzle on a snowy day? Winterhouse is for you. Warm and captivating, this story of a brainy orphan and a mysterious hotel is full of delightful word games, a deliciously wintery setting, and appealingly odd characters. A trip to an enchanting hotel full of secrets sends our hero, Elizabeth, on an unexpected journey to find out who she really is. Heartfelt and magical, this is a must-read for fans of Book Scavenger or the Mr. Lemoncello's Library series. It's the perfect book to be snowed in with!" --Moira Koskey, Green Bean Books, Portland, Ore.

For Teen Readers
Everless by Sara Holland (HarperTeen, $17.99, 9780062653659). "Welcome to a world where you can sell your blood and your time, where the rich stay young and the poor die young. Desperate to save her father, Jules returns to the one place where she is most in danger: Everless, home of the Gerlings. Holland has created complex characters and powerful women and done some impressive world-building, and each mystery that unfolds only increases the danger for Jules. As Jules discovers the truth behind the lies on which her past is built, she begins to see the world around her in a new light. A thrilling start to a new series!" --Kate Towery, The Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, Va.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: Let's No One Get Hurt

Let's No One Get Hurt by Jon Pineda (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26 hardcover, 256p., 9780374185244, March 20, 2018)

"I know I'm not a woman yet. But I'm also not a girl. I'm a poem no one will ever translate." With Let's No One Get Hurt, Jon Pineda (Apology) offers a wild, yearning, strong-willed protagonist and a novel with both tenderness and violence at its core.

"In a few months, I'll be sixteen, but my body doesn't know it." Pearl's father says she's 15 going on 50. She lives in an abandoned boathouse with her father and two other adult men. Dox and Fritter are father and son, and Dox remembers Pearl's mother, from before. Now, they form a family of sorts, subsisting on catfish and crayfish from the river, mushrooms and wild rice from the woods and building scraps from the wealthy subdivision nearby.

Pearl has made new acquaintances: the upper-class boys who live in the development surrounding the golf course near her makeshift home. They drive tricked-out golf carts and shoot their daddies' fancy shotguns for fun, filming it all for the Internet where they hope to go viral. One of them takes a special interest in her, playing his father's wealth against her household's tenuous living. Pearl's coming-of-age and her troubled liaison with these boys define the novel's timeline. As she grows up, her old dog, Marianne Moore, prepares to die. (If her father had his way, Pearl would do the right thing and shoot her already.) A former poetry professor who named the dog after one of his favorite subjects, her father also suffers from increasingly poor health. Fritter paints a never-ending mural of pitch black and Dox noodles on his cigar-box guitar.

Pearl's mother was a scholar who said that "poems were never finished, that they were only abandoned." Pearl likes to think that maybe all abandoned things are poems. She lives in an abandoned place; maybe she lives inside a poem. As a narrative voice, she fights the urge to see poetry in images and to describe her world lyrically: "I hate that I even see them as wings. They're just napkins."

Let's No One Get Hurt is about race (most pointedly when Pearl unintentionally crashes a Civil War reenactment with Fritter, a dreadlocked, 300-pound black man) as well as class. It is about families and how they hurt and help one another, the mysteries of Pearl's mother and of the rich boys' everyday cruelties. "The river waits for me, and that's all that matters." As a river-based adventure of difficult adolescence, Let's No One Get Hurt inevitably recalls Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, as well as Bonnie Jo Campbell's female-centered Once Upon a River. Pineda's writing is thick with the lush warmth of the American South and the harshness of a life scavenged out-of-doors, and his teenaged girl's perspective is spot-on. This novel of exploration, exploitation and the poetry in it all will stun readers of all kinds, especially those who appreciate strong characters and tough choices. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: A teenaged squatter with a poet's heart and a stolen fly-fishing rod struggles to map her own way.


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