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.

3/27/2020 6:34:18 AM

I read a book back in 3rd grade (1977) that was about a young black girl in the south. I remember there was a part in the book where she was in church with her family, and it was so crowded she was pushed off the pew onto the floor. She starts her period at that exact moment, but says, "the sin was coming out of me". Anyone have an idea of the title? I'd love to add it to my bookshelf.

3/27/2020 1:12:09 AM

Read this book back in high school and when I went to recommend it for someone else it was gone, anyways all I can remember is a scene where the main characters, a group of teenagers are sitting in a basement with candles and the cover might be like a purply maroon color. Wrote between the 80’s and early 2000’s very small book

3/27/2020 12:36:54 AM

Hello everyone, I am looking for a book I read in grade school. It was a fantasy/ adventure book. The cover had in image of a cartoonish boy, I think he had a sword and there might have been a mountain or a dragon on it as well. From what I remember the book was about the boy get transported to another world where he is chosen as the hero. If there’s anything memorable about the book it’s the size of it, it was probably around a good 5 inches thick. I would greatly appreciate it if anyone could assist me in my search. If anyone does find it please inform me at