Shelf Awareness for Monday, April 18, 2011


Random House Graphic: Bug Boys by Laura Knetzger

Tor Books: Deal with the Devil: A Mercenary Librarians Novel by Kit Rocha

Wednesday Books: The Mall by Megan McCafferty

Houghton Mifflin: The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey

News

Image of the Day: Hollywood Royalty

 

At a luncheon at the Ivy at the Shore, Santa Monica, Calif., Jennifer Grant, author of Good Stuff: A Reminscence of My Father, Cary Grant, which Knopf is publishing on May 4, met booksellers and told stories of growing up as Hollywood royalty--the only child of Cary Grant. Here from l.: Matt Astrella from UCI Bookstore; Kathryn Zuckerman of Knopf; Jan Lindstrom Valerio from Barnes & Noble; Paul Hixenbaugh of Borders; Jen Ramos of Vroman's/Book Soup; Mark Teitelbaum, Jennifer Grant's friend and manager; Cheryl Ryan of Diesel; Lita Weissman of Borders; Jennifer Grant; John Schatzel of B&N; Kris Williams from the Pilgrim School; Alison Keyes of Vroman's; John Evans from Diesel; Sandy Willardson of Flintridge Books; Shane Pangburn of B&N; Irma Wolfson from Fontainebleau Resorts; and Allison Reid of Diesel.

 


GLOW: Other Press: Serenade for Nadia by Zülfü Livaneli, translated by Brendan Freely


Notes: Joseph-Beth on Block; Smell of a New Bookstore


The auction of Joseph-Beth Booksellers' five remaining stores (Shelf Awareness, March 24, 2011) will take place this Wednesday morning, and Neil Van Uum remains the only bidder who has been publicly identified, the Lexington Herald-Leader said.

Liquidators might buy the company and would likely make a relatively low bid--then close all the stores. Several industry observers speculated to the Herald-Leader that Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million might be interested in Joseph-Beth. Bids can be for the whole company or parts of it.

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Karl Lagerfeld, fashion designer, artist, photographer and book lover, plans to open a bookstore in New York City together with Gerhard Steidl, who has published many of his books and with whom he has an imprint called Edition 7L, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Called Word and Image, the store would highlight Steidl titles as well as books from other publishers chosen by Lagerfeld and build on what has been a profitable business in Lagerfeld's 7L bookstore in Paris: selling custom libraries to readers. Steidl told the paper that the best location for the store would be in lower Manhattan near the New Museum on the Bowery.

One title to be carried is a sweet novelty: a hardcover book called Paper Passion whose interior will be hollowed out to hold a container of a new perfume with the same name that smells of paper--an idea Lagerfeld had while leafing through the new Chanel catalogue.

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Buffalo Street Books, the Ithaca, N.Y., bookstore that closed last month and has reorganized as a coop (Shelf Awareness, March 7, 2011), is opening this coming Saturday, according to the Ithaca Journal. The store has more than 600 members and has raised $250,000.

The opening will include catering by Ithaca Bakery and music in the evening.

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Daedalus Books & Music, whose headquarters and warehouse are in Columbia, Md., is closing its store in Belvedere Square in Baltimore, according to the Baltimore Messenger.

The store, which has specialized in new and remainder books, overstock DVDs and jazz and classic CDs, will close in mid-May. Daedalus president Robin Moody said that the company's store and wholesale business in Columbia and its online business are doing well.

The store opened in 2007 in Belvedere Square, which includes some popular, fun shops: a market, wine bar, deli and boutiques. But walk-in traffic for the store wasn't sufficient, Moody told the Messenger. "Our books are very cheap. We have to sell a lot of books to make that critical mass of income."

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Book trailer of the day: What Is Real by Karen Rivers (Orca Book Publishers).

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Cool idea of the day: First Person Singular, "a more-or-less monthly series of dramatic readings designed to highlight personal voice, broadly defined," at Pegasus Books, which has locations in Berkeley and Oakland, Calif. As the East Bay Express described it, "each First Person Singular event is one-of-a-kind, something between a spoken-word event, a play, and a book reading, all organized around a theme."

The organizer is Joe Christiano, a Pegasus bookseller for 20 years who besides offering monologues and short stories, also has "themed events around Sixties girl-group songs and Warren Zevon records." On Wednesday, the theme is Two Men Down and No One On: Baseball Stories. "Berkeley writer Barry Gifford will deliver the metaphorical first pitch with a monologue, after which local actors Wayne Wong and Stanley Spenger will conduct dramatic readings of Jim Shepard's 'Batting Against Castro' and J.D. Salinger's 'The Laughing Man,' respectively."

Christiano displayed his esthetic brilliance by telling the paper, "For some reason I find baseball to be the most lyrical sport--the lore, the terminology, the role of the players."

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Sundance Bookstore and Music, Reno, Nev., was one of two winners of the Nevada Humanities 2011 Judith Winzeler Award for Excellence in the Humanities, recognizing "individuals, organizations, and businesses that make an outstanding and lasting contribution to Nevada communities by using the tools of the humanities to strengthen and enhance the lives of Nevadans."

Joe Crowley, president emeritus of the University of Nevada, Reno, who nominated the store for the honor, said that co-owners Dan Earl and Christine Kelly and the staff "think of themselves as servants first. The cause they serve is culture."

The organization praised Sundance's contributions to northern Nevada's literary and cultural community, including bringing authors to Reno for signings and readings, supporting local authors and local presses and collaborating with Nevada Humanities and other nonprofits. The store also "engages with their customers in a unique and enriching way. They regularly host literary discussion groups and sponsor events that enhance civic discourse."

The award was presented at the Governor's Mansion in Carson City.

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"How little publisher made good with great writing" was the headline for a profile of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill in the Charlotte Observer, which noted that recently Algonquin had a record four novels on the New York Times bestseller lists and then, "just a week later, another new record: A fifth novel, Jonathan Evison's West of Here, joined the others.... Not bad for a publishing company that began in Louis Rubin's house. But maybe not surprising. Algonquin has been overachieving almost since its start."

"We've been very fortunate to have the right book at the right time," said associate publisher Ina Stern. "It's got to be that book you can hand to somebody and say, 'You've got to read this. You've just got to read it.' "

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Coming soon to a venue near you: the Seething Resentment Reading Series, as conceived by Lucas Klauss in McSweeney's: "So, let us come together, as we always do on the second Tuesday of each month, in the poorly lit back room of a sparsely populated, charmless bar, and grind our teeth in rage as we pretend to listen to those more recently successful than we read from their latest mediocrity. It's the May edition of the Seething Resentment Reading Series, and it's going to be infuriating."

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Apartment Therapy, which featured a "Literal Literary Lining for Your Living Room Floor," observed that there are "some ideas that surface which stun you. You take a minute and quickly ridicule them in your head and then step back and think, well I dunno--I don't hate it as much as I should. That's the case with this book rug and although it's probably more of a show piece than a functional item for your home--assuming all the books were destined for an ill-fate anyway--it's actually kind of neat." The book rug was created by Pamela Paulsurd.

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Effective June 1, graphic novel publisher NBM will have all sales outside of the comic market as well as all warehousing and fulfillment handled by IPG.

"For a long time, we were able to handle [sales and distribution] ourselves well enough using a book fulfillment service warehouse," NBM publisher and founder Terry Nantier said. "But in the last few years, as graphic novels' acceptance has widened considerably, the scope of where they can be sold has widened a lot as well. That, plus logistics considerations, points to a good time to partner with such a strong distributor as IPG, bringing muscle to our distribution which they can do best, and let us concentrate more in our office on what we do best: publish and promote some of the best graphic novels the world has to offer."

 


G.P. Putnam's Sons: A Tender Thing by Emily Neuberger


60 Minutes Dishes Three Cups of Tea

Last night 60 Minutes charged that some key sections of Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson are not true; that his charity, Central Asia Institute, "has spent more money in the U.S. talking about education in Pakistan and Afghanistan than actually building and supporting schools there"; that some schools CAI claims to have built in Pakistan and Afghanistan "were empty, built by somebody else, or simply didn't exist at all"; and that the Institute has released only one audited statement of finances in its 14-year history.

In a conversation with his hometown paper, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Mortenson said that the opening part of Three Cups of Tea was "a compressed version of events." Otherwise, he defended himself and the Institute.

"I stand by the information conveyed in my book and by the value of CAI's work in empowering local communities to build and operate schools that have educated more than 60,000 students," he said on the Institute's website. "I continue to be heartened by the many messages of support I receive from our local partners in cities and villages across Afghanistan and Pakistan, who are determined not to let unjustified attacks stop the important work being done to create a better future for their children."

Mortenson also explained his decision not to speak with 60 Minutes: "The Board of Directors and I made the very difficult decision to not engage with 60 Minutes on camera, after they attempted an eleventh hour aggressive approach to reach me, including an ambush in front of children at a book signing at a community service leadership convention in Atlanta. It was clear that the program's disrespectful approach would not result in a fair, balanced or objective representation of our work, my books or our vital mission."

He added, "The 60 Minutes program may appear to ask simple questions, but the answers are often complex, not easily encapsulated in 10-second sound bites."

The Institute, which is also located in Bozeman, said that Mortenson's "speeches, books and public appearances are the primary means of educating the American people on behalf of the institute. CAI's activities and Greg's are closely intertwined." An attorney hired by the Institute late last year to investigate whether Mortenson receives "excess benefits" from the Institute found that it "appropriately receives a greater benefit from Greg's activities than Greg does himself." The Institute also said that Mortenson "has donated a percentage of his royalties from the books to CAI. Greg has personally donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the organization, which includes a percentage of his royalties from his books, and worked for the organization without compensation for a number of years."

According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, 60 Minutes "questioned whether CAI is spending millions to advertise Mortenson's best-selling books and to hire charter jets to take him to $30,000 speaking engagements around the country, yet it received almost none of the money from his speeches and books."

Mortenson responded that "he gets a royalty of about 40 or 50 cents per book, and that he has contributed more than $100,000 of his own money to CAI, which has more than offset the book royalties. The $30,000 fee for speaking is average, he said, adding he does some events for free."

Mortenson said that he is having surgery this week for a hole in his heart that has caused low oxygen saturation.

 


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Deep by Alma Katsu


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Tina Fey and Bossypants

This morning on Good Morning America: Marcia Clark, author of Guilt by Association (Mulholland Books, $25.99, 9780316129510).

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Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Amy Ellis Nutt, author of Shadows Bright as Glass: The Remarkable Story of One Man's Journey from Brain Trauma to Artistic Triumph (Free Press, $26, 9781439143100).

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Today on the Joy Behar Show: Shirley MacLaine, author of I'm Over All That: And Other Confessions (Atria, $22, 9781451607291). She will also appear today on the Gayle King Show and CNN's Piers Morgan.

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Today on Ellen: Wayne Pacelle, author of The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them (Morrow, $26.99, 9780061969782).

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Tonight on a repeat of the Tonight Show: Betty White, author of If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won't) (Putnam, $25.95, 9780399157530).

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Tonight on the Late Show with Craig Ferguson: Tina Fey, author of Bossypants (Reagan Arthur, $26.99, 9780316056861). Tomorrow she is also on Ellen and Conan.

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Joel Achenbach, author of A Hole at the Bottom of the Sea: The Race to Kill the BP Oil Gusher (Simon & Schuster, $25.99, 9781451625349).

Also on Diane Rehm: Caitlin Kelly, author of Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail (Portfolio, $25.95, 9781591843801).

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Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Ashley Judd, author of All That Is Bitter & Sweet: A Memoir (Ballantine, $26, 9780345523617).

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Tomorrow on the Joy Behar Show: Anthony Bourdain, author of Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook (Ecco, $15.99, 9780061718953).

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Tomorrow night on a repeat of the Late Show with David Letterman: Katie Couric, author of The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives (Random House, $26, 9780812992779).

 


Movies: The Conspirator, Water for Elephants

The Conspirator, directed by Robert Redford and starring James McAvoy, Robin Wright, Kevin Kline, Evan Rachel Wood, Danny Huston, Justin Long and Tom Wilkinson, has opened. The movie focuses on the trial of Mary Surratt, who was hung for her part in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Historical consultant to the film was Kate Clifford Larson, whose book about Surratt, The Assassin's Accomplice: Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln, has been released in a tie-in edition (Basic Books, $16.99, 9780465024414).

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Water for Elephants, based on the novel by Sara Gruen, opens this Friday, April 22. Robert Pattinson is a veterinary student who decides to join the circus after the death of his parents. Also stars Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz. The tie-in edition is from Algonquin ($7.99, 9781616200718).

Filming the Beats: On the Road Boot Camp & Big Sur

Bringing Jack Kerouac's On the Road, which some consider a "sacred text," to the big screen has been a daunting challenge for filmmakers. The New York Times reported that the Beat classic "has faced a Kerouac curse. Past efforts by Hollywood to adapt the author's work have been failures. Now, somewhat quietly, On the Road has finally been made into a movie. The $25 million production, shot in San Francisco, Montreal and other locales, is scheduled for release this fall."

The film, directed by Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries), features actors with star power--Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams and Viggo Mortensen--but the male leads are the lesser-known Sam Riley as Sal Paradise and Garrett Hedlund as Dean Moriarty.

Last July, hoping to avoid alienating fans of the novel and Beat era, the cast and crew went through a three-week "Beat boot camp" with Kerouac experts. One "drill instructor" was Gerald Nicosia, author of Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac. Since none of the cast and crew was old enough to remember the Beat era, Nicosia said he approached the sessions as if teaching ancient history, "like I was bringing them the Holy Grail," the Times wrote.

Nicosia--whose next book, One and Only: The Untold Story of On the Road, will be published later this year--said the actors were focused, aware that they would upset a lot of people if they didn’t portray the characters accurately. "They're all very unconventional in their own lives. If you're an outsider, you understand what counterculture is about."

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Director Michael Polish has begun production on Big Sur, based on Kerouac's novel about his move from New York to Northern California. Deadline.com reported that Jean-Marc Barr (Dogville) will play Kerouac, with Josh Lucas as Neal Cassady and Kate Bosworth as Billie. The cast also includes Anthony Edwards, Radha Mitchell, Balthazar Getty, Patrick Fischler, Stana Katic, John Robinson and Henry Thomas.

 


Books & Authors

Awards: Minnesota Book Awards

Winners of the 2011 Minnesota Book Awards, a joint venture of Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, the St. Paul Public Library and the city of St. Paul, were honored Saturday, the Star Tribune reported. This year's recipients are:
 

Children's literature: My Heart Is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins)
General nonfiction: The Opposite of Cold: The Northwoods Finnish Sauna Tradition by Michael Nordskog and Aaron Hautala (University of Minnesota Press)
Genre fiction: The Tale of Halcyon Crane by Wendy Webb (Henry Holt)
Memoir/creative nonfiction: Carrier: Untangling the Danger in My DNA by Bonnie J. Rough (Counterpoint)
Minnesota nonfiction: North Country: The Making of Minnesota by Mary Lethert Wingerd (University of Minnesota Press)
Novel/short story: Vestments by John Reimringer (Milkweed Editions)
Poetry: Find the Girl by Lightsey Darst (Coffee House Press).
Young people's literature: Blank Confession by Pete Hautman (S&S)
Readers' choice award: News to Me: Adventures of an Accidental Journalist by Laurie Hertzel (University of Minnesota Press)
Kay Sexton Award for outstanding contributions to Minnesota's literary community: Carol Connolly, poet and organizer
Book Artist Award: Regula Russelle

 

 


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

The Beauty of Humanity Movement: A Novel by Camilla Gibb (Penguin Press, $25.95, 9781594202803). "A Vietnamese-American woman returns to the land of her birth to discover what she can about her dissident father who was last seen around the time of the fall of Saigon. Befriending an itinerant maker of pho--a traditional noodle soup--who may have known him, she slowly learns the fate of the dissidents while rediscovering the culture she was removed from as a child. This is a lovely and touching story that provides a moving portrait of the daily life of the Vietnamese people both during the war and now."--Sheryl Cotleur, Book Passage, Corte Madera, Calif.

Winged Obsession: The Pursuit of the World's Most Notorious Butterfly Smuggler by Jessica Speart (Morrow, $25.99, 9780061772436). "I had certainly heard about wildlife smuggling, but this completely bizarre true-life tale brings the strange black market for insects vividly to life. The cat-and-mouse chase between an intrepid wildlife agent and the notorious and highly unusual Japanese smuggler will shock and amaze you. Movie producers, take note!"--Julie Arriens, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, Conn.

Paperback

Seven Year Switch: A Novel by Claire Cook (Voice, $13.99, 9781401341640). "When you finish this delightful story, you will want to grab your girlfriends, let your hair down, and call for a margarita! They say every seven years you reinvent yourself, and Jill Murray is ready to do just that. But first she must juggle two jobs, her 10-year-old daughter, an ex-husband, and an intriguing bike-riding entrepreneur. Get ready to laugh from the first page to the last."--Karin Beyer, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, Mich.

For Ages 4 to 8

All the Water in the World by George Ella Lyon, illustrated by Katherine Tillotson (Richard Jackson Books/Atheneum, $15.99, 9781416971306). "Weaving facts about water and the need for water conservation into a lively and inspiring poem, George Ella Lyon contrasts the abundance of water in some places with the complete lack and need of it in others throughout the world. With Katherine Tillotson's stunning art work, this book becomes a must-read for everyone!"--David Richardson, the Blue Marble, Fort Thomas, Ky.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

 



Book Review

Book Review: Kamchatka

Kamchatka by Marcelo Figueras, trans. by Frank Wynne (Black Cat/Grove Press, $14.95 trade paper, 9780802170873, May 3, 2011)

When the 10-year-old narrator of this haunting novel tells us in the first sentence that the last word his papa said to him was, "Kamchatka," the reader gets a shiver of apprehension. The real Kamchatka is up in the right-hand corner of Asia, bordering Japan and Alaska, but for the young narrator, it's an imaginary kingdom in the game of Risk, a secret, savage place of eternal snows and a hundred volcanoes that's nearly inaccessible, one of the territories waiting to be conquered in his favorite board game.

It's 1976, and people are disappearing in Buenos Aires. The delightful family whose company we enjoy in this warmhearted Argentinean novel are struggling to be happy against the current of the times--the political and moral chaos following the coup de etat, the myriad kidnappings, shootings and bombings, as friends, business partners, uncles and neighbors disappear, one by one.

The tale unfolds with disarming simplicity. We're confined to a 10-year-old's limited understanding. We learn just enough to understand that his parents are fleeing for their lives, trying to enjoy their children for as long as they can before the danger becomes so great they have to leave them behind.

Told in the course of five school periods (Biology, Geography, Language, Astronomy, History), the sixth grader doesn't hesitate to throw into the narrative his own history of Buenos Aires from when it was little more than a pestilential swamp, along with a short, reverent biography of his hero, the great escape artist Harry Houdini.

Until that fateful year, he's been accompanied through childhood solely by the Midget, his kid brother, who loves giving instructions on how to mix Nesquik and who compulsively defaces his brother's comics by drawing haloes over the good characters. Then another boy is thrust into his life, sharing his family and his bedroom: tall and skinny Lucas, an 18-year-old with no past ("Wrong question," he tells the curious boy at every attempt to penetrate the mystery), who becomes the narrator's personal trainer as an escape artist. Their friendship is the heart of the novel, the poignant developing trust between two very different boys in the face of encroaching menace.

As he flees with his family, hiding out in the country, taking on new names and identities, the boy becomes like the hero of his favorite television show, The Invaders, unsure which ordinary face conceals a deadly alien. The reader never learns the boy's real name, because "the people who proved to be heroes back then had no names," Figueras tells us, "and that's how we should remember them."

Bursting with good humor, with a bittersweet, melancholy shadow, Figueras's superb novel amply illustrates that "laughing and crying at the same time is something life teaches you without you even noticing." --Nick DiMartino

Shelf Talker: A 10-year-old tells a story of family and friendship in 1976 Buenos Aires, when desaparecidos (the disappeared) became part of the world's vocabulary.

 


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Titles in St. Louis

The following were the bestselling books at independent bookstores in and around St. Louis, Mo. During the week ended Sunday, April 10:

Adult

  1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  2. Bossypants by Tina Fey
  3. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
  4. Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
  5. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
  6. The Pale King by David Foster Wallace
  7. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  8. The Land of Painted Caves by Jean Auel
  9. Uppity: My Untold Story about the Games People Play by Bill White
  10. The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore

 
Kids

  1. The Trouble With Chickens by Doreen Cronin
  2. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
  3. If I Could Keep You Little by Marianne Richmond
  4. Our Children Can Soar: A Celebration of Rosa Barack and the Pioneers of Change by Michelle Cook
  5. The Easter Story by Patricia A. Pingry
  6. Remarkable Animals: 1000 Amazing Amalgamations by Tony Meeuwissen
  7. Crank by Ellen Hopkins
  8. Why Do We Celebrate Easter by Mark Sutherland and Julie Hammond
  9. Beyonders by Brandon Mull
  10. Monster at the End of This Book by Michael Smollin and Jon Stone


Reporting bookstores, all members of the St. Louis Independent Bookstore Alliance: The Book House, Left Bank Books, Main Street Books, Pudd'nhead Books, Subterranean Books, Sue's News.

[Many thanks to the booksellers!]

 


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