34 Best Books by Jewish Writers and Authors

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There has been a historic rise in antisemitism in the United States. The hate speech and behavior are scary not only in the level of viciousness but also in people’s willingness to believe things they hear.

Now more than ever this is important for Kirsten and me. Because of this, we wanted to create a list of our favorite Jewish writers and authors.

This list is definitely not a complete list because there is no way we could highlight all the wonderful Jewish writers and authors but, we hope that this list gives you some inspiration to find a wonderful book, read it, and share it.

*The Jewish Authors post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you.

Table of Contents

Best Contemporary Fiction Books by Jewish Writers

Gilt

Gilt by Jamie Brenner

Nothing says summer like a new book from Jewish writer, Jamie Brenner. Every book she writes keeps getting better and better. This story is told in dual timelines and will keep you turning the pages!

The Pavlin family is synonymous with the diamond engagement ring. When a publicity stunt pits the three daughters against each other, the winner will receive the Electric Rose- a massive pink diamond.

Now, 10 years later, Gemma Maybrook is devastated at the loss of her mother and is searching for the Electric Rose. The remaining two sisters are no longer speaking, the Pavlin name is in jeopardy, and Gemma is looking for answers.

Love Scribe by Amy Meyerson

The Love Scribe by Amy Meyerson

Where do I even start with this amazing magical realism book? When Alice’s best friend has yet another horrible breakup, Alice wants to make her feel better by writing her a letter, the way she used to when they were young. Instead, she finds herself writing a story and as if by magic, Gabby meets the man of her dreams.

Soon, Alice is writing stories for everyone as her gift pours from her. When she is sent a letter that brings her to a mysterious mansion, she meets Madeline who wants to have a special story written for her. Alice is forced to deal with her own past in order to move forward. This is one of the contemporary fiction books for book clubs we have read and absolutely loved. It is perfect for Fiction Books about Writers and a perfect book for summer reads 2023.

Audrey Hepburn Estate

Audrey Hepburn Estate by Brenda Janowitz

Emma, a celebrated chef and caterer, is upset that her childhood home is set to be demolished by a developer, Leo, who also used to live at the Audrey Hepburn Estate.

Emma was the housekeeper’s daughter, Leo, the chauffeur’s son, and rounding out their childhood trio was Henry, raised by his grandparents on the rolling estate out on Long Island. Long ago, Emma and Leo discovered a secret about Henry’s family and now that the estate is ready to be torn down, those family secrets are coming to light.

Part mystery, part love-triangle romance, this story has all the drama and intrigue I expect from Brenda Janowitz.

Matchmakers gift

The Matchmaker’s Gift by Lynda Cohen Loigman

This is the story of Sara Glikman who in 1910, as a young child, was able to see the glow between her sister and the man who would become her husband. She very quietly arranged their match and many more for years.

Her granddaughter Abby is a divorce attorney who represents some of the biggest divorces in the city. When Sara dies, leaves Abby all of her diaries.

I loved this unexpected book. It is so unique and a pleasure to read. The story is such a wonderful feel-good book and we needed to recommend if for our summer reads 2023 post.

The Art Forger and more of the best books by Jewish writers and authors

The Art Forger by B.A Shapiro

I read this book years ago and it is one that still resonates with me years later. Claire Roth is a young artist who has been blacklisted from the art community after being named “The Great Pretender”. Claire painted a picture for her former lover who claimed the work as his own. When he broke up with her from the guilt, Claire tried and failed to claim the art as her own.

Now, years later, she is working as a painter who paints reproductions. When she is given a chance to forge a painting for $50,000 and her own private gallery show, claire jumps at the chance but does not realize what she is getting herself into.

Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

This lovely story about a bookstore and its owner will capture your heart. A.J. Fikry is like a bookstore version of Ove in all the right ways except A.J. is only in his thirties.

The recent death of his wife, bad book sales, and the recent robbery of a rare book is wreaking havoc on his life. But this tale of redemption and unexpected chances has a serious soul. If you have not read this pick from our list of books like A Man Called Ove, you need to add it to your stack. And be sure to check out more Books about Bookstores.

The Breakaway

The Breakaway by Jennifer Weiner

I absolutely loved this feel-good fiction. Abby Stearn has good friends, her bike, her bike club, and has come to terms with her plus-size body. When she is given the chance to lead a group bike trip from New York City to Niagara Falls she is happy to have the time to make some hard life choices.

She loves her fiance but cannot help questioning if he is the man for her. And if he is, why is her one-night stand from years ago still haunting her thoughts? When he shows up on the bike trip and her mother shows up as well, Abby will have to deal with a lot of truths.

This is a book that deals with body image and mother-daughter relationships with Weiner’s signature charm and humor. #gifted

The Yiddish Policemens Union

The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon

As a book blogger, I find pride in reading across genres. I have pretty eclectic taste so it’s rare to find a well-known author I haven’t dabbled in.⁣ A friend of mine insisted that I read this book when he discovered I had never read a Chabon book. I can honestly say that I would NEVER have picked this book on my own.

A failed Israel leading to the Jewish state being formed in the wilds of Alaska? A Yiddish police force solving murders before their state reverts back to US occupancy? No thanks… but instead… I enjoyed it! ⁣It’s grittier than my normal picks, but I love the subtle details, the little bits of world-building about the area and the faux history.

contemporary fiction header

Ultimate List of Contemporary Fiction Novels to Love in 2024

For more contemporary fiction books like these, check out our ultimate list for dozens of recommendations.

Best Historical Fiction Books by Jewish Writers

The last summer at the golden hotel

Last Summer at the Golden Hotel by Elyssa Friedland

Last Summer at the Golden Hotel is all about 2 families who own a resort in the Catskills and are thinking of selling or overhauling the Golden. This is the ultimate in family drama books.

Three generations of the Goldmans and Weismann clans have gathered to make the decision and family secrets are unspooling left and right in the midst of goat yoga, comedy shows, and salon catastrophes.

It was a pleasure to read it while staying at the Hyatt on the Chesapeake and experiencing some resort life of my own. 

Find this book in Best Books for Book Clubs / Summer Camp Books / Books With Colors in the Title

Woman on fire

Woman on Fire by Lisa Barr

Buckle up for a stunning story in Lisa Barr’s newest book, Woman on Fire. Jules, an ambitious investigative journalist, is working on a story about a piece of art that was stolen by the Nazis during WWII. 

But she’s not the only one looking to track down Woman on Fire. Margaux, a gallerist and art thief, also wants to get her hands on the painting.

As we learn the origins of the painting and the many hands it switched to over the years, we also discover the dark underbelly of the art world.

I was ENTHRALLED with this novel about art. I’ll be putting this pick from mystery books on every must-read list we do this year. It was thrilling and informative. Buy it now, and thank me later.

Once We Were Brothers and more books about WWII

Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balson

This powerful novel tells the story of a well-known Jewish Philanthropist accused of being a nazi war criminal. Solomon, the accuser, convinces Catherine to be his lawyer and represent him in the case.  

The novel moves back and forth from past to present as Solomon recounts his story. This is a powerful novel that will leave you wondering until the end and is one of my favorite books about WWII. And while this book is fiction, it is similar to many true stories.

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The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff

Noa has been cast out after becoming pregnant by a Nazi Soldier. She is forced to give up her baby as well and now finds herself living at a railway station and cleaning to earn her stay. When she finds a boxcar filled with Jewish infants being transported to a concentration camp, Noa grabs a baby and runs.

She finds safety with a German circus and must learn to become a trapeze artist to remain hidden in plain sight. This is a powerful story about love and friendship and a beautiful read from books about WWII.

the red tent

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

The story of Dinah is one that is briefly told in the Old Testament. But in this story, we hear her voice. Dinah is the daughter of Jacob. This book is a fictional account of her life and I had never read anything like it.

The imagining of how a woman would live in biblical times is not something I had ever read before this book. It is captivating from the first page.

the invisible bridge

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer

Clocking in at over 500 pages, I wasn’t sure I could handle a book about WWII and the holocaust that was that long. However, I decided to read it and boy am I glad I did!

The story is part coming of age, part wartime survival. The characters come to life, flaws and all, as you experience the thrill of first love, the loss of innocence, and the grittiness of war.

The Weight of ink

The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish

In this list of long books, this book is worth every single page because it is such beautifully written historical fiction.  The writing is so lyrical- which is usually too poetic for me.  But, in this case, it was hard to put down. 

The story moves between two strong, intelligent women living centuries apart and the choices and decisions that they have to make in order to be true to themselves   If you have the time to invest in one read, this book is my pick and one of my all-time favorite books.

and after the fire

And After the Fire by Lauren Belfer

This novel is based on the historical events of WWII.  Henry, an American soldier in Germany takes a manuscript from a seemingly deserted mansion and accidentally kills the woman who tries to stop him. 

Years later,  when he dies, he leaves the manuscript to his niece Susan with the request to return it to its rightful owner. This story spans from the late 1700s until the present as we follow the manuscript, a lost work of J.S. Bach.  This novel about music was incredibly well-written and researched. 

Love Historical Fiction? We do too! That’s why we created the Ultimate List of Historical Fiction carefully divided by time period.

Category Headers

Best Non-Fiction Books by Jewish Writers

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Jew

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Jew by Emmanuel Acho and Noa Tishby

Emmanuel Acho is back with a book that was in the making months before the October 7th massacre in Israel. Within the pages of this book, Acho and Tishby seek to explain the root of Jewish stereotypes and the history of Jewish persecution, while mending the bridges between the Black and Jewish communities.

The audiobook version is even better than the book as there is more content and the conversation is so natural. This book is a primer on how we got to this point in history again and how we can come together through education and mutual respect.

Why I Loved It: The frank and sometimes funny conversations between Acho and Tishby are exactly what our world needs right now. I loved how they tackled the hard stuff, answering the hard questions with grace and humor. It’s a wonderful resource for Jewish people in the current climate but is most important for non-Jewish allies and naysayers.

Find this book in Jewish Writers / Best Audiobooks

Find your calm

Find Your Calm: A Workbook to Manage Anxiety (Volume 1) by Jaime Zuckerman Psy. D.

This workbook can be used to help with several types of anxiety including social anxiety, generalized anxiety, panic, and even just everyday stress and worry.

Find Your Calm takes behavioral strategies and presents them in a journaling-type fashion. This allows the reader to remain fully engaged in the workbook and easily apply each strategy to their daily life. This is a good nonfiction book choice for anyone looking for small changes in routine that have a big impact on quality of life.

Diary of a young girl

Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

This is the quintessential book about the Holocaust written by Anne Frank, a Jewish girl in hiding during WWII.  Although she did not live to see freedom, her father survived as did the diary that she kept during her years of hiding. 

This is a powerful book that captures the neverending capacity for hope in the human spirit. After all, Anne said it best when she said “in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart”.

This is one of the non-fiction picks on the list of WWII books for kids.

The Color of Law and more books by Jewish writers

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein

All I can say is wow.  This book is absolutely illuminating.  I cannot believe the laws in this country that were created to systematically segregate  America.  More than just redlining, banks, and the government created a system in which there were completely different sets of rules depending on the color of your skin. 

I did not know anything about these laws prior to reading the book and it left me flabbergasted. This is a must-read, non-fiction book about poverty and the history of our country. I think it should actually be required reading.

Night

Night by Elie Weisel

January 2006 Oprah Book Club Pick

I have a personal story about this book.  My husband’s grandmother grew up in the same town as Elie Weisel.  She knew both him and his wife.  This was the first thing that she told me when I met her (My husband’s name is also Elie but this is purely coincidental). 

This is a must-read non-fiction book about the Holocaust written by the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.  It is a short but very powerful book that will emotionally wreck you.

Hidden Valley Road and more books by Jewish writers

Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker

June 2020 Oprah’s Book Club Pick

Stop everything and add Hidden Valley Road to your TBR now!! All I can say is wow! This favorite is one of the best books on Mental Illness and an absolutely fascinating non-fiction book.

This is the amazing story of Don and Mimi Galvin whose family paved the way for schizophrenia research over the past 50 years. Of their 12 children- 10 sons and 2 daughters, 6 of the boys have schizophrenia.

The struggles of this family to survive through the age of lobotomies and institutionalization provides a look into the history of this disorder. It’s unbelievable to think how far we’ve come and yet, we are not even close to understanding this disease.

Love Non-Fiction? We do too! That’s why we created the Ultimate List of Non-Fiction Books.

Thrillers by Jewish Authors

the main character

The Main Character by Jaclyn Goldis

This book had me at Orient Express. Within it, Rory has been sent on a lavish trip to the Italian riviera aboard the newly remodeled famous train. It’s her reward for being celebrated writer Ginevra Ex’s newest main character – the real-life person who inspires each of Ex’s novels.

But Rory is shocked to see her brother, her best friend, and her ex-fiance aboard as well – all at Ginevra’s expense. The story opens with one of them being murdered but who and by whom remains to be seen.

As the foursome read Ginevra’s new manuscript secrets unravel, but behind the scenes, Ginevra’s own past is catching up to her and just why she was drawn to Rory in the first place remained unanswered.

Why I Love It: While the who-dun-it mystery within Ginevra’s novel was so well executed and the suspense of who was killed kept me turning the pages, it was Ginevra’s storyline that intrigued me most.

I was enthralled by Russia’s history with the Jewish people, having been mostly unaware of the animosity there before this book, and was shocked to learn that element came from Goldis’s own family history!

Find this book in Best Mystery Books of 2024 / Best Jewish Writers

The Fiction Writer

The Fiction Writer by Jillian Cantor

In one of the exciting fall 2023 book releases, Olivia Fitzgerald, a struggling writer, lands a lucrative ghostwriting gig for a reclusive billionaire, Henry Asherwood. Tasked with uncovering a dark secret about his grandmother and Daphne du Maurier, Olivia becomes entangled in a gothic mystery that challenges her notions of creative freedom and whose stories should be told.

I got swept into the book and finished it in one sitting. It’s got Rebecca Easter eggs, Du Maurier fun facts, a hunky billionaire recluse with a cryptic mission, and a book within a book. It’s one of the most unique novels about writers I’ve ever read. #gifted by Park Row

the plot

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

What a ride! Jean Hanff Korelitz’s thriller is quite something. It’s one I just adored even if I did figure the big twist out early on. It’s the journey with this book.

Jacob is a formerly successful writer who is struggling to write his next great novel. His student Evan dies without having published his own incredible story, so Jacob decides to write it himself to great critical acclaim.

But then someone starts threatening to expose him for the theft of the story, launching him into the truth behind the tale he wrote about. This is the perfect story for our list of books about thieves!

The Magpie Murders and more books by Jewish writers

The Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

There is a British murder mystery within a murder mystery in this well-written and thoughtful book. 

In this book, you are uncovering the murder of a mystery author while also reading his book. Are they interconnected? The idea is truly unique and so well executed.  I just loved it.

Anthony Horowitz is one of the well-known Jewish writers whose British mysteries will keep you guessing until the last page.

The kill artist

The Kill Artist (Gabriel Allon #1) by Daniel Silva

This is the first book in the Gabriel Allon series and if you are reading Daniel Silva books in order, you will want to start with this book to get to know the characters from the very beginning.

Gabriel Allon is living his life in Cornwall as an art restorer after retiring from The Office, the Israeli intelligence. When a terrorist who has a history with Allon (his nemesis) goes on a killing spree, Allon is dragged back into service by his old master, the venerable Ari Shamron who is now the head of The Office.

Allon is now part of a manhunt that spans the globe in a race against time. Will the terrorist cause more destruction and death before they can catch him?

Love Thrillers? We created The Ultimate List of Best Thriller Books carefully divided by sub-genre. These will definitely keep you on your toes.

Romance Books by Jewish Authors

the matzah ball

The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer

A Chanukah romance? Yes, please!!! I mean, I would have been happy to read this book based only on that but the fact Rachel is a Rabbi’s daughter who is secretly a best-selling author of Christmas romances hooked me. This is a hilarious spin if you are looking for holiday romantic comedy books.

Add in a splash of romance with Jacob, Rachel’s first kiss from summer camp/ arch nemesis and this book is the perfect light romance. I loved the humor and sweetness of this book. And I would not turn down food from Jacob’s Bubbie. I wish more Jewish writers would write Hanukkah romances! This is a definite must for any holiday book list.

Meant to be Mine and more books by Jewish writers

Meant To Be Mine by Hannah Orenstein

Edie’s Grandma Gloria has successfully predicted the date the members of their family will find their true love match since she found her own love in her childhood. Excited that her day has finally arrived, Edie immediately leaps into a relationship with musician, Theo.

But as she realizes the relationship isn’t falling together as easily as she thought it would, she’s forced to reckon with the ideas of fate and the grandma’s prophesies. After she learns another family member has lied about their own relationship timeline to please their grandma, she is forced to question everything she holds dear.

Is Theo Edie’s one true love or is there someone else she should be with? When it comes to matchmaking books by Jewish writers, anything by Hannah Orenstein is a must-read!

The Ex Talk and other book reviews in February 2021 Novel ideas

The Ex-Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Thanks to Berkley for my review copy. All opinions are my own. I picked up The Ex-Talk because I wanted to read a romance by a Jewish author. I loved that this one featured a biracial, interfaith couple.

The concept was cute – two radio show hosts fake a relationship to try to get ratings. Except they are pretending they already dated and broke up… which eventually leads to them actually dating. It was a cute, easy read.

Is Romance your favorite genre? We created the Ultimate List of Romances carefully divided by sub-genre so you can find your next favorite read.

Fantasy Books by Jewish Authors

court of thorns and roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

This book has a cult-like following for a reason. The first book in the series is a loose fairy tale retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in the world of Prythian. Magical creatures, humans, and fae are all prominent in the book.

When Feyre kills a wolf in the words, a creature arrives to her house to drag her to a magical land that she has only heard about in stories told to terrify children. Now, she is to remain a captor of Tamlin, a fae, as retribution.

This is a fast-paced, addicting, fantasy romance series with a love triangle that develops by the end of the novel. Book two is jaw-dropping! This series is on its way to becoming a classic that you will want to binge in one week.

While this book is technically a YA fantasy series, the books become very steamy and we see this as one of the best fantasy books for adults as well. We are so excited this is going to be one of the Hulu book adaptations.

Find this book in Books Like ACOTAR / Sarah J. Maas Books / Enemies-to-Lovers/ YA Fantasy / Best Romance Novels of all Time.

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Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

For years, the Owens women have known that their bad luck is because of a curse. This book is the first book in the Practical Magic series. I just adore this tale of magic, family, and sisterhood. At this point, this is one of the best urban fantasy books and it is truly iconic.

Gillian and Sally are sisters who have been raised by their two aunts. They both want to leave their small Massachusetts town. But, when Gillian gets into trouble, she runs to Sally for help.

The trouble comes back to haunt them and when a hunky police chief comes to town, the sisters try hard to cover up their family secrets. The powerful bond between the Owens sisters brings this story to life and is a must for a list of books about sisters. This is the first published book in the Practical Magic series and the one I recommend you read first.

If you love adult fantasy books, check out: Practical Magic Books in Order and More Witchy Books for 2023. This is a must-read if you love witch books and my favorite of all the Alice Hoffman Books.

Spinning silver

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

I adored this YA fantasy book by Novik. I loved the strong female characters, the story, and the writing.  This book is a classic retelling of Rumplestiltskin that is complex and wonderful and the ending had me in tears.

Miryem’s family are moneylenders but her family is in poverty because her father does not collect his debts. In an effort to save her family, Miryem begins collecting the debts herself and soon a rumor begins that she can turn silver into gold. Soon, these rumors spread to the king of Staryk, and Miryem’s life changes forever when he comes to see if the rumors are true.

Find this book in YA Fantasy Books / The Best Winter Books / Fairy Tale Retellings / Books with Colors in the Title

The magicians

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Quentin Coldwater is a high school student obsessed with the made up world of Fillory.  He finds himself admitted to a magical college that is both secret and elite. If you are looking for books set in college, this one has an almost cult-like following.

The best way I can describe this series is if Harry Potter was admitted to Hogwarts in College.  It has a different, darker feel but it is fun, imaginative, and entertaining. The magic in this school is definitely a little bit dark and steamy and for this reason, is perfect for a list of dark academia novels. If you love urban fantasy books, you must read this series of books like Harry Potter. This is a witch book unlike any other.

Love Fantasy Books? We do too! That’s why we created the Ultimate List of Fantasy for Adults and the Ultimate List of YA fantasy!

Young Adult Books Written by Jewish Authors and Writers

The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen

The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen by Isaac Blum

Hoodie Rosen and his Orthodox Jewish community have relocated to a new city to set up roots. But they aren’t feeling welcomed in their new home and are facing antisemitic acts both big and small daily.

As he grapples with his place, not just in the new town but within his own community, Hoodie meets and falls for the mayor’s non-Jewish daughter, Anna-Maria. His friendship with her sends shockwaves through his close-knit community and compounded with the antisemitism, it leaves poor Hoodie struggling with what it means to be a Jewish man.

Why We Love it: With antisemitism on the rise, this poignant novel is so deeply important. But more than that, Hoodie’s narration had me feeling as if I was inside the head of the 15-year-old boy who, while being an orthodox Jew, is just grappling with the worries and fears of every adolescent boy.

Find this book in Books by Jewish Writers / Thought-Provoking Books

Shadow and Bone and more books by Jewish writers

Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo

I was so excited when I learned that Netflix was making this young adult fantasy book series into an adaptation. I think it will be amazing on screen and I am so curious to see if they keep to the book or change things, which is so often the case.

Alina Starkov is an orphan who has never excelled in anything. When her regiment is sent into the fold and her best friend is in danger of being killed, she unleashes a power, unlike anything anyone has seen. It may be the answer to the wars that have ravaged her nation.

Find this book in Books Like Shadow and Bone / Leigh Bardugo Books in Order/ Netflix Adaptations

Color me In ny Natasha Diaz and more of the best books by Jewish writers and authors

Color Me In by Natasha Diaz

I love the idea of this story and there was so much about it that I loved. The exploration of a multi-racial identity from a teenager’s point of view is unique and powerful.

Naveah grew up in NYC with a Black mom and. a Jewish dad. When they split up and she moves to Harlem, she is forced to confront who she is and her biracial identity. She must learn to find her voice and discover who she is meant to be rather than who everyone wants her to be.  

Even though this story is YA I think the story could have had a little bit more- I wanted more. This YA book written by a Black, Jewish writer has a unique perspective and is a must-read.

they wish they were us

They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman

At a prestigious private school in New England, a group of kids known as “The Players” rule the school. They get top grades, get into the best schools, and rule the social scene. This is one of the books set in high school that makes me glad I never have to go back.

But when one of the girls in the group is murdered, her best friend Jill begins to investigate who the real murderer is and just how dark their privileged world is. This is a book that will make you think about what privilege means and the lengths people will take to get what they want.

Find this book in Books About Secret Societies / Best Mystery Books / Best Psychological Thriller Books

Briar Rose and more books by Jewish writers

Briar Rose by Jane Yolen

This book was such an unexpected beauty for me.  Books about the Holocaust are most often inherently extremely heavy.  I love the way this book takes the story of Briar Rose (AKA Sleeping Beauty) and turns it into a story about the Holocaust. 

It does not trivialize the atrocities of that time but rather, it makes the subject more approachable to a younger audience.  Beautifully written and well done. When it comes to books by Jewish writers, anything Yolen writes about the Holocaust tops our list.

Which Jewish writers and authors are your favorites?

Novel Ideas 55

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