File under: stuff you find while looking for something else.
It's a thing that happens with readers: perhaps we gobble up a couple of dozen books a year (wink wink).
In six years, that's a gross. Fast forward ten or twenty years, and frankly, who knows how many books. Some books remain vivid, but the majority tend to –– fade.
Highlights linger like the memory of a dream, fragmented but compelling. Perhaps a title or something about the situation or characters, or the appearance of the book itself will persist.
And while some people can simply let it go...others will be haunted.
It was, she told me, about a group of theater-mad children who staged shows in their English village. She looked for it at every used bookstore, but when I told her I'd located a copy (ah! early days of the internet!), she shied away from actually getting it. She said she didn't want to find it like that. She admitted she'd rather not test her memory of its charms.
Googling it today, I see that the book was made into a British television series in the 1980's, as well as older "radio plays.' There are recent paperback editions, and ebook versions. Huh. Turns out Mumsie was not the only one who loved the story.
Countless other folks are likewise looking or volumes that they only partly remember.
Ask any bookseller or librarian for their war-stories ("It was a suspense novel set in the American Southwest. The cover was yellow. Can you find it?").
For a couple of bucks, Loganberry Books helps the hive mind focus on your need.
The Library of Congress has a page of suggestions for how to find lost books/lost lyrics and more. The LoC site links to a veritable warren of rabbit holes, by the way, if you are so inclined (declined?) to potter around chasing other people's trails.
Like this Reddit page, this specific one, and so. many. more. <shakes head vigorously>
So if you have a vague recollection of a book about a thing, set in that place? The one you picked up at the Strand bookstore or the long-lost White Horse Books?
You can probably find it if you want to spend a bit of time.
And if not, man are there some great books out there waiting to be read. Hit me up for a recommendation if you like.
Stay safe, friends.