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30 Most Beautiful Bookshops Around The World

30 Most Beautiful Bookshops Around The World

With the ease of acquiring e-books in one click, the brick and mortar bookstores seem to be sadly reducing in popularity. However, book lovers argue that a traditional temple of books can be an eclectic atmosphere that propels discovery, fantasy, entertainment, solitude and social networking. These spectacular bookstores encourage readers to put aside technology and enjoy the pleasures of the printed word on page.

1. Libreria El Pendulo, Mexico City, Mexico

Besides browsing through the shelves, you can sip a mojito, munch on food, enjoy live music or stand-up comedy at this cross between a cafe and a bookshop. It even offers valet parking, elevating the cafe/bookstore concept exceptionally well. Be sure to give a nudge to the sand-filled pendulum that sways back and forth making patterns as customers give a gentle push.

Cafebrería el Péndulo

    2. Polare, Maastricht, Holland

    Transformed from a 700 year old Catholic church to an ornate bookstore, the Polare (formerly Selexyz) is indeed a class apart. It houses a massive three storey bookshelf with staircases, elevators and walkways. Strangely enough, before the Amsterdam based architecture firm, Merkx+ Girod, designed the current structure, it used to be a bicycle shed.

    Polare

      3. Librería El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Buenos Aires, Argentina

      El Ateneo Grand Splendid is a gorgeous renovated movie theater, that is now home to a variety of books. It retains the 1920s glamor using theater boxes for reading rooms, painted ceilings and crimson stage curtains. It is believed that over a million people visit this majestic bookstore every year.

      ElAteneoGrandSplendid

        4. Kid’s Republic, Beijing, China

        Opened in 2005, Kid’s Republic is the first bookstore in China to specialize in children’s books. The bold and bright rainbow colored design makes it a fun and comfortable place for kids, encouraging them to enter their realm of imagination. Although it is a haven for kids, I can’t help imagining myself tucked away in one of their reading cubbies, with a book in hand of course.

        KidsRepublic

          5. Shakespeare and Company, Paris, France

          For those who love books stacked over books in narrow hallways, don’t look further than Paris’s left bank. Hiding behind the shadows of Notre Dame, Shakespeare and Company is an English language literature bookstore opened in 1951 by George Whitman. It was featured in Woody Allen’s film, Midnight in Paris.

          ShakespeareCompany

            6. Bart’s bookstore, Ojai, California

            Overwhelmed with his collection of books, Richard Bartinsdale built a collection of bookcases in 1964 by a California sidewalk so that passers-by could browse through them. Today Bart’s is the largest outdoor bookstore in the world. Not only that, it boasts of an extensive collection of rare books.

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            Barts

              7. Ler Devagar, Lisbon, Portugal

              This state of the art modern bookstore occupies multiple stories of a former factory in Lisbon, a building built in 1864 to manufacture thread and fabric. Readers can delve in Portuguese and international paperbacks on various subjects while a bicycle with wings overlooks them.

              LevDevagar

                8. Librería Acqua Alta, Venice, Italy

                Only in Venice, can you find thousands of books inside a rowing boat, gondola and even bathtubs! Its owner, Luis Frizzio, a 70 year old Venetian, has many cats who love to roam through the books. The shop overlooks one of Venice’s famous canals.

                LiberiaAcquaAlta

                  9. Livraria Lello e Irmao, Porto, Portugal

                  For Harry Potter fans, this bookstore may seem familiar, as it has been featured several times in the movie series. The neo-gothic façade, heavily decorated walls, stained glass ceilings along with ornamented pillars are sure to impress you.

                  LivariaLelloIrmao

                    10. The American Book Center, Amsterdam, Netherlands

                    The American Book Center or simply ABC, plays an important role in the promotion of English literature in the multicultural city of Amsterdam. For a book lover, ABC is more of a department store with an organized selection of books and magazines, in the backdrop of a pleasant interior. Their Treehouse section witnesses many events, conferences, workshops, courses and performances by upcoming artists.

                    TheAmericanCookCenter

                      11. Plural Bookshop, Bratislava, Slovakia

                      Plural Bookshop may be smaller in size than more established stores, but its smart and innovative design makes it well worth the visit. It has a climbing wooden floor sandwiched between bookshelves, that serves as seats for browsers as well as an auditorium for spectators during talks and events. There is also a coffee shop at the floor’s peak.

                      PluralBookshop

                        12. Librairie des Colonnes, Tanger, Morocco

                        Oozing French charm, this historic bookshop is a famous landmark boasting of wonderful architecture. It is long associated with authors that made Tanger their home permanently or for a few months. The owners, Pierre Bergé and Simon-Pierre Hamelin, often organize events such as book signings, film screenings and musical evenings.

                        13. Books Actually, Singapore

                        Specializing in fiction and literature, this independent bookstore deserves a visit. Although it is relatively new (opened in 2005), it has already make a mark for itself as one of Singapore’s most beautiful places. In an inviting and warm setting, you can lust over a treasure of books as well as retro items such as typewriters.

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                        BooksActually

                          14. Librairie Avant-Garde, Nanjing, China

                          In 2013, CNN named Libraririe Avant-Garde as China’s most beautiful bookstore. It is located at a mammoth parking lot spread over 4,000 square feet, which was once used as a bomb shelter. Instead of a shelf for best-selling books, visitors are welcomed by a replica of Rodin’s “The Thinker” sculpture.

                          LibrairieAvantGarde

                            15. Livraria da Vila, São Paulo, Brazil

                            What really makes the design of Livraria da Vila unique is how it utilizes books not just as a product to be sold, but as a decorative element. Isay Weinfeld has beautifully designed every corner of this store, including atriums on the ground floor so that visitors can peek at other floors.

                            LivrariaDaVila

                              16. Bookabar Bookshop, Rome, Italy

                              The Bookàbar is located in Palazzo delle Esposizioni, the largest inter-disciplinary exhibition area in central Rome. It has three large, airy rooms, two of which are devoted to books, catalogues, DVDs and CDs, while the third contains a stylish museum store. Next to the bookstore is a café, with a menu inspired by current collections on view at the museum.

                              Bookabar

                                17. John K. King Used And Rare Books, Detroit, Michigan

                                This houses more than a million books in an abandoned glove factory in Detroit’s industrial wasteland. Need I say more? You can spend hours here, finding one gem after another. The cardboard signs and musty paperback aromas add to the industrial feel of the store.

                                JohnKing

                                  18. Barter Books, Alnwick, UK

                                  Back in 1991, and in the face of a rather large overdraft, Mary Manley decided to open a secondhand bookshop in an old train station – one that would be based on the swap system and called Barter Books. It hit the headlines in 2001, when the owner discovered an old World War II poster with the slogan, “Keep Calm and Carry On”, and the simple design has turned it into an international phenomenon.

                                  BarterBooks

                                    19. Cook & Book, Brussels, Belgium

                                    Conveniently located on the main line of the metro in Brussels is a whimsical bookstore cum restaurant. Don’t be confused by the name, Cook and Book, does not specialize in books on cooking. Instead, it is a unique combination of good food with good books, following the motto read while you eat.

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                                    CookandBook

                                      20. Atlantis Books, Santorini, Greece

                                      A neglected old village house was converted to a magical place,  when two young friends decided to open a bookshop on the island over a bottle of wine. It was the only thing the Mediterranean island was missing – a haven for readers and writers. Atlantis hosts festivals and sunset readings on their terrace with sea views. They even started their own publishing house in the back room of the shop.

                                      AtlantisBooks

                                        21. Brazenhead Books, New York, USA

                                        After the rent at his Brooklyn retail space shot through the roof, Michael Seidenberg moved his secondhand bookshop to his Upper East Side apartment, where it exists under the radar, unknown even to many who live in his building. To visit, all you have to do is call him and make an appointment. Good luck finding him in the phone book, if you have one.

                                        22. Le Bal Des Ardents, Lyon, France

                                        French for “the burning ball”, this is a quant little bookstore with an eye-catching arch entrance. Born in 2003, it is committed to defending unknown authors, publishing houses or independent themes, that are little prized by traditional stores.

                                        LeBalDesArdents

                                          23. Librairie Ptyx, Brussels, Belgium

                                          La Libraire Ptyx is famed for its dictionary-esque façade featuring images and brief bios of some of authors whose books are held within. It offers a wide variety of literature, with a focus on facilitating conversation and exchanging of views.

                                          LibrairiePtyx

                                            24. Book Now, Bendigo, Australia

                                            Old books are packed tightly onto shelves, laid out on tables and categorised into little alcoves. Creaking, timber floorboards and stairs lead up to a book-filled mezzanine. It would be difficult to come into Book Now and not find something of interest among the 60,000 or so secondhand titles that they carry.

                                            25. Livraria Cultura, Sao Paulo, Brazil

                                            Livraria Cultura was founded in 1948 by Eva Herz, who had left Berlin in 1938 to escape from the Nazis. She started by using a spare room at her house as a rental library, and eventually paved her way to Brazil’s largest bookstore. There are massive dragon statues to play on, areas to lounge, and four stories of pure book-filled aisles to wander through.

                                            LivrariaCultura

                                              26. Brattle Bookshop, Boston, USA

                                              Founded in 1825, this is one of the largest antiquarian book shops in the country. The store got its name from Brattle Street in Boston, where it originally was located. Today is stands on West Street in downtown Boston. The vacant parking lot next to it serves as an outdoor wing of books, weather permitting of course.

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                                              BrattleBookShop

                                                27. Powell’s Books, Portland, USA

                                                Powell’s is enormous and you will need a map to find your way around (the store provides one). It was previously a car dealership that has now become a Portland landmark selling old and new books.

                                                PowellsBooks

                                                  28. Daunt Books Marylebone, London, UK 

                                                  Books arranged in elegant style line the walls of this Edwardian building, providing the perfect setting for one of London’s most treasured, independent bookshops. A glorious mezzanine and a quiet ambience give the building an air of academia, like an old university library.

                                                  DauntBooks

                                                    29. Munro’s Books, Victoria, Canada

                                                    Munro’s Books has been described by journalists as the most magnificent bookstore in Canada, and possibly in North America. Since 1984, the store has been located in the centre of Victoria’s Old Town, formerly a Royal Bank of Canada building.

                                                    MunroBooks

                                                      30. Liberia Altair, Barcelona, Spain

                                                      The largest travel specialist in the world is possibly one of the most beautiful bookstores too. For decades they have been inspiring travelers to start their next adventure. Take a guidebook, sit on the couch below their ornate iron columns and let your imagination take flight.

                                                      LiberiaAltair

                                                        Pictures in this post are sourced from Creative Commons.

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                                                        Published on November 14, 2018

                                                        Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                                        Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                                        With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                                                        For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                                                        In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                                                        Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                                                        Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                                                        It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                                                        For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                                                        Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                                                        Symptoms of Fatigue

                                                        Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                                                        • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                                                        • mental blocks
                                                        • lack of motivation
                                                        • headache
                                                        • dizziness
                                                        • muscle weakness
                                                        • slowed reflexes and responses
                                                        • impaired decision-making and judgement
                                                        • moodiness, such as irritability
                                                        • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                                                        • reduced immune system function
                                                        • blurry vision
                                                        • short-term memory problems
                                                        • poor concentration
                                                        • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                                                        Causes of Fatigue

                                                        The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                                                        • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                                                        • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                                                        • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                                                        • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                                                        Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                                                        Medical Causes of Fatigue

                                                        If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                                                        Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                                                        Anemia

                                                        Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                                                        Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                                                        There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                                                        Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                                                        Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                                                        This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                                                        Diabetes

                                                        Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                                                        Sleep Apnea

                                                        Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                                                        Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                                                        Thyroid disease

                                                        An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                                                        Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                                                        • Lack of sleep
                                                        • Too much sleep 
                                                        • Alcohol and drugs 
                                                        • Sleep disturbances 
                                                        • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                                                        • Poor diet 

                                                        Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                                                        • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                                                        • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                                                        • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                                                        • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                                                        Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                                                        Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                                                        • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                                                        • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                                                        • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                                                        How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                                                        Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                                                        1. Tell The Truth

                                                        Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                                                        To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                                                        Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                                                        The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                                                        One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                                                        • How you feel
                                                        • What time of day it is
                                                        • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                                                        • How your mind and body reacts

                                                        This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                                                        2. Reduce Your Commitments

                                                        When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                                                        If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                                                        When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                                                        Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                                                        3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                                                        If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                                                        Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                                                        If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                                                        Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                                                        Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                                                        4. Express More Gratitude

                                                        Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                                                        It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                                                        Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                                                        5. Focus On Yourself

                                                        Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                                                        There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                                                        But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                                                        We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                                                        6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                                                        Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                                                        Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                                                        The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                                                        Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                                                        7. Take a Power Nap

                                                        When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                                                        Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                                                        This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                                                        8. Take More Exercise

                                                        The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                                                        Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                                                        The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                                                        You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                                                        9. Get More Quality Sleep

                                                        To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                                                        Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                                                        My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                                                        10. Improve Your Diet

                                                        Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                                                        Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                                                        On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                                                        To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                                                        Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                                                        Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                                                        11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                                                        Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                                                        When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                                                        Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                                                        My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                                                        12. Get Hydrated

                                                        Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                                                        Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                                                        If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                                                        The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                                                        The Bottom Line

                                                        These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                                                        If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                                                        Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                                                        Reference

                                                        [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                                                        [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                                                        [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                                                        [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                                                        [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                                                        [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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