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Knock knock, what was that book?

Please help me find a mystery book from my childhood. I am stumped. It would have been in the mid 70s, probably between 1974-77. I think it was science/nature-related book that may have been one of a series. What I remember is a hard-cover book, and on the back inside cover there was mounted a round plastic disk with an arrow inside, sort of like a compass. It was visible though holes in the pages and front cover. There were questions with multiple choices on each page, and you would close the book and knock on the cover a certain number of times to make the needle point to the correct answer on a corresponding page. That sounds crazy even as I type it, but if someone could find this book (or even corroborate my memory) I would be eternally grateful.
posted by mefireader on Apr 14, 2014 - 2 answers

 

Tana French readalikes, or other good, character-driven mysteries?

I'm not usually a mystery reader, but I recently read In the Woods and The Likeness, by Tana French, on a friend's recommendation. I loved them, but I'm not familiar enough with the genre to find others like them. What I like about them: strong characters, suspense that is mainly psychological in nature, clear prose. I also enjoyed the Stieg Larsson books; other Scandinavian mysteries have been hit or miss. Any recommendations, MeFites?
posted by missrachael on Apr 13, 2014 - 27 answers

Cultural Literacy 101

For a friend: Say someone wants to develop a working sense of modern-day cultural literacy in the United States. This person has very limited knowledge of current events, and has limited himself to only a very narrow scope of popular entertainment. He now wishes to be able to converse about these topics with reasonably savvy adults (such as in dating scenarios and social gatherings). Can you provide sources of information for the following? [more inside]
posted by justonegirl on Apr 13, 2014 - 26 answers

Children's Book search from 60s/70s

I've been looking for this book I remember from my childhood - or maybe I dreamt it - that was a sweet little illustrated picture book about a Teddy Bear Masquerade Ball. This askmefi question is my Hail Mary pass. If no one else remembers this, I'll end my search! [more inside]
posted by anemone on Apr 12, 2014 - 4 answers

Books that allude to books that do not exist.

In The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, the title character is negatively influenced by a "poison" book that is mentioned repeatedly in the text but never named. "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius," the short story by Jorge Luis Borges, mentions several nonexistent books including a mysteriously altered encyclopedia and a History of the Land Called Uqbar. I am looking for more fictional references in novels or stories to other books that do not exist. Help, please? [more inside]
posted by BlueJae on Apr 11, 2014 - 59 answers

A special novel?

A family friend is graduating from high school and I would like to give her a gift. She is going to study literature at university so I would like to get her a book. I'm looking for recommendations for something special. Details inside. [more inside]
posted by sapien on Apr 11, 2014 - 14 answers

Modern Life is Magic

Help me find books that convey a jolly feeling of appreciation for the wonders of modern life. Ideally these would be books that have a sci-fi or fantasy feel, but in which nothing overtly magical or fantastic happens. The best recent examples I can think of are Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, which has all the elements of a fantasy novel but is set squarely in our world, and William Gibson's most recent novels, all of which feel fantastic to me but are grounded in real life. [more inside]
posted by spacewaitress on Apr 10, 2014 - 18 answers

How to identify particularly good French translations of English books?

My SO prefers reading in French, and I'm introducing her to some of my favourite English-language books. Is there a site somewhere that I can use to look up which books are agreed to have really great translations from English to French? [more inside]
posted by metaBugs on Apr 9, 2014 - 7 answers

Near(ish) future space exploration fiction

I have a huge love for space/planetary exploration fiction. Think 2001, the sadly mistreated Defying Gravity TV show and Kim Stanley Robinson's mars series. Do you have recommendations for me? Books primarliy, but TV/Films too though I guess i have seen most of those in this genre already. [more inside]
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory on Apr 8, 2014 - 10 answers

Help Me Find Books for my 10-year-old

My son reads for an hour every night as part of his homework, and quite often longer than that just for fun. He's a fairly quick reader, and reads at levels higher than his age. This means that we are often in search of new and interesting books for him to read, and I could use some help. More info below. [more inside]
posted by dotgirl on Apr 7, 2014 - 65 answers

"Stranger things have happened, especially in driver's education class."

So I read a children's book as a kid in the 1980s that used the title quote as a running gag. Can anybody identify it? [more inside]
posted by Shmuel510 on Apr 7, 2014 - 3 answers

Nonfiction recommendation: Reading to a 92-year old blind lady

Please recommend interesting, well-written and easy-reading nonfiction books [more inside]
posted by eisenl on Apr 5, 2014 - 37 answers

Kids-book-filter

Help me find this book series I loved as a kid. It documented the anthropomorphized life of assorted woodland creatures. Not fantasy, exactly, just woodland creatures doing woodland things. Nothing like Redwall. They were "chapter books," and I remember their covers being green. There were a lot of them- I want to say a dozen? One story-line revolved around a family of beavers. Any ideas, hive mind?
posted by BungaDunga on Apr 5, 2014 - 6 answers

The occult, the delusions, and the swamp rats.

Carl Hiaasen meets H.P. Lovecraft. What book am I looking for? [more inside]
posted by Willie0248 on Apr 4, 2014 - 15 answers

Help me find a pair of novels set in the future with magic.

Trying to find a pair of novels set in the near future North America that I read sometime between 1990 and 2004 approximately. The "big idea" is that neopagan magic "returns" (or at least everyone believes it does, and acts accordingly) with the millennium. The protagonist of one novel is pregnant with the next world spiritual leader. In one scene, a prophet yells at her, "you're full of fish!" Another novel with the same setting (perhaps the same novel) involved a conspiracy and had a genderqueer magical cyberpunk/hacker as a minor character. I remember them as similar to Galveston by Sean Stewart but I'm pretty certain they're not by Stewart. It's not Bone Dance or DeLint, and they had nothing to do with Shadowrun. Help appreciated. They're probably not all that great, but the pair were striking enough that a few things stick out.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos on Apr 3, 2014 - 2 answers

Like Gleick is to Information Theory, X is to Social Choice Theory

What are some great, accessible books that would allow me to learn more about social choice theory without having to become an economist? I am thinking something along the likes of James Gleick's "popular science" Information Theory book, but for social choice theory. [more inside]
posted by TheyCallItPeace on Apr 3, 2014 - 2 answers

Load me up with awesome short stories!

I have this book and I love it. I pick it up, open to a random page, and read whatever story I land on (generally with great success) and often discover a new author to read. Can you recommend other similarly gigantic, wonderfully edited, genre-specific collections of short stories/novellas? [more inside]
posted by torisaur on Apr 1, 2014 - 16 answers

Good Examples of Collected Journalism

Can people recommend good examples of the collected works of an individual journalist, collected and published as a book? I want to see how great journalists arrange and contextualize distinct pieces that also contain larger narrative arcs. Thanks.
posted by history is a weapon on Mar 30, 2014 - 13 answers

books with realistic female characters?

I am tired of novels that have an enigmatic woman at the center of the novel. Can you recommend some books to me where all of the female characters actually act like real people? [more inside]
posted by colfax on Mar 30, 2014 - 56 answers

Physical security measure to prevent book theft

I'm going to be stocking a small bookcase with 5 to 10 books, and placing it in a room inside a college. I need a way to prevent the books from being stolen. Options seem surprisingly limited. Any help? [more inside]
posted by ajp on Mar 28, 2014 - 27 answers

recommend me some (kind of specific) books?

Spring break is coming up, and the best part of spring break is reading all day - so I need to come up with a bunch of books to bring! I'm specifically looking for ghost stories, YA fantasy, historical romance, and travelogues, though if you know of something else fun and easy, feel free to chime in. [more inside]
posted by goodbyewaffles on Mar 27, 2014 - 30 answers

Introduction to Heuristics.

Searching for book recommendations. [more inside]
posted by emmatrotsky on Mar 23, 2014 - 4 answers

The American SF "Canon"

For an upcoming project I'm putting together what's meant to be a comprehensive timeline of important (even "necessary") works of American science fiction since the late 19th century. [more inside]
posted by gerryblog on Mar 23, 2014 - 67 answers

I need some interesting, relatively non-partisan books on politics

I'd like to brush up on my understanding of American politics today. Could anyone point me in the direction of an accessible, well-regarded book that approaches an interesting political phenomenon, or American politics in general, in a relatively non-partisan way? I'd prefer to stay away from highly ideological works about how either conservatives or liberals are leading America to its doom.
posted by Chuck Barris on Mar 20, 2014 - 10 answers

Number of self-published vs. officially published books?

I need some rough data about books published by recognized publishers vs. books that are self-published. Can you help me find where to look for these numbers? [more inside]
posted by meerkatty on Mar 20, 2014 - 2 answers

Books that fill the same niche as Project Rho/Atomic Rockets?

I really like reading Atomic Rockets at Project Rho. But I want to take it around with me in an easily digestible form. Can anybody recommend books that have the same sort of content and a similar feel? Not science fiction, but books about the science of science fiction. [more inside]
posted by penduluum on Mar 19, 2014 - 2 answers

I need the dirty bits from popular books

I'm starting a book club among my friends where we just read the dirty bits from popular books to each other. They don't even have to be popular books - just books that I can actually find easily. And it's not exactly a book club. More like a reading-to-each-other club. Anyway, can you remember and recommend any notably hot sex scenes from books you might have read? [more inside]
posted by Sully on Mar 19, 2014 - 61 answers

Help me impress my friend by figuring out what book we're remembering

I was at lunch with a friend of mine and the conversation turned to escargot. She said, "I remember reading a book when I was a kid where the girl went out to a fancy restaurant, and she accidentally ordered escargot because she didn't know what they were." [more inside]
posted by pretentious illiterate on Mar 17, 2014 - 27 answers

Historical Religious Books

I just finished reading Zealot, by Reza Aslan, and I found it to be a fascinating book. I'm looking for similar books! [more inside]
posted by graventy on Mar 17, 2014 - 12 answers

Day-to-day of a tanker in WWII?

I'm looking for non-fiction books that describe the day-to-day life of an allied tanker (guy in a tank or other AFV) in World War II. [more inside]
posted by bondcliff on Mar 14, 2014 - 8 answers

Books like The Game, except completely different in every way

A male friend of mine has recently learned that he's not as good at dating women as he thought he was, and wants to get better. Where can I point him for sex and relationship advice, addressed to men, but written from a feminist perspective? [more inside]
posted by psycheslamp on Mar 11, 2014 - 7 answers

What are your favorite book blogs?

I'm looking for some good book blogs in the style of Forever Young Adult, which I adore, but which are focused on adult literature. What I like about Forever Young Adult is the informal style and frequent reviews of new books I might not otherwise hear about - the book blogs I know of are more focused on author interviews or commentary, and tend to take themselves more seriously than I would like. [more inside]
posted by something something on Mar 11, 2014 - 6 answers

Reliable information about pregnancy

I am looking for sources of reliable, science-based information about food / exercise / medication / etc during pregnancy. [more inside]
posted by insectosaurus on Mar 10, 2014 - 13 answers

Book Hunt

Hey, could anyone show me where to find the book called "How to make money in your spare time" by 673126? The case is yours Detective Hive Mind!
posted by CyborgHag on Mar 9, 2014 - 5 answers

Suggestions for a subtitle for my workbook?

I have a title for a self-help workbook I'm writing, but I'm having a lot of trouble thinking of a good subtitle... [more inside]
posted by DMelanogaster on Mar 9, 2014 - 12 answers

Repository for literary interpretations?

Where can I go to find publicly accessible (preferably online) and well-thought-out basic interpretations and commentary on books? I don't mean reviews, and I don't mean ultra-scholarly theoretical or historical work. I mean commentary and explanation. For example, if I just read The Trial and I wanted to know what some of the standard opinions about its meaning were, where could I reliably go?
posted by shivohum on Mar 7, 2014 - 4 answers

SciFi Books from a While Ago

I'm yet again looking for some books I read over a decade ago. Details below. Somewhere in there I swear is a link to Frank Herbert, but I don't know for sure (every time I search for his bibliography it comes up all Dune). [more inside]
posted by BenevolentActor on Mar 6, 2014 - 7 answers

More smart thrillers like Brilliance and Lexicon

I've recently finished Marcus Sakey's Brilliance and Max Barry's Lexicon and I'd like more thrillers like them. By "like them", I mean: fast paced, lots of twists and action, an intelligent, speculative, science-fictiony central idea, but the book is not marketed as genre science fiction, but rather as a thriller. Some literary aspiration is a plus, as is a good Bechdel test score (both of the above books kind of failed on that latter criterion). Already read: Atwood, Gibson, Stephenson. I read a lot of "literary mysteries" like Tana French and the like, but here I'm more interested in action/thrillers and not so much mysteries or procedurals.
posted by matildaben on Mar 6, 2014 - 10 answers

Help me i.d. these kid's books

A definite long shot, but I'm looking for the names of two of my favourite children's books from the '80's, these are picture books that were read to me about 25 years ago, and I'd love to find them for nostalgia's sake but also to read to my own children. The first was about a little boy who follows a clown into his television, I think maybe at the boy's bedtime. The second was about a boy and a monkey who go on adventures together, maybe to space, and I think there were trap doors or other neat ways of traveling. The illustrator of the book included these great doodles and tiny squiggles on every page (within the pictures not all over the text), and that's what I remember most, the great illustrations that were really intricate.
posted by lafemma on Mar 4, 2014 - 1 answer

Business, Murakami, DFW, and Music

Book suggestions for a gift exchange recipient that combine business, Haruki Murakami, David Foster Wallace, and/or music? (here's hoping my recipient isn't also a Mefite!) [more inside]
posted by divabat on Mar 4, 2014 - 10 answers

What novels have news clippings and press releases in them?

I'm writing the Great American Novel (isn't everyone?). I want to intersperse press releases and newspaper clippings throughout the book, but I'm not sure about formatting (and e-book format raises yet another question). [more inside]
posted by adverb on Mar 3, 2014 - 13 answers

Engaging books on stories from labor history

Could anyone recommend engaging, story-driven books on moments from American labor history? [more inside]
posted by Slothrop on Mar 2, 2014 - 13 answers

Essential Medical Books

I've been tasked with putting together a medical library for my small disability law firm. Doctors, what are five essential medical books that we should look at obtaining regarding general medical practice? [more inside]
posted by Dignan on Feb 28, 2014 - 7 answers

Books to read along with "Lean In"

Our book club is doing a "Lean In free swim" -- everyone will read Lean In* plus one other book of their choice on the topic of gender and work. What would be some good choices for the second book? [more inside]
posted by jhc on Feb 28, 2014 - 19 answers

Where can I find free NYC street maps for a for-profit travel book?

I'm trying to create a travel book and website for tourists to NYC. Are there any resources I can use for free or very low cost in regards to the street maps in the printed version, especially those including subway and/or bus stops (nice, but not required).
posted by NYC-BB on Feb 27, 2014 - 2 answers

YANAmazon, but…

I stumbled across an older book, and I'd love to find others like it. Help? [more inside]
posted by xenization on Feb 27, 2014 - 8 answers

How do you keep up with your favorite authors?

Is there some kind of app or website that will send me notices when authors I designate as my favorites publish a new book? [more inside]
posted by something something on Feb 26, 2014 - 5 answers

Help me find some new books to love.

I am looking for something in the area of science biography. Particularly, I enjoy reading about the inner lives of great minds. I'm not really interested in gossipy type info, but more about the personal growth and development of the scientist him/herself that paralleled their work. [more inside]
posted by JanewayJunior on Feb 22, 2014 - 18 answers

Essential novels of the 20th-21st century

I know next to nothing about 20th and 21st century literature. What are some recommendations for "essential" novels that I can start with? [more inside]
posted by vanitas on Feb 21, 2014 - 52 answers

Look at this old bookplate!

What language is this? What does it say? [more inside]
posted by steef on Feb 21, 2014 - 8 answers

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