I was well into the book for my next book club meeting when I saw an email from the leader of our group. She always keeps us up to date, sending out reminders of upcoming meetings and including in each email a list of the books we’ve got scheduled for the next few months, and a comment about the book we’re currently reading. In this email, her note said it was “a very interesting book, about an eight-year-old girl who is kidnapped. It is a page turner…”

That caught me off guard, as it did not describe the book I was reading. I emailed her back, and said, “I think you’ve got two books confused. The Girl in the Red Coat is a memoir about a Holocaust survivor.” Right after I hit the “Send” button, it occurred to me I should probably do a little research, as I suddenly had a funny feeling about this.

Sure enough, it turns out there are two books with the same title, and I was reading the wrong one. It was entirely my fault, as the author’s name was included on our list of books and in my friend’s email. But somehow, I had just glossed over it.

The first thing I did once I realized my mistake was to quickly send an “Oops—Never mind” email, also mentioning that the book I was reading was an interesting one, too, and we might consider adding it to our list for the future.

The second thing I did was place an order for the correct book, and hope it got here quickly since I was already behind in the reading. It did, and it is indeed a page-turner, so I know I won’t have any trouble finishing it before our next book club meeting.

I was telling some friends about this experience, and after everyone had a good laugh, one of them expressed his surprise at the fact that you can’t copyright a book title, and there can be multiple books with the same title.

So consider this a public service announcement for readers and writers, especially readers like me who belong to a book club, or buy books based on recommendations from others, and who generally order their books online. Don’t just click on a book when you see the title you’re looking for. Check the author, the description, and anything else that will ensure you’re ordering the right book.

But then again, as I discovered, other books with the same title can be just as interesting as the one you were looking for, even if they’re in a different genre, or on a totally different subject. So if you ever find yourself making the same mistake I did, remember that as winter approaches and the weather starts cooling down, there are few things as cozy as curling up with a good book.

Or two.

October 9, 2020
©Betty Liedtke, 2020

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