Listling Without Commentary: Readers’ Descriptions Of Long-Lost Books From

Ever struggle to recall the name of a book you read and perhaps even loved? Annoyed that none of your friends can remember what the title is of that book about the Japanese guy looking for his missing wife that involves a weird teenage girl and maybe a well or a parallel universe or something?

On, passionate readers can crowdsource figuring out “what the hell the book was called.” It’s a brilliant concept for a website. Unfortunately many readers never get the answers they seek and sometimes what’s more shocking is those that do, such as “Girl’s step-mom drinking her period blood” (“Innocence” by Jane Mendelsohn) and “book from 70s/80s, girl named Laura, goes to Catskills for summer with parents, comes back to NY alone, gets drunk and gets in trouble, sees Woody Allen” (“The Rise and Fall of a Teenage Wacko” by Mary Anderson). There are a lot of people out there looking for a book about a teenager who falls in love with a ghost, sidenote.

Below we have listed the subject lines from 40 of the nearly 5,000 posts created by users of the whatsthatbook Fiction Forum.

40 Book Descriptions From What’s That Book Dot Com:

1. wealthy southern family who got rich with early airconditioning w/ fat heroine who gardens

2. woman electrecutes overbearing mother in law via the lawnmower

3. Narrated by cat in small village, maybe English, dog kills evil nurse

4. Looking for a book about a biracial girl who goes with her mother and friend to a lesbian beach

5. burned girl lives by cemetary talks to dead, dead have jobs, one is a baby that always cries

6. girl killed in car wreck father puts her brain in a gorilla’s

7. girl goes on a ship. has lice. whips an old man. and finds out many crew secrets

8. lonely girl experiments with male and female lovers before being attacked by her stalker on the final page

9. A couple who doesn’t want kids, he then does, she doesn’t, they fight break up, she then finds out she is pregnant, she goes to abort, she can’t do it, they live happy.

10. a girl visits her grandma and meets an immigrant clown

11. French Nuns in Middle Ages Go Insane, Supposedly Based on Real Events

12. A book where people don’t want to grow up and eventually they kill themselves?

13. Single mum starts a relationship with a clown/balloon animal maker who lives on a canal boat

14. Historical Romance two women travel west (california?) to become brides

15. skinny attractive wealthy woman w short bob – in Hong Kong + lots of parties + bombing

16. Young adult/kid’s, 1990’s – people with huge teeth, heads rest on carts

17. A woman is raised by wolves becomes wild, one baby she has dies and she eats the baby like she saw her wolf mother do

18. A man who didn’t like dogs who grew to love a dog

19. two children walk to school, one gets hit by car

20. Woman jogging finds dead baby, baby had bad disease, set in small town, ends up pregnant at end of book

21. FAERY KILLER, girl moves into new place and neighbour is weird big guy who is a sculptor, turns out he is murdering faeries for sculptures

22. underwater team discovers between plates of ocean floor a perfect society that can recycle souls

23. Girl gets off of train to get brother a donut and train takes off

24. Book from 2000-present, about a girl and a polar bear NOT NORTHERN LIGHTS

25. Boy’s parents buy him a realistic red-headed robot girlfriend.

26. Book about a girl who lives with her grandmother at the sea side. They eat slugs.

27.  Niki is Olympic diver then tobacco farmer then campaigns against cigarette companies

28. an ex-Texas Ranger private eye who is adept in judo and plays bridge at master level

29. mix- up at sperm bank, soilder donor meets fullfigured pregnant woman, she throws up

30. Read in early 90s, woman works in corporate world, dies, and wakes up in hell.

31. crime story about some bad guys victimized by a cannibalistic hermit

32. Book about apple orchards and brainwashing. 1997.

33. Two boys grow up together, father gets shot, kittens drown, homosexual relationship

34. Read late 80s-Boarding school (?) Evil girls, laxatives, fancy red dress

35. Book about man that lures children to house of pleasure and then they can’t leave, house is alive

36. written around 1950’s with main character running in a cabbage patch wearing a diaper at end of novel

37. romance: girl has to do hard labor in fields, sold nude on auction block, then finds love

38. a guy who time travels by jumping over a pit with a bear running around it to an island and theres a plane and a witch?????

39. Book about Muffin and a goth girl?

40. fiction book about wolves- no human interaction though

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3198 articles for us.


    • Me too, I didn’t have a clue what was going on until the end. I recently bought I Was Amelia Earhart by the same author. I’m hoping it won’t be as weird, though it’s out of print and I bought it secondhand, from a market stall, so I’m not hedging my bets.

      • i love ‘i was amelia earhart’! had no idea it was out of print. it’s a little gem.

  1. Oh my, I’ve totally read #6. I think it was called Eva, and yeah, it was a weird book.

    • I think I’ve read something like this, too, but it was definitely a chimpanzee. And a short story, not a book.

      • And the father died and didn’t leave any record of who she was and she basically had to fend for herself.

        Maybe I’m thinking of a different thing altogether.

        • I think you might be. I googled the book and it’s the one I’m thinking of. Weird to know there’s more than one author who wrote on this topic.

    • eva by peter dickinson? that book was craazy. I remember the scene where she wakes up from the coma and can’t move in that moment only realising that she can no longer see the blurry form of her nose in the corner of her eyes. creepy shit yo

  2. omg this is amazing – guess what I’m doing at work for the rest of the day (hint: it’s not work)

  3. “18. A man who didn’t like dogs who grew to love a dog” sounds like a gripping read. A real page-turner.

  4. I’m pretty sure these are more entertaining than the actual books.
    I’m definitely intrigued by “16. Young adult/kid’s, 1990’s – people with huge teeth, heads rest on carts”

    • it sounds familiar, but all the anecdotes, history, rumors, legends, fact, etc. from Catholic school are one mass blur, so of course it would.

    • i would really like to read the one about the biracial girl who goes with her mother and friend to a lesbian beach

  5. 38 is Enchantment by Orson Scott Card. Actually really good (as always, buy it used cause he’s a homophobic jerk in real life).

    is 7 the True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle? I haven’t read it since like, middle school, but I think she cuts off all her hair at some point, so…lice?

    • 38. Baba Yaga was that bitch…Enchantment was a great book

      Fuck Orson Scott Card, seriously. How can someone so creative be so backwards?
      Don’t even buy it used, borrow the book and support your local library.

      • AMEN. That’s a good thought.

        But if you do like Card, I think it’s one of his best novels. Also if you like Russian/Ukrainian history. And fairy tales. I like all of those things. Except his politics and the fact that if I buy his books the proceeds might go to NOM.

        • I really enjoyed his books until I found out that he probably didn’t want ME reading them…What’s a girl to do?

          As I type this I can see Shadow of the Giant in my bookcase…

          • If you like his books don’t read Folk of the Fringe, cause it’s fucking insulting and the only book I think I’ve ever thrown away. Also Marika, good call on The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, I could totally see that being what they’re thinking of.

      • Glad I’m not the only one who enjoys the writing but is upset by the man responsible. Enchantment is really very good!

    • Oh my god I was just thinking of The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle the other day! This is so weird haha, I never thought anyone else had ever read that. I loved that book. I read it over and over. I DON’T KNOW WHY.

      • What do you mean you don’t know why? The high seas! Mutiny! Strong teenage female protagonist! And Avi, master of the YA twist ending. It had everything!

        (Obviously, I also loved it, and kind of want to find a copy now.)

        • OMG! i forgot id even read this! Charlotte Doye got FRONTPAGE on the scholastic book fair flyers so i HAD to buy it. i dont remember anthing but her hair flapping in the seabreeze. That, combined w Avi’s lack of last name, reminded me of Fabio. These are my only feelings.

          And #28 sounds like The Autobiography of Chuck Norris

          • I agree! No. 28 needs to be titled something like, “Chuck Norris: The Golden Years”

        • Haha I mean I’d totally forgotten what it was mostly about, and also the cover makes it seem so silly now. I kind of want to read it again though… My parents have it somewhere, with all my old books… :B

  6. Teenager who falls in love with a ghost could be the Mediator series by Jenny Carrol. Read those like crazy in middle school.

  7. haha some of these sound so weird. i wonder how many are different books remembered together.

    was 21 an episode of Charmed?

  8. Most of these sound more like my dreams/nightmares than books…

    35. is definitely “The Thief of Always” by Clive Barker, and I think I read the book about the girl whose boyfriend is a ghost (possibly a whole series of them?) A couple others seem familiar too.

  9. hmm I think at least half of these must have been dreams that people had. and then they misremembered them as books.

  10. SCORE. found the book about the kid who gets these really rad shoes that he wanted for his birthday, but then they sucked, and he broke his tv throwing the sucky shoe at it. been trying to track that down for a while (i don’t know why, by the way). only took like 30 seconds on that site.

  11. I was about to say I’d read 3., as a cat with nine lives in Eng;and seems familiar, then I remembered it was the Crestomanci series by Diana Wynne Jones. Which has nothing to do with cats.

  12. For some reason, I’m convinced 40 might be The Sight by David Clement-Davies, despite the fact that ‘fiction book about wolves’ could describe literally half a library’s worth of books.


    • !!! that one made my girlfriend and I laugh out loud and made me want to add “also, the house is alive” to the end of all my sentences

  14. #7 is The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, by Avi…. and the book in the intro is Wind-Up Bird Chronicle :)

  15. What’s truly amazing is that for every zany, half-remembered description, there’s someone out there who remembers the book and can tell you what it was called.

  16. Totally unrelated, but I’m about to come out to my dad, and I’m super nervous! eeep, help me straddlers.

  17. “26. Book about a girl who lives with her grandmother at the sea side. They eat slugs.”

    I am going to have nightmares.

    • Just remember Ron barfing up slugs and then either laugh or cry more (
      for me, it depends on the day but I always had to fast-forward through that part of the movie when I was a kid).

  18. I love how quickly the comment section turned into a list of book recommendations. I love you guys.

    • If I had to describe it I would’ve probably included the whole “robot girl runs away from boy who’s family bought her and gets herself a vagina so she can fuck who she wants” part

  19. A boy has a lightning scar on his forehead, I think his parents are dead, a weird guy that doesn’t have a nose is after him, also there’s something about “horcruxes”?

  20. #5–the ‘dead have jobs’ part reminds me of Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin. But I don’t think the other stuff happened so I’m probably wrong or the person is wrong or whatever. Anyway I like that book. You die and age backwards and return to earth as a baby via riverwickerbabybasket. I think Elvis was in this book?

  21. 17. A woman is raised by wolves becomes wild, one baby she has dies and she eats the baby like she saw her wolf mother do

    “Fang” or “Fangs”…I remember the story pretty vividly. She ends up with a whole brood of feral inbred children she produces with a vagabond murderer.

    It’s a book you stumble across in a used book store and never see again.

  22. This isn’t a book, but does anyone remember a video of two girls having sex and one was reading a book (I want to say something by Fitzgerald) out loud? I think I saw it through this site and it was SO AWESOME and I’ve been trying to find it for months. I love you, Autostraddlers.

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