Also published on this date: Thursday, June 27, 2019: Dedicated Issue: Make Me a World

Shelf Awareness for Thursday, June 27, 2019

Henry Holt & Company: Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley

Henry Holt & Company: Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley

Little, Brown Ink: The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich (a Graphic Novel) by Deya Muniz

Flatiron Books: Once Upon a Prime: The Wondrous Connections Between Mathematics and Literature by Sarah Hart

Dundurn Press: Chasing the Black Eagle by Bruce Geddes

Amulet Books: Batcat: Volume 1 by Meggie Ramm

Berkley Books: The Comeback Summer by Ali Brady

Quotation of the Day

Joel Becker: 'We Work in the Most Honourable of Professions'

Joel Becker

"I have had the pleasure of working in the literary community for 47 years, 40 of those in Australia. Pleasure is not a word that I use lightly. But when I think of the people I have met, that I have worked with, over my career--the booksellers, publishers, writers, thinkers, the personalities... It's bizarre to think that I'm being honoured for having this very fortunate life....

"We work in the most honourable of professions. Our role is--in our varied capacities--to write, publish, distribute, and in the case of booksellers, get books into people's hands... To entertain, to educate, to stimulate, to inspire, to irritate, to make people laugh and cry. To make people think.

"If I have played some small part in advocating for booksellers and our importance to the cultural life and fabric of Australia, I am very proud."

--Joel Becker, who retired as CEO of the Australian Booksellers Association at the end of last year, on becoming a life member of the association during its annual conference June 23-24.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Three of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams


D.C. Council Approves Real Estate Tax Abatement for Sankofa


In an unusual case of a governing body offering an independent bookstore the kind of special support often given to Amazon and other large corporations, the Washington, D.C., Council has unanimously approved a real estate tax abatement for Sankofa Video Books & Café that is potentially worth more than $400,000 over 10 years, DCist reported. The abatement still has to be voted on again by the Council and then signed by the mayor, and passage is expected.

The legislation requires that more than half of the bookstore's employees live in the District, and more than 30% must live in Ward 1, stipulations that the store has said are easy to meet.

Shirikiana Gerima, co-owner of Sankofa, which was founded in 1998, commented: "I hope that the Sankofa example is a spark for protections to be put in place for small black businesses. Legacy businesses who've been here through crack, through, in some cases, the riots, through gentrification--the latest devastation, they need to be supported in really, really concrete ways."

DCist noted that "growing property values" in Pleasant Plains, where the store is located, "have left the business with a rising tax bill. This year, Sankofa owes $30,000 in property taxes, a 25% increase over the past decade, according to Gerima's testimony to the D.C. Council. That number is projected to rise to $36,000 by 2022, according to D.C.'s chief financial officer. The CFO valued the abatement at $415,346 over a 10-year period, and determined that the business could survive without it."

Last month, Gerima and supporters testified before the Council, and many signed an online petition in support of the store, which Gerima has called a community meeting place for "people who are thirsty to know about their culture and history."

Blink: Come Home Safe by Brian G. Buckmire

R.I.'s Island Books for Sale


Island Books, Middletown, R.I., is for sale. Owners Judy and Gary Crosby said in a letter to friends and customers that "in working toward retirement we've decided our next step is to sell the bookstore. For over 25 years (a quarter of a century!), Island Books has been a fixture on Aquidneck Island, and your support has made us one of our community's treasured institutions. As we plan our next chapter it is time to find a new steward of our beloved bookstore."

They emphasized that the store will continue to operate without changes "until we know that this bookstore we care so much for is in the best of hands... the hands of someone who can make it better and stronger as we head into 2020 and beyond. We are confident just the right person will step up!"

They noted that when they opened in 1993, "we did so with the belief that it was essential to create a sustainable enterprise for years to come--a business that would change with the times. Even now, in this age of electronic this and digital that, we are well-positioned to ensure that books and reading will remain at the forefront of our business. The key ingredients that will contribute to the success of a new owner are all in place: a loyal customer base, a dedicated, hard-working staff, the technology tools to remain current and relevant, and a beautiful retail space that appeals to customers of all ages. Besides that, we're willing and able to provide the necessary resources to a new owner that will ensure a smooth transition."

For more information, the Crosbys can be contacted via e-mail.

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Welcome to the World by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

First Bookstore Romance Day Set for August 17

A group of romance-friendly booksellers have teamed up to organize the first-ever Bookstore Romance Day, a day-long celebration of romance authors, romance readers and independent bookstores scheduled for Saturday, August 17. 

According to organizer Billie Bloebaum (a bookseller at Third Street Books in McMinnville, Ore.), around 80 bookstores throughout the U.S. and Canada have signed on, and 100 romance authors have reached out to get involved. This week, Bloebaum and other organizers will begin matching bookstores with interested authors in their area, and later they'll put together a series of Book Studio 16 Facebook Live store tours with the help of HarperCollins/Avon. Bloebaum added that there are more things in the works, but it's too early to go into specifics.

While Bloebaum has been advocating for the romance genre for years at trade shows and online, the idea for Romance Bookstore Day did not exist until about three months ago. In March, a romance author started a "bit of a Twitter kerfuffle," during which she "got down" on indies for not being romance-friendly. Bloebaum, who is actively engaged with many other booksellers about the romance genre, knew this wasn't the case, and decided it was time for a more public show of support.

"Bookstore Romance Day was an offhand suggestion that took on a life of its own," recalled Bloebaum. Feedback has been "overwhelmingly positive," and she said it feels great to add even more bookstores to the romance community.

Bloebaum hopes to make Bookstore Romance Day an annual event, as well as form an outreach and advocacy group that promotes indies and romance throughout the whole year. She noted that this year, things are very "catch-as-catch-can," but in 2020 and beyond she intends to have more official offerings. This year, for instance, she and the BRD team have received inquiries from interested librarians, but do not have a way of including them. In 2020, she'll find a way for libraries to join in. And to help grow Bookstore Romance Day, the organizers have launched a GoFundMe campaign that has raised close to $2,000.

"What I hope to achieve from this venture, though, is to not only connect authors and readers with romance-friendly independent bookstores," said Bloebaum, "but to encourage bookstores for which a full-blown celebration is not a good fit to see the passion the genre engenders, and maybe dip their toes into the romance pool."

Interested booksellers can sign up to participate here.

Little Literary Fair to Debut in L.A. in July

The Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB) and LARB/USC Publishing Workshop are teaming up with Hauser & Wirth Publishers to create the first annual Little Literary Fair, aka LITLIT, which will be held July 20-21 in downtown Los Angeles in Hauser & Wirth's Arts District complex, which includes the bookstore Artbook.

Tom Lutz, editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Review of Books, called LITLIT a "celebration of West Coast publishing" that will offer "independent booksellers, publishers, and cultural creators the opportunity to share their work and their ideas with attendees." Programming will include interviews and panel discussions with publishers, authors, artists, and community organizers. The goal, LITLIT said, is "to foster diverse contexts for participants to explore innovative, community-building work." Admission for the public is free; publishers can also exhibit for free.

"We saw how incredible it was when local publishers came together at our Workshop and wanted readers from all over the city to have the same opportunity," said Irene Yoon, director of the LARB/USC Publishing Workshop.

Michaela Unterdörfer, publisher of Hauser & Wirth, added: "As an international publishing house with deep roots in the Los Angeles art scene, we were inspired to partner on LITLIT by the vibrant ecosystem of West Coast publishing, and saw this as a great opportunity to give a platform to the plethora of local publishers who make up this lively community. In the Los Angeles Review of Books' vision we recognize a shared passion for publishing in its various forms, and a desire to foster cross-disciplinary cultural dialogues that allow for discourse on this practice to flourish."

Obituary Note: Tom Baldwin

Tom Baldwin Sr., "who preserved the landmark used book store that bore his family name in an historic barn" just outside of West Chester, Pa., died June 8, the Daily Local News reported. He was 80. Baldwin's Book Barn "is a beloved institution that helped put the Brandywine Valley on the nation's map as a tourist destination."

His widow, Kathy Baldwin, described him "as an outgoing man who was generous to a fault with those he worked with, and who brought joy to book lovers and writers in the region. His love of Chester County history, and those who studied it, drew him to the books at Baldwin's Book Barn and the life that surrounded it."


The barn, built in 1822 and largely unheated, "was crammed with memorabilia and maps; and was as likely to have just as many valuable first editions, of stories such as Alice in Wonderland and Winnie the Pooh, as the most recent bestselling potboilers," the Daily News Local wrote. The shop's biggest transaction came in the 1980s, when Baldwin brokered the sale of the National Audubon Society's Birds of North America for $3 million.

"Tom was a wonderful man, a kind man, a generous man," said historian, author and customer Gene Pisasale. "And the Book Barn is in my view the best bookstore in the United States. You get a sense of being at home with a good book when you are there. And Tom was a part of that.”

Although the Book Barn was briefly listed for sale a decade ago, Kathy Baldwin said that there are no current plans to sell: "We are still keeping hold of it," she noted, adding that the staff, "wonderful people who are so dedicated," have kept the business moving despite challenges. "We hope to keep it forever."

In a tribute published by the Chester County Press, Richard Gaw wrote: "Essentially, Baldwin was the keeper of the kingdom, the man with the keys that unlocked the doors to a five-floor, endless bounty of discovery.... Thomas Baldwin believed that books were meant to be the conduits to our life's compelling story, as companions to our restless desire to know more and accept more--and in that journey, he also believed that we need to take the time to browse about and treasure what we may find."


Images of the Day: Ci7 Parties On


Children's Institute in Pittsburgh, Pa., kicked off last night with a welcome reception and enthusiastic costume party. Booksellers, authors and pubfolk had costumes judged by an esteemed panel of authors: Henry Winkler, Lin Oliver, Sergio Ruzzier and Innosanto Nagara. The winner was Avery Peregrine of Third Place Books in Seattle, Wash., who dressed as Julián from Julián Is a Mermaid. Pictured at right: Peregrine with the ABA's Daniel O'Brien, who also dressed as Julián.



A Favorite Bookseller Moment: City of Asylum Books


Posted yesterday by City of Asylum Bookstore at Alphabet City, Pittsburgh, Pa.: "Welcome booksellers!! We're excited to welcome booksellers from around the country to Children's Institute! Today's bookstore tour will showcase Pittsburgh's growing indie bookstore scene, including @whitewhalebks, @penguinbookshop, @classiclinesbooks, @riverstonebookstore, @sparkbookspgh, @tinybookspgh. Embrace Littsburgh!"

BGSQD in Greenwich Village: 'Worth Seeking Out'

The Bureau of General Services--Queer Division "isn't necessarily easy to find, but it's worth seeking out," amNewYork reported in showcasing the bookshop located on the second floor of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in Greenwich Village. BGSQD "welcomes in guests with bubble gum pink walls, a soundtrack of '80s pop music and a diverse selection of LGBTQ-affirming titles, strewed throughout unfinished plywood shelves."

Greg Newton and his partner Donnie Jochum opened the volunteer-run, nonprofit BGSQD in 2012 after the pair realized that Manhattan no longer had a queer bookstore. "That's embarrassing," Newton said. "For New York City. For us and so many queer people, it's a mecca. You come here because you're queer. There's queer life that's visible and active and proud and healthy."

"Is it of interest to queer people?" is Newton's primary criterion for stocking the variety of titles by LGBTQ+ authors and books covering queer themes. He also noted: "We're thrilled that the Center, donors and volunteers have allowed us to survive. We couldn't do it without them."

Newton would love to pass on the bookstore at some point to carry on the tradition, "but he'd also be thrilled if someone was inspired by his project and opened their own rendition," amNewYork wrote. "The store hasn't changed much since it first opened, opting for unfinished wood and cardboard to display books, not only because it's inexpensive, but because Newton believes it's transparent and potentially inspirational."

"This is how it works, you can do it too," Newton said. "Get some plywood and some books. You can make it happen."

Personnel Changes at Vintage Anchor

At Vintage Anchor:

Angie Venezia has been promoted to associate director of publicity. She has been with the company since 2011.

Julie Ertl has been promoted to publicity manager. She joined Vintage Anchor as senior publicist in 2017.

Kate Runde, director of publicity, has left Vintage Anchor to relocate with her family to Boston. She had been with the company for 14 years and director of publicity since 2013.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Nara Milanich on Science Friday

Science Friday: Nara Milanich, author of Paternity: The Elusive Quest for the Father (Harvard University Press, $35, 9780674980686).

This Weekend on Book TV: Anna Fifield

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, June 29
12 p.m. Sandra Bolzenius, author of Glory in Their Spirit: How Four Black Women Took on the Army during World War II (University of Illinois Press, $19.95, 9780252083334).

5 p.m. David Kaye, author of Speech Police: The Global Struggle to Govern the Internet (Columbia Global Reports, $15.99, 9780999745489).

6:15 p.m. Kara Dixon Vuic, author of The Girls Next Door: Bringing the Home Front to the Front Lines (Harvard University Press, $29.95, 9780674986381).

7 p.m. Senator Mitch McConnell and Roy Brownell, authors of The US Senate and the Commonwealth: Kentucky Lawmakers and the Evolution of Legislative Leadership (University Press of Kentucky, $40, 9780813177458). (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

8 p.m. George Packer, author of Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century (Knopf, $30, 9780307958020).

9:20 p.m. Anna Fifield, author of The Great Successor: The Divinely Perfect Destiny of Brilliant Comrade Kim Jong Un (PublicAffairs, $28, 9781541742482). (Re-airs Sunday at 10:30 a.m.)

10 p.m. George Sorial, co-author of The Real Deal: My Decade Fighting Battles and Winning Wars with Trump (Broadside Books, $28.99, 9780062887665). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Sunday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Jay Wexler, author of Our Non-Christian Nation: How Atheists, Satanists, Pagans, and Others Are Demanding Their Rightful Place in Public Life (Redwood Press, $25, 9780804798990), at the Strand in New York City.

Sunday, June 30
12 a.m. David Roll, author of George Marshall: Defender of the Republic (Dutton Caliber, $34, 9781101990971).

12:55 p.m. Eric Rauchway, author of Winter War: Hoover, Roosevelt, and the First Clash Over the New Deal (Basic Books, $30, 9780465094585).

5:40 p.m. James Fenelon, author of Four Hours of Fury: The Untold Story of World War II's Largest Airborne Invasion and the Final Push into Nazi Germany (Scribner, $30, 9781501179372), at BookPeople in Austin, Tex. (Re-airs Monday at 7 a.m.)

7 p.m. Susan Dunn, author of A Blueprint for War: FDR and the Hundred Days That Mobilized America (Yale University Press, $27.50, 9780300203530), and Michael Beschloss, author of Presidents of War (Crown, $35, 9780307409607).

7:55 p.m. Sheila Smith, author of Japan Rearmed: The Politics of Military Power (Harvard University Press, $29.95, 9780674987647).

10 p.m. Peter Wehner, author of The Death of Politics: How to Heal Our Frayed Republic After Trump (HarperOne, $25.99, 9780062820792).

Books & Authors

Awards: Orwell Winners

Winners have been named for the 2019 Orwell Prizes, which rewards work that comes closest to achieving George Orwell's ambition to "make political writing into an art." Each winner in the four categories receives £3,000 (about $3,805) and a Folio edition of Nineteen Eighty-Four signed by Richard Blair, Orwell's son.

Anna Burns won the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction for her novel Milkman, which chair of judges Tom Sutcliffe called "a remarkable book--recording a specific time and a specific conflict with brilliant precision but universal in its account of how political allegiances crush and deform our instinctive human loyalties. Its tone of voice--wry and funny, furious and compassionate--is a marvel."

The Orwell Prize for Political Writing went to Patrick Radden Keefe for Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland. Judge Ted Hodgkinson commented: "This haunting and timely portrait of The Troubles opens with the disappearance of a mother of ten and radiates outwards to encompass the entire conflict, giving voice to characters and stories often shrouded in silence, and leaving an indelible and nuanced impression of the human cost of this unstable chapter of history."

In the journalism categories, Max Daly won the Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain's Social Evils for "Behind County Lines" (Vice), and the Orwell Prize for Journalism went to Steve Bloomfield (deputy editor at Prospect) and Suzanne Moore (columnist at the Guardian).

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, July 2:

The Ghost Clause by Howard Norman (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780544987296) takes place in a Vermont farmhouse, where a freshly deceased ghost lives with newlyweds.

Whisper Network by Chandler Baker (Flatiron, $26.99, 9781250319470) follows female office workers who band together against their predatory male boss.

Temper by Layne Fargo (Gallery/Scout Press, $27, 9781982106720) is a psychological thriller about two competing actresses.

Last Witnesses: An Oral History of the Children of World War II by Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich (Random House, $30, 9780399588754) collects the experiences of Russian children during World War II.

Never Play Dead: How the Truth Makes You Unstoppable by Tomi Lahren (Broadside Books, $27.99, 9780062881946) is the memoir of the right-wing media personality.

American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century by Maureen Callahan (Viking, $27, 9780525428640) chronicles the hunt for Alaskan serial killer Israel Keyes.

The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu (Simon Pulse, $18.99, 9781481498838) is a debut YA novel that delves into the horrors of obsessive friendship.

Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia, illus. by Gabriel Picolo (DC Ink, $16.99, 9781401286231), is a YA graphic novel featuring superhero Raven as a teen who has just lost both her foster mother and her memory after a terrible accident.


The Plus One by Sarah Archer (Putnam, $16, 9780525539179).

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

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

Magic for Liars: A Novel by Sarah Gailey (Tor, $25.99, 9781250174611). "When Ivy was a child, her sister went off to a school for mages, leaving her feeling abandoned in the non-magical world. So when her sister's boss turns up at Ivy's detective practice a couple of decades later and asks her to solve a murder, she's less than enthused. Mixing noir tropes with the classic setting of a school for practitioners of magic, Magic for Liars is by turns intriguing and unsettling. I was on the edge of my seat the whole way as Ivy attempted to comb through the lies and resist her own temptation to get too deeply embroiled in the mystery." --Shelby Daniel-Wayman, Fair Isle Books, Washington Island, Wis.

The Confessions of Frannie Langton: A Novel by Sara Collins (Harper, $26.99, 9780062851895). "Drawing on her experiences of growing up in the Cayman Islands, attending university in London, and practicing law, outstanding debut author Sara Collins has drawn a character one will not soon forget. Told with evocative language, Frannie Langton's confession is a life story not to be missed. Raised on a sugar plantation in Jamaica, then transported to a life of servitude in London, Frannie lives a life of twists and turns of love and betrayal that will both shock and intrigue you. I was as tense as she was waiting for the verdict to be handed down. Thank you, Sara Collins!" --Mary Mollman, Booked, Evanston, Ill.

Invitation to a Bonfire: A Novel by Adrienne Celt (Bloomsbury, $17, 9781635571530). "Adrienne Celt's Invitation to a Bonfire is a propulsive literary thriller masterfully constructed and written with an extraordinary, raw urgency that will leave readers breathless. Inspired by the marriage of Vladimir and Vera Nabokov, Celt explores the love and ambition of two strong-willed women who compete for the passions and artistic control of a literary icon. The novel's characters are original and vividly drawn, with all the complexity and contradictions of their emotions and intentions fully realized. This is a story that you will not be able to put down, and certainly one of the most memorable and satisfying reads of the year. Adrienne Celt is a writer to watch." --Lori Feathers, Interabang Books, Dallas, Tex.

For Ages 4 to 8
Llama Destroys the World by Jonathan Stutzman, illustrated by Heather Fox (Holt, $17.99, 9781250303172). "I love this book! It is a wonderful addition to the world of children's picture books and I can't wait to share it with the world. I laughed, I cried, and then I laughed again! Now I'm off to buy a pair of dancing pants, after I eat some cake (maybe all the cake)!" --Jessica Osborne, E. Shaver, Bookseller, Savannah, Ga.

For Ages 9 to 12
Spark by Sarah Beth Durst (Clarion, $17.99, 9781328973429). "This story is a triumph for every quiet person and those who feel a little out of step with their peers. Mina and her lightening beast, Pixit, are learning how to make the weather idyllic in her country. Mina doesn't like to be the center of attention but decides to make herself heard when it's important to her and to society. As she discovers that making things better in one place can have unforeseen consequences, one quiet girl learns that she can be strong and change the world." --Julie Karaganis, Cabot Street Books & Cards, Beverly, Mass.

For Teen Readers
The Beholder by Anna Bright (HarperTeen, $17.99, 9780062845429). "Selah, seneschal-elect of Potomac, knows that she must find a husband for the good of her country. But when she is publicly rejected in front of her father's court and her stepmother takes the opportunity to send her across the Atlantic under the guise of securing an engagement, Selah realizes there are more things at play in her life than her own heart. Sweeping in scale and lushly romantic, The Beholder is a shimmering debut that whispers its magic to you, wraps you up in an old cloak of fairy tales, and carries you off across a brand-new ocean of its own making. A positively lovely book." --Rebecca Speas, One More Page Books, Arlington, Va.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: God Land: A Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America

God Land: A Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America by Lyz Lenz (Indiana University Press, $22 hardcover, 176p., 9780253041531, August 1, 2019)

Among the icons of the American Midwest is the proud white church spire, silhouetted against a big sky. But as any Midwesterner knows, faith in the heartland is a different beast than it used to be. Journalist Lyz Lenz watched both her church and her marriage fall apart in the wake of the 2016 election. Puzzled and heartbroken by the political and cultural divides, she set off to explore the region's small, tightly knit communities to understand the history of Midwestern Christianity and the ways it is shifting.

In God Land, her first memoir, Lenz weaves her own story with the stories of people she meets in towns and churches across the American heartland. She tells of her idealism in helping to establish a new church in Marion, Iowa, then her frustration at being silenced by her friends and her husband, as a woman who often held unpopular opinions. She explores the contradictory nature of belief in a stubborn, harsh, often isolating land: church can bind people together but it can also tear them apart. "This book is full of empty churches and broken hearts," she says in the introduction. It is a story of loss, but also of "a beautiful, horrible, stubborn faith" that has the power both to destroy and to rebuild.

Having written for the New York Times, Buzzfeed and the Washington Post, Lenz trains her keen journalistic eye on everyone she meets: the traveling pastors who often disagree with their congregants but feel called to serve them; the farmer who diffidently admits to finding God in his fields; the elderly woman who has lived and worshiped in the same small town for decades. Some are emblematic of the Midwest, but none of them are caricatures: they emerge as complex people, full of faith and doubt, hurt and hope, not unlike Lenz herself.

People want to talk about growth, Lenz admits, but she stubbornly digs into the broader story: the historical role of churches as community centers, the damaging mythology of "better days" gone by. She also explores newer, more diverse churches that are seeing rapid growth, as people hunger for community and connection. "When we talk about divide, we also have to talk about union," she says. "We have to talk about the messy meetings between strangers and the outpourings of love."

The Midwest and its people resist categorization, and Lenz admits she can't capture the full story. But her sharp, insightful prose and deep compassion help illuminate many facets of a complicated region and its ties to Christianity. And like the people she meets, Lenz can't quite give up her stubborn longing for a big-hearted faith and an even bigger God. The result is an incisive, sober-eyed yet hopeful look at a vital aspect of American culture. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Journalist Lyz Lenz examines the shifting landscape of faith in the Midwest with compassion and sharp insight.

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