Did she imagine this book?
November 23, 2009 3:44 PM   Subscribe

[Obscure book filter] Anyone remember a book about a grandfather hired to make a notebook to teach someone's daughter about the world, but he secretly makes two copies?

My sister remembers a book from her childhood. A grandfather is hired to make a notebook or book or computer (she can't remember) for a little girl to teach her about the world. He makes an extra copy to give to his granddaughter.

I know this is vague, but we've tried looking on Google and can't find anything. She insists it exists.

Any ideas?
posted by BusyBusyBusy to Writing & Language (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson!
posted by kidbritish at 3:45 PM on November 23, 2009 [4 favorites]

2nding Diamond Age!
posted by cowbellemoo at 3:47 PM on November 23, 2009

Definitely the Diamond Age.
posted by foodmapper at 3:49 PM on November 23, 2009

I'd say The Diamond Age or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer, based on the fact you said notebook or book or computer. It's been a while since I read the story, but it starts with a neo-Victorian making an illict copy of a device called "A Young Lady's Primer", which is an interactive story of sorts, aimed to help little girls grow up based on their real-world experiences.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:50 PM on November 23, 2009

Stephenson's The Baroque Cycle also includes a secretly-copied book passed down to descendants -- at least spiritual granddaughters, since the literal granddaughter in the book is more of a side-helper -- and then there's Cryptonomicon which alludes to the entire practice throughout. Stephenson seems to like this trope, so perhaps he borrowed it from a childhood book he remembered, himself?

I was also reminded a bit of William Gibson's Sandbenders, but it doesn't fit as well.
posted by rokusan at 3:58 PM on November 23, 2009

So it does exist! And it only took a minute to find out. Thank you everyone for your amazing response time!
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 4:10 PM on November 23, 2009

Obscure? Nothing is obscure here. (And Stepehson's doubly not.)
posted by cmiller at 4:26 PM on November 23, 2009

That's definitely not a children's book, though.
posted by you're a kitty! at 4:41 PM on November 23, 2009

Nor would this be from your sister's childhood, unless your sister is 12.
posted by odinsdream at 4:54 PM on November 23, 2009

odinsdream, it was published in 1995, so a precocious, say, 10-year-old who read it when it came out would be 24 now.
posted by fermion at 5:04 PM on November 23, 2009

If for some reason it turns out that it's not The Diamond Age, I was coming in to suggest Sophie's World, which is a great book about the history of philosophy that involves the main character (Sophie) receiving copies of philosophy lessons that are intended for another girl named Hilde.

But it sounds like it's probably The Diamond Age.
posted by cider at 5:51 PM on November 23, 2009

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