Futility Closet book ad

Book Search

For her 1974 book Lighter Side of the Library, Janice Glover asked American librarians to recall titles requested by confused patrons, and the books they turned out to want:

Requested: Who Is Your Schoolmaster?
Book wanted: Hoosier Schoolmaster

Requested: Entombed With an Infant
Book wanted: In Tune With the Infinite

Requested: The Missing Hand
Book wanted: A Farewell to Arms

Requested: The Armored Chinaman
Book wanted: The Chink in the Armour

Requested: King of the Ants
Book wanted: Lord of the Flies

Requested: The Wooden Kid
Book wanted: Pinocchio

Requested: Five Pennies and the Sun
Book wanted: The Moon and Sixpence

And so on: From Here to Maternity; The Merchant of Venus; “Allergy in a Country Churchyard”; My Heart Is Wounded, They Buried My Knee. One inspired library staff finally sent a student home with Homer’s Iliad; he had come in asking for Homeless Idiot.