Groups:Name that Book

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This is the WikiThing page for the Name that Book group, which identities forgotten titles.

See also Frequently sought stories.

See also Posting 101.

See also Group maintenance.

Guidelines for Posting to Name That Book

So you have a book you want identified -- great! You've come to the right place, that's the entire reason for the existence of this group.

However, since that is the entire reason for the existence of this group, giving your post a subject line like "need title and author" or "help identifying a book" -- which has been happening a lot lately -- is less than helpful. Putting a little information about the book in question is a lot more helpful, and will mean people know whether the thread is about an area they have any hope of helping with, so the right people can find your thread!

Thanks, and good luck finding your books!

original text thanks to lorax

We want to help you, but you can make that easier for us. Following the hints about subject line is the first step. Some of us know mysteries better, others read science fiction. Many of us only open topics we can help on.

Inside your message, keeping the information organized and easy to scan is helpful. It's easier to read if you keep the main points in separate paragraphs.

YOUR POST should include any other information that could help identify the book:

Fiction/ Nonfiction

This also includes other genre information. Are you looking for a full book, or a short story? Is it science fiction, or a mystery? Does a nonfiction book on WWII deal more with the military, economic, or political aspects?


It is best to avoid spoilers here, as someone might hear about the book and want to read it, too. But let us know when and where the story takes place. What do you remember about the main characters? Names, relationships with each other? Does one specific scene stick in your head?

When you think it was written or when you read it (10 years ago, about 1970...)

Book's intended audience

Anything you remember about the title, author, cover or size of book.

Finding a children's book

Children's books vary a lot according to the age group they are intended for. Common categories are:

Picture book - Often large size. Mostly pictures with text to be read by an adult. Usually relatively few pages.

Early Reader - Also mostly pictures, but text intended to be read by a 5-7 year old. Text simple and large font. Few pages.

Chapter books - These are intended for children in primary school who have progressed past the early reader stage. They have more pages, but the text is divided into distinct chapters. They tend to have a lot of illustrations, but there is more text than pictures. Fonts are usually larger than in adult books.

Young adult books are intended for the early teens. There are still fewer pictures, and the font and book length come closer to those in books intended for adults.

For the picture books and early readers, the illustrations are usually an integral part of the reading experience, and a description of the pictures will often jog someone's memory more than the plot. Many series include books in both categories, and the same authors often write both. There are often specific phrases repeated that are important in the books.

Chapter books and young adult books are less dependant on the illustrations, but these still often stay in the memory and if you remember them can be helpful. But plot and setting of the story are more important.

Finding a mystery book

Series or Standalone - Most mysteries are part of a series, but there are many standalones. Obviously, you can't always remember which your book was, but it can help us to narrow down possible choices.

Style - What style of mystery was it? A cozy? Police procedural? Hard boiled? Crime caper? Most mystery readers have one or more styles that are their primary readership. Letting us know what style of mystery can help a poster bring their specialized knowledge to bear.

Setting - Was it set in modern times? America during WWII? Victorian England? Time and place can be useful clues.

Clues - No need to give away the ending (unless you alert for spoilers), but if you remember any important clues from the story it might jog our memory. Was there a bloodstained handkerchief? A dog that didn't bark?

Looking elsewhere

The Internet hosts numerous forums for identification of titles, including forums dedicated to particular subjects or genres. Below we list other name-that-book sites, in addition to the LibraryThing Name that Book group.

  • Loganberry Books service: Stump the Bookseller
  • ABE Books service: BookSleuth
  • Barnes & Noble community: Lost Books - General Q&A, people post "lost book" queries and the community helps to answer them.
  • LiveJournal community: WhatWasThatBook - Archive only; inactive as of May 2017.
  • DreamWidth community: FindThatBook
  • Website: whatsthatbook.com
  • "Help a Bitch Out" - Periodic column in the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books website (identifies romance novels).
  • Ask the Onion A.V. Club - Periodic column dedicated to identifying one lost item at a time; covers books, TV, movies.
  • Yahoo! Answers - General Q&A, and people sometimes post name-that-book queries here.
  • Google Answers - General Q&A, and people sometimes post name-that-book queries here. The service has been discontinued, but you can still search the archives.
  • Reddit - What's That Book - Active Reddit area for book searches.

See also

Frequently Sought Stories

Also, you may be looking for something that is one of the most frequently forgotten titles! Check out our Frequently sought stories page.

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