What was that book?

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Identifying forgotten book titles and authors based on details of plot, characters, cover art, etc.
This community is no longer active. Please check out the final post and ask your question at Dreamwidth.

This community reunites people with the books they've lost! We were featured in the lj_spotlight in October 2006 and at least once a few years later. As a result, this is by far the largest community of its kind here on LiveJournal. We have a good success rate, thanks to the tireless assistance provided by and for our many members.

The concept is simple: If you've lost a book (short stories, plays, or poems are also fine), post an entry with as much information as you can, and community members will try to help you locate your book.

Most entries follow this basic format:

I read this book a long time ago, and it was about [a unicorn and a maiden/a boy who discovers he's a wizard/a cat who solves a mystery]. [Then follows as many details of the plot as the poster can dredge out of their memory.] Does anyone know what book I mean? Thanks!

The more details of the plot and/or characters you can provide, the better, and it also helps if you know when and where (including country) you read it. Even things like 'it may have been published by Scholastic' or details of illustrations or cover art can be useful! Try not to say 'I read it in sixth grade' without letting us know how long ago that was - we don't know how old you are. :)

Please tag your posts! If you truly have no idea of any details then the 'lost the book' tag will be fine. If you do have a vague idea of details then please check the tags in the sidebar of the community, it only takes a second to do and would be very much appreciated.

We do have a 'found book' tag and a 'lost book' tag. Only maintainers can delete them; we have several maintainers who handle tags and check the posts. If at all possible, please edit your post to say 'this is the book' when it has been identified; however, please do not delete your original description of the lost book or add strike-throughs to the text! Other members of the community may be seeking the same book, and your post may help them identify it.

LJ-cuts are not mandatory except for explicit descriptions, but most people use them for very long posts and any possible spoilers, as well.

When posting, please make certain that your post is submitted as public, rather than friends-locked or otherwise filtered. Also, please do not override the default font in postings to this community, and please leave comments unscreened.

Multiple inquiries are allowed within the same post.

Please note that whatwasthatbook is no longer a moderated community, so your posts should appear immediately. Posts with multiple tags will be held for moderation. This policy will be reviewed if spammers attack. EDITED AUG 2015: sadly, this has had to change, and the community is now moderated. We will do everything possible to post your entry quickly.

This community was created to serve a fairly specific function, and to that end, posts to the community should be limited to identification requests about books, short stories, poems, or plays published in print format. If you would like to identify an item of some other form of media, the following communities might be helpful:

whatwasthatfilm -- for identification of movies and TV shows
whatwasthatsong -- for identification of songs
whatwasthatone -- for identification of anything from songs and movies to websites and clothing/accessory brand names

If you are looking for book recommendations or other general information about books, authors, etc., the following communities may be a good starting point:


If you are looking for a place to purchase hard-to-find books, you might try the following websites, which are collective marketplaces where thousands of small and specialty booksellers list their stock for sale:



Community info last updated 25 September 2012.
adult, authors, book title, children and kids, comedy, fantasy, fiction and non fiction, general book search, horror, librarians, looking for a book, lost a book, remembering books, romance, saying aha! library, sci-fi, writers, young adult

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