whatwasthatbook Sticky Post


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Book set in England during WW1 about a woman who marries for convenience

Im looking for the name of a book. It starts out with a woman who looks after her younger siblings in rural england just before WW1. She is forced to marry a wealthy man in order to provide for them.
At first she does not love him, however, he goes to war and during that time, she starts to fall for him, They convert the estate they live in in to hospital during the war. He gets injured, maybe amnesia, and thats all I can remember.
Sounds very vague I know but I cant get it out of my mind!! Help!



I vaguely remember anything about the book. I read it when I was about 14 and it's a hardcover and the cover is mainly black and looks gloomy and there's a few characters who are relatives on the front drawn like they're malnourished and just look poor and skinny and I think they're all looking into maybe a ditch or hole. It was about a family who is poor and struggling and tells about their rough times and they lived in the ghetto and I remember there was an older sister and I think she may have been intimate with a relative like her cousin or something crazy like that. I want to say that maybe the family was of Hispanic descent but I'm not too sure. I don't believe the book is too old.

Young adult, dystopian society, female protagonist

Hello, I'm looking for a YA story about a dystopian society.

There was a young girl who was sent on a mission to rescue a princess, with this other boy she be-friends. The boy has perfect features (emphasis on skin, at some point) and excellent reflexes. It is later discovered that he is a robot or a clone of some sort, very heartbreaking scene. Anyway, when they find the princess, they realise that the princess and the girl are identical twins. They head back to castle and uncover a royal subterfuge that had the girls separated at birth, at the hands of an evil aunt. The one who grew up in poverty was chucked down a rubbish chute, I believe. Anyway, the twins end up running away together at the end of the book.

That's pretty much everything I remember. Thanks so much, in advance!

Young adult sci fi

Read a book years (20ish?) ago that I have been having trouble remembering the title. It took place on a spaceship that a catastrophe happened on. The only survivors were children. I want to say that they were ona course to crash land on Jupiter (or maybe Mars?). I think they eventually ended up in contact with another ship and the ending is kinda vague. The woman on the other ship is left wondering if they survive or not. I also think the title had to do with the word 'butterfly.' Any help would be appreciated!

YA Gay Fiction Novel

I read this book in either 2006 or 2007. The book seemed to be (don't quote me on this) published in the late 90's. The book was hardcover, I think it was a dark yellow color, and there was an illustrated blonde teenage boy on the cover.

It's about a gay teenager (a senior in high school maybe). It's summer, and I think he lives in New York. He has a boyfriend named Alex, an aspiring actor, who's a little bit older, maybe 19 or 20, and an ex girlfriend named Brittany, who's his age. (I can't remember the name of the protagonist, as the book was in first person POV and the other characters rarely called him by his name).

He mentions knowing he was gay ever since he was little, because his mother was watching a talk show, and a few gay men were guests, and he says he just knew somehow that he was like them.

He works at a small convenience store, and the owner's niece (who's about his own age) is coming from a European country to visit him. The owner asks him to take care of his niece and show her around. There is an implication that he entrusts his niece to him because he knows the protagonist is gay.

He takes her out to dinner, and takes his boyfriend as well. I remember them playing footsie under the table, and whispering lovey things to each other when the girl is in the bathroom.

He tells the European girl that he's gay, and one of her first questions is 'Aren't you afraid of AIDS?' He replies that he and Alex are very careful.

At some point in the story, he runs into his ex girlfriend (I think he was at the beach) and she offers him a ride home. They talk for a bit, establishing a bit of camaraderie, until he decides to come out out to her. She then kicks him out of her car.

The European girl (I think her name starts with an I?) has trouble speaking English, and has extra trouble with idioms and expressions. At one point she says 'money burrows a whole in my pocket' instead of 'money burns a hole in my pocket'.

Fast forward to what I think is the end of the novel, the protagonist and the European girl go to her home after a day of exploring, and (I think) they're a bit tipsy or drunk. They end up having sex.
Afterwards, the European girl angrily exclaims that he tricked her, and calls him 'a lamp in wolf's clothing' (or a lamp in sheep's clothing, I can't remember). He sleepily corrects her, and she kicks him out of her house.

I can't for the life of me remember what this book was called, or the author, and whether that was the ending. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Children's Book 1990's: HELP ME!

When I was a kid in the 90's, I loved this picture book. It would be great to use in my children's counseling program I run now; however, I cannot seem to find the title of this book no matter how or where I ask.

It is a book about this land of people (not humans, kind of like... gender-neutral creatures) and the one guy creates a like look-through or peek-through or view-through- it is like a frame, but he looks at the world through it. He doesn't like to hold it up, so eventually he builds a wall to hold it up. Then all the different people keep building up the wall all around and he ends up leaving the view frame and someone patches it up ... like, plasters wall over it.

So he wanders the halls for days looking for his window, almost forgetting the outside and the color of the sky and the smell of the air, etc. then he eventually hears the wind blowing through a crack in the wall and he realizes it is his window- so he breaks through it and gets out.

Christian themed novel

My son was asking about this and I couldn't help:

Main character was a woman who woke up in a dream world/another planet. In this world she found a group who was trying to reach the top of a cliff. By the end, it becomes clear that they aren't reaching the cliff by their own power.

Also, she meets a man and they say they will try to remember one another when they "wake up".

Any clues at all? It would have been read probably in the late 90s, but no clue as to how old the novel actually is.

FOUND: A Previous Book Inquiry: Girl in Tall Metal Home and Live-In Robot

This is a little backward than usual. I'm looking for a post someone else made on this community because I think I may have the answer.

They were inquiring about a book about a girl who finds a metal home high, high up with a boy who lives with her and who has a robot who also lives with her. Not everyone in this society/world has robots who live with them, and this is unusual.

This morning, I was standing at the school bus stop with the usual kids, listening to a fourth grader tell me about a series of current bestselling graphic novels he's reading called Amulet. A girl named Emily finds an amulet that leads her to the king, who has built a home that's really the torso and head of a very long-legged robot on an island. She takes her brother to live with her, and the dude/king who used to live there dies and leaves the tall robot home to her because it will eventually lead the kingdom to safety. Bad guys plot to get the amulet.

But I can't find the inquiring entry here. Can anybody else?

EDIT: I found this shortly after I posted to the queue: this is an answer to zahra239's inquiry on November 16th.

post apocalyptic novel

hi! i am new and looking for some help. I once listened somebody talking about a post-apocalytic novel about a man and his sons in a closed community where the boys of the place returned to the mistical thinking and only one of his sons knew how to read and write.
Sorry if its bad written because english is not my first language...

Fiction published no later than 2006, a bitter widow runs a guest house.

The following text is quoting somebody who asked my help finding this book. The lines of dialogue are not exact quotes of the book, just paraphrases from his memory. The book could not possibly have been published later than 2006 in the USA and was definitely fiction. Thanks in advance for your help!

The setting is early twentieth century. An old woman runs a guesthouse in the country, and a young girl finds herself on hard times and must work for this old woman. The old woman treats her terribly, runs a very tight and tidy house, and is recently widowed. The girl initially figures the woman is in pain from her lost husband, but as the story progresses she realizes that the husband beat her and treated her terribly. She's glad he's dead. The woman has been mean and curmudgeonly for years.

So finally, dramatically, the young girl loses her shit and screams at the old lady, "What is WRONG with you? You hate me, you hate this house, you hate our guests, you hated your husband, and your children can't stand to be around you. Is there anything you ever loved?" The old woman instantly looks tired... ancient, and shambles over to a screened-in sitting room and sits in a chair. The girl sits across from her in a high-backed chair and the old woman starts talking.

"Even in the early days I knew that (husband) was going to be bad for me. That's a tough realization for a young woman with young children. I found joy in the guests who came through here... but there was a man who came through periodically for several years. He was a salesman of some sort and we were very much in love. He had a wife and family, and I had husband and family. Things never went the way they usually do in situations like ours, but we would sit on this porch... much like we are now... and talk for hours and hours into the evenings. Eventually he stopped coming. They changed his route."
"Did you ever look for him? What was his name?"
The old woman gazed wistfully off the porch and sighed with a smile, "I don't remember."

That's all I've got, folks. Thanks again!

Romantic Novel

Trying to look for a book. Romantic novel.

From what I can recall, it started off with the female lead having a dream about some guy on a horse shooting her and the guy she was with.

She wakes up and thinks about her recurring dream.

Her dad owns a garage. She goes there and one of the guys who works there has brought a car which broke down and when she sees the car owner, he is the guy who she was with in her dream.

Space expedition gone wrong, terribly vague

I remember reading a book about 15 years ago. Something about a female astronaut hired for a government contract to do Something Important For Humanity. All I really remember is her preparation for the trip to deep space involved removing her copper coil from a series of piercings along one ear (because it ain't regulation, doncha know). I'm afraid I remember absolutely nothing concrete about the mission: maybe to the moon? Maybe to Mars?, but I remember near the end of the book there was a crew member, another woman, who developed space dementia and hadn't kept up with her exercises, so when they were coming back to Earth her now-weakened heart gave out and she died just before they landed.

I know it's not much, but this community hasn't failed me yet. :)

A dystopian book I think

I think it's a dystopian book about a girl who looks like a boy (because she has short hair and maybe other boyish features) and a so called princess. The girl who looks like a boy has an uncle, who mentions at one point in the book that she looks like a boy. I think cambridge or oxford is mentioned and that they stay there for safety. The princess is the daughter of the Prime Minister, who thinks she was kidnapped , even though she went with the other girl willingly. In the end, she decides to stay with her father instead of going with the other girl to prevent any casualties. In the book, there are these machines that are similar to computers, except they can do crazy things. They are rare and the girl who looks like a boy possesses one of these machines. I'm pretty sure these machines had voices.

I had borrowed this book from the library years ago but I can no longer recall the title or the author.

I would be extremely grateful to anyone who can tell me what book this is.

Sci-fi/dystopian novel about teens with powers and their AI teacher against aliens **FOUND**

So, my husband has a book he would like this brilliant community (I've been lurking) to help identify.

He thinks that he read it at least 10 years ago.
It's probably a dystopian future involving an alien invasion where all humans are kept in concentration camps and used for parts (farming/harvesting people's muscles and other visceral bits). My husband specifically mentioned the aliens raising humans on steroids and their muscles being harvested from the then-living person. All humans are chipped (locator chips) and they each have X-Men-style mutations (e.g., main character can "sense" the aliens, one guy has telekinesis, one girl gets brief glimpses into the future -- chews on her knuckle during this -- and another girl can craft small items as long as she can see/visualize them -- she created a razor blade from a picture). The protagonists live in a submarine and are guided/instructed by an (male) AI who wants to kick the aliens off Earth.Here there be spoilersCollapse )

Thanks for your attention!

EDIT: Thanks to those who responded quickly and correctly, as well as this brilliant community for making the discovery possible!

The Book is Shade's Children by Garth Nix.

So long ago...Book found! The Tightrope Walker-D. Gilman

I read this book in the 80's and it had a very C.S. Lewis Lion, Witch and Wardrobe feel to it. There is no telling when it was written although I think it was kind of contemporary for the time. I remember the main protaganist was attempting to contact or find a reclusive author that had written a book that had tremendously influenced her (I think it was a her). Along the way she meets some other people that end up helping her. I distinctly remember that they had to go through a maze that was in the author's yard (it seems to me that the author had a rather large estate in the middle of a city) and the maze had a lot to do with the author's book kingdom...sorry, that's all that I remember. Oh, and I'm fairly sure the author in the book was female.

Maybe a ghost story?

I can remember reading this book somewhere between 1999 to 2001ish, and even then it had a bit of a retro cover so it is probably older than that. I don't remember much, but the book is a story about a little girl living in a house and she finds a dollhouse in the attic. The dollhouse is acting out the death of its previous owner. The girl finds words scribbled in crayon that say something like HELP ME and later on she gets pushed into the attic wall or maybe a laundry shoot or dumbwaiter by a bad character and she FINDS THE DEAD GIRL'S CORPSE.

Any help is awesome. Thank you in advance!

Can't remember this book (obviously lol)

I would swear that I had downloaded this as an ebook but everything I've looked through in my ebooks that looks like it could be it, isn't it. I also have hundreds of ebooks downloaded and that doesn't help.

Basically the book I'm looking for was either a teen/new adult kind of book. All I can remember is that there was a girl who had a blog (or something kind of like this) and she kept bashing this band for some reason or another. The obvious plotline is she falls in love with the main singer in the band (I believe).

Its driving me insane trying to figure out what it was, and unfortunately I think I'll just have to give up lol

Horse Books for kids

Okay, here goes:

Back in the early 80's I read a book about famous racehorses (it was probably much older than the 80s, this was a very small school/library).
Each entry highlighted a specific horse (Man O' War, Battleship, Exterminator, ect.) from early to mid 20th century racing and had a beautiful pencil drawing of each.

The other book was a collection of stories that I read in the late 80s. One of the stories was "Throw your heart over" about a jumper and his rider, who I THINK might have been paralyzed or in braces??  There were other great stories in the book, but that's the title of the only one I remember.

Can anyone help me out?

YA; Maze, Betrayal, Dystopian? Grave Decision

Okay so I found this when I was looking up "The Future of Us". Ergo, it's a SF novel, but I'm not so sure how "hard," I.e. how advanced the society is. I THINK it's set in the "present," I.e. 2014. These youths--two? Three? male and one female--are forced to run a maze and at the end they have to decide whether to kill their former best friend who has plans to destroy the world. I BELIEVE they've seen a future where he's done it BUT in the present he hasn't, so do they kill someone who is still technically "innocent"? The cover features a maze in amber-gold/pale honey-orange on a black/white background, but it's pseudo 3-D, casting shadows or looked at from a weird camera angle, NOT flat like on the cover of Legend. Title MAY contain "Future". Thanks in advance for the help!

Kid's book about the zodiac *FOUND*

This is a book I read and loved in middle school back in the early 90's or so. I went back to the school library years later and never could find it again. The main character was a girl, I think, who wanted to help her friend's dad build his ship, but he didn't have the materials for it. Somehow she ends up (like Alice) in this fantasy world which is basically the place where everything in our world is made...like there's little gnomes constructing grass and trees and so on. And as she goes through she meets the zodiac creatures, and each one of them gives her something to help build the ship...I remember Libra was actually a swan. I could probably rewrite the book myself, but I haven't been able to find it anywhere. Does it sound familiar to anyone?

Book about underground creatures

So there's this book I want to reread but I forgot the name of the author and the title. All I remember is that there's a boy, his younger sister, and his parents, who move to some new house. There's a forest in the backyard and one day the girl goes in and finds things, like a book and a bat. It's mostly about these underground creatures who's forest is being threatened by construction workers, and at one point the boy gives up his eye to one of the creatures so they can see better.

classic sf story about a super-smart computer

I first read this story in one of my dad's SF books printed on pulp, you know, the 50- or 75-cent books with the red edges to the pages, so probably 60's or so. This was one story in a collection, only about 3 pages long. There's some sort of intelligence, I think it's a computer, and many people come to it, because it knows all the answers. One of the groups of beings that come to it travel between the stars gathering purple. Another of those groups becomes 9 whenever 8 of them gather, which is part of the Law of 8. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Book about a locked park

Hi all,

I'm looking for a children's book, which I would have read around the mid-1980s and which felt reasonably contemporary at the time. The only real thing that I remember about it is that it was all about a locked park in the middle of a town, but the protagonist (can't remember if it was a girl or a boy) found a way of getting into it. There was also a scene that involved a laundromat, and that is genuinely all I can remember.

Any ideas?

Sci fi novel?

I read this book in the library back in the late 90's. I had a feeling it was in the Andre Norton section but I can't find it again. The basic premise was that a woman ended up on this alien world, crash-landed, maybe with some other people. Somehow she ends up teaming up with this alien who basically is a cat-man of some kind? Tail, fur, that kind of thing. She hates him at first, but of course there's a romance between the two of them and I have no idea what else happened. Any ideas?

YA post apocalyptic novel

Okay, back around 1990/91 I read a book (could have been published in the 80s) about a young woman/teen (might have been a boy, not sure) who survived a nuclear war. The valley she lived in escaped the radiation? but everyone but her died somehow?
There were two streams in this valley, she determined one was safe to drink from, the other not b/c of dead plants and fish in it. She may have had a dog.
At some point, a man/boy? came from 'outside' in a survival suit. I don't remember much of what happened between them, but in the end I think he died, or she left him in the valley (sick?) and she took the suit and set off in the wasteland in search of survivors. I think she was pulling her supplies in a wagon.
Anyone have a clue? I don't know the title or author.


I've been tormented by this book series for months. I read it approximately 10 years ago, when I was in middle school.

Every few months, I'll have a flash of a memory of it and then *poof*, it's gone the next morning and I don't remember even thinking of it in the first place.

The book series has this young boy, twelve or thirteen maybe, who goes off into this bizarre land of magic and stuffs. He meets a girl who teaches him *barely* any magic. The only thing I can remember him actually getting was the incantation to light a candle. The last bit of it went something along the lines of "burn bright, flame light". It seemed like everyone was able to use magic, they just had to remember the actual incantations (which were super long).

She may or may not have been an elf. Sorry if this is the most vague request ever given, but I can't remember much else right now.

Book for a friend on Whale Shipping


I wanted to surprise a friend with a book. He described it as a book he read about 20 years ago when he was 10 years old (so it may have been popular at the time). The main character is a young man who spends a few years on a whaling ship and the thing that keeps him going is his love for a woman. But when he returns from the trip, he realizes he no longer needs her.

I realize that's not a lot of details, but hopefully someone can help.



(no subject)

I read a book from my (Canadian) library in 2005ish, but it could have been published in the 1980s or 90s easily, about a teenage boy who travelled through time. In the first couple chapters I remember he tosses out a letter to/from his grandmother because his family always does that because she's gone a bit funny and he gets curious and opens it (the envelope has ketchup or mustard on it now). I don't remember what it says, though. Something happens and he's thrown back in time to a small village beside a river, and they live in caves in the side of a cliff I think. At one point there's a scene where he shaves and draws an audience and explains it as something his people do to show that they are men, and makes a joke about performing at the same time tomorrow morning.
At one point he fights a mountain lion or bear while on a trail, and designs a water wheel for the village so they don't have to go so far for water from the river or something. After he's been living with the village for a while there's a festival of some sort and he dances with a girl he's been spending time with which apparently means something but he doesn't realize it until later.
There's a woman living separately from the village with an odd name, and when he returns to his present he meets a baby cousin(?) with the same name and he realizes that he hadn't travelled to the past but the future and everything's going to go to hell in a handbasket soon.
I'm sorry I don't remember more but I thought I found the book and bought it only to find that it's the wrong book and I've been wracking my brains for weeks with no success.

Siblings play school, boy fidgets with fingers

Looking for a children's book that I read around 1995 (?) in Canada. I suspect it was a library book that a younger sibling of mine had borrowed.

It was a beginner chapter-book, illustrated with coloured line drawings. It's about a sister and her younger brother; they are playing school. The sister is being the teacher - she has called herself 'Mrs. Humphries' or something like that - and when her brother goofs off and shows her a funny thing he can do by twisting his hands around, the sister takes it in stride and says something along the lines of, "Mrs. Humphries says that involves six fingers."

Any ideas? Thanks!

What was that... comic book?

This is a bit of a tough one as I am passing it on from a friend who read it in Durban back when I suppose such things would have been supressed. I don't read many comics so any helpful advice is appreciated.

1.       Underground comic style, eg Robert Crumb, and may even be Robert Crumb although I don’t remember it that way

2.       ‘Hero’ is large vaguely monstrous character and the name ‘Balzac’ comes to mind but that might be plain wrongly remembered

3.       I think it was either French or from France

4.       I saw it around 1981 but may have been older

Trying to find a book I read at the library years ago?

It was in the children's section...well, technically it was on the TinTin Rocket Stand (I love TinTin, Asterix, etc) and that's where all of those type of books were shelved.

It was the same large illustrated trade paperback format as both of those, and I possibly think it might have been in French, but don't quote me on that ;)

It was about a rocket crew, there was a male pilot, and there was a female character who may have been either a co-pilot or a scientist, or just a damsel in distress, she wore one of those silly sci-fi short dress uniforms like on star trek tho.

I think they went to an alien planet, and something happened, and by the end of it they had to escape and fly away from the planet? It kind of reminded me of Flash Gordon a little bit?

Of course, any/all of that could be wrong so please *begs* suggest ANYTHING at all! I will look at everything to try and find this book!

I can't remember the name of this book to save my life.

I remember reading part of this book a long time ago, but I can't think of the name. All I really remember about it is that it's from this girl's point of view, and she's talking about how she had this "friend." She would make the narrator play house with her, in this tiny closet I think, and the narrator would always end up playing the dad. Her "friend" would make her do things, and had them play even when they got older, or something like that, it's really hard to remember. It was one of the weirdest books I've ever read, but since I never finished it, it hasn't really escaped the back of my head.
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YA novel about the son of a serial killer

I will start with the fact that I read it in grade 10 English. It would have been 2000. Now that doesn't mean the book came out in 2000, we also read the third eye by Lois Duncan. I had I I will start with the fact that I read it in grade 10 English. It would have been 2000. Now that doesn't mean the book came out in 2000, we also read the third eye by Lois Duncan. I had thought the author was Lois Duncan but it doesn't appear to be that way.

The main thing I remember about the book is a quarry that highschool kids would hang out at. But there was one teenage boy and his female friend that I can remember. The boy was the son of a serial killer, who, if I remember correctly, burried the bodies in his back yard. His son was getting picked on and bullied because of his dad. They burned a cross or something on his front yard. He and the female friend eventually got close. He was sadly killed at the end of the book and I believe he was killed at the quarry.

It's vague, I know. I am sorry. The author is or was fairly popular and wrote a bunch of books in the same genre. But I can't remember their name!!!

HELP! Can't remember Title of book or Author...

Not sure if I even have the story right, it's been about 32 years since I read it but enjoyed it very much... from what I remember this was about a young girl who was not very attractive at all, i think she went into the woods and met a witch who then befriended her and taught her powers... she used these powers to slowly keep turning herself beautiful. This is all I can recall! I just remember liking it so much..

Religious queer women and a fantasy refugee camp

I read or skimmed this book in the US no later than 2006, and I would love to know what it was! I believe it was fantasy, with a female main character who is traveling across the land with several companions. At the end of the first book, she and her companions enter a refugee camp. Things are looking down for the characters at this point; it felt like the setup for a sequel.

The main character falls in love (or at least has romantic tension with?) one of her female companions. She is spiritual/religious, and I remember that towards the end she meets someone who tells her that the religious figure she follows (vaguely Jesus, but not using that name) never said anything against same-sex relationships, even though the people who interpret the religious figure's words are against it.

I think it might have had a subdued brown/tan cover, but that might also be my emotional impression of the prose.

I wasn't out to myself back then, but now I really want to reread it properly!

Fiction Novel

I read this book back in 2007 or so while in a creative writing class in college. I can't, for the life of me, remember the title, author, or plot points! All I remember is that the main character is a young girl, and the author/character voice uses made up words sometimes. I remember the book cover being yellow and red, and it has a rather long title.

I know this is a long shot, but I've been trying desperately to find this book and read it again.

Help is appreciated!

1950s amateur archaeologist?

I remember reading a book as a kid in the 80s, but the book was probably from the 50s or 60s. It was about a young boy who was fascinated by nature and American Indians, and prized a particular arrowhead that his grandfather had given him. Grandfather in question was disabled and really needed a wheelchair. The boy read about a contest to find the best Indian artifact and win a $50 prize - enough to buy his grandfather a wheelchair. Kid is stoked, and naturally finds a cave with an Indian burial site or something. He carefully excavates the skull and a few items included with the skeleton, and sneaks off with his treasure to the big city to try to claim the prize. He finds out the contest is over but the man in charge of the prize is so amazed by the find that he gives the kid $100, and yay, wheelchair for grandpa!

Anyone know the title/author?

Seeking SF short story - mental powers

My husband has been trying to remember the name/author of a short story for years. He says:

Here’s what I remember, roughly. It’s been many years and it’s always possible I’ve conflated two stories or altered details. Sometimes when I’ve read things many years later they don’t resemble my memory as much as I’d expect. But I am moderately confident in this description.

I read the story around 1984, so it cannot have been much later than that, and I expect it was probably from the 1950’s or 1960’s because of the style and what I was reading at the time (a lot of “post golden era” sci fi from people like Isaac Asimov).

It was in some sort of collection of short stories – don’t know if it was published originally in a magazine, but I’d expect it might have been, considering how sci fi was often published back then.

The story is (nominally) about a guy who suddenly develops almost limitless mental powers (but it’s really more about our narrator). I don’t think they’re called psychic powers, but one could think of them that way. However, our narrator is either his friend/colleague or, more likely as I remember it, a member of the team of government people who comes to investigate the guy who develops the powers.

At one point, they test power-guy (who, as I recall, was a relatively unassuming sort of average Joe – perhaps a university professor or similar figure). It’s got a sort of cold-war vibe to it. Government worried about the guy being used as a weapon. When they test him they’ve placed some information about several locations and forces in a manila envelope, and he’s sitting in an armchair in his house, I think. They ask him to locate the military units in question and report on them, and maybe stop/inhibit them if he can. I think he’s supposed to do this without opening the envelope, but maybe they were going to show it to him.

As soon as they say go, or are going to hand him the envelope, he just says something like, “It’s done.” They don’t believe him, and immediately call to check. He’s instantly done everything. One of the things I remember clearly is that there’s an image of the guns of a destroyer or battleship basically being twisted into pretzels. (Nothing blown up, no people killed, as I recall.)

Our narrator has a positive relationship with power-guy, and I think they have discussions about using the powers to help the government, but I’m uncertain about that point.

I don’t recall how he got his powers, and I don’t think it’s fully explained. I think he basically “realized” something. But there are other points I do recall more clearly. Power-guy chooses to disappear. He doesn’t want to be detained by the government or work for them or help them, and I don’t know if they were going to try to force him or not. Our narrator wasn’t going to twist his arm, but the way I remember it he didn’t help him escape because he didn’t have to – power-guy just wasn’t there when they came to look for him one day.

The other thing I remember relatively clearly is the end. Our narrator has been talking to us this whole time, telling us this story retrospectively. Power-guy left him a note before he disappeared (this may be mentioned early on in the story), and our narrator didn’t completely understand it at first, but he has come to understand it.

The story ends on our narrator deciding to disappear, as well. The note power-guy has left our narrator has somehow revealed the secret of the powers to him – giving him his own choice of helping the government or not. And in the last paragraph or so this is revealed and he makes the choice to disappear, himself.

This ending is a surprise. We don’t expect that as he begins telling us the story that he has these powers, or that he’s about to disappear. (He may be leaving the story for us as a note, I don’t recall clearly.) We’re definitely surprised by these developments in the last page or paragraph. It’s part of why it stood out in my mind.

I’m not sure how much else I can remember. That’s about it. It was probably by a relatively famous author, in that it was in a collection my school had, and I was mostly reading relatively well known authors.

It MAY – just maybe – be from a collection containing this Asimov story: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell-Fire which I remember from the same period. It’s the sort of thing I was reading then – was written in 1956, had the same vibe, etc.

FOUND: "The Report on the Barnhouse Effect" by Kurt Vonnegut

Early (1900-1920) post apocalyptic novel

I think I read this on Gutenberg originally, but I didn't save it. :(

I believe the publish date (or the setting date) was around 1912/15? Somewhere b/t 1900 and 1920.

A man wakes up in a ruined office building/NYC. All the furniture is dust. There is a woman near him, who also wakes up.

They have slept around a thousand or so years. They have an adventure across America,using a plane from the time. They find a huge chasm in the midwest/Mississippi region. They fly the plane down this chasm. It is miles deep.

They find a primitive people there, and set out to restart civilization again up on the 'surface'.

Anyone have a clue?

Children's book - ghosts/supernatural beings help out children

Hi all,

I've been trying to find this children's book series. The premise was children from all over the world would write to this ghost council of sorts that was headed up by a wind spirit (?) whose name was Stormy, asking for help for whatever situation. They ghosts/ghouls/supernatural beings would meet, choose one kid (by lottery, I think), and send someone to help them achieve whatever they wanted/resolve any issues. I don't remember any of the exact plots but I have vague recollections about how one involved helping a kid save enough money to buy a pair of running shoes and win a race? The ghosts would take regular human form but would revert to their original form at midnight for an hour.

I did not read the books in Engliss, but I'm very certain that the main ghost/spirit's name was Stormy - the English word, so maybe it was a translation thing.

Thanks in advance!

Young adult novel from at least 25 years ago....

So - the book is about a a teenage girl, who is beginning to realize she could be a witch. There is a boy who is older, and is a love interest. He is a photographer at the school, and at some point it is revealed that he has taken a photograph that has a blurred image of her in it - he has a secret crush on her.
There is a scene where there is some kind of magical trance involving a hot bath, and a hallucination involving the letters tamhtab (bathmat).
It's possible there is an antagonist who has a shop called bric-au-brac.


There was this book that I can't remember the name of or the author but I think the name is Labyrinth, not sure though. So the book is kind of in the past(??) and there is a way going on but there are machines that are hybrids of animals. So there is this prince that has to escape onto one of the hybrid animals, I think it was a whale of some sort. And while that is happening, a girl disguised herself as a boy to be on the whale ship because it was her dream or something. I think there are 3 books to this but I can't remember the name or author(ugh) so I thought I could post about it here. So if any of you have an idea please comment(??) (sorry I'm new at this) FOUND!! Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. Thank you!!