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'Book Stumpers' and the Search for Lost Memories

Our earliest childhood memories often involve books. Drawings and characters we encounter as children can trigger deep feelings when we see them again as adults. And many of us carry around scattered memories of a few good reads whose titles we forgot long ago, and would love to find again today. NPR's Andy Bowers found a specialist in the trade. He talks with Book Stumpers founder Harriet Logan about how her business helps people succeed in their quest for lost books.

Logan owns Loganberry Books, a small store in Cleveland. Book Stumpers, which has been around for eight years, exists on the Loganberry Books Web site.

After receiving a few obscure requests, Logan began posting e-mail queries on the Internet, hoping other readers could help her recognize books from just a few clues -- often cryptic ones.

Book Stumpers acts as a sort of clearinghouse for shreds of information about old books. Participants pay a $2 fee to have their information posted. Logan also tries to find new or used copies of the books if the customers want to buy a piece of their childhoods. And if things work out, she deducts the fee from the sales price.

Logan estimates that she's received nearly 1,800 stumpers over the years, and has been able to solve about three-quarters of them.

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Andy Bowers
Andy Bowers oversees Slate's collaboration with NPR?s daytime news magazine, Day to Day. He helps produce the work of Slate's writers for radio, and can also be heard on the program.