Books Read in 2014 Review

Year-end review of books read -- it's here!

First, a side note. We've reached the end of another round of ROW80. My goals petered out at the end. I haven't done much writing and no editing at all in the last couple of weeks. It's been nice to read for pleasure for a bit!

Also, join me on 3 December for a birthday toast to Tolkien!

And now... 

Annual Books Read Statistics!

Here are the statistics for 2013, 2012, 2011 (and the list), 2010, 2009 (and the list).

Books read: 113, of which 84 were novels and kids' books (I count 'em all!), 8 were short stories, 2 were poems, and 19 were essay collections and comics and so on.

This is compared to 188 novels and short stories in 2013 (plus poetry), 142 in 2012, 124 in 2011, 92 in 2010, 131 in 2009, and 101 in 2008. That's not counting the thousands of words written and read for writers' houseparties over at the Compuserve Books and Writers Forum, plus other forum writings, and magazines and newspapers, etc.

My average over 50 weeks, not counting the poems, was 2.2, or two books and one short story. In 2013 it was one more than the previous couple of years, 3.5 books per week (or three books and two short stories). So far no serious post-baby decline in reading, then, happily.


Authors read: 61 (counting all; plus three anthologies), compared to 88 in 2013, 105 in 2012, 89 in 2011, 63 in 2010, 57 in 2009, and 69 in 2008 (not counting anthologies).
Hmm. I seem to have stuck to the familiar this year.


Most Books by One Author is tied between Louise Penny and J. K. Rowling (with Gaiman and Tolkien coming in a close second). And haven't finished Louise Penny's series yet! I'm already looking forward to rereading them now that I know the characters a lot better.

Last year it was Neil Gaiman with eight books, three short stories, two poems, a speech, and five Sandmans. Also L. M. Montgomery, Josephine Tey, J.R.R. Tolkien, Brenda Novak, Stephen King, E. L. Konigsburg, and Budge Wilson. In 2012 I read Tolkien and Stephen King, plus four Talli Roland books! The year before I reread The Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion, Outlander, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and The Tales of Beedle the Bard (before seeing the last movie), and in 2010 I again reread L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series, including The Road To Yesterday. Rereads in 2009 included J. K. Rowling, Diana Gabaldon, and Agatha Christie.


Oldest book: Childe Harold by Lord Byron and The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen. Parts of a poem and one short story, that is.

Last year it was Keats and Byron's poetry, plus The Count of Monte Cristo and, if you go by the stories themselves and not the publication date, Land of the Seal People by Duncan Williamson, which is a collection of retellings of ancient silkie stories from the Scottish islands. Along with a John Clare poem and an old song from the Shetlands that I read on Kate Davies' blog. Then there was the short story "Why, Of Course" by James Edmond Casey (published in 1912 in Top Notch Magazine), which was a sort-of-predictable-but-mostly-unsatisfying tale of a con artist.

In 2012, Cyrano de Bergerac and Voltaire were the oldest, and the oldest published books (not reprints) were the two anthologies, The Land of My Fathers - A Welsh Gift Book, and Princess Mary's Gift Book, both from 1914, including stories and poems by Arthur Conan Doyle, Kipling, etc. There was also Ah King by Somerset Maugham, Shakespeare in London by Marchette Chute, and Helena by Evelyn Waugh. In 2011 it was the 14th Century Book of Good Love by Archpriest Juan Ruiz, though the translation was only a hundred years old. After that, it was the chapter on the Earl of Rochester from Samuel Johnson's Lives of the Poets, and Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers, as well as P. G. Wodehouse. In 2010 it was the Earl of Rochester as well (and Perreault's fairy tales), plus Hours at the Glasgow Art Galleries by T. C. F. Brotchie, An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott and When the Going Was Good by Evelyn Waugh; in 2009, there was Shakespeare and a handful of books from pre-1950; in 2008, the oldest authors were Aesop and Pliny, but the oldest original book was by Dorothy L. Sayers, followed by John Fante and John Steinbeck.

Newest book: Not counting reissues (such as Tolkien's Tom Bombadil), here are the most recently published books:
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
Beloved Demons by Anthony Martignetti
The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman
The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
The Heart of Christmas by Brenda Novak
A Matter of Grave Concern by Brenda Novak
Fatal Fallout by Lara Lacombe
Deadly Contact by Lara Lacombe
Married by Midnight by Talli Roland (short story)
Marriage To Measure by Talli Roland
The No-Kids Club by Talli Roland
mini Twitter stories by Talli Roland
The Banks of Certain Rivers by Jon Harrison
Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie
Arranged by Catherine McKenzie
Spin by Catherine McKenzie
Written in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon
Virgins by Diana Gabaldon
Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay
Never Saw It Coming by Linwood Barclay
How To Fall In Love by Cecelia Ahern
One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern
Once Upon an Heirloom by Kait Nolan (novella)
Once Upon a Snow Day by Kait Nolan (novella)
Hands-on Therapy by T L Watson
The Christmas Crossing by Bev Petterson (short story)
Rogue Spy by Joanna Bourne
Temptation by Sandy Loyd
The Incorrigible Mr. Lumley by Aileen Fish
Effie's Outlaw by Karen Lopp
The Sagan Diary by John Scalzi
My Dancing Bear by Helene de Klerk
An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
Snip, Snip Revenge by Medeia Sharif
Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson
Go the F*^$ To Sleep (board book)
You Have to F*^$ing Eat (board book)

Exactly the same number (37) as in 2013! Last year included four by Forumites, as well as blogging buddies, and the Cabinet of Curiosities authors, as well as the 60th anniversary edition of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (with an introduction by Neil Gaiman). 36 in 2012, including nine Forumites, 44 in 2011, and 13 in 2010 plus 10 new books by Forumites. In 2008 I had only two books, by Joanna Bourne and Marilynne Robinson. Many more in 2009, including books by kc dyer, Hélène Boudreau, Linda Gerber and Diana Gabaldon -- Forumites all!

Stories/Authors I didn't like: A couple of the romances left me flat. Also, I have to admit, I did not enjoy the short story collection The Progress of Love by Alice Munro. I just can't seem to empathise with her characters.

In 2013 I only had two. Getting better at not forcing myself to slog through books I'm not instantly attracted to. The one book I didn't like, but finished, was Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. The one book I didn't like and didn't force myself to finish was Jenny Lawson's semi-autobiographical memoir. I explained a bit about why on the Forum. In 2012 there were no books I actively disliked, but there were two I distinctly felt "meh" about: Before Versailles, and Inkheart. The year before that featured Jonathan Franzen, Philippa Gregory and Gillian Bagwell, and 2010 Libba Bray and Thomas Cobb. One author in 2009 (Ilyas Halil) and three authors (Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Ian McEwan and Ian Rankin) and one story ("Hairball" by Margaret Atwood) in 2008.

Books that made me cry: Last year I made a note to keep track of this throughout the year because it's not very accurate at year-end when I can't remember. But I forgot!
Let me see which ones I remember...
The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny
The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series
The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
Liza of Lambeth by Somerset Maugham
Written in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon
How To Fall In Love by Cecelia Ahern
One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern

In 2013 I listed: Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi; The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (reread); The Lay of Aoutrou and Itroun by J. R. R. Tolkien; The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand; The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows; She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb (skimming reread) (it's that last line ("Thayer, I saw her!" I yell. "I saw!") that gets me. Every. Single. Time.)
In 2012 I listed: Bag of Bones by Stephen King; Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury; The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman; All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque; The Fault In Our Stars by John Green; The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling (because of Krystal); and Lunatic Heroes by C. Anthony Martignetti (if you haven't yet, you have to listen to him reading the chapter The Swamp. Bullfrog.).
In 2011 (the first year of this category) I had many books that made me cry: The Scottish Prisoner, and Outlander, both by Diana Gabaldon, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling, and The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, all of which were rereads, but there was also Rowing in Eden by Barbara Rogan, The Only Alien on the Planet by Kristen Randle, This and That by Emily Carr, The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells, Dancing Through the Snow by Jean Little, Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, The Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson, and Fifteen by Beverly Cleary.

Youngest books: Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss (reread) (brought to you by Neil Gaiman) and Emil In the Soup Tureen by Astrid Lindgren, plus a few YAs and MGs. Not sure if Go the F*^$ To Sleep and You Have to F*%$ing Eat count, since you can't quite read them to children...

In 2013 I had quite a few board books, just as in the last few years, including: two Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems; Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman; The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman; The Dangerous Alphabet by Neil Gaiman; Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman; To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street by Dr Seuss; Who's A Pest? by Crosby Newell Bonsall; Star Trek Book of Opposites (board book); Alligator Baby by Robert Munsch; and Rainy Days with Bear by Maureen Hull (this one should appeal to writers!). Also quite a bit of YA and MG. Old favourites never leave you.

Fluff but Fun books: The aforementioned F*%#ing books, plus Tintin and Asterix and the Caliph.

In 2011 I read Andy Capp, MAD, and an Archie, which was fewer than the past three years. 2012 had even fewer than that, with only two issues of MAD. 2013, I reread some more Andy Capp, the Far Side, and Uncle John's Bathroom Reader, the Music edition.

Books/Authors I'd recommend: Louise Penny! And if you’re looking for non-fiction, The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer.

2012 I recommended the books that made me cry, and the year before that I gave a shout out to Forumites, and to my old favourites, Tolkien et al. 2013 I recommended (besides all Forumites and blogging buddies!), bearing in mind that this is not an exhaustive list, all of Josephine Tey and E. L. Konigsburg, plus: A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (for general intriguingness); The Reader Over Your Shoulder by Robert Graves and Alan Hodge (for writers); A Calendar of Tales by Neil Gaiman (for storytelling); The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks (for all-around strength of purpose); Esio Trot by Roald Dahl (for the sweetness of it all); The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (for the wonderfulness of it, and the fact that it's a wartime story); A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka (for the wonderful tone); A Dangerous Fiction by Barbara Rogan (for the keep-you-on-your-toes mystery, and the characters); and the Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems (for the witty kid in all of us).

Shortest book: Quite possibly The Tales of Beedle the Bard, same as in 2008, 2010 and 2011. Also the two lovely mini-stories by Kait Nolan, Once Upon an Heirloom and Once Upon a Snow Day.

In 2011 the other shortest was The Object Lesson by Edward Gorey (besides the short stories, the youngest books, Andy Capp, Archie, and MAD). In 2012 I recommended the longest of the short pieces: The Space Between, a long novella by Diana Gabaldon. In 2013 I read a lot more essays and short stories in general, so it was hard to single out just one.

Longest book: Every year there's a Tolkien or Gabaldon in there, and 2014 was no exception, same as 2013.

2012 I had no long series that I could count as one book, so I decided to mention Neil Gaiman. 2013 I reread the Anne of Green Gables series, read all of Josephine Tey's books, and also read John Scalzi's wonderful Old Man's War series. Also some long Stephen King: Under the Dome; the uncut The Stand; and 11/22/63. I also read The Count of Monte Cristo. In French.

Research books: I count L. M. Montgomery as research for my pre-WWI story. A Rose for the ANZAC Boys by Jackie French was also chock full of information. But no actual non-fiction research done this year.

I had a hodgepodge in 2011--2012, including books on English history, poetry, Mediterranean flora, Ottoman history, and the Renaissance. The 2013 crop was just as varied, given that I was reading for Druid's Moon (contemporary paranormal romance), Captive of the Sea (15th Century historical romance), and Larksong (pre-WWI Canadian romance). Some of the novels I read (especially Forrester's) doubled as research. I loved Archaeology is Rubbish by Prof. Mick Aston and Tony Robinson. And I skimmed the following: Medieval Civilisation by Jacques le Goff; The Great Explorers (Folio Society edition); Parragon's Encyclopedia of Animals: a Family Reference Guide; and Celtic Myths and Legends by Mike Dixon-Kennedy.

Books from the 19th Century: Only two! Byron’s Childe Harold and Andersen’s The Snow Queen.

2013: Only one! Le Comte de Monte-Cristo par Alexandre Dumas. And a handful of poems. And the Grimm brothers' story "The Blue Light". 2012: The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley, plus poems by Longfellow and Browning, and "The Pit and the Pendulum" by Edgar Allan Poe. I must read more in this category.

Books from 1900-1960: Not as many as usual. The Tintin books, L. M. Montgomery, Tolkien, Maugham, Sayers, Christie (plus The Floating Admiral by the Detection Club, including Christie, Sayers, Chesterton, etc.), Wodehouse, Graves, Milne, and Tutankhamen's Tomb by Howard Carter (excerpt essay from his book).

Counting the short stories, I had a lot in 2012, including all the Tolkien, plus Christie, Sayers, Milne, Bradbury, Waugh, Chute, Maugham, Remarque, Chesterton, and Bodies and Souls (1950s Dell Paperback featuring crime stories by Agatha Christie, G. K. Chesterton, etc.). In 2011 there were only 12 novels and two short stories. Honourable mention went to The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson, which is all about growing up in a small midwestern US town in the 50s. There were 27 such books in 2010, 17 in 2009, and in 2008 this time period made up 1/4 of my list. 2013 was no exception. Lots of Tolkien, all the Josephine Tey and L. M. Montgomery, plus: Esio Trot by Roald Dahl (such a sweet love story!); Poet's Pub by Eric Linklater (so much fun!); The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (reread); To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street by Dr Seuss; The Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis (reread); "Four Fables for Our Time" by James Thurber (short story) (reread); "You Should Have Seen the Mess" by Muriel Spark (short story) (reread); "Ha'penny" by Alan Paton (short story) (reread); The Screwtape Letters, Chapter 1 by C. S. Lewis (read by John Cleese) (reread); "Why, Of Course" by James Edmond Casey (short story); Acquainted With the Night by Robert Frost (poem); Medieval Civilisation by Jacques le Goff; All My Life Before Me: the diary of C. S. Lewis (finally finished this one – I’ve been reading it in fits and starts for over 15 years!); Stories in Words by C. S. Lewis; Emerson (bits and pieces of his essays on his travels through England and Scotland; read aloud to me); and The Reader Over Your Shoulder by Robert Graves and Alan Hodge.

I also had three beta reads in 2014. I had two in 2013 and four in 2012. And much less poetry this year. I should be reading a lot more poetry.

Forumites were at it again this year! Here are the latest releases:
Fatal Fallout by Lara Lacombe
Deadly Contact by Lara Lacombe
Written in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon
Virgins by Diana Gabaldon
Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman
The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
Hands-on Therapy by T L Watson
Rogue Spy by Joanna Bourne

Finally, a category introduced in 2013 as a result of comments from the year before: Most Surprising Book:This year it'd have to be Louise Penny's series of mysteries. I fall deeper in love with the characters and the setting with every book I read.
And a special mention to non-fiction books that touched me this year, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield and The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer.

In 2012 it was World War Z by Max Brooks. 2013 I listed three: Poet's Pub by Eric Linklater (a fun, romantic romp through 1930s England), The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks (I was not expecting anything about this story. It's truly different), and Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith aka J. K. Rowling.

Which surprising books have you read this year?

Happy New Year to all! 

Here's the full, unedited list for 2014:
Asterix in Switzerland by Goscinny and Uderzo
Marriage To Measure by Talli Roland
The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny
A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny
The Hangman by Louise Penny (short story)
Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny
The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny
The Murder Stone (A Rule Against Murder) by Louise Penny
Emily's Quest by L. M. Montgomery
Emily Climbs by L. M. Montgomery
Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery
You Have to F%$ing Eat (board book)
The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
A Rose for the ANZAC Boys by Jackie French
The Adventures of Tom Bombadil by J.R.R. Tolkien (expanded edition; reread of some)
Married by Midnight by Talli Roland
Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman
The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
The Cruellest Month by Louise Penny
Dead Cold by Louise Penny
The Banks of Certain Rivers by Jon Harrison
Lessons for a Sunday Father by Claire Calman
The Magician by Somerset Maugham
Rogue Spy by Joanna Bourne
The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (annual reread)
The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving (skimmed last third)
A Matter of Grave Concern by Brenda Novak
Fatal Fallout by Lara Lacombe
secret beta read 3!
The Heart of Christmas by Brenda Novak
Deadly Contact by Lara Lacombe
Carry On, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse
The Floating Admiral by the Detection Club, including Christie, Sayers, Chesterton, etc.
Brief Lives, Sandman 7 by Neil Gaiman
Liza of Lambeth by Somerset Maugham
The Mapmaker's Daughter by Laurel Corona (I give up on finishing this; skimmed to the end)
Childe Harold by Lord Byron (listened to the parts of it set in Switzerland read aloud)
Written in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon
My Dancing Bear by Helene de Klerk
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier
Jane of Lantern Hill by L. M. Montgomery
Tu Vas Naitre by Sylvia Kitzinger
Goodbye To All That by Robert Graves
secret beta read 2!
Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay The Caliph's Vacation by Goscinny (Iznogoud series; Canadian translation) (reread)
Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson
Le Tresor de Rackham le Rouge by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
Le Secret de la Licorne by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
L'Affaire Tournesol by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
The Bum by Somerset Maugham (short story)
The Colour of Magic, Discworld 1 by Terry Pratchett
Once Upon a Snow Day by Kait Nolan (novella)
Fables and Reflections Sandman 6 by Neil Gaiman
Doctor Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party by Graham Greene
Once Upon an Heirloom by Kait Nolan (novella)
The No-Kids Club by Talli Roland
Snip, Snip Revenge by Medeia Sharif
Journey to an 800 Number by E. L. Konigsburg
various Neil Gaiman short stories on the An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer album (reread (well, this time in audio))
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (reread; actually this was an older edition, published under the original title of Ten Little N******)
Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie (reread)
Never Saw It Coming by Linwood Barclay
How To Fall In Love by Cecelia Ahern
biographical note on Lord Peter Wimsey in reissue of Clouds of Witness by Dorothy Sayers (on Gutenberg)
One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern Notwithstanding by Louis de Bernieres
The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King (reread)
Temptation by Sandy Loyd
The Incorrigible Mr. Lumley by Aileen Fish
Effie's Outlaw by Karen Lopp
Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler
The Christmas Crossing by Bev Petterson (short story) secret beta read!
An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie
Arranged by Catherine McKenzie
Emil In the Soup Tureen by Astrid Lindgren
Whales by Jacques Cousteau (excerpt essay from his book)
Tutankhamen's Tomb by Howard Carter (excerpt essay from his book)
Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson
Everything's Eventual by Stephen King
Go the F*^$ To Sleep (board book)
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss (reread) (brought to you by Neil Gaiman)
The Sagan Diary by John Scalzi
mini Twitter stories by Talli Roland
The Book of Jane by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt
Chicken Soup for the Soul: O Canada The Wonders of Winter
Beloved Demons by Anthony Martignetti
Hands-on Therapy by T L Watson
Let Me Make Myself Plain by Catherine Cookson
The Razor's Edge by Somerset Maugham
Mystery of the Fat Cat by Frank Bonham
Spin by Catherine McKenzie
Virgins by Diana Gabaldon
The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen (reread)
The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
The Ghost in the Window by Betty Ren Wright
The Progress of Love by Alice Munro
The Treason of Isengard - Book 7 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling (reread)
Behind the Lines (poems) by A. A. Milne
the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (reread)
Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mother's Soul

Comments

Beverley Baird said…
Some great bools there! I fell in love with Louise Penny a couple of years ago. Her last 2 books were exceptionally well written. Dd you see the film about the first book. I enjoyed it. Will have to check out a number of your books!
Zan Marie said…
You are way too organized for me, Deniz! I just post a mini book review and move on. ;-)
Crumbs Deniz - this is an amazing list and summary ... for one so so busy! I've bookmarked it .. as a source of reading available ... I really should try and read as much as you ...

Happy end of 2014 and a great reading year ahead, with some littler books I suspect appearing on the list -old childhood favourites ... Happy 2015 ahead .. cheers Hilary
Lara Lacombe said…
What a great list! I'm honored to be on it! :)
Michael Di Gesu said…
Hey, Deniz,

HAPPY 2015! WOW.... this is an IMPRESSIVE list! I'm ashamed to say I have read very little this past year, but I am hopeful of the new one!

Life warrants me very little time to relax and read. It was something I had done veraciously until I started writing. And that's when it all changed.

ALL the best for the forthcoming year!
Deniz Bevan said…
Thank you ladies!
I find it easy to do this list since I update my books read on the blog. It's fun to look back and see what I've read, especially since I have a memory like a sieve and would forget that I'd read many of the books!
Wish I'd kept such lists from childhood onwards.
Matthew MacNish said…
You are such a voracious reader! I need to re-read my Tolkien, and I'm thinking of reading more adult SF/F this year anyway, so it might be a good time.
LR said…
My, you read a lot! So admirable.

I still haven't read Louise Penny. Gotta pick one up ;)

How's life in Switzerland? (didn't you move there?)
Deniz Bevan said…
And yet I still own more books than I've read, Matthew! I need a reading vacation. And some days without sleep...

Switzerland's great, LR! Especially now, when it's -25 back in Montreal and sunny and +5 here in Geneva :-)

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