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Exploring the Invisible Library

I’m an avid book reader. My whole family is. We gobble up books faster than water. When my mother finds a book that held her attention for more than a few minutes, she puts it in a box and mails it to me so we can discuss it after I’ve read it. I do the same with her.

So I was delighted to read Mother Tongue Annoyances post on “The Invisible Library” which points to The Invisible Library. What? Invisible books?

Invisible books are non-existent books which exist inside of books. An example would be of a main character in a book who is an author of several books. When the book title appears inside of the book (“it reminded her of the plot from her fourth book, “The Trouble With Katrina”…), it becomes an “invisible book”. A book listed but not written. What fun!

Wow—you would be well-advised spending some time reading this Web site! As you may already know if you have been following my weblog, one of my two favorite authors is Vladimir Nabokov. As can be expected, his masterpiece Lolita is listed in The Invisible Library. After all, most Nabokov fans know that the Lolita novel is itself an “autobiographical manuscript” entitled Lolita, or the Confession of a White Widowed Male, written by none other than Professor Humbert Humbert, the story’s protagonist and narrator! 🙂

Another fiction author with a ton of “invisible” works to his credit is Stephen King. I’m a great fan of King’s earlier works (say, pre-1990). In point of fact, King sometimes made surprise visits to Cornell on his motorcycle while I was a student there. Following are three of the more humorous or colorful hidden books by Stephen King that are listed at Invisible Library:

* The Revenge of Lard Ass Hogan, by Gordon Lachance (Different Seasons)
* Everybody Drops the Dime, by Morton Rainey (Four Past Midnight)
* Purple Daze, by Thad Beaumont (The Dark Half)

If you love reading as much as blogging, then this is worth checking out.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen

One Comment

  1. Hermester Barrington
    Posted February 27, 2009 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Dear Ms. VanFossen,

    I’m so pleased to see that the idea of a catalogue of books that exist only in other books continues to spread throughout the human memepool. My first encounter with this concept took the form of Mr. Brian Quinette’s catalogue (to which this blog once linked), now defunct, alas. Fortunately, however, an archived copy does exist.

    Mr. James Hay has also preserved Mr. Quinette’s work, and added to it himself.

    There is also a The Invisible Library, Live Journal Branch, created by le_trombone:

    Mr. Park and Mr. Stahl have also created a blog containing these materials.

    Finally, my wife Fayaway and I have created our own branch of the invisible library at Malibu Lake, CA.

    Thank you for noting and preserving this highly entertaining and increasingly useful information—doubt not, o blogger, but persist!


    Hermester Barrington,
    Chief Archivist, Law Offices of Petty, Smilodon, & Ruth (ret.)

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