- May 26 & 27 - All libraries CLOSED for Memorial Day
This is the first in a monthly series of interesting question/answer transactions that take place in the San Jose Public Library system. Reference questions are received and answered at physical library service desks, and via our telephone, email, or chat reference services.
Often we receive questions about books that people remember reading many years ago. Readers will recall aspects of books such as plot, major characters, rough time of publication, or perhaps when they read them. Sometimes we can pinpoint the book through a Google search. Other times we are assisted by a database named NoveList. Sometimes we rely on group memory - it's amazing what a large staff of librarians can remember about books!
This time the question arrived via email and was from a library customer whose husband couldn't recall a book's title or author. It used a play on words, for example, instead of "library" was "lieberry," a berry which caused whoever ate it to do nothing but lie. Also, instead of "computer," was "com pewter," which was something like a pewter mug.
Some of you familiar with this particular series of books might already know the answer, but having never read it myself, I started with Google. The search BOOK "LIE BERRY" "COM PEWTER" yielded only two results, the first of which was partly in Japanese (which I can't read), and the second of which took me closer to the answer. The second result was an actual original typewritten document (in pdf format) which was later published as a book. Looking up the author/series information on Amazon.com, I learned that the book was Xanth 14: Question Quest by Piers Anthony, published in 1990. Interesting! (SJPL does not own the book, but it's available to SJPL patrons via 4 Link+ libraries.)
Reference librarians enjoy learning something new every day on the job. Please keep those reference questions coming!