The internet came through for me this week!
I think I was in 5th grade when I read a book from the elementary school library. Yusaf. I liked it a lot and later wanted to read it again, but then it wasn't on the library shelf where it had sat for so long. I looked high and low for it, but never found it. Why? Did someone decide it wasn't appropriate for the elementary library? It's not as though it was seeing a lot of circulation. I had seen it sitting on the shelf never moving many times before deciding to give it a try. What happened to it?
That was 50 years ago and I have looked off and on for that book multiple times through the years. Every so often it comes to mind and I wonder again about its disappearance and wish I could read it again, partly to see what has made it stick with me for so many years.
Last night, for some reason, I thought again about the mysterious lost book. Had I made use of my librarian super-skills and done a thorough search on WorldCat and Amazon? I decided to try again and typed the title into WorldCat.org with a publication date range of 1942 to 1970. No luck. Maybe I had it spelled wrong. An alternate spelling -- Yusef -- brought more hits, but not the book I was seeking. Then, I stumbled across another possible spelling and there it was! Yusuf by Grace Rasp-Nuri. After all these years, I found it! Seven libraries connected with WorldCat have a copy. The closest is in Montreal. The next closest is in Dublin. Two in the U.K., one each in Germany, New Zealand, and Australia. It was published in 1954 in German. The English translation was published in 1958, making it around ten years old when I first read it -- and probably ripe for weeding from the elementary school collection. Amazon will sell me a used copy.
But if I'm buying it used, why give Amazon my money? I have a couple of used book sources I like to support. I figured I should at least see what other prices I could find. So I went to Google and did a search on the title and author's name; and there it was at archive.org available to borrow for two weeks as an ebook!
Fifty years later, the internet has reunited me with this book I wanted to read again at age 11. I didn't remember much about it. An orphan boy on the island of Cyprus gets kidnapped by thieves and then a benefactor (an English gentleman) provides a living and education for him. I haven't finished it yet, but am pleased to discover it is still a good story all these years later, worth the effort to find it, even if every library in America seems to have discarded it. (The ebook is scanned from a discarded copy from the Allen County, Indiana Public Library.)
Thank you, internet!