Monday, July 6, 2009

What was the name of that book again? or How to find out what those books are from your past!

Have you ever been perplexed by a book from your past? Or one that your kids remember, but you don't? Have you lost the title? Have you forgotten the author's name? Can you only remember one drawing and that is it? Or maybe just one line from it? Have you gotten to the point where you think you DREAMED it all because no one else seems to remember?

If you can remember pieces of it, but you just can't get the title or author right to be able to satisfy that itch of remembrance then there MAY be help for you! This has happened a few times to me, and I still can't figure out one children's book from my past (and one movie). The Internet is a lovely thing. Even if you can only remember that the book was oblong and had a whole menagerie of zoo animals packed into a bus on the cover… someone might know EXACTLY what book you are talking about.

Please help other people on these sites too. I do it all the time in my spare time. OH, and please go back and tell them if they got it right (and say thank you too, ha ha). Don't get too frustrated if no one seems to know. I give each site a month (I'm patient), and then post to the next site.

Helpful hints:

1) Post the exact year you read the book (or time frame) (IE: 1979 or 2005), and the year you think it was from.

2) Post where you found the book (IE: Book store in Vancouver Canada or Grade School Library in Southern California). Some books are only printed in specific countries, and some are by "local authors."

3) Tell as much of the story as you can and quote it if you can. (IE: two kids walk into a house that might be haunted and see the "twisted remains of a dead.. battery." They go inside… blah blah…).

4) Be specific with your details (IE Purple cover with black and white drawings on every other page)

5) Reading level of book (IE: 1st grade, 5th grade, adult)... in other words, how old were you at the time.

6) Hardcover or Paperback?

7) Put information in your title… not just "what book is this" (IE: "Book about a vampire bunny and the cat who tries to destroy him")

Memory is a funny thing, and we all get things wrong, but don't be scared to over-describe. One little detail is all some people need to have the "Ah ha!" reaction.

So, an example post would be (this is the one that I haven't been able to figure out):

TITLE: 80's book 2 Kids go into a spooky house and see the "twisted remains of a dead battery"

BODY: Illustrated hardcover book (pen and ink, black and white, cartoony on almost every other page) probably around 40-60 pages, with Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) like structure, but I don't remember there actually being choices. I just remember having to flip to another part of the book. The book may have had a purple cover with a haunted house on it. It may have been written in the second person ("You walk up the sink..." etc).
Reading level: about 3rd to 5th grade. I don't think it had chapters because of its CYOA qualities.
This was a hardcover in my grade school's library, in southern California, that I read around 1985-1987 (could have come out earlier).
Plot: Two boys (brothers I think) venture into a scary house. They think the house is haunted.
The pages ended with cliffhangers that always end up being quite funny:
Almost verbatim I remember that as they come to the front door, they look down at the door mat and see, "the twisted dead remains of…" (turn to page XX…*flip flip flip*) "a battery!"
Thank you for your help!

Here are some of the sites I've used and looked at. If you know of others PLEASE COMMENT and I can add them on here:

What's That Book:
A quick way to list your question with a free sign up! This one has categories to make helping and listing easier.

What Was That Book (LiveJournal):
Organized by last one posted. All posts are monitored before being posted. You have to be a LiveJournal member (free).

What Was That One (LiveJournal)
See above… but this one also does other general questions including Movies.

Loganberry Books' Stump the Bookseller:
NOT Free to post, but pretty accurate (to a point, I found one mistake about a Mercer Mayer Little Monster book that they labeled as the "correct answer") . You can answer any ones you want. I just wish there was a way to put all the newest ones at the top of the list… or all unanswered ones. It makes it easier for people to help out.

LibraryThing's Name That Book
LibraryThing is an AWESOME site for getting organized, and you can join for free (there are payment options if you have a lot of books). I haven't used this forum yet, but I will!

Barnes and Noble's Lost Books:
A Discussion forum at Barnes and Noble's website.

Aunt Book

Yahoo Answers Book section:;_ylt=Aiiil2YSMuL_tRlN7KJm0y.IxQt.;_ylv=3?sid=396545299&link=list
Not specifically for these questions, but I've seen them on there.

Amazon discussion forum
Find your genre, post your question

Google Books
Not a community, but a great way to search with only pieces of information.

Good Reads


Good luck and Happy Hunting!