I was struck this morning to reread a book I loved as a teen. There was just one problem, I couldn’t remember the title. Worse, I couldn’t even remember the author. As much as we adore our books a lapse of memory is bound to happen. So what do you do? Asking the reference desk here at the library is always a great start but not always possible. Thankfully there are tools and tricks to help jog that memory and find that book.
If you remember the author of the book you are looking for, finding the title isn’t such a herculean task. When at the library you can put the author’s name into the search bar of the catalog and find all the books your library owns by them. Of course if your library doesn’t own a copy of the book you are seeking this option may not work for you. Luckily many authors working today have a professional website with a list of their work. A bonus is that author sites are a great place to go if you are trying to figure out what book comes next in a series. If the author doesn’t have their own website online book retailers can be another great resource for finding that elusive title.
Now if you are in the same boat I was in this morning you are going to have to do a bit more research. In my mind there are two ways to go about this. You can first try to find the author and then use the suggestions above to zero in on the book you are looking for, or you can try and find the title. If you know the author is known for a particular series or style of writing the first method can be the quickest. With the second method you first instinct can be to type in the search bar “book that was about…” or “book set during…”. There is always a chance that you will luck out and the book you are looking for will be one of the top posts. More likely you will get hundreds of websites that you have to search through to find anything that could be helpful. Websites like www.goodreads.com and www.fantasticfiction.com have genre sections which you can browse to help narrow your search. Goodreads offers forums where you can request help from other users. These websites also have the benefit of displaying the covers of the books. The Library of Congress has an amazing page of resources on just this subject: https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/lost/novels.html which shows other ways to use those sites and many others.
This morning the best resource for me was Goodreads’ forums and I was able to find the book I was looking for:
A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny.