Questions tagged [identification-request]

Questions asking for identification of a story, book, or author, based on descriptive details provided within the question. Please be thorough and provide ALL of the details that you can remember when using this tag. (For questions seeking the original source of a known quote, use the [quote-source] tag instead.)

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42
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2answers
9k views

Did Gaiman and Pratchett troll an interviewer who thought they were religious fanatics?

TVTropes says: In real life: Gaiman and Pratchett did a radio interview when the book came out, and slowly realized that the interviewer wasn't aware that the book was fictional, and thought they ...
27
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1answer
7k views

English short story where a wife makes an investigation officer eat the murder weapon

I remember reading this English short story during my school days; it was part of our English curriculum 18-19 years ago. Plot: It starts with a wife killing her husband with turkey or chicken or ...
22
votes
1answer
458 views

Looking for a poem about the (fictionalized) writing of The Canterbury Tales Prologue

A friend of mine used to quote a poem that told the fictionalized story of Chaucer writing the first lines of the Prologue of The Canterbury Tales: "Whan that Aprill with his ... ". When he ...
20
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4answers
4k views

In what Chinese fairy tale does a painter disappear into his own painting?

The online description of Rüdiger Safranski's book Wieviel Wahrheit braucht der Mensch? begins with the following sentence: In einem berühmten chinesischen Märchen verschwindet der Maler in seinem ...
19
votes
1answer
122 views

Short story about an atomic energy agency van, with a funny surprise ending

My question is about a short-story with a surprise ending. The story is about an atomic energy agency van that accidentally gets off the road down a steep slope and hits a small tree. People on ...
18
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1answer
2k views

Sci-Fi Short Story - Life Saving Weight Loss

I recall a short story I read in High School. We read it in English class so it was likely published in an anthology intended for use in schools. (This was in Scotland in the 1970's if that helps.) ...
18
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1answer
1k views

Story about child slavery and mutilated body parts?

Can someone help me identify this story about child slavery? I read this last year in my English class and its a book about slavery. Synopsis: The Protagonist is a young male who collects unmarked ...
17
votes
2answers
701 views

Short story about a man condemned to death because he cannot remember the details about a country

I once read a short story about a man (a journalist?) visiting a prison inmate. He was incarcerated for a crime he did not commit, and it was a case of mistaken identity or insufficient alibi. The ...
16
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1answer
2k views

Children’s poem about a boy stuck between the tracks on the underground

When I was young I used to love Michael Rosen. Don’t put mustard in the custard and lots of silly ones like that. I also remember that there was a darker poem in one of the poem compilation books set ...
16
votes
1answer
1k views

Science fiction short story with the ability to jump from world to world

I read this not long ago, maybe a year. It was either a short story or a novella, certainly not longer. Read in English, in the US. The story was definitely older though, no clue exactly when but ...
16
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0answers
249 views

What is this mid-20th century British adventure novel?

I’d like help finding a novel I loved as a child. The points I can remember: It was set and written in mid-20th century England, perhaps the 1950s. Perhaps aimed at schoolchildren of the time - a ...
15
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1answer
2k views

1960s kids book with "invisible" dust which people think improves everything but doesn't actually exist

In the 1960s, my grammar school (grades 1-8) encouraged us to buy cheap kids books; they had lists and we checked off what we wanted and paid for them. They were cheap; these were not new releases, ...
15
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1answer
175 views

African dystopia with children on the run

This is a book I read in 4th grade, so about 2012-2013. This was in English and in the US. This wasn't really a sci-fi novel that I remember, but definitely dystopian. It was set in the future of an ...
15
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1answer
255 views

Juvenile literature about a group of children living in a castle, looking for a treasure

There were at least two books, although I only recall the plot of the first one. They were paperbacks, probably about octavo dimensions, fairly short as I remember them, under a hundred pages. I read ...
15
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1answer
313 views

Overpopulated world, where volunteers are being taken to be converted to food

I've read a lot of stories over the years, and Google is not being kind to my search terms (it probably flagged something with NSA or Homeland Security, too). The book I'm thinking of is set in an ...
14
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1answer
959 views

Short story about a detective and criminal who disguise themselves and interact while in pursuit

I read a short story around 1996 in the US. I think it was part of a 5th grade reader book (kind of a compilation of short stories at the appropriate reading level). I remember thinking the story was ...
14
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1answer
413 views

Short story in Russian about time travel and changing the history of WW2

I remember when I was a child (probably about 40 years ago), I read some story in a Russian book (I think its original language was Russian). The story is as follows: a man read some documentary book ...
14
votes
1answer
213 views

The name of a poem about a poet being happy that someone has forgotten the title of their poem

I read this poem in a collection and now I can't find it. It starts with the poet talking about how they were approached by someone who had loved one of their poems. But the reader could not remember ...
14
votes
1answer
372 views

An imaginary young British poet who was invented as a literary hoax in the 1920s?

I think I read a brief piece about this a long time ago -- as in, over twenty years ago. (Possibly in some sort of literary reference book.) As near as I can recall, the following sequence of events ...
14
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2answers
642 views

Identify a book, love triangle, death of a woman, no Personal Computers

I have read a book in the 90's, while I was a teen, but it is very likely it was published much earlier. I have been trying to find it on and off since. I do not remember character names. Sorry. ...
13
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2answers
3k views

What literary work is being referred to in this limerick in which "The earth, like an orange, is blue"?

In the blog post Famous Poems Rewritten as Limericks on LanguageHat.com (2 April 2018), a certain Trond Engen posted the following limerick: The earth, like an orange, is blue. Your love and your ...
13
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2answers
764 views

YA Adventure/Survival Novel, Written Late 1940's Through Late 1970's

I'm trying to find a YA novel that I read sometime between 1977 and 1980 from our public library (after I started reading "big books" in second grade, but before we moved from that town). Two notes: ...
13
votes
2answers
240 views

Can anyone remind me who wrote this essay about qualifying remarks? (Mark Twain, maybe?)

It might be Mark Twain or O.Henry. It discusses the shortcomings of that era's novels and short stories. Specifically, it parodies authors' remarks qualifying dialogue. The author of the essay claims ...
13
votes
1answer
663 views

Ogden Nash poem on hiccups

I have a vivid memory of reading a poem by Ogden Nash about hiccups that included the word "epiglottis" to help explain why they happen. I think it also had, as a poem, his quote about how &...
13
votes
1answer
590 views

Short story about Gentlemen being told a tale by a young woman

Trying to find the title of an old short story I read roughly 5 years ago. If memory serves, The protagonist was a man in his late 20s to early 30s and the story takes place in Europe shortly before ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

A girl, told that it's wonderful to live in Wales, goes off to live in a whale

This story came to me earlier today and now it's nagging at the edge of my brain. It was a short, somewhat silly, story, part of a collection that I read somewhere in the early 90s. I read it in the ...
13
votes
1answer
709 views

Identify a story about murders of homeless people

I remember 2 years ago reading a book in class about a retired soldier who lures homeless people into his house and murders them. I believe the plot went like this: Lets say the heroes name is X. ...
13
votes
1answer
478 views

Identify a book about a boy who has hypnotic powers

I remember this book fairly well. I'll try to provide what I remember about all points. Cover The cover was predominantly blue, with spirals across the whole thing. I think it had a person on it. ...
13
votes
1answer
160 views

Postmodernist fantasy with nested stories structure

Searching for a work of metafiction I read about five years ago, probably published originally in the early 2000s. It's a bizarre fable about a young man who develops an obsession with a girl, a ...
13
votes
1answer
294 views

Identify a Children's Book about a character who eats all his groceries on the way home

I'm trying to identify a book I used to read as a child (90s-00s) that I just barely remember. It was for young children, and I believe each page had a sentence or two along with an illustration. It ...
12
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1answer
2k views

Story about two siblings who run away from home and stay in a museum at night

I remember when I was a kid my dad read us a book about two children, brother and sister, who ran away from home, and stayed the night in a museum. They slept under a bed (that was an example of a ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Looking for an old O. Henry story about a wealthy young man trying to woo a "genteel poor" young lady in New York City

I'm trying to pin down a certain short story by O. Henry. I remember the plot quite well, but not the title, nor which book collection of O. Henry's stories I first encountered it within. And let's ...
12
votes
1answer
931 views

A detective story about money printing

I probably read this 3-5 years ago. It is a story about a man that wants to reveal a money printing factory, he does it because his brother died (I guess) while trying to reveal that money printing. I ...
12
votes
1answer
843 views

Identification of a short story about a short irrefutable self-evident proof that God exists that is kept secret

I am trying to find a short story (about 20 - 30 pages long) I read a couple of years ago. Here is what I recall: The central idea is that a [catholic] priest creates (and writes) a very short (about ...
12
votes
2answers
390 views

Mystery book series whose titles are alliterations and involve gemstones

I remember, when I was in middle school, reading a series of mystery books. The titles were of the format 'X and Y', where X was a type of gemstone, and X and Y began with the same letter. As far as ...
12
votes
1answer
192 views

Creepy children's illustrated book, like Jumanji, about boy waiting for parents to come home with new baby, sees faces in walls

I have a very distinct yet vague memory of a book I remember reading at school. It had very little text, and was illustrated, in a format similar to Jumanji or Where The Wild Things Are. The ...
12
votes
1answer
146 views

Medical school that brainwashes students, run by drug company that does unethical experiments

I read this English-language thriller novel in 2017 or 2018 (publish date unknown) at a local library in the Western United States. It's been bugging me for a while. I remember a lot of details but I'...
12
votes
1answer
196 views

Fairy tale story in two parts: "as I first heard it" and "when I wanted to know more"

I read this book some years ago, probably around 2010, though it was definitely older than that. It had a fairly short and simple title, of the kind one might expect to find on a fairy tale: "The Lost ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

Which German book was Poe referring to?

The opening line of Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Man of the Crowd" is as follows. It was well said of a certain German book that "er lasst sich nicht lesen"- it does not permit itself to be ...
12
votes
1answer
438 views

Trying to remember a book about a relationship between a teenage girl and an older man

I read this story in the 1990s sometime. I remember it being novel-length, but short novel length, maybe 200 pages or so. The cover art I remember was the most 80s thing you've ever seen - a girl with ...
12
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0answers
140 views

Help me identify an old children's picture book featuring anthropomimetic arthropods

The book in question was written prior to 1990. The pages probably had no words — I was able to read at the time, so either it was not narrated or the words were not memorable. Each page, or pair of ...
11
votes
1answer
242 views

Short Horror Story in which protagonist is a monstrous freak in hiding?

I read this in a horror anthology, and thought it was called "I, Monster" but could find nothing through Google on this. Also thought it was an R Chetywnd Hays story, but again it seems invisible now. ...
11
votes
1answer
115 views

Help Identifying Children's Book with Easter Bunnies

I know this is a hard, but when I was a kid I had a book about a town that asked some Easter Bunnies to paint the town for Easter or the Easter Bunnies just painted the town or one Easter Bunny ...
11
votes
1answer
484 views

Which book has a main character named William in a church in a forest?

There is this one book I've been looking for: The book is relatively small, but pretty thick. The cover features a young boy running upwards, with a tiny doglike creature in the bottom lefthand ...
11
votes
2answers
147 views

What is the story of the woman who collected valueless things?

In G. K. Chesterton's Father Brown short story, The Blast of the Book, he makes two references to a story (presumably allegoric) about a woman who collected valueless things. The references are not ...
11
votes
0answers
128 views

"The Dearest Charms in France" - French story about soldiers, a lottery, and a famous prostitute

Several years ago, I read a memorable short story included as an example (of what, I don't recall) in a book about writing. The story was set in a historical era of France. I believe it was ...
11
votes
2answers
268 views

Does this passage in "I Am a Cat" reference a real Western novel?

In Chapter 2 of I Am a Cat (full text of this and preceding chapters available here), the cat makes reference to a particular "western novel" in order to draw an analogy with his master: “Ah, and ...
10
votes
1answer
406 views

Which short story describes how a man's teaching logic to his would-be girlfriend backfires?

I read a short story in the early 90s, from a collection dating from the 80s or earlier, which detailed a young man teaching logical fallacies to his female friend. Later, when he begins to court her,...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

Young adult fantasy book about a girl with gray eyes and powers related to metal

I read this book about 10 years ago in either late elementary/middle school. It was a light fantasy novel (perhaps YA) and I'll try to summarize all the main points I remember. The main character was ...
10
votes
1answer
745 views

Short story where spectators at a sports match shine a mirror at the referee and burn him

I read a short story long ago. I can't remember the details but I would like to reread it. What's it's title? The story is a science fiction story concerning some sports match. A referee makes a bad ...

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