How to Find That Book You've Spent Years Looking For

Between libraries, the web, and rare book stores, near-forgotten books are easier than ever to find.

| November-December 2003

  • Photo by Fotolia/Pink Badger

Searching for a book you remember reading as a child, college student, or happy dropout, but haven't seen anywhere since? On the Web, there are now numerous ways to expand your hunt beyond Amazon. Abebooks is a consortium that connects you to thousands of used-book stores around the world. Another search site is the Berkeley-based You can also search a growing number of individual stores online, including the Portland-based Powells and Bolerium Books in San Francisco, which specializes in rare books on labor issues and radical history.

Utne Reader Bookshelf

Meanwhile, your local library can be a great help, too, thanks to a practice called interlibrary loan. Libraries across the country will lend you books and other materials, creating a vast collection that's easy for you to access. Here's how: If you don't find what you're looking for in your library's catalog, ask a librarian to locate it elsewhere in the huge national loan network. Tell the pros as much about the book as you can. Title and author are most important, but publisher and publication date (or even a good guess at it) can be helpful too. They'll do the rest.

11/20/2018 9:10:52 PM

OKAY!! There’s this book I read about 7 or 8 years ago and I believe it was called “Call it Love” it was a collection of short stories about people who were either falling in love, having first dates, and I believe there was an almost possible rap*. I believe there was a story about this blind person going on a blind date with someone who was not blind, a character had two different eye colors, and another thing I remember are these two characters( a guy and a girl) who met in a church and there was this electric connection between them. I have no idea who the author was or if that’s even the title of the book. Anything would be helpful, thank you.

11/20/2018 10:39:33 AM

I partially read this book in college, someone had suggested, but never had the chance to finish it before returning it. I forgot the title, but I think the title was a double entendre. The book is a story being told by a primate, chimpanzee or ape. The primate is discussing where we are heading as humans, a kind of warning about how we are impacting the environment. I do recall a metaphor where the primate describes a person believing they were flying a pedal powered craft, and the primate said, from the pilot's point of view they may believe they are flying even as we can observe they are falling, and until impact they may maintain their belief; something to that affect. I wish I could remember the name of this book as I was enjoying it before I returned it.

11/19/2018 6:36:07 AM

I read a short story in college as part of Southern gothic literature course. Story is from perspective of adolescent black boy who lives with his grandmother in Jim Crow south. His aunt? or sister returns from college or world travel. She’s a snob that looks down on her poor black relations but insists on raiding her grandmothers possesiins for authentic African items (such as quilts). I thought it was Flannery O’connor But haven’t been able to find the story.