Oprah’s Book Club List – 40 Handpicked Must-Reads

Experience an incredible literary journey handpicked by media powerhouse, Oprah Winfrey. Oprah’s Book List – 40 books for curious minds to indulge in, featuring emotionally rich and inspiring stories. Each personal recommendation has been specially chosen by Oprah to elevate these works from bestselling to modern classics. From transformative memoirs to captivating fiction, these books will broaden perspectives and ignite your passion for reading.

Oprah's Book Club List - 40 Handpicked Must-Reads

Oprah Winfrey is a media mogul and cultural icon whose influence spans TV, film, and publishing. Despite a challenging childhood in rural Mississippi, she overcame adversity to become one of the world’s most successful and beloved personalities. Through her syndicated talk show, “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Oprah won numerous awards and a global following.

In 1996, Oprah launched her iconic book club to encourage reading and conversation about literature. Over the years, Oprah’s Book Club has become a powerful platform that has catapulted titles to bestseller status, introducing millions of readers to new authors and genres.

With a deep understanding of the transformative power of literature, Oprah champions diverse voices and promotes books that spark curiosity, empathy, and growth.

Oprah’s Book Club List – Most Recommended Books

The Covenant of Water 

The Covenant of Water (Oprah's Book Club)

The Covenant of Water” by Abraham Verghese transports you to Kerala, India (1900-1977), where a family faces a peculiar affliction: drowning. Imagine the journey of a twelve-year-old girl, Big Ammachi, sent to wed amidst grief and uncertainty. Experience her extraordinary life full of triumphs, hardships, faith, and love. 

This enchanting novel paints a vivid picture of a bygone era and celebrates progress in medicine and human understanding. Immerse yourself in this literary masterpiece that pays tribute to the resilience of past generations.

Hello Beautiful 

Hello Beautiful (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel

Discover “Hello Beautiful” by Ann Napolitano, a heartwarming tale of love and family. William Waters, burdened by a tragic past, finds solace when he meets the lively Julia Padavano in college. Embraced by her inseparable sisters – book-loving Sylvie, free-spirited Cecelia, and nurturing Emeline – William’s world fills with love and chaos. But when his past resurfaces, it threatens Julia’s plans and the sisters’ unshakable bond. 

Can their loyalty withstand the test of time? Dive into this touching novel and explore the power of family ties and the resilience of love across generations.


Nightcrawling: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club)

Join Kiara and her brother Marcus as they navigate life’s challenges in Oakland. With Marcus chasing rap dreams, Kiara juggles supporting them and caring for the boy next door. When rent doubles, she turns to nightcrawling, unexpectedly entangling herself in a huge police scandal. 

Experience this thrilling story filled with determination, grit, and unexpected twists that will keep you entertained and rooting for Kiara every step of the way. Get ready for a rollercoaster ride through the highs and lows of life in Oakland in the “Nightcrawling” by Leila Mottley.

Finding Me 

Finding Me: An Oprah's Book Club Pick

Finding Me” by Viola Davis is a captivating memoir that chronicles the actress’s inspiring journey of self-discovery. From humble beginnings in a Rhode Island apartment to the spotlight in New York, Viola overcomes obstacles and defies judgment. Experience her courageous quest to embrace self-love and find her true identity. 

Packed with heartwarming moments and raw honesty, this tale will leave you feeling inspired and entertained. Don’t miss the chance to witness Viola’s extraordinary transformation and learn valuable lessons about finding oneself.

The Way of Integrity: Finding the Path to Your True Self 

The Way of Integrity: Finding the Path to Your True Self (Oprah's Book Club)

This transformative book offers a four-stage process to achieve integrity, leading to purpose, emotional healing, and freedom from mental suffering. Using Dante’s hero’s journey as a framework, Martha Beck helps you recognize your true desires and break free from negative habits. 

Filled with practical techniques and insights, this life-changing guide takes you on a spiritual adventure, empowering you to embrace your true path and uncover genuine happiness in “The Way of Integrity: Finding the Path to Your True Self.”


Bewilderment: A Novel

Embark on an extraordinary journey with Theo Byrne, an astrobiologist and devoted single father, as he explores the cosmos while raising his unique nine-year-old son, Robin, in “Bewilderment” by Richard Powers. 

After losing his wife, Theo navigates parenthood with Robin, a compassionate boy who adores painting endangered animals but struggles with emotional control. Desperate to help Robin without resorting to medication, Theo discovers an experimental treatment using his late wife’s brain patterns. 

This heartwarming and compelling novel masterfully blends the wonders of the natural world, the mysteries of life beyond Earth, and the fierce love between a father and son, leaving you pondering the future of our beautiful, fragile planet. 


Bittersweet (Oprah's Book Club): How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole

Immerse yourself in “Bittersweet” by Susan Cain, an insightful journey into the minds of those who vividly feel life’s ups and downs. Ever asked yourself, “Why am I like this?” This book unravels the mystery with a perfect mix of science and storytelling

Cain uncovers how bittersweet emotions can unleash creativity, compassionate leadership, and love. Building upon her groundbreaking work in “Quiet,” she shows that embracing bittersweetness is more than a fleeting emotion; it’s a powerful way of being, paving the path for personal growth and transcendence.

Demon Copperhead

Demon Copperhead: A Pulitzer Prize Winner

Set in southern Appalachia, “Demon Copperhead” by Barbara Kingsolver follows a boy’s journey through hardships and survival. Born to a teenage single mother, Demon faces foster care, addiction, love, and loss while grappling with his invisibility in a world that overlooks rural life. 

Inspired by Charles Dickens’s “David Copperfield,” this novel transposes Victorian themes into the contemporary American South, blending anger, compassion, and the power of a good story. A must-read for those who appreciate tales of resilience and the beauty found in cursed places.

That Bird Has My Wing

That Bird Has My Wings: An Oprah's Book Club Pick

That Bird Has My Wings” is a powerful memoir by death row inmate Jarvis Masters, chronicling his incredible life journey. Raised by drug-addicted parents and an abusive foster family, Jarvis eventually embraces Buddhism amidst a life of crime and incarceration. 

Through poignant, soul-stirring scenes, Jarvis demonstrates the resilience of the human spirit and his remarkable talent as a writer. With a foreword by Pema Chodron, this inspiring story has captured the attention of American Buddhist luminaries and a growing public who believe in Jarvis’ innocence. Discover the transformative power of hope and redemption in this unforgettable memoir.

The Love Songs of W.E.B Du Bois 

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois: An Oprah's Book Club Pick

In “The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois” by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Ailey Pearl Garfield embraces the ideals of W.E.B. Du Bois and the concept of “Double Consciousness.” Struggling with her identity, Ailey embarks on a journey through her family’s past, exploring her heritage, which spans two centuries. As she uncovers a legacy marked by oppression and resistance, Ailey learns to accept herself and her place in history. 

This captivating story celebrates the power of self-discovery and the resilience of the human spirit.

The Sweetness of Water 

The Sweetness of Water (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel

The newly freed slaves Landry and Prentiss work on George and Isabelle Walker’s farm, hoping to earn enough to find their mother. As the Walkers grieve their son’s death, an unlikely friendship forms. When a forbidden romance between two Confederate soldiers is revealed, chaos ensues, and Isabelle emerges as a visionary leader. 

Set in post-Civil War Georgia, “The Sweetness of Water” by Nathan Harris, showcases humanity and love amidst harrowing circumstances, creating an unforgettable cast of characters and a captivating tale of beauty and terror.


Gilead (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel

In “Gilead” by Marilynne Robinson, Reverend John Ames pens a letter to his young son, recounting his life and family history. As the grandson of an abolitionist preacher and the son of a pacifist, Ames grapples with the tension between his forebears. He also shares the story of his strained relationship with his namesake, John Ames Boughton. 

This heartwarming tale explores the bonds between fathers and sons, the wisdom gained through a solitary life, and the enduring presence of history in our lives, even when it’s forgotten or betrayed.


Home (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel

In “Home,” a novel parallel to Marilynne Robinson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Gilead,” you’ll explore themes of family, secrets, and generations. As Glory Boughton returns to Gilead to care for her dying father, her wayward brother Jack also comes home after twenty years, seeking refuge and reconciliation with his past. 

Through the complex relationships between characters like Jack, Glory, and Reverend John Ames, you’ll be immersed in a moving story about love, death, faith, and healing that delves into the deepest emotions and experiences shared universally by families.


Lila (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel

In “Lila,” the third novel in Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead series, Lila finds love and security with Minister John Ames after a lifetime of hardship. Raised by Doll, a drifter who rescued her from abandonment, Lila struggles to reconcile her past with her husband’s gentle Christian worldview. 

Lila learns to treasure her new life in small-town Iowa without forgetting her tumultuous past. This poignant tale examines love, redemption, and the liberating power of forgiveness as she reflects on her tumultuous journey.


Jack (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel

In Marilynne Robinson’s “Jack,” we return to the mythical world of Gilead, Iowa, where the beloved characters from her novels “Gilead,” “Home,” and “Lila” explore the complexities of American history, emotions, and spirituality. 

This fourth installment follows John Ames Boughton, the prodigal son of Gilead’s Presbyterian minister, as he embarks on a tumultuous, star-crossed interracial romance with Della Miles, a high school teacher, and fellow preacher’s child. Their passionate love story resonates with the paradoxes of American life, both past and present, providing a poignant exploration of enduring themes.

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Isabel Wilkerson unveils the hidden caste system shaping America throughout its history in “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.” By linking systems in America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight underlying pillars, using real-life stories to illustrate caste’s insidious impact on daily life. 

This eye-opening book exposes how the Nazis studied America’s racial systems, the health costs of caste, and its effects on culture and politics. Ultimately, it offers hope for moving beyond these destructive human divisions and embracing our common humanity.

American Dirt 

American Dirt (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel

Lydia and her son Luca find their lives upended after her journalist husband exposes a drug lord in Acapulco. Forced to flee, they join others seeking refuge in the United States. As Lydia discovers everyone’s reasons for running, she wonders what awaits them at their destination. 

In 2020, Oprah’s Book Club featured “American Dirt,” which sparked consequential discussions about the authority of storytelling and who holds the privilege to narrate certain tales.

Olive, Again

Olive, Again: A Novel

Ready for a heartwarming sequel? Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Olive Kitteridge” continues in “Olive, Again,” as we follow Olive navigating life in Crosby, Maine. Can she connect with the people around her? You’ll find Olive interacting with a grieving teenager, a pregnant young woman, a smitten nurse, and a lawyer facing inheritance dilemmas. 

Experience the depth of human emotions and relationships as Olive seeks understanding and connection. Don’t miss this captivating read that’ll have you asking: What’s next for Olive? 

The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad (Pulitzer Prize Winner) (National Book Award Winner) (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel

In Colson Whitehead’s “The Underground Railroad,” Cora, a young slave in Georgia, seizes the opportunity to escape with fellow slave Caesar. The Underground Railroad is depicted as a literal network of tracks and tunnels beneath the South, taking Cora on a harrowing journey across states. 

As she encounters strange yet familiar worlds, Whitehead masterfully weaves into the dark history of the antebellum era, creating a gripping tale of courage and a powerful reflection on a shared past.


Ruby: A Novel

In this unforgettable debut, Ephram Jennings never forgets the beautiful girl, Ruby, from his East Texas town. Ruby flees the suffocating town for 1950s New York, but a telegram forces her to return and relive her past traumas. 

Struggling to survive, she finds support in Ephram, who must choose between loyalty to his sister or a life with his childhood love. Full of vivid characters and captivating prose, “Ruby” is a powerful novel that explores dark deeds and the redemptive power of love, showcasing a major new voice in fiction.

The Sun Does Shine 

The Sun Does Shine: Oprah's Book Club Summer 2018 Selection

Discover the deeply-moving memoir, The Sun Does Shine, which tells the incredible story of Anthony Ray Hinton, a man wrongfully imprisoned for 30 years in Alabama. Are you ready to be inspired by his unwavering hope amidst the darkest times? 

Despite facing an unjust criminal justice system, Hinton’s spirit transformed not only his own life but also those of his fellow inmates. With the help of civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson, Hinton finally won his freedom. This extraordinary testament to hope and resilience is destined to become a classic.

The Water Dancer

The Water Dancer: A Novel

Born into bondage, Hiram Walker loses his mother but gains a mysterious power. After nearly drowning, he resolves to escape his life of slavery. Hiram’s journey takes him from Virginia’s plantations to guerrilla cells and idealistic movements, joining the underground war between slavers and the enslaved. 

Determined to rescue his family, Hiram’s story reveals the violent separation of families and their fight to reunite with their loved ones. The Water Dancer is a compelling and transcendent work that restores humanity to those who had everything stolen from them, showcasing the talent of a remarkable writer and thinker.



Michelle Obama, one of the most iconic women of our era, shares her life story in her memoir, “Becoming.” As the first African American First Lady, she created an inclusive White House, advocated for women and girls, promoted healthy living, and supported her husband through challenging times. 

Her memoir invites readers into her world, from her childhood in Chicago to her years balancing work and motherhood, to her time at the White House. With honesty and wit, she shares her triumphs and disappointments, inspiring readers to defy expectations and embrace their journeys. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is a deeply personal story of resilience and substance.

Deacon King Kong 

Deacon King Kong (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel

In Deacon King Kong, you’ll witness a shocking act of violence in 1960s Brooklyn when a cranky old deacon named Sportcoat shoots the local drug dealer. James McBride’s funny and moving novel explores the lives of those affected by the shooting, from witnesses to investigators, and how their lives overlap in surprising ways. 

The story reveals that facing change without fear, embracing hope, and nurturing love and compassion are essential for growth. With masterful storytelling and faith in humanity, McBride offers an engaging tale that’s as captivating as The Good Lord Bird and as emotionally honest as The Color of Water.

Hidden Valley Road 

Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family

Dive into the extraordinary story of the Galvin family in Hidden Valley Road, where six out of ten sons face schizophrenia. Witness their journey through suffering, love, and hope as they contribute to groundbreaking research. 

Robert Kolker did an outstanding job unraveling the tale, skillfully shedding light on the complexities of mental illness and the triumph of resilience. Hidden Valley Road stands as one of 2020’s top nonfiction bestsellers. Get ready for a captivating read! 

An American Marriage 

An American Marriage (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel

Experience the powerful love story of Celestial and Roy in An American Marriage, as they embody the American Dream until an unimaginable circumstance tears them apart. With Roy wrongfully imprisoned, Celestial must navigate life on her own, testing their love and loyalty.

As time passes, their determination and ultimate sacrifice are put to the test. But when Roy’s conviction is overturned, can they truly resume their life together? This intimate and profound masterpiece delves into the hearts and minds of three characters whose lives are forever changed by forces beyond their control.

Behold the Dreamers 

Behold the Dreamers: A Novel

Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant, secures a job as a chauffeur for a Lehman Brothers executive, hoping to achieve the American Dream for his family. However, they soon discover hidden secrets in their employers’ lives and face the impact of Lehman Brothers’ collapse. 

With incredible finesse, Imbolo Mbue’s debut novel delves into the struggles of immigrant life, exploring intersections of culture clashes and economic hardships. Immerse yourself in the captivating tale by IMBOLO MBUE, Behold the Dreamers as it prompts you to consider your notions of the American Dream.

Love Warrior 

Love Warrior: A Memoir

In “Love Warrior,” bestselling author Glennon Doyle Melton shares her journey of self-discovery following her husband’s infidelity. This powerful memoir highlights the healing possible when facing pain and love head-on, unlearning societal norms, and embracing true relationships. 

Are you ready for a more abundant, authentic life? Explore this inspiring account of strength, bravery, and the warrior spirit within us all.

The Invention of Wings 

The Invention of Wings: With Notes (Oprah's Book Club 2.0 3)

Immerse yourself in the captivating world of “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd. This enthralling novel transports you to 19th-century Charleston, where you’ll witness an inspiring tale of two remarkable women. Can you imagine a life intertwined with your sister’s slave? 

Sarah Grimké and Handful, her slave, navigate their lives together, each seeking freedom and independence. Through their powerful bond, they defy societal expectations and fight for justice. Are you ready to be swept away by courage, resilience, and sisterhood? This unforgettable novel is a must-read, promising to leave you inspired and enlightened.

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie 

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie (Oprah's Book Club 2.0 Digital Edition)

Are you ready to embark on an emotional journey that will leave you breathless? “In The Twelve Tribes of Hattie,” Ayana Mathis presents a heart-wrenching tale of love, loss, and resilience. You’ll be captivated by the story of Hattie Shepherd, a woman who leaves the Jim Crow South for a better life up North, only to face unimaginable hardships. 

Through the eyes of Hattie and her twelve children, you’ll witness the triumphs and tragedies of the Great Migration. Will Hattie’s strength and determination be enough to keep her family together? You won’t want to miss this powerful and unforgettable novel!

A Tale of Two Cities 

A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens is a literary adventure that has stood the test of time.  Explore the turbulent era of the French Revolution as you journey between London and Paris, witnessing love, sacrifice, and redemption unfold. Can love truly triumph in the face of chaos and upheaval? 

You’ll be enthralled by the unforgettable characters – Sydney Carton, Charles Darnay, and Lucie Manette – as destiny weaves their stories together. Will they discover hope amidst despair? Discover the enchanting tale of this timeless literary masterpiece.


Wild (Oprah's Book Club 2.0 Digital Edition): From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Are you ready to embark on an extraordinary journey of self-discovery? “In Wild,” Cheryl Strayed shares her incredible story of loss, determination, and healing. At twenty-two, after losing everything, she makes a life-changing decision to hike over a thousand miles along the Pacific Crest Trail – all by herself. 

Strayed’s captivating narrative, filled with suspense, warmth, and humor, will have you rooting for her every step of the way. Will this daring trek help her find strength and healing? Don’t miss your chance to experience this powerful and inspiring memoir!

Great Expectations

Great Expectations

Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens takes you on an enthralling journey with the young orphan Pip as he navigates the complexities of Victorian England. Will Pip’s unexpected fortune lead him to happiness or despair? 

Encounter unforgettable characters like the enigmatic Miss Havisham and the captivating Estella, who profoundly influence Pip’s destiny. Can Pip overcome adversity and fulfill his lofty aspirations? 

Lose yourself in the pages of a timeless classic, surrendering to Dickens’ masterful storytelling as it whisks you away to a world of great expectations and profound life lessons.


Freedom: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club)

In “In Freedom,” Jonathan Franzen introduces you to the Berglund family as they grapple with love, ambition, and identity in a rapidly changing world. You’ll be captivated by the relatable struggles of Walter and Patty, their children, and the enigmatic rock star Richard Katz. Can they find true freedom amidst the turmoil of contemporary society? 

With masterful storytelling and razor-sharp insight, Franzen delves into the complexities of family dynamics, environmentalism, and personal choices. Engross yourself in this compelling novel and behold the journey towards freedom unfolding before your very eyes.

Say You’re One of Them

Say You're One of Them (Oprah's Book Club)

Are you ready to immerse yourself in a profoundly touching journey, witnessing life through the eyes of Africa’s children? In “Say You’re One of Them,” Uwem Akpan presents five heartrending stories that showcase the bravery and resilience of young characters confronting unthinkable situations. From religious strife in Ethiopia to human trafficking in Gabon, you’ll experience the stark realities these children endure. 

Explore a world of inspiring hope and unwavering determination amidst extraordinary adversity. Akpan’s storytelling unveils the remarkable resilience of the human spirit, offering deep insights and emotions. 

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: A Novel (P.S.)

In The Story of Edgar Sawtelle,” you’ll follow the life of mute protagonist Edgar, who communicates through sign language and lives an idyllic life on his family’s farm in northern Wisconsin, where they raise exceptional dogs. 

Tragedy strikes, forcing Edgar to flee into the wilderness with three young dogs, where he comes of age and faces survival challenges. Ultimately, Edgar must decide between leaving forever or returning home to uncover the truth. Filled with breathtaking scenes and profound themes, this epic tale explores devotion, betrayal, and courage in America’s heartland.

A New Earth 

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose

Get ready to take a life-changing journey with Eckhart Tolle’s groundbreaking book, “A New Earth.” Tolle offers insights into the human ego and the ways it manifests in our daily lives, causing suffering and separation from our true selves. 

Through practical teachings and personal anecdotes, he guides you towards transcending your ego and embracing a higher state of consciousness. By awakening to this new reality, you’ll experience inner peace, joy, and a deeper connection with others. A New Earth invites you to transform your life and create a more harmonious world for all to enjoy.

The Pillars of the Earth 

The Pillars of the Earth: A Novel (Kingsbridge Book 1)

In “The Pillars of the Earth,” Ken Follett takes you on a journey to twelfth-century England, where you’ll follow Philip, a devoted and resourceful monk, as he strives to construct the most magnificent Gothic cathedral ever built. Encounter Tom, the tormented mason architect, and enigmatic Lady Aliena, burdened by her hidden shame. 

Experience the battle between good and evil, witnessing church versus state and brother against brother. This mesmerizing masterpiece demonstrates Follett’s extraordinary mastery of the written word and his timeless appeal.

Love in the Time of Cholera 

Love in the Time of Cholera (Vintage International)

Step into the enchanting world of “Love in the Time of Cholera,” where you’ll witness the enduring passion of Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza. As Fermina marries a wealthy doctor, heartbroken Florentino embarks on 622 affairs while still reserving his heart for her. When Fermina’s husband passes away, Florentino seizes the opportunity to rekindle their love. 

Gabriel García Márquez weaves a captivating tale of undying devotion, as fifty years, nine months, and four days after first professing his love, Florentino declares it once more, proving true love can withstand the test of time.


Middlesex: A Novel

Middlesex, a captivating novel by Jeffrey Eugenides, follows the journey of Calliope Stephanides and her Greek-American family across three generations. From a quaint village near Mount Olympus to Prohibition-era Detroit and suburban Grosse Pointe, Michigan, the story unravels a hidden family secret and an extraordinary genetic history that transforms Callie into Cal. 

This exhilarating tale redefines the American epic through the eyes of one of contemporary fiction’s most captivating narrators. Middlesex offers you an unforgettable exploration of identity, heritage, and the complexities of the human experience.

Final Thoughts 

In conclusion, Oprah’s Book List – 40 Handpicked Reads presents a treasure trove of literary gems that promise to captivate, enlighten, and elevate your reading experience. Each selection, meticulously chosen by Oprah herself, reflects the power of storytelling and its ability to transform lives, spark conversations, and broaden perspectives. 

By exploring these recommendations, you’ll embark on a diverse and enriching literary journey that transcends genres and themes. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of unforgettable stories and characters found within these exceptional reads.


What is the latest book selection by Oprah?

Oprah Winfrey has chosen “The Covenant of Water” by renowned author Abraham Verghese as the latest addition to her esteemed book club selection.

What’s the best way to get my book featured on Oprah’s renowned book list?

To be considered for Oprah’s book list, create a compelling and well-written story that resonates with readers. Garner positive reviews and build a strong literary presence through marketing, social media, and networking. While there’s no guaranteed method for inclusion, delivering high-quality work can increase your chances of getting noticed by Oprah and her team.

What is the total count of books included in Oprah’s book club?

Ever since Oprah started her book club in 1996, she has handpicked 100 titles that deeply resonate with her.

How often is Oprah’s Book List updated?

Oprah’s Book List is not updated regularly, but she has been known to add new selections from time to time. Additionally, she features a separate “Oprah’s Book Club” list that highlights specific books for discussion and engagement.

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Elvira Lagud