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    Well, there’s no denying it. The leaves are falling and so are the temperatures—fall is officially here. And even though it’s time to start bundling up outside, we are getting nice and toasty inside. So grab your favorite blanket, light a fire, and settle in for a good ole steamy Western romance.

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    Calico Palace by Gwen Bristow

    Journey to 1948 San Francisco in this captivating New York Times bestseller that brings to life the passionate, adventurous men and women who transformed San Francisco at the beginning of the California gold rush. 

    “Delivers a vivid, finely researched view of an underappreciated period of American history . . . A satisfying and educational read.” —Historical Novel Society



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    Sun God by Nan Ryan

    USA Today–bestselling author Nan Ryan delivers the intensely passionate, spellbinding story of a man driven by revenge, a woman consumed by desire, and a love that transcends the enmity dividing them. To the world, he is the half-breed Luiz Quintano. But to Amy Sullivan, he is Tonatiuh, the magnificent son of a Spanish grandee and an Aztec princess—and she has worshipped him since girlhood. Can their love survive in a world trying to tear them apart?

    Sun God is dynamite . . . riveting, poignant, and utterly breathtaking in its sensuality.” —Romantic Times

    “People read Nan Ryan’s books over and over, until the pages come loose from the binding.” —Linda Lael Miller, New York Times–bestselling author

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    Outlaw in Paradise by Patricia Gaffney

    When deadly, legendary—and, of course, exceptionally handsome—gunfighter Jesse Gault saunters into Paradise, Oregon, local saloon owner Cady McGill is both repulsed and inexplicably drawn to him. The two grow close and Cady senses something else behind Gault’s mysterious façade. She soon learns that his closely guarded secrets could spell life or death for the town—and for Cady herself.

    “A delightful, mature romance that brings readers a unique look at the Wild West.” —Romantic Times

    “[A] lively, exceptionally well-written romance.” —Library Journal


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    Showdown at Buffalo Jump by Gary Svee

    A wannabe rancher, Max exaggerated his financial standing when he advertised for a mail-order bride. Catherine O’Dowd has long dreamed of being a lady, and she expects Max to make one of her. But instead of the riches Max described, she finds a hardscrabble bit of prairie that demands every drop of sweat the two of them have to give. If Max isn’t careful, his new wife will bring him down, and take the entire state with her.

    “Svee vividly portrays beauty and a sense of daily life in Montana near the turn of the century.” —Publishers Weekly

    “A delightful story . . . with humor, wonderful characters, and strikingly beautiful descriptions of the Montana prairie.” —Library Journal


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    Someone’s Been Sleeping in My Bed by Linda Jones

    A modern retelling of “The Story of the Three Bears,” Someone’s Been Sleeping In My Bed by Linda W. Jones tells the story of Maddalyn Kelly, who stumbles upon the cabin of three burly and intimidating brothers: Karl, Conrad, and Eric Bartlett. Inside, she finds three of everything: three delicious meals, three comfortable chairs, and three warm beds. She ate Eric’s food, slept in Eric’s bed. He seemed a wild animal, but did his gruff manner belie a softer side? Feisty Maddalyn was determined to find out.




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    Cavalry Scout by Dee Brown

    John Singleterry and his partner, Dunreath, are taken captive by two American Indian fighters. One is an old medicine woman, and the other, holding a rifle, is a beautiful mixed-race girl. They tell the scouts about their tribe’s decimation during its forced relocation and of multiple promises that have been broken—stories that force Singleterry to face difficult questions of love, desertion, and the real meaning of honor.




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    Cinnamon and Roses by Heidi Betts

    Small-town, fatherless Rebecca is scared of falling for big-city Caleb. Yet the more he scandalizes her small Kansas cowtown, the more she pines for his raw male allure. Now Caleb finds himself less interested in the beautiful rich women of his past and more obsessed with Rebecca’s innocent scent of cinnamon and roses. Will they both let go of their fears and give in to their desires?




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    Bride Fire by Elizabeth Chadwick

    Stranded in the wilderness and desperate for survival, young Cassandra has nearly given up hope when muscular mustanger Alex Harte arrives as salvation. When the rugged wanderer rescues this beautiful 17-year-old damsel, he knows his journey is about to take a dramatic turn. Just when Cassandra’s fate seemed safe, Alex and his wild posse have a run-in with something even wilder . . .




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    Wildstar by Linda Ladd

    Raised by the Cheyenne, the silver-haired beauty named Starfire knows nothing of her past life, her childhood as Elizabeth Pennington Richmond. The Cheyenne are her people and their ways are hers. So when the tall blond stranger steps out of the darkness and carries her off into the night, she fights him with all of her strength. Terrified, she has no idea that he has been sent to rescue her after all these years. Not realizing the adventure ahead of them, Starfire and Logan embark upon a journey of self-discovery, danger . . . and love!




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    Morning Sky by Constance Bennett

    The lovely widow Lacey Spencer has launched an unheard-of campaign to expose the crooked cattle rangers that are threatening to overtake her hometown. Even her sophisticated beauty and elegant demeanor cannot erase the townspeople’s evident disapproval of Lacey’s unladylike behavior. She alone must face the wrath of the corrupted cattlemen. When a dark stranger arrives in town, Lacey discovers that she may not be alone in her battle.

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  • 10/20/14--12:58: Was He Wrongly Convicted?

  • Italian novel mirrors the horrifying reality of the modern criminal system.

    “I am convinced that imprisonment is a way of pretending to solve the problem of crime. It does nothing for the victims of crime, but perpetuates the idea of retribution, thus maintaining the endless cycle of violence in our culture.” —Howard Zinn

    On September 3, 2014, Henry Lee McCollum was released from North Carolina’s central prison after being on death row for 31 years. McCollum and his half brother Leon Brown, who was serving a life sentence related to the same case, were both released after a judge overturned their conviction in the 1983 rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl.

    McCollum’s case has brought back media attention to capital punishment and America’s incarceration system, raising necessary questions about justice and the nature of forced confinement. As with other essential questions of the human condition, literature and the arts have always questioned justice and wondered what it means to be imprisoned. From ruthless novels such as The Family of Pascual Duarte and recent TV successes like Rectify and Orange Is the New Black, through classic movies like TheShawshank Redemption, American History X, and Dead Man Walking, these works have forced us to rethink the modern criminal justice system.

    Like classic literary works about prison, the recent translation of Alessandro Perissinotto’s bestselling Italian novel For They Have Sown the Wind raises many of the same questions that the McCollum case did.

    Incarcerated for the murder of his wife, Giacomo Musso declares his innocence in this sweeping story of prejudice and ill-fated love

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    It was love, or perhaps misfortune, that led Giacomo Musso, a 35-year-old teacher, to incarceration in the maximum-security wing of the Novara penitentiary. He insists upon his innocence while the newspapers run photos of the mutilated corpse of his wife. Out of desperation, Giacomo tells the story of his life—that is, the series of events that inevitably led him to this cell.

    Their marriage was not a red-hot love affair, but rather a passion that grew slowly and steadily—a love meant to last. He and his wife, Shirin, decided to move back to Molini, the town in the Piedmontese mountains where Giacomo was born. Shirin, raised in France after her family fled Iran, wanted the security of Giacomo’s roots. But even in Molini, she remained a foreigner, treated first with intrusive curiosity and then with mistrust. As Shirin becomes more isolated from the people around her, she grows increasingly distant from her husband. Before long, nothing is left of her or of their love, except for the memories Giacomo writes down in his diary in the hope that perhaps he can create a better ending to the story.

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    We are pleased to share a guest post from young adult author, Jolene Perry, on her writing process, brainstorming, and creating the character Joy in her latest novel, Stronger than You Know.

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    I keep seeing this meme pop up on the Internet about creative people having thousands of tabs open in their brain. Each time I see this, I laugh a little at the truthfulness of those words.

    Everywhere I go, I’m thinking about at least 10 different things: my current manuscript, two or three I’d like to be working on, the one I’m editing, the one I’m expecting edits for, the blog post I’d like to write next, the funny thing I saw on Facebook, the photos I saw on stock photo sites and what I’d like to do with them . . . Both of my kids have a tab, as does all that “life” stuff.

    All those tabs are a lot to think about. They’re a lot to do. I mean, they wouldn’t be tabbed if they weren’t important.

    But every once in a while, one of those projects takes over everything else, and even if those other tabs are still open, they fade into the background. It’s an amazing feeling to be so passionate about a story that the rest of the world falls away.

    I distinctly remember waking up one morning with the same sentence rolling around in my head over and over . . . “I read somewhere that happiness is fleeting, but joy sticks with you, holds on to you, and fills you up. The fact that my name is Joy is sort of a lesson in irony.”

    I could not get this girl out of my head, and one by one, the other tabs I had open began to close. Her voice grew louder than anything else.

    My first draft of Stronger than You Know was complete in about seven days. I couldn’t think about anything else. Couldn’t bring myself to do anything else.

    Since the frantic beginnings of Joy’s story, I’ve read the manuscript more times than I can count. But without those moments of clarity, where everything else in my brain was shut down, I’m not sure I could have done her journey in quite the same way. 

    And while on most days I’m thrilled with my many open tabs, and the many things my brain likes to bounce around on, I am also very, very grateful for the few moments when everything else quiets to let one take over.

    Jolene Perry is a high school teacher turned writer and a prolific author of young adult fiction. Her most recent titles include Out of Play, The Summer I Found You, and Stronger than You Know. She lives in Wasilla, Alaska, with her husband and two children. You can find Jolene online at

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    Soldier. Producer. Playwright. Children’s Author. Bernard Evslin

    Bernard Evslin’s professional career was by no means linear. A graduate of Rutgers University, the acclaimed jack-of-all-trades served a tour in the Second World War—which is perhaps where he acquired his resilience and taste for adventure.

    Upon his return to the States, Evslin launched himself into television and film production, spending years developing features for the small and silver screens alike. Face of the Land, one of his made-for-television films, was named Best Television Film by Variety magazine in 1959. With his successes in film as a springboard, Evslin explored his options on the stage, becoming enamored with the playwriting process. Much like his previous entertainment ventures, he found success in original works, even gaining critical accolade with an Obie award for the off-Broadway production of his original script The Geranium Hat.

    But that success was short-lived. It might have been a sign from the gods—more likely one too many jabs at Poseidon—but Evslin’s playwright reputation took an irreparable hit when his production of Step on a Crack, an original play, closed after its premier at the Ethel Barrymore Theater. Though disappointed by his declining influence in the spheres of New York theatrical society, Evslin’s own mantra that “bad luck makes good stories” was about to guide him into the next phase of his career: writing children’s literature.

    The classics remain the classics for a reason: They’re universally great stories of adventure and morality that stand the test of time. Combined with Evslin’s riveting storytelling, his children’s novels achieved, and continue to achieve, great commercial success. His best-known work Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths has sold over 10 million copies across the globe and has been translated into 10 different languages, while his original story The Green Hero was nominated for a National Book Award.

    Evslin’s books captivate middle grade students with a writing style that the English Journal praises as “straightforward . . . appealing and easily accessible to young readers without being condescending.” And this month, Open Road is adding to our collection of Bernard Evslin classics with the release of five new titles. Add them to your personal library today.

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    The Dolphin Rider

    Arion, a young man living in the seafaring town of Corinth, longs to go on great adventures, but an oracle warns that if he embarks on a voyage, he will never return. When Apollo, the god of music, gives Arion a golden lyre for his 20th birthday, Arion ignores the oracle’s words and sets sail for Sicily. Everyone falls in love with his singing and great treasures are heaped on him, but Arion is forced to contend with an unexpected foe: man’s greed.




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    Monsters of Celtic Mythology

    Yards shorter than his brothers and sisters, Celtic giant Finn McCool is the runt of the litter. Still, he is eager to fight evil and is consumed by the need to avenge his father’s murder. Thwarting his mission is Drabne of Dole, who can change shape at will. She fiercely guards her underworld terrain, keeping a watchful eye on the Salmon of Knowledge, lest he try to teach ignorant creatures what they have no right to learn. Now she is scheming to destroy Finn! He will need all his courage and cunning to outwit Drabne and lay a trap for Goll McMorna, the war chief who slew his father.




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    Monsters of Greek Mythology: Volume One

    These classic works features a sprawling cast of gods and mortals waging battle on land and by sea, from Zeus to the Titan god Prometheus, from Hades, who guards the gates of hell, to Circe, immortal weaver of spells, to the great war chief Ulysses, who sails in search of his long-lost home. Monsters of Greek Mythology brings to life fearsome creatures like giant, flame-spitting wingless dragons, a spider named Arachne, goats and swordfish endowed with magical properties, and the Cyclopes—one-eyed male and female goliaths even more powerful than the Titans.




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    Monsters of Norse Mythology

    Fafnir lives with his family in a fortress-like house deep in the forest. His father, descended from an archdemon, shares the secrets of the dark arts with Fafnir and his two brothers. Regnir, the eldest, is a deformed dwarf who lusts after gold and relies on his cunning to get it. Hungering only for food, Oter, the middle brother, can transform himself into a bird of prey. The shape-shifting Fafnir desires to be feared, and when Odin, king of the gods, sets a trap with a treasure that tempts every giant, ogre, and dwarf in his domain, Fafnir becomes a dragon. However, he is about to confront an even fiercer rival: a mortal named Siegfried.

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    The Red Magician was the first novel ever published by distinguished fantasy author Lisa Goldstein, her first step in an acclaimed 30-year career. Yet The Red Magician has always been more than just a stepping-stone. The winner of the 1983 National Book Award (then called the American Book Award), it has proven itself timeless, continuing to captivate readers with the poignant, heartrending story of a young girl named Kicsi who struggles to survive in the midst of the Holocaust, and the mysterious “red magician” who may hold her only way to escape. 

    Read an excerpt from the book here:

    The shadows were lengthening and the streets almost deserted as Imre and Vörös came home. “Gut Shabbos, Sarah,” said Imre. “I have brought a guest. This is Vörös.”

    “Come in, come in, Vörös,” said Sarah. “Girls, one of you run and get another plate for our guest. We have company!”

    Kicsi turned and saw the stranger in the doorway. Light from the house fell upon him, turning his beard and hair golden. He looked at her, and she thought that he could not be much older than Magda, the oldest sister. His skin was pale and his eyes in the light were very blue.

    At dinner the girls made much of the stranger, laughing and softly teasing him about his hair. Their brother Tibor sat near Imre and watched Vörös quietly.  “Where are you from?” asked Magda.

    Vörös repeated his words to Imre. “Lately? Lately from Czechoslovakia.”

    “No,” said Kicsi. “Where were you before that?” Imre shot her a warning glance, but she ignored it and looked instead directly at Vörös.

    “All over,” Vörös answered, smiling. “Europe, America, Asia …”

    “Asia!” said Kicsi, breathing the word, savoring it.

    “He means Palestine,” said Ilona scornfully. “No one goes any farther than that.”

    “No,” said Vörös. “I’ve been to Palestine, certainly, but I’ve been farther. Shanghai.”

    Shanghai. It was another word for Kicsi to store away and save, to bring out later and examine. This, then, was the way her wish would be answered. “Where else?” she said. “What was it like? Did you see statues and ruins and bazaars? Did you go to the Great Wall of China? To the Himalayas?”

    Vörös laughed. “Yes, yes, all of that and more,” he said.

    “What did—” She stopped, noticing for the first time the thin scar that ran from his hairline, cutting across one eyebrow and disappearing into his beard. “Where did you get that scar?”

    “Kicsi!” said Imre.

    “It’s all right,” said Vörös. “I don’t mind. It was during the last war. We were attacked by looters.”

    “The war?” said Kicsi suspiciously. “You’re not old enough.”

    “Now that is really enough, do you hear me!” said Imre. “Excuse my daughter, please. She sometimes gets carried away.”

    “Oh, she doesn’t bother me,” said Vörös. “I’d be happy to answer her questions.” Then, seeing Imre’s expression: “Some other time, perhaps.”

    The next day Kicsi found Vörös seated at a table, looking through the books in the library. “Tell me a story,” she said. Vörös put down the book he was holding. His hands, Kicsi noticed, were pale and slender, and covered with fine golden hair. “What kind of story?” he asked.

    “Anything,” said Kicsi fiercely.

    “Let me see,” said Vörös. Kicsi watched him carefully, studying his smooth young face, his clear wide eyes, his short curly beard. “All right. When I was in America I worked for a while for a magician.”


    “Yes, a real magician. He looked like a cat—like an old cat that’s been left out in the rain too long, sort of seedy and mangy—but you knew that he’d always find enough to eat, and somehow, no matter where we were, he’d always manage to keep himself spotlessly clean. He had long sleek black hair, and an elaborately  curled black mustache, but under the mustache all his teeth were rotten. We’d travel around from town to town, putting on shows, and once a year we’d return to New York.

    “He loved New York. I don’t know why. New York is dirty and noisy and crowded, and likely to get worse. But he seemed very much at home there, and he’d always tell me, after a particularly good night, that when he’d had enough of touring he’d settle down in New York and never go back on stage again.

    “Well, one night in New York we’d done fairly well. He’d taught me a few tricks with coins and flowers and cards—”

    “Can you still do them?” said Kicsi.

    “Surely. You never forget. I’ll show you a few, after the Shabbos. Anyway, toward the end of the show we did a vanishing act. What usually happened was, I’d build a box around the magician, made of thick boards, and when I opened the box he would be gone. Then I’d close up the box, open it again, and—lo and behold—there he’d be again. But this particular night, when I opened the box again, he was still missing. I was panicked. The audience got restless, and then furious. Then they began to throw things. I hurried off the stage. But as I left, I swore I saw a sleek black cat walking out the stage door.”

    Kicsi thought a while. “That’s not a true story,” she said finally.

    “Well, you know how stories are. Parts of them are true and parts are made up.  And anyway, you didn’t ask me for a true story.”

    “Kicsi!” someone called.

    “That’s Magda,” said Kicsi. “I’d better go.”

    “Come back any time,” said Vörös. “We’ll talk some more.”

    “I will,” said Kicsi. The next day Kicsi waited impatiently for school to end. The few students that remained fidgeted restlessly, certain the curse was coming home to rest on their shoulders. They were afraid to stay in school and afraid to disobey their parents by leaving. The teachers could do nothing with them. Kicsi, unnoticed, sat in a corner and daydreamed of Vörös.

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    The crossword puzzle as we know it was invented more than a century ago. A little more than 30 years ago, however, authors like Herbert Resnicow, Parnell Hall, and our very own Nero Blanc began to use the crossword puzzle for something new and exciting: the mystery novel. After all, who could match the brains and daring of a puzzle-cracking PI?

    In the Crossword Mysteries series, Nero Blanc even includes DIY crossword puzzles in his book, allowing readers to try to solve the mystery along with characters PI Rosco Polycrates and crossword editor Belle Graham—that is, if you’re up for the challenge. (Even Nero Blanc himself is actually somewhat of a mystery. He is, in fact, two people—the husband and wife team Steve Zettler and Cordelia Frances Biddle.) We at Open Road Media are excited to bring back the Crossword Mysteries series by Nero Blanc in ebook form and, in celebration, here’s our very own crossword puzzle for you to solve!

    3. Who made the first ever crossword puzzle?
    9. Number of Crossword Mysteries books
    10. What does “Nero” mean?
    11. What is the name of the detective in the Crossword Mysteries series?
    12. Where did Steve Zettler and Cordelia Frances Biddle first meet?

    1. Who completed the largest ever crossword puzzle?
    2. Creating a crossword
    4. What is the first book in the Crossword Mysteries series?
    5. What does “Blanc” mean?
    6. Which newspaper initially condemned crossword puzzles and refused to publish them for more than a decade?
    7. Which language does the name “Nero” come from?
    8. What is the name of the crossword editor in the Crossword Mysteries series?


    The Crossword Mysteries by Nero Blanc

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    1. AraHovhannisian 2. Cruciverbalism 3. ArthurWynne 4. TheCrosswordMurder 5. White 6. NewYorkTimes 7. Italian 8. BelleGraham 9.Twelve 10. Black 11. RoscoPolycrates 12. NewYork

    If you want to make your own crossword puzzle, visit Discovery Education.

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    It’s almost Halloween, a day of frights, ghastly creatures, and probably some candy. Read on to find books on the history and lore of zombies, vampires, and werewolves from all over the world. You’ll get some background on the terrifying creatures behind the most classic Halloween costumes!

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    The World’s Creepiest Places is not just a ghostly travel book. It's for those who want to explore the weird, out-of-the-way locations of our planet and test the boundaries of the reality many of us take for granted.

    Dr. Bob Curran not only looks for ghosts, but also for sinister people, vampires, the living dead, doorways to other worlds—even venturing close to the Gates of Hell itself!

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    In the myths, legends, and folklore of many peoples, the returning, physical dead play a significant role. But what are the origins of an actual bodily return from the grave? Does it come from something deep within our psyche, or is there some truth to it? In Zombies, Dr. Curran explores how some of these beliefs may have arisen and the truths that lay behind them, examining myths from all around the world and from ancient times.

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    From earliest times, tales of the restless dead and their fellow travelers have terrified mankind. Encyclopedia of the Undead traces those shadowy entities—vampires, werewolves, ghouls, and monsters—that lurk just outside the range of human vision and inhabit our most frightening tales. In this book, history and terror mix to create the things that lurk in the darkest corners of our minds.

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    Vampires is a unique, lavishly illustrated work that explores the rich diversity of vampire belief and lore, looking at their historical origins and setting them in their cultural context.

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    Open Road Integrated Media is proud to present the fictional works of Peter De Vries, a satiric writer and former New Yorker contributor who created characters with complicated beliefs that reflected his own. Although plenty of his comedic cohorts wrote for the New Yorker at the time, none published as much as De Vries, who in his career managed to produce 27 novels. New Yorker columnist Jeffrey Frank writes,

    “It was obvious from the start that De Vries was a student of comedy. Now and then, one of his characters, speaking for the author, would pronounce on the subject: ‘For with what does humor deal save with that which isn’t funny. Or at least isn’t funny at the time: broken bones, broken machinery, bad food, hangovers. Husbands. Wives. Brats.’ A little later, he adds, ‘Tragedy and comedy have a common root, whose name at last I think I know. Desperation.’”

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    From witty Reverend Andrew Mackerel of the People’s Liberal Church in The Mackerel Plaza to Stanley Waltz, a Polish American piano mover married to a born-again believer inLet Me Count the Ways, Peter De Vries explores the common root between tragedy and comedy through his morally conflicted characters. He uses them as vessels through which to express his own musings about the curious nature of the human experience.

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    Behind the comedic nature of De Vries’s plots lie twisted situations where the moral ambiguity of his characters exposes itself naturally. The misadventures of Chick Swallow and Nickie Sherman begin in De Vries’s Comfort Me with Apples. The couple seems to have everything figured out, from their “happy marriage” to the carefully executed place settings at dinner. It isn’t until unlikely career paths force Nickie and (mostly) Chick into affairs outside of their control. Comfort Me with Apples and the sequel, The Tents of Wickedness,offer all of the dark comedic adventures Peter De Vries is known for. Titles like The Cat’s Pajamas & Witch’s Milk and The Vale of Laughterreflect De Vries’s humor outright by contrasting frequently used phrases with new ones and heavy feelings with light words.

    Peter De Vries has gone down in history as one of the best comic novelists on any side of the Atlantic, along with Mark Twain, Dorothy Parker, and S. J. Perelman. His novels connect us in anguish, in desolation, but most importantly, in laughter.

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    Faced with the task of protecting Paul Bremer—the world’s most threatened man at the time—Blackwater security expert Frank Gallagher and his team of security professionals rise to the challenge. In 2003, Paul Bremer was appointed presidential envoy to Iraq. After banning the Ba’ath party and disbanding the Iraqi army, Bremer became the target of constant threats. Frank Gallagher and his team were called in to develop and execute a plan to protect Bremer. Gallagher’s memoir, The Bremer Detail: Protecting the Most Threatened Man in the World, recounts—with honesty and detail—a volatile post-Saddam Iraq. Photos of Gallagher’s year heading the Bremer Detail give a glimpse into the intense and dangerous mission Gallagher and his men undertook.

    The Bremer team surrounds the boss, December 2003.Photo by Christina Estrada Teczar. 


    Departing Saddam's palace in Tikrit after meeting with high-ranking coalition military leaders, April 2004. Photo by Christina Estrada Teczar.

    Another photo from the Tikrit meeting, April 2004. Photo by Christina Estrada Teczar.


    Just a gentle reminder that the insurgents did not like the coalition folks. Smoke and debris immediately after a mortar and rocket attack in the Green Zone, March 2004. Photo by Travis Haley.


    Saddam's pool early in the day before the lunch and evening crowds descended on it. Photo by Kristen Whiting.


    One of the many signs that led to the entrance of Blackwater Boulevard, where the team lived. These logos showed up one morning after an evening of shenanigans. Gallagher has an idea of who did it (Geek), but no one ever took credit. Photo by Christina Estrada Teczar.


    Talking strategy: detail team leaders-Gallagher, Drew and Riceman-and the tactical commander of Tikrit. Photo by Christina Estrada Teczar.


    Heading back to the motorcade after a meeting with some of the European coalition partners. Photo by Christina Estrada Teczar.


    Returning to Baghdad International Airport via USAF C-130 after a trip to Mosul. In typical war-zone fashion, the aircraft did not shut down for the passengers to deplane. Photo by Christina Estrada Teczar.


    Gallagher with Nsync and Drew, taking the boss to another meeting, February 2004. Photo by Christina Estrada Teczar.


    A three-vehicle motorcade departing the palace for another run into the Red Zone. These level-6 armored SUVs weighed nearly 10 thousand pounds, making them hairy to drive in combat situations. Photo by Travis Haley.


    Blackwater guys taking a break during a lull in the action on the roof of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) headquarters in Najaf, April 2004. Photo by Travis Haley.


    A Thursday-night pool party! The festivities were just beginning, May 2004. Photo by Kristen Whiting.


    A Little Bird with Hacksaw and Cat Daddy behind the controls, taking off to keep the bad guys away, May 2004. Photo by Christina Estrada Teczar.


    Arriving during a sandstorm via Little Bird for the reopening ceremony of the Baghdad train station, May 2004. Photo by Christina Estrada Teczar.


    The last day of the Bremer Detail: the team relaxing on the night Ambassador Bremer and Gallagher left the country, June 2004. Photo by Christina Estrada Teczar.

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    “Golconda, now a ruin, was a city in southeastern India where, according to legend, everyone who passed through got rich. A similar legend attached to Wall Street between the wars.” —John Brooks

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    October 29,1929, also known as Black Tuesday, marked the end of the roaring twenties and the start of one of the toughest decades in US history.

    Also known as the Stock Market Crash of 1929, Black Tuesday was the most devastating Wall Street crash to have ever occurred. In only a few hours, the market lost all the gains of an entire year, and within four days $30 billion were lost. That’s more than the federal budget at the time and more than the US had spent in WWI.

    Upon hearing of the crash, some investors leaped to their deaths from building windows, unable to cope with the news and what they had done. During check-in at some hotels in New York, the clerks would sarcastically ask, “Would you like a room for sleeping . . . or for jumping?” The Great Depression had begun.

    Ready to learn more? Once in Golconda by John Brooks—the favorite business writer of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett—recounts the euphoric financial climb of the 1920s as well as the crash and its aftermath, giving a stunning and entertaining account of this period of boom and bust.

    Brooks’s work is still frighteningly relevant in today’s economic climate. Maybe you’ll be able to recognize events that are paving the way for our next financial crash . . .

    For further reading:

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    Gordon Thomas’s The Day the Bubble Burst is another account of Black Tuesday, told through various people who experienced it before, during, and after.

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    Sonny Kleinfield’s The Traders follows the lives of the financial mavericks who trade on the slippery floors of the stock exchange.

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    Stephen Pizzo’s Inside Job follows the biggest financial scam of the 1980s and all the players involved.

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    Since the world of finance is not an easy one to follow, catch up on the basics with Paul Heyne’s A Student’s Guide To Economics.

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    It’s almost time to break out the candy, curl up with a good, hair-raising horror book, and open your doors to those wandering, costumed children—or perhaps even go out and make a little mischief yourself. But the one thing you don’t want to do on Halloween is just fit in, and we’ve got the perfect advice to help you be a Halloween trendsetter.

    1.Costumes: The celebrity and/or movie costume trend is always huge, and last year was no exception. We had Miley—lots and lots of Miley.

    Our Advice: Be more like these guys instead.

    Most Popular Costume

    2013 – “Twerkin’ Teddy” (Miley Cyrus)

    2012 – The Avengers

    2011 – Snookie and the Situation

    2010 – Lady Gaga

    2009 – Vampires (thanks to Twilight)

    2. Candy: Reese’s and Snickers have been battling it out for most popular Halloween candy for the last several years. Reese’s won the title last year.(Maybe the “you’re not you when you’re hungry” campaign doesn’t work so well for the holiday when people actually want to be someone else.) 

    Our Advice: Give the kids what they really want: Snickers and Reese’s.


    3. Books:“The King,” after quelling a rebellion by an unruly band of writers, once more regained his mighty throne over horror in the Goodreads Choice Awards last year.

    Our Advice: Well, you can’t really go wrong with Stephen King, but you also can’t go wrong with our special selection of 45 horror ebooks for only $1.99 each. We’ll call it a draw.

    Most Popular Horror Book

    2013 – Doctor Sleep by Stephen King                

    2012 – The Twelve by Justin Cronin

    2011 – Graveminder by Melissa Marr                


    Happy Halloween!




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    Fans of Garth Nix’s Abhorsen series, rejoice! With the release of Clariel, readers can finally cross The Wall and return to the Old Kingdom. But, for those looking to expand their horizons beyond the Charter-imbued lands of Nix’s imaginings, check out a number of our other fantasy titles, sure to enchant and entrance.

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    The Hero and the Crownby Robin McKinley

    Aerin is an outcast in her own father’s court, daughter of the foreign woman who supposedly enchanted the king to marry her. Befriending Talat, her father’s lame warhorse, Aerin discovers an old, overlooked, and dangerously imprecise recipe for dragon-fire-proof salve. Two years later, Aerin is present when someone comes from an outlying village to report a marauding dragon to the king. Aerin slips off alone to prepare for battle . . .

    But modern dragons, while formidable opponents fully capable of killing a human being, are small and accounted vermin. There is no honor in killing dragons. The great dragons are a tale out of ancient history. That is, until a weary traveler brings news that “the Black Dragon has come . . . the last of the great dragons, great as a mountain. Maur has awakened.”


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    The Alchemist’s Apprentice by Kate Thompson

    The year is 1720, and Jack, a London blacksmith’s apprentice, is fleeing from his master’s punishment. Now a runaway, Jack’s wanderings take him by the Thames River, where he plucks a curious little pot out of the water. Hoping that his find is valuable, Jack discovers that the pot belongs to a practitioner of the forbidden art of alchemy. The alchemist agrees to take Jack on as an apprentice and teach him his secret art. But what the alchemist offers will not lead to shelter or security—instead, it’s something far more wonderful and perilous. Jack’s quest will take him to some unexpected places, where he’ll learn that there’s more to alchemy than he bargained for. Will learning the secrets of making gold come at an even greater cost?



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    Thorn Ogres of Hagwood by Robin Jarvis

    The werlings of Hagwood live peacefully in the trees of the forest—overlooked and unbothered while they leisurely perfect the art of wergling (shape-changing). But unlike his fellow werlings, the bumbling Gamaliel Tumpin can’t manage to wergle into even the simplest of forms—a mouse—like his peers. But wergling will soon be the least of Gamaliel’s troubles. The evil elf queen Rhiannon, the High Lady of the Hollow Hill, is desperately seeking a precious possession that was stolen long ago. Her evil knows no bounds, and with her army of monstrous thorn ogres, she will not stop until it’s found. The werlings’ peaceful existence is threatened by death and danger—and clumsy, awkward Gamaliel will need to call on the strength within him to fight for his family and his home.

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     Haunted Halloween House

    You hear the backdoor creak, but nobody will be home until morning. You ask, in the dark, “Is anybody there?” You lock the bedroom door and get back under the covers. Branches of the oak tree outside your window are hitting the glass, over and over again. The wind, you tell yourself. Broken tiles in the hallway crack under the pressure of a black boot. The doorknob to your bedroom is rattling impatiently. Someone is picking the lock and failing. Someone kicks the door off its hinges. You scream. Someone turns the bedroom light on. A man dressed in all black hands you six books and disappears into the night. He leaves a blood-stained handkerchief as a bookmark*.


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    Dracula by Bram Stoker

    A junior solicitor travels across the world to a place where his deepest fears and desires come true: Transylvania. Ignoring the dire warnings of local townsfolk, he allows himself to be charmed by his client, Count Dracula, and soon turns from guest to prisoner. Stoker’s Dracula has inspired countless adaptations—but none with the same power to quicken the pulse as the original.


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    Endless Love by Scott Spencer

    Follow 17-year-old David Axelrod down a path towards insanity. After being exiled from his lover’s home, Axelrod does the only logical thing he can think of: burn the house down. Time in a psychiatric institution doesn’t even stop David’s plans. Upon release, he sets out to win the love of his girlfriend’s family by any means necessary. Spencer’s exploration of love gone dark gives a whole new meaning to the “endless love”that hopeless romantics crave.


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    Stillness and Shadows by John Gardner

    Step into the shadows with Gardner’s relentlessly honest and moving portrayal of a broken marriage, and his ambitious unfinished masterpiece—a metafictional mystery centering around one man’s struggle to recover his lost identity—together in one accomplished volume. Find meaning and understanding in Gardner’s world of dark fragmented narratives.

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    The Room by Hubert Selby Jr.

    Secluded in a cell, a small-time crook gives into the sadistic fantasies that plague him. Armed only with his imagination, his mind radiates with plots of vengeance against all those who have failed him during his lifetime. What follows is an exploration into one of the darkest and most dangerous minds in literary history. Dubbed as one of the most disturbing novels ever written, The Room is so frightening that the author himself couldn’t read it for decades after writing it.


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    Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

    Victor Frankenstein, a studied philosopher and chemist, becomes obsessed with unlocking the secret of life—so much so that, after years of research, he begins compiling a creature out of dead body parts. One eventful night, in the secrecy of his apartment, he brings his creation to life. Frankenstein’s monster, brought to this world against his will, must cope with the loneliness and violent feelings towards his creator. With all life, there are responsibilities and consequences. Learn what it means to be truly alive with Shelley’s classic Frankenstein.


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    In Such Dark Places by Joseph Caldwell

    Eugene, a Midwesterner unfamiliar with the seedy underground of New York, attends a Holy Week Pageant in NYC’s gritty Lower East Side. As a photographer for sport, his attention to detail leads him to a disturbance in the crowd. He snaps pictures of the riot as it turns violent, leaving a few injured and one murdered. The killer’s face is on his camera until it is stolen from his hands. To find his precious film, he must get well acquainted with the dark New York streets and hold on to his sanity in the process. Murder, thievery, and deceit await you in Caldwell’s classic In Such Dark Places.




    Whatever your plans are this Halloween, these rich titles will keep you at the edge of your seat. Let your imagination take you on a ride through the trials and tribulations of characters in situations both dark and mysterious. And remember: If someone asks you to visit a client in Transylvania, just say no.

    *Note: No houses were broken into during the writing of this blog post.


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  • 10/30/14--07:06: War of the Words
  • To celebrate the release of Contra File by retired military captain Dale A. Dye and with Military Monday upon us, the author has written a blog post for us.

    By Captain Dale Dye USMC (Ret)

    As anyone who has a made a serious stab at it knows, the novel-writing dodge can be what my agrarian grandparents called a tough row to hoe. And the row is particularly weed-choked if the novelist is writing a series of books in what publishers pigeonhole as action-adventure thrillers. I know whereof I speak as a guy who chronicles the thrilling action-adventures of retired Marine Gunner Shake Davis in a series of books that have met with some critical success over the past few years. Unless you have the chops of thriller novelists like W.E.B. Griffin, Vince Flynn, Lee Child, Jon Land or Tom Clancy (rest his military-nerd soul), you will not get rich or invited to free dinners where you are called on to hold forth on your methods and mentality.

    So why do it? I can’t speak for my fellow thriller novelists but I’m willing to bet we all have a common cause. We write these things, we create the world and continue to get our characters into and out of one sticky-wicket after another because it’s fun and even therapeutic for those of us who lived fairly active lives or wished we did. In my case – and likely the case with some of my fellow literary travelers – it’s also a chance to expunge or at least explain a few of our demons. Until I started writing stories that actually got published, I didn’t really understand the extent of the specters that haunted me from some real-world adventures over two decades of military service. When I began to craft novels that related some of those stories and created my avatar in Shake Davis, I experienced a kind of psychological lift that had a lot more to it than just seeing my name displayed on the spine of a real book.

    And so I began to live with Shake Davis and made myself a passport that allowed free travel from my world to his at will. I also learned a lot about novel writing and the weird way I engage in that lonely pursuit. I’m a very visual guy and what I do is close my eyes, let a scene unspool in vivid, living color, and then do my best to describe the movie I’ve just seen on the inside of my eyelids. There’s not much cerebral navel-gazing in my method. I write from A to Z in a kind of low-impact PT session. I write with my body as much as my brain. In the course of composing a single novel, I’ve been known to completely wear the letters off a keyboard home row. I also talk to myself quite a bit, sounding out the dialogue and tasting the words. When I’m shouting or screaming in this effort, I’ve been known to frighten small children and set dogs to howling for blocks around the neighborhood.

    I learned a lot along the way including that as with a resounding, healthy fart, some things are better out than in. Writing didn’t cure me of war nerves but it did rid me of some very lethal demons that would have eventually eaten my soul. A good series of stories well-told is its own reward for a writer. Getting them published, read and followed by loyal readers is the bonus that keeps us pounding on the keyboard.

    Find out more about Dye and his books here.

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    Best Picks for Book Club Discussions: Critically Acclaimed Books 

    Welcome to our series on book clubs! At the beginning of every month, we’ll present our top recommendations for your club. We love nothing more than book talk. So tune in, and read on!

    The 2014 National Book Award winners will be announced on November 19. Do you make an effort to read all of the finalists? We’ve collected some of the essential top finalists and winners from years past to help you catch up. Below, browse selected titles on sale for $1.99, and learn more about what critics and readers think of them all.


    The Chaneysville Incidentby David Bradley

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    NBA Finalist: 1983

    At a Glance: Brilliant but troubled historian John Washington returns to his hometown of Chaneysville, Pennsylvania—just north of the Mason-Dixon Line—to learn more about the death of his father. Washington discovers that his father was researching a mystery of his own: why 13 escaped slaves reached freedom in Chaneysville only to die there, for reasons forgotten or never known at all. Based in part on actual events, this is a story of personal discovery and historical revelation.

    Other Awards: PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

    Critics Say: “Brilliant . . . perhaps the most significant work by a new black male author since James Baldwin dazzled in the early ’60s with his fine fury.” —Los Angeles Times

    Readers Say: “With the exception of a couple of novels by Toni Morrison, I think this novel is the best by a black author since Invisible Man. High praise, I know, but it’s incredible, and I’m not sure why it’s not touted and pushed more often. . . . I want a novel to challenge me, not reaffirm me, and I want to be unsettled. This book is terrific.” —Goodreads reviewer


    Other People’s Livesby Johanna Kaplan

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    NBA Finalist: 1976

    At a Glance: A collection of five stories and one novella from Johanna Kaplan exploring the private worlds of Jewish families in New York in the middle of the 20th century.

    Other Awards: Jewish Book Award

    Critics Say:“Johanna Kaplan has an attuned eye, ear and heart.” —Kirkus Reviews

    Readers Say: “Whimsical and strange . . . . this collection of short stories is both interesting and challenging.” —Goodreads Reviewer


    Arctic Dreamsby Barry Lopez

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    NBA Winner: 1986

    At a Glance: Barry Lopez carries readers on a breathtaking journey into the heart of one of the world’s last frontiers, exploring the ways the human imagination engages with a landscape at once barren and beautiful, perilous and alluring, austere yet teeming with vibrant life, and shot through with human history.

    Critics Say:“Rich, abundant, vigorously composed. . . . A meditation on the land and the art of existence.” —The Boston Globe

    Readers Say:“It is a difficult one to do justice because it is so many things and all of them wondrous. It is beautiful, rhapsodist and hugely sympathetic yet not sentimental. At its heart it is a celebration of the profusion of life, all manners of life, and it succeeds on every page. Crucially, it is also a meditation on the very concept of landscape and how we view it, explain it and relate to it.” —Goodreads reviewer


    The Moviegoerby Walker Percy

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    NBA Winner: 1962

    At a Glance: A young man, torn between the forces of tradition and change, searches for meaning in post-war America. On the cusp of his 30th birthday, with Mardi Gras in full swing, a lost soul, along with his cousin, sets out to find his true purpose amid the excesses of the carnival that surrounds him.

    Critics Say:“Percy is a brilliantly breathtaking writer.” —The New York Times Book Review

    Readers Say:“This is my favorite novel of all time. . . . The book tells us that a life spent seeking happiness is almost doomed to failure, that happiness, both as a concept and as a reality, is difficult to grasp and difficult to retain. Instead we might strive for a life of alert, intelligent engagement with those around us. It will involve pain as well as pleasure, but it is an approach that gives us the possibility of authenticity.” —Goodreads Reviewer


    Edistoby Padgett Powell

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    NBA Finalist: 1984

    At a Glance: Through the eyes of a precocious 12-year-old in a seaside South Carolina town, the world of love, sex, friendship, and betrayal blossoms. Bookish Simons Everson Manigault is not a typical preteen in the late 1960s. When Taurus, a soft-spoken African American man, moves in nearby, a friendship forms. The lonely, excitable Simons and the quiet, thoughtful Taurus bond over the course of a hot Southern summer.

    Critics Say:“Simons Manigault is brother to all literary adolescents—Mailer’s D.J., Salinger’s Holden Caulfield, Joyce’s Stephen Dedalus. . . . A sparkling read, so full of an energetic intelligence, inventiveness, love of language, and love of people.” —The New York Times Book Review

    Readers Say: “One of the best Southern novels of the late 20th century. Not to be missed.” —Goodreads reviewer


    Floridaby Christine Schutt

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    NBA Finalist: 2004

    At a Glance: Christine Schutt’s masterful novel about a remarkable little girl who comes of age, adrift, in the care of a rotating cast of indifferent relatives. Alice Fivey is seven years old when her father dies, and ten when her mother is institutionalized. Shuttled among the homes of wealthy relatives, retainers, babysitters, and reluctant caretakers, Alice must learn their habits and adapt if she is to survive. Books help, as do kindly teachers.

    Critics Say: “Florida is a haunting work, part narrative, part dream; its images are gripping, its situation compelling. The writing is unforgettable. A wholly original endeavor.” —Mary Gordon

    Readers Say: “Christine Schutt has written a poem to loss and loneliness, to the anguish of losing parents, to the threat of heredity (‘you’re just like your mother’) to the ephemeral joy of connecting, in some small way, even in fantasies; and to the saving grace of words.” —Goodreads reviewer


    Highwire Moonby Susan Straight

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    NBA Finalist: 2001

    At a Glance: The story of a young mother deported and separated from her child, and the pair’s efforts to locate each other years later.

    Critics Say: “An eye-opener of a novel, a road map to the real California . . . [Straight] turns headlines into poetry.”—The New York Times Book Review

     “One of America’s gutsiest writers . . . a polyglot with an astonishing ear for how people really talk in places we hardly remember they are living.”—The Baltimore Sun

    Readers Say: “This book is visceral in its desire for maternal connection. So many children missing their mothers and some of those mothers missing their children…. The emotional and physical journey each of them takes is fraught with pain, wrapped in symbolism and driven by hope. Susan Straight writes beautifully about such difficult things. This novel deserves deep consideration and appreciation.” —Goodreads reviewer


    Endless Loveby Scott Spencer

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    NBA Finalist: 1980

    At a Glance: Seventeen-year-old David Axelrod is consumed with his love for Jade Butterfield. When Jade’s father exiles him from their home, David burns down their house. Sentenced to a psychiatric institution, David’s obsession metastasizes, and upon his release, he sets out to win the Butterfields back by any means necessary. Brilliantly written and intensely sexual, Endless Love is the deeply moving story of a first love so powerful that it becomes dangerous.

    Critics Say:“The sensations aroused are akin to the legendary thrill of riding a roller-coaster. The speed, the fear, the anticipation sharpen the pleasure of walking quietly on solid ground.” —The Washington Post

    Readers Say:“The movie doesn’t hold a candle to the book. Scott Spencer blew me away. Depicts first love, er, . . . obsession, perfectly. . . . He brings to the surface the insanity we have all experienced in relation to our first (and perhaps second? Third?!) loves.” —Goodreads reviewer


    Searches & Seizuresby Stanley Elkin

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    NBA Finalist: 1974

    At a Glance: Elkin tells the story of the criminal, the lovelorn, and the grieving, each searching desperately for fulfillment—while on the verge of receiving much more than they bargained for. Infused with Elkin’s signature wit and richly drawn characters, these novellas are the creations of a literary virtuoso at the pinnacle of his craft.

    Critics Say:“Wrenchingly funny and oddly moving . . . No American novelist tells us more about where we are and what we are doing to ourselves.” —The New York Times Book Review

    Readers Say:“Elkin plays particularly in these stories with the idea of experience. . . . Let the fun begin.” —Goodreads reviewer


    The Pistolby James Jones

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    NBA Finalist: 1960

    At a Glance: As Japanese planes attack Pearl Harbor, an army private commits a simple crime that will change his life forever. Richard Mast is a misfit in the infantry unit at Pearl Harbor. A bright mind in a sea of grunts, his only joy on the morning of December 7, 1941, is that today he has guard duty, which means he gets to carry a pistol. Usually reserved only for officers, the close-quarters weapon is coveted by every man in the infantry for its beauty and the sense of strength it gives the wearer. Mast intends to return the gun at the end of his shift—until the Japanese Navy intervenes. Turmoil erupts when the first bombs fall, and as the Army scrambles to organize its response to the swarm of enemy aircraft, Mast decides to hang on to the weapon, becoming a criminal on the day his country most needs heroes.

    Critics Say:The Pistol is remarkable in that it shows that Jones, who has been regarded as a kind of Tom Wolfe of the Army life, can write a successful, disciplined, polished jewel of a story if he wants to.” —San Francisco Chronicle

    Readers Say:“Recommended to all fans of World War II fiction and readers who are looking for a well-written novella.” —Goodreads reviewer

    Browse all of our National Book Award finalists and winners here.

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  • 11/01/14--06:03: November $1.99 Ebook Sale
  • This November, we have a collection of ebooks from a wide variety of genres bound to entertain you the next time you curl up with your ereader. Browse titles from incredible authors, including Adam Mansbach, Octavia E. Butler, and William Goldman. Click on each cover to learn more!


    Go the F**k to SleepGo the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach

    Beautiful, subversive, and pants-wettingly funny, Go the F**k to Sleep is a book for parents new, old, and expectant. You probably should not read it to your children. Buy Go the F**k to Sleep from, the Apple iBookstore,, Google Play, or Kobo.




    Binary: A Novelby Michael Crichton

    Binary is an action-packed thriller from the author of Jurassic Park and the creator of the television series ER. Agent John Graves races against the clock to prevent a nerve-gas attack that would kill more than one million Americans, including the president. Buy Binary from, the Apple iBookstore,, Google Play, or Kobo.




     Dawnby Octavia E. Butler

    For the first time since the nuclear holocaust, Earth will be inhabited. Grass will grow, animals will run, and people will learn to survive the planet’s untamed wilderness. But their children will not be human—not exactly. Buy Dawn from, the Apple iBookstore,, Google Play, or Kobo.



    The Drifter


    The Drifterby William W. Johnstone

    Farmer Frank Morgan was an honest man with a future and a family before a barbarous baron pushed him off his hard-earned Colorado homestead. Now drifting through the New Mexico territory, Frank has given up his future and embraced his past: as a gunfighter, the only profession left to this most desperate desperado. Buy The Drifter from, the Apple iBookstore,, Google Play, or Kobo.


    The Chaneysville Incident

    The Chaneysville Incident: A Novelby David Bradley

    Brilliant but troubled historian John Washington returns to his hometown to explore a mystery: why 13 escaped slaves reached freedom in Chaneysville, Pennsylvania, only to die there, for reasons forgotten or never known at all. Winner of the prestigious PEN/Faulkner Award, The Chaneysville Incident is based in part on actual events. Buy The Chaneysville Incident from, the Apple iBookstore,, Google Play, or Kobo.



     Boys and Girls Together

    Boys and Girls Together: A Novelby William Goldman

    Set against the backdrop of Manhattan’s theater scene in the 1960s, Boys and Girls Together follows a group of creative, ambitious loners who all believe that their destiny lies in New York City. By the author of The Princess Bride, Boys and Girls Together was a sensation when first published and remains a masterwork. Buy Boys and Girls Together from, the Apple iBookstore,, Google Play, or Kobo.


    A Reign Supreme


    A Reign Supreme: A Novelby Richard Crystal

    Curtis Jackson, a struggling mortgage broker and former jazz prodigy living in New York, discovers the existence of family members in Kenya when they contact him to help save their sacred tribal homeland. In this assured debut, readers will find a heartwarming story infused with the strains of Coltrane, the history of jazz, and the enduring power of family. Buy A Reign Supreme from, the Apple iBookstore,, Google Play, or Kobo.

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    These tried-and-true recipes from Hearst Magazines' Let's Talk Turkey will help you pull off a flawless Thanskgiving dinner. Get the ebook for just $1.99 for more festive ideas and time-saving tips.

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  • 11/01/14--09:06: New York City Lit Deals
  • Sale on Stories Featuring the Big Apple 


    Experience NYC through books that explore the city in all its glory and grit. These titles are on sale for $1.99 each during November.

    Something Blueby Ann Hood

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    College friends reunite as adults, and tackle the complicated challenge of being young, lost, and in search of life in New York City. A novel that addresses friendship, ambition, and love head on, Something Blue and its three heroines head in surprising directions in their search for meaning.

    Experiencing the City: “Julia measures time by the apartments she sublets. The year she lived on Horatio Street, her six months on Avenue A, the time she spent in a twelve-room apartment on Riverside Drive. These apartments give order to her life. She will say, ‘That happened when I lived on John Street.’ Or, ‘When I lived in Chelsea I designed these great earrings from old tires.” Her sublets are the framework of her life.’ ”


    Boys and Girls Togetherby William Goldman

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    In New York, five young people sacrifice everything for a life in the theater: Aaron, Walt, Rudy, Jenny, and Branch—a writer, a director, two actors, and one iron-willed producer. They grew up as creative, ambitious loners, and they all believe that their destiny lies in New York City. They are all determined to realize their potential even if it means destroying their friends—or themselves.

    Experiencing the City: “Angie ran the stationery store nearest Walt’s apartment. He was a fat Italian, probably old and he made the best egg creams, if he liked you, south of 23rd Street. Walt picked up a News and a Times and walked inside the store, fishing in his pocket for change.”


    Bread Upon the Watersby Irwin Shaw

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    With one act of kindness, the fate of a New York City family is forever altered—not, perhaps, for the better. The Strands are a happy family, save for the occasional financial struggle. Allen, the father, is a schoolteacher, and has a lovely wife and smart, compassionate children. When Allen’s daughter witnesses a mugging, she takes the victim back to the Strand home for help and a warm meal. The Strands have no clue that the man they are helping is a powerful and wealthy Wall Street lawyer. In his gratitude, he offers gifts, vacations, networking opportunities—even plastic surgery. But with each reward comes baggage, and soon the Strands begin to lose sight of what matters most in life.

    Experiencing the City:“He had once had drinks in the bar of the hotel with Leslie on an afternoon when they had been at the Whitney Museum nearby. It had been too luxurious for him. The other people at the bar were the same sort as the guests at the parties Hazen had taken them to in the Hamptons.”


    The Old Neighborhoodby Avery Corman

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    Growing up in the Bronx in the 1940s, Steven Robbins was raised on egg creams, baseball stats, and the camaraderie that kept his melting-pot Bronx neighborhood humming during World War II. Robbins aspired to escape his humble roots, and eventually worked his way to Madison Avenue, where he became a hotshot ad man with an enviable wife. But as he pushes fifty and his marriage falls apart, Robbins begins yearning for a deeper happiness. Returning to his old neighborhood in the Bronx, Robbins seeks the simplicity of the life he once fled in the one place where he may ultimately find contentment.

    Experiencing the City: “We lived in the Kingsbridge Road-Grand Concourse section of the Bronx in a red brick building on Morris Avenue. Flamingos caroused on the wallpaper in the lobby and art deco nymphs were painted on the elevator door of ‘Beatrice Arms,’ named for the landlord’s wife, Beatrice. The building’s most distinguished citizen was The Dentist, who had an office on the ground floor, the smell of ether lingered in the lobby.”


    Hold Tightby Christopher Bram

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    A World War II sailor works in a New York City brothel—for his country. After being arrested in a gay brothel in New York during a raid, Seaman Second Class Hank Fayette doesn’t understand why his homosexual activities are grounds for imprisonment. The brothel is rumored to be a hangout for Nazi spies and the Navy forces Hank to go undercover as a prostitute. They hope to use clandestine sexuality to retrieve clandestine intelligence. However, after Hank becomes friendly with a black teenager named Juke, nothing seems to go as planned. Hold Tight is a World War II thriller set in the Big Band era, a world where sexuality and race can be equally dangerous.

    Experiencing the City: “The town had filled up with servicemen this past month and one couldn’t go anywhere without falling over groping couples. New York was one big barnyard.”


    Where the Boys Areby William J. Mann

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    Where the Boys Are opens in Manhattan on New Year’s Eve, 1999: a high-octane trek through the gay party-circuit scene from Provincetown to San Francisco, Montreal to Palm Springs. With equal parts humor and pathos, it addresses universal issues of commitment, family, friendship, and the never-ending search for love that everyone can relate to, whether gay or straight, male or female.

    Experiencing the City: “For here on the dance floor, nothing quite makes sense in the way it does in the world beyond. Here the ludicrous becomes the sublime. Dress in spandex and sequins and funny little hats. Ingest substances not intended for human consumption. Stick your tongue down the throat of a beautiful stranger.”



    My Summer with Georgeby Marilyn French

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    An unapologetically romantic novel about a woman who finds love in middle age. After four marriages and numerous affairs, famed author Hermione Beldame doesn’t expect real life to play out like her bestselling romance novels. So she’s stunned when she meets George Johnson at a party and the Louisville journalist sweeps her off her feet.

    Experiencing the City: “In the city, I work mornings and give my afternoons over to pleasure. After all, why else live in Manhattan? After lunch at home or out with a business associate or a friend, I go to a gallery, a museum, or an art exhibition. If I’m with a friend who loves window-shopping, we might walk down Lex or Madison, gazing in shop windows and occasionally buying something. Most nights, I meet friends to attend a concert or ballet or play or movie or lecture. I almost always have dinner out. My New York life is exactly as I had pictured it, dreamed it, back when I was seventeen and imagining a life not dominated by misery. It was packed with social and cultural stimuli, wonderfully rich if a little exhausting.”


    Leap Yearby Peter Cameron

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    As the curtain falls on the vibrant, gritty New York of the 1980s, just-divorced David and Loren Parish watch their lives come apart—but not before one last year of self-absorbed fun. Even with their daughter Kate kidnapped, an absurd murder in a SoHo gallery, and friends suffering from yuppie maladies, David and Loren are determined to make sense of their messy and complicated lives. Leap Year is at once a rapier-sharp satire of a turbulent decade and an infectious celebration of a city brimming with infinite possibilities.

    Experiencing the City: “They were silent for a moment, as the subway crawled across the 59th Street Bridge, awed by the view of Manhattan. ‘It’s so beautiful,’ Judith said. And Henry, who had never thought the city particularly beautiful, was surprised to find himself nodding in agreement, for he suddenly felt the beauty—it was a palpable, pulsating thing. He kept his eyes on it but moved his hand for Judith’s and was not surprised, when he touched it, to feel it open and clasp his own. At 59th Street he came through the turnstile behind her, ignoring her orders to cross the platform. He would not leave her, he said, until she was safe in a taxicab.” 

    Place in the Cityby Howard Fast

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    Neighbors on one New York City street struggle to achieve their dreams during the Great Depression.

    Experiencing the City:“At the west end, there is a cul-de-sac. By the east end, the traffic flows, north and south: If it flows for two days, you will see the world go by. That’s the way it is in New York. At the east end, Shutzey stands picking his teeth, with one, or two, or three whores behind him. Shutzey is a pimp; all day long he stands in front of Meyer’s cigar store, picking his teeth, and if Meyer had not more fear of Shutzey in his soul than fear of God, he might do something about it.”



    Come Pour the Wineby Cynthia Freeman

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    Nineteen-year-old Janet Stevens leaves Wichita, Kansas, for New York—and a glamorous career as a model. Manhattan in the 1950s is a heady place for a sheltered Midwesterner. A new friend helps her discover her forefathers’ faith, but from the moment she sees Bill McNeil at a party, Janet senses she’s found her future. When they marry, she believes she’s finally gotten what she always wanted—not fame or fortune, but the love that will fulfill and sustain her as nothing else ever could.

    Experiencing the City:“ ‘Lovely, sunny furnished apartment on West 53rd Street.’ It sounded promising, but her heart sank when she arrived at the building that afternoon and the super showed her the apartment. It was dark and looked out to a faded brick wall. The sofa and matching velour chairs were a bilious green and the carpet, once rosy red, was now orange and threadbare. The kitchenette was barely large enough to accommodate a midget, but worst of all, in a way, was the grease that clung to the walls. The porcelain washbasin was worn down to the gray metal. The only redeeming feature was the rent: $65 a month without utilities.” 

    Stage Door Canteenby Maggie Davis

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    New York City, the capital of the free world, is dark, its lights turned off as enemy submarines lurk offshore, as close as Coney Island. Three men—a gunner from a B-17 bomber who is a national hero, a magazine editor uprooted from civilian life and attached to the Allied High Command, and the violence-stalked captain of a Royal Merchant Navy freighter—find their destinies linked with three volunteer hostesses from New York’s famous Stage Door Canteen.

    Experiencing the City: “From the corner on Broadway she could view 44th Street as far as the sidewalk in front of the Canteen. The line of soldiers stretched from the front door in the basement of the 44th Street Theater Building, and up the stairs, even though the service club wasn’t due to open for nearly two more hours. She recognized the stubby figure of a Canteen regular, Sgt. Struhbeck, and sighed.”


    The Good Lifeby Gordon Merrick

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    Perry Langham grew up an outsider looking in. He finally gets the opportunity he has always wanted—to join Manhattan high society—when he is swept into the world of millionaire Billy Vernon. In order to keep the fun going, Perry marries Billy’s beautiful young daughter Bettina, but Billy can’t reconcile his attraction to young men with his new marriage, and he goes down a dark path from which there may be no return. Based on the true story of a high-society murder case that drew international attention to its story of shocking crime and outrageous sex, The Good Life is Gordon Merrick’s posthumous final novel.

    Experiencing the City: “After tonight Perry knew he was on his way. Nothing was going to stop him. He looked at his long legs stretched out in well-cut trousers and resolved that his transformation into Perry Langham, familiar face at El Morocco and man-about-town, was going to be permanent.”


    The Washington Square Ensembleby Madison Smartt Bell

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    A story of drifters, outcasts, junkies, and dealers surviving in the heart of 1980s New York City. Over one busy weekend, small-time heroin dealer Johnny B. Goode and his alliance of fellow pushers work their trade amidst students, businessmen, and assorted sewer rats while avoiding the law.

    Experiencing the City:“It’s Saturday night and I’m coming into the park from the foot of Fifth and what do I see? Alex the fuzzbox guitar player has taken the prime spot under the arch, the Washington Square arch so newly purged of ugly graffiti by the good people in this world, and Alex the fuzzbox guitar player is actually singing in public, for the first time ever, to my knowledge. It would seem that Alex has raked enough quarters out of his scummy guitar case to spring for a Mighty Mouse amp with matching microphone for his voice.”


    The Writing on the Wallby Lynne Sharon Schwartz

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    The emotionally realistic and elegant portrait of mourning in the days and months following 9/11. As Renata, a linguist for the New York City Public Library, crosses the Brooklyn Bridge on her way to work one morning, she looks up to see a flash of orange and blue. Two planes have hit the World Trade Center, and with that, her world changes entirely. Renata’s connection to the tragedy grows deeper as her boyfriend, an overzealous social worker, begins to take care of a baby orphaned by the attacks. And then she meets a mute teenage girl in the rubble of the Twin Towers who may or may not be her long lost niece—a family connection as tenuous as it is painful.

    Experiencing the City:“After the pillar of smoke came a hurricane of paper. The sky rained paper, and later some of the papers would be picked up as relics and sorted out—office memos, bills, jottings, computer printouts, resumes, stock reports, the daily menu of corporate life mingling with private scrawled hieroglyphics—while other papers would be left lying in the ash to devolve back to pulp under trampling feet and the wheels of sanitation trucks.”


    World Without End, Amenby Jimmy Breslin

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    Adrift in New York, an alcoholic cop searches for meaning in his life by revisiting his past.

    Experiencing the City:“He walked down to Jamaica Avenue and over to 111th Street for the bus. It took ten minutes to get up to Queens Boulevard. You get off by the subway entrances at Kew Gardens, where people take the subway to the city. At the top of one of the subway staircases at Kew Gardens there is a big white statue of a naked warrior standing with a sword in his hand and his foot on a naked woman’s neck. The statue used to be over in the city. Right by City Hall. When LaGuardia was the Mayor, he had to look out his window every day and see the statue. One day LaGuardia said, ‘I have enough big pricks right in this office without having to look out the window.’ The statue was sent out to Queens.”


    Other People’s Livesby Johanna Kaplan

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    A collection of five stories and one novella from Johanna Kaplan exploring the private worlds of Jewish families in New York in the middle of the 20th century.

    Experiencing the City:“Once, in one of his terrible-English times, Amnon said, ‘Ninety-Twoth Street Y,’ and Miriam, thinking suddenly of a giant tooth-building with elevators full of a thousand dentists, could not stop herself from laughing.”



    The Sound of Heavenby Joseph Olshan

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    A powerful novel of family secrets, doomed passion, and the fragile love between a bisexual man and an emotionally damaged woman. A talented musician, James arrives in Italy in 1983, just ahead of the panic in New York City caused by the burgeoning AIDS epidemic. In Rome, he meets Diana. Their attraction is intense and immediate. But storm clouds hang over their union, and back in New York, their relationship falls apart. For James and Diana, it is time to move on, but James has received news that will impact both of their lives in devastating ways: He is HIV positive.

    Experiencing the City: “He awakens as doors of the subway car open up at 125th Street, allowing a mass of people to exit. Disoriented, James watches them leave. As he looks around the half-empty car, the realization slams into him that something is terribly wrong, and then he remembers that there has been no test result to contradict the grim proof that he is HIV positive.”

    Hide Fox, and All Afterby Rafael Yglesias

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    A novel of youth, privilege, and rebellion. Rafael Yglesias completed this novel, his first, at the age of 16. The largely autobiographical story follows a New York prep school dropout yearning for freedom and authenticity. On its release the book was hailed as a next-generation Catcher in the Rye. But protagonist Raul Sabas comes of age in a very different New York than Holden Caulfield—a tumultuous and radicalized city following the student takeover of Columbia University and assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Experiencing the City:“The end of the IRT line is 242nd Street at Van Cortlandt Park. At that point the ground is higher than most of New York. On the hill there are trees that suggest fertility. Compared to the sea of concrete thirty minutes away, it is an incredible degree of nature. Strung along the hill are four or five private schools. Consequently, by eight o’clock the swarms of people coming down the steps of the station are dominated by adolescents, most of whom empty into a luncheonette called Mike & Gino’s.” 

    The Christopher Park Regularsby Edward Swift

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    A misfit collection of wannabes, has-beens, and never-weres, the Christopher Park Regulars gather frequently in the heart of New York’s Greenwich Village. Here they share their hopes, dreams, and memories (and in the case of the abnormally obsessed C.C. Wake, an irrational fear of earthquakes), as they wait to become famous. Edward Swift brings the sideshow from the dust of East Texas to the hustle and bustle of New York City, of his irrepressible Regulars in a story that is funny, sad, and totally outrageous.

    Experiencing the City: “Christopher Park, a small triangle of benches and trees enclosed by an iron fence with three gates, is, oddly enough for Greenwich Village, bordered by four streets: West Fourth, along with a sliver of Seventh Avenue South, Christopher Street, and Grove Street. The gate at the main entrance is graced with a vine-covered arch, but the other two gates are unadorned, and sometimes all three are locked for an entire day. When that happens the police officer in charge of opening the park each morning is met with severe reprimands by a handful of regular benchsitters. These devoted few, the Christopher Park regulars, expect all three gates to be open when they arrive, usually by late morning or early afternoon, and to remain open until midnight.”

    On the Strollby Alix Kates Shulman

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    A teenage runaway from Maine gets an eye-opening introduction to life on the streets of New York City. On the Stroll is a moving, gritty picture of the people who find themselves on society’s margins and a heartrending look at the ultimate costs of homelessness and prostitution.

    Experiencing the City: “The small circle of Midtown New York surrounding the Port Authority Bus Terminal for a radius of half a dozen blocks goes by many names. Tour guides call it the Crossroads of the World. The hookers who work it know it as the stroll. Pimps call it the fast track. Three-card monte players speak of Forty-Deuce. Maps show the neighborhood as Clinton. But to the stagestruck and starstruck it is still Broadway, to tourists it is Times Square, to the old people and derelicts who live off discards from the teeming Ninth Avenue food stalls of Paddy’s Market it is more aptly Hell’s Kitchen, and to the New York City Police, Vice Squad, and Mayor’s Special Task Force on Crime it is simply the Midtown Enforcement Area.”




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