My Favorite Books of 2010

Here are my ten favorite books of 2010, in no particular order. I simply loved them all! While I read these books in 2010, some of them were published earlier. I’ll share my reviews with you here as well.  Goodreads is a great way to keep track of what you’ve read as well as to learn what other readers think of books you’re considering reading.   Please share your own favorites with us!


 Those Who Save UsThose Who Save Us by Jenna Blum 

Trudy, a professor of German history, discovers a photograph of that sends her on a search for the truth about her mother’s past in Germany during World War II. Her mother, Anna, refuses to talk about that time in her life, but Trudy relentlessly digs for answers that she may not be ready to learn.

My Goodreads review: Excellent book. I admire how Blum was able to make the contemporary story nearly as tense and suspenseful as the story from the past, which is extremely difficult to do. Trudy may not be at risk physically, as was her mother, but her psychological well-being is equally as precarious. Great job.



Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

 Every Last One

Absolutely gripping. Don’t read the cover copy. Go into it as I did–with no idea where the story is going. That way you’ll be as a stunned as the central character is when ‘it’ happens.  This book asks the question “How do people survive the worst that can happen?”

 My Goodreads review: Beautifully written. Not much happens in the first half, yet I was engaged from the start because Quindlen made me want to know her characters. She drew them so realistically, they felt like my neighbors–which makes what happens to them that much more devastating. You often wonder how someone can go on living after a tragedy. Quindlen has taken on the challenge of exploring exactly that, with compassion, heart and skill.



The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. By Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksNon-fiction

Skloot did a decade of research for this fascinating book. It’s really two stories in one. The first is  about the sixty-year-old cervical cells of Henrietta Lacks, cells that have had an impact on your life and mine in ways that will surprise you. The second story is about the Lacks family, descendants of slaves, who had no idea Henrietta’s cells had been “taken” without her permission and used for hundreds of purposes world-wide. The cells live on to this day. The book covers all aspects of the situation, from the technical details of cell reproduction to the ethical questions of using someone’s cells without their permission, to the toll taken on the Lacks family as they realize what happened.

 My Goodreads review: Can’t wait to recommend this book to my book club! It will make for a fabulous discussion. This book can satisfy several audiences on several different levels. The technical information about the science of cells is fascinating. The ethical questions raised by the unauthorized use of someone’s cells are important to ask and ponder. But most fascinating is the story of the Lacks family. Skloot’s exhaustive research spanned a decade and she tells a story that is honest, heart wrenching and provocative.


Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and SweetThe story is a simple one about a complex time in US history: a Chinese boy falls in love with a Japanese girl shortly before she and her family are taken to an internment camp. Moving between the present and the past, he searches for her both in ‘real life’ and in his heart.

My Goodreads review: Lovely book. I listened to it on audio and the narrator was excellent. I liked the shift back and forth between Henry as a older man and Henry the boy. The author really made it work, and I’m a sucker for a happy ending.





On Folly Beach by Karen White

On Folly BeachThis is the dual story of a young woman who moves to Folly Beach, SC to try to put her life back together after the death of her husband in Afghanistan. She discovers coded love letters written during World War II and becomes obsessed with finding out who wrote them and the story of their affair.

My Goodreads review: Totally loved it. It reminded me of my own books, so clearly it was the sort of story that resonates with me. Well done and engrossing. Karen did a beautiful job balancing different points of view and different time periods. A delight. 




The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg

The Year of PleasuresIf you love Berg’s writing, you’ll love this book. Again, it’s about a woman starting over after the loss of her husband. She’s a wonderfully likable and admirable character learning to take comfort in the every day.

My Goodreads review: This is a quiet book. It’s a gentle and uplifting story of a woman coming back to life after losing her husband. Berg always leaves me satisfied.






People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

People of the BookI’m a big fan of Brooks. (If you haven’t read Year of Wonders, I highly recommend it). A young woman who restores old books discovers the secrets buried in an ancient illuminated Jewish prayer book. Through alternating chapters, Brooks takes you through history to follow the book’s journey to the present.

My Goodreads review: Fabulous, fabulous! I learned so much and enjoyed every minute. Geraldine Brooks is amazing,






Room by Emma Donoghue

RoomInspired by the true story of the Austrian woman who’d been held captive for years and who bore the children of her captor, this is a tale of strength and survival told through the eyes of the victim’s young son.  

My Goodreads review: I thought it was brilliant of Donoghue to give five-year-old Jack the exclusive point of view. It was easy to get inside his skin, and seeing that terrible world through the eyes of innocence made it bearable in a way it might not have been if we’d been in his mother’s point of view. It’s a story that left me longing to know what happened after I read the last page. I couldn’t put it down.





Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

Still MissingMy apologies for yet another ‘held captive’ book. It was only coincidental that I read them back to back, and they were both excellent. Still Missing is a debut novel I couldn’t put down about a young woman trying to put her life back together after spending nearly a year as the captive of a psychopath.

My Goodreads review: Well done and so engrossing. It’s easy to feel as trapped as the protagonist, both by the physical space in which her kidnapper was keeping her and the emotional trap that experience created for her. I had a little trouble with the ending, but not enough to spoil the enjoyment of the book at all. Just a little necessary suspension of disbelief. I look forward to Ms. Stevens’ next book.




No Death, No Fear by Thich Nhat Hanh

No Death, No FearNon-fiction.

I guess when it comes right down to it, I am more Buddhist than anything else and I adore Thich Nhat Hanh and his wisdom. If you’ve lost someone you love or are thinking about your own mortality, this is the book for you.

My Goodreads review:     May I give this book 6 stars? I’ve read it several times and am comforted by it each time. It usually causes me to walk around saying to myself  I am that rock. I am that cloud. I am that man waiting for his bus. I am that homeless woman standing on the median strip. and feeling great joy at the epiphany and hoping no one is watching me and the goofy expression on my face. Just thinking about Thich Nhat Hanh makes me smile.


Yes, I do occasionally read lighter books, and here’s number 11 on my list to prove it:

 Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper

Homer's Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned about Love and Life with a Blind Wonder CatMemoir

At two weeks of age, a tiny abandoned kitten was found with a severe eye infection that required removal of his eyes. Gwen Cooper adopted him and this is his heartwarming, chuckle-inducing story. (And no animals die. I refuse to read books in which animals die!)

My Goodreads review:

I’m a dog person, but this book made me want a cat–if only family allergies didn’t make that a very bad idea. I laughed out loud at Homer’s antics, although there are some very serious moments in the story, since the author lived close to the World Trade Center in New York. I felt her tension when she couldn’t get back to her beloved cats after the Twin Towers collapsed. If you can’t stand anthropomorphizing of animals, this may not be the book for you, but if you’re one of those people who know animals ‘have feelings too’, you will love this story. What a lucky boy Homer is to have Gwen Cooper as his mom.


I hope you’ll share your favorites of 2010 with us!


  1. Ann Weightman on December 27, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    My ten are, in no particular order:

    Saving Ceecee Honeycutt, by Beth Hoffman
    The Postmistress, Sarah Blake
    The Lies We Told, Diane Chamberlain
    The Help, Kathryn Stockett
    On Folly Beach, Karen White
    Last Light over Carolina, Mary Alice Monroe
    The Glass Rainbow, James Lee Burke
    Hallam’s War, Elizabeth Payne Rosen
    The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes, Diane Chamberlain
    Shanghai Girls, Lisa See

    I read the Year of Pleasures a few years ago and I thought it very good.
    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet has been on my list to read. I keep getting sidetracked with other recommendations. I will check out some of the ones you listed.

  2. Ann on December 27, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    My ten, order in which I read them.

    Roses, Leila Meacham
    Saving Ceecee Honeycutt, Beth Hoffman
    The Postmistress, Sarah Blake
    The Lies We Told, Diane Chamberlain
    The Irresistable Henry House, Lisa Grunwald
    The Outer Banks House, Diann Ducharme
    Faithful Place, Tana French
    What is Left the Daughter, Howard Norman
    The Tea Rose, Jennifer Donnelly
    Homer’s Oddysey, Gwen Cooper

  3. Brenda on December 27, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Have read all of these but one
    Still missing my favorite in the group

  4. colleen on December 27, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    Have many more than ten favorites but here are ten in no
    The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
    The Help by Kathryn Stockett
    The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes
    The Best of Times by Penny Vincenzi
    Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
    Salting Roses by Lorinello Marinello
    The Gift by Cecelia Ahern
    Not my Daughter by Barbara Delinsky
    Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
    A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff

  5. Diane Chamberlain on December 27, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    Well, Brenda, you have to say what your favorite it!

  6. Patty on December 27, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    Okay so here are a few of my favorites that I read in 2010.

    Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill
    The Bag Lady Papers by Alexandra Penny
    Precious by Sapphire
    The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker
    Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz
    These Is My Words by Nancy E Turner
    A Ship Made Of Paper by Scott Spencer

    From 2009
    South of Broad by Pat Conroy
    A Thousand Splended Sons by Khaled Hosseini
    The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain
    The Help by Kathryn Stockett
    Secrets She Left Behnind by Diane Chamberlain
    A Wolf At The Table by Augusten Burrough’s
    Belong To Me by Marisa de los Santos
    Resilence by Elizabeth Edwards
    Beside a Burning Sea by John Shors
    People Of The Book by Geraldine Brooks

  7. Denise on December 27, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    It’s hard to name just 10, but these are my top favorite reads in 2010.

    1) The Lies We Told (The Divine Ms. Chamberlain)
    2) Stormchasers (Jenna Blum who I actually met in 2010!!!)
    3) The Invisible Bridge (Julie Orringer)
    4) The Help (Kathryn Stockett)
    5) Leaving the World (Douglas Kennedy)
    6) The Slap (Christos Tsiolkas)
    7) The Glass Room (Simon Mawer)
    8) Room (Emma Donoghue)
    9) Chosen Chandra Hoffman)
    10) The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (Katherine Howe)
    11) Still Missing (Chevy Stevens)
    12) All But My Life (Gerda Weissman Klein)

  8. Denise on December 27, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    Ann, I heard that Tana French’s newest is her best. Do you agree?

  9. Ann on December 27, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    Denise, my favorite is still “In the Woods” [her first book]. Most everyone else likes the newest book. They are all good.

  10. Ann on December 27, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Brenda, which book have you not read and what is your favorite?

  11. Margo on December 28, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Wow, so many that I have not read!
    Just a few of my favorites:

    THE LIES WE TOLD (Diane Chamberlain)
    HOMER’S ODYSSEY (Gwen Cooper)
    THE ISLAND (Elin Hilderbrand)
    STILL MISSING (Chevy Stevens)
    SAFE HAVEN (Nicholas Sparks)
    FLY AWAY HOME (Jennifer Weiner)
    BEACHCOMBERS (Nancy Thayer)
    THE SWIMMING POOL (Holly LeCraw)
    TAINTED (Brooke Morgan)
    DRIFTWOOD SUMMER (Patti Callahan Henry)

    If it counts, I reread KEEPER OF THE LIGHT by Diane which is of course, my all time favorite book. (-O:

  12. Diane Chamberlain on December 28, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Oh! I just understood Brenda’s comment. Duh. STILL MISSING is her favorite on my list. I thought she meant my list was missing her favorite. LOL.

  13. Margo on December 28, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    STILL MISSING was an incredible debut…I’m really looking forward to her next novel due next summer.

  14. Brenda on December 28, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Yes still missing was my favorite on the list
    I also love tana French
    Folly beach one of my favorites of all time
    Did not read the homer book
    I do not like anything with cats
    Long long story
    Not only zm I allergic to cats I do not like them anx often fear them
    I also do not like the odyssey despite being a literature teacher

  15. Chantal on December 28, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    I really discovered you as an author this year with THR SECRET
    LIFE OF CEE CEE WILKES and to be honest I have to say that my favorites books of 2010 are your novels. Fortunately I have been able
    To read tour older books with my IPad as you make them available I have not read all of them yet but they’re all waiting to be read and I just can’t wait. Thank you Diane for making me spend a wonderful time while doing my favorite activity: reading

    Happy New Year to you, your family and all your fans!!!


  16. Diane Chamberlain on December 28, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    chantal, I’m so pleased you’re enjoying my books!

  17. Margo on December 29, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Today is our Wednesday bookstore day and I’m going to look for a few of these books that were recommended…I was given some Border’s gift cards for C-mas and they’re burning a whole in my pocket!…actually, I’ll save a few of the gift cards for next spring/summer when Diane’s new book is out, Elin Hilderbrand, etc.
    Diane, you have me intrigued with ‘EVERY LAST ONE’…also, with the book ‘ROOM’ so I’ll search for those…also, Brenda recommended a book to me called ‘EDGE’ by Jeffrey Deaver so I’ll look for that too…thx everyone for these great lists…I love finding new authors.

  18. Margo on December 29, 2010 at 11:31 am

    P.S…will also look for ‘HIDE’ which Ann recommended!

  19. Ann on December 29, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Just finished reading I Can See You by Karen Rose. It was recommended by Margo and Brenda. It was so good that I could not put it down. I read the 480 page book in less than 2 days. Thanks for the recommendations. Has anyone read any other books by Karen Rose?

  20. Brenda on December 29, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Most of her books are good
    The book Room was too disturbing for me
    Berg is almost always good
    Still missing memorable
    On folly beach. Amazing

  21. Brenda on December 29, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Ann. You Can’t Hide hooked me on k rose
    I also Love tana french

  22. Brenda on December 29, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    The postmistress
    Loved it
    Margo and I like the same books
    I Did Not like Safe Haven sorry Margo
    usually agree

  23. Ann on December 29, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Okay, Brenda, I have Still Missing, On Folly Beach and You Can’t Hide on my reading list. I think we have similar reading tastes. Thanks.

  24. Margo on December 29, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    Ann, Brenda, Denise and Diane are so right…STILL MISSING is an incredible debut…excellent book and should definitely be on the top 10…I have ON FOLLY BEACH but haven’t read it yet…want to get YOU CAN’T HIDE.
    Ann, I cant believe you’ve finished I CAN SEE YOU already!
    I quess I’m definitely a slow reader…I can’t put it down but have so many other things I do…for example, PAINTING.
    Have also been spending time with family, practicing Yoga and playing piano…still want to squeeze in some swimming time before I’m back to work next week…

  25. brenda on December 30, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Margo, you (unlike me 🙂 ) have a real life…you are with that wonderful husband and mom so so much…plus your job, a plethora of friends, painting, yoga…you are so busy…that’s why we read faster than you.
    On another note, Ann, I think we do have similiar tastes…you can email Diane and get my email address if you would like to delve into other titles…I must add a book to this “great” list…As most of you know, I read too too fast-that is why the Kindle will be great for me…I am reading new and classics on it…and the library saves me so much money. This book, The Outer Banks House, is a gift to me from my “little sister” Margo…I love it…it is a must read–Diane-you must get it because you vacation in that area…It is by Diann Ducharme…historical fiction. I love it and am passing it to my daughter and then will loan it to friends in my book club. I learned where “Nags Head” the name came from…and the other areas mentioned are good. The story is not “firmly” crafted but a really entertaining quick read. Will keep it and reread…love it-thanks Margo…

  26. brenda on December 30, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Ann-can’t wait for you to read those books…When school resumes on Monday, I will have to put some of my books away…rereading Dickens on my Kindle. I know Oprah rec. these books…but good grief-even as a literature teacher, I have never “gotten” Dickens exc. C Carol…lol
    My son put tons of Shakespeare on the Kindle for me also—when he sent it…as most of you know, I am a Shakespeare guru…

  27. Margo on December 30, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Ann, when you get Brenda’s e-mail address from Diane you can get mine too from either Diane or Brenda…would love to correspond with you as Brenda and I do…I also agree that you like the same books that I do.
    Brenda, so happy you loved the gift…as you know, I also have a copy of THE OUTER BANKS HOUSE and will read it sometime in 2011…Brenda, love having you as my big sister. (-O:
    Ann, which book did you choose to read next?

  28. Diane Chamberlain on December 30, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    i started Barbara Samuel’s How to Bake a Perfect Life last night and can tell I’m going to love it. it’s a Target Bookclub Pick (like CEECEE was) and I’m so hapoy for Barbara!

    the Outer Banks House sounds like a must-read for me!

  29. Ann Frantz on December 30, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Fine Just the Way It Is – Annie Proulx
    The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein
    The Writing Life – Annie Dillard
    The Story of Edgar Sawtelles – Wrobleski
    Zeitoun – Dave Eggers
    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo –
    The Nineteenth Wife
    Imperfect Birds – Anne Lamott
    Drop City – TC Boyle
    A Reliable Wife – R. Goolrick

  30. Ann Weightman on December 30, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Outer Banks house was very good. A first novel. It takes place in Nags Head post Civil War. I love the area, so it was a must read. Diane, you asked about Rescue, by Anita Shreve earlier.. It was just okay in my opinion. Not as good as her earlier books. Happy New Year.

  31. Joanie on December 30, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    When it comes to books I’m weird. I love fiction and non-fiction but in order for a book to become my favorite I have to be able to read it more than once and enjoy it just as much as I did the first time. It has to be a story that sticks with me and leaves me breathless when I finish it. Saying that, my favorites are (in no particular order):

    1) The Pact by Jodi Picoult
    2) Granny Dan by Danielle Steel
    3) Juliet by Ann Fortier
    4) Girls In Trouble by Caroline Leavitt
    5) Family Album by Danielle Steel
    6) The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain
    7) Breaking the Silence by Diane Chamberlain

  32. Diane Chamberlain on December 30, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    I loved The Nineteenth Wife, too, Ann F.
    Joanie, that’s an interesting way to know which books are your faves, and makes a lot of sense. I love the Girls in Trouble title. Makes me want to check it out. I’m glad I made your list!

  33. Brenda on December 30, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Girls in trouble good read for teens
    Consequences of actions so sad
    Glad u liked it

  34. Margo on December 31, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Brenda and Ann…good news…Amazon shows Karen Rose has a new book coming out in 2011 called YOU BELONG TO ME!…not sure if its out in January or June…

  35. Ann on December 31, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    I just ordered You Can’t Hide and Still Missing on my kindle. I read the samples of each and they were good. Ready to start reading – Will start with Still Missing!

  36. Margo on December 31, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Ann…STILL MISSING is an incredible book…be sure and let us know what you think of it when you finish.
    Happy New Year’s Eve everyone…enjoy the holiday…not sure what everyone’s doing but Gary and I are staying in due to an icestorm…it’s a glare of ice everywhere.

  37. Gina on December 31, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    I responded to Diane’s post via Goodreads. I’ll re-post here. Happy New Year everyone…

    I read 5 of your favorites, Diane.
    Those Who Save Us
    Still Missing
    Year of Pleasures
    Every Last One
    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

    I loved all of those 5 books too.

    A few more that I loved this year….
    The Lies We Told by you!
    Sisters of Hardscrabble Bay by Beverly Jensen
    Strangers at the Feast by Jennifer Vanderbes
    My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira
    Labor Day by Joyce Maynard

    Here’s to great books!

  38. fran kling on December 31, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    I may try to read some of the reccommended books, but the only new books I’ve read this year are Diane’s (which I bought and shared with a neighbor’s sick sister)and Moonlight Mile, by Dennis Lehane, sent to me by my daughter. I tend to go to thrift stores and read old books costing 50 cents or a dollar. Just a recommendation to you all for a change. Go see “The king’s Speech” I’m sure it will receive an Academy Aweard. It’s the best movie I’ve seen in ages. Books are great but movies are a great alternative.

  39. Diane Chamberlain on December 31, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    Nice to see you here, Fran. I’d just added The King’s Speech to my movie list, so I’m glad to hear it’s good.

  40. Margo on December 31, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    Speaking of movies, I saw BLACK SWAN last week and Natalie Portman is absolutely fantastic in the role…a dark film but completely mesmerizing.

  41. brenda on January 1, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Ann-good to hear from you on my email…
    Gina-we have so missed you on this BLOG-welcome back…New Years Eve-fantastic-went out with a friend…it was so much fun…home by l0 and watched the ball drop alone…then emailed friends…HAPPY NEW YEAR…

  42. brenda on January 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Suggestion: The lighted cover from Amazon for the Kindle-makes it so much easier-just like holding a book. I am so hooked that when I pick up my books at library next week, it will be awkward. I always told my kids that I would get the Kindle when it was close to l00.00…well-it was…and it was a gift from my son…love it…have also ordered car charger and ear buds, etc. However, that being said, the battery lasts forever-so much longer than IPAD…I hope they fix that with the IPAD…

  43. Margo on January 1, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Gina, I agree with Brenda…so nice to have you back on the blog…seems like a long time!
    Ann, thx for e-mailing me…love corresponding with friends from Diane’s website.
    Happy News Year everyone!!

  44. Gina on January 1, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Thanks ladies. I’ve been keeping up with Diane on facebook and goodreads but I need to stop by here more often to say hi to you lovely ladies. Hope everyone is well. I’m looking forward to some wonderful reading in 2011 especially Dianes new one. Can’t wait. Happy new year everyone.

  45. Diane Chamberlain on January 2, 2011 at 12:15 am

    hi guys! I hope to actually get a new post up tomorrow. guess what I found out today? the Shadow Wife/Cypress Point has yet another title in Australia! I could simply spit! The Forgotten Son.

    I give up!

  46. brenda on January 2, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Good grief. Readers are going to go nuts…Is this your publisher/editor???? Who is doing this????

  47. Margo on January 2, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    Diane!…why on earth would they call it THE FORGOTTEN SON?
    Sorry, but the original title CYPRESS POINT was my favorite.
    I can’t imagine changing such a beautiful name.

  48. Ann on January 2, 2011 at 2:02 pm


  49. Diane Chamberlain on January 2, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    i have absolutely no clue.

  50. brenda on January 2, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    The great thing: The Kindle price is so great…even though I have the books, when I travel, I can get Kindle. I don’t know where they got TFSON…or SHADOW WIFE…but at least the latter makes a little sense.

  51. Margo on January 2, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    CYPRESS POINT…immediately gives the reader an idea where the book takes place…I love the book and the original title…even the original cover is stunning with the lone cypress tree on the bluff…

  52. Margo on January 2, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Just read where Chevy Stevens (author of STILL MISSING) will
    have her new book out next summer called NEVER KNOWING.
    I think the same psychiatrist ‘Nadine’ is in the 2nd book.

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