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Books That Are Out Of Print, But Not Out Of Mind

Howard Hughes: Don't worry; it's really him. Hulton Archive, Getty Images hide caption

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Hulton Archive, Getty Images

Courtesy of the Paper Cuts blog at The New York Times, I wound up at the Bookfinder.com list of the most searched-for out-of-print books.

While Paper Cuts not-unreasonably refers to the list as something of a "carnival of obscurity," some of the books are out of print because they were controversial or, in the case of The Autobiography Of Howard Hughes, because they were total frauds. Oops.

What else is on the list? We explore, after the jump...

There's nothing obscure about Stephen King's Rage, either. He wrote the book, an unsettling tale of high-school violence, under the pseudonym Richard Bachman (as he did with a number of other titles).

But the reason it's out of print is that, as King later explained, he asked for it to be taken out of print after it was found in the locker of a student who shot several classmates in 1997.

I didn't even realize Madonna's Sex, a coffee-table book that was awfully controversial in its time, wasn't in print anymore. But apparently people are still interested in finding it.

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As they are in Norman Mailer's biography of Marilyn Monroe, The Fireside Book Of Folk Songs, and, of course, The Design Of Piping Systems, by the M.W. Kellogg Company. Many's the happy hour I spent under the covers with a flashlight, hoping one day to design my own piping systems.

It's an interesting little tour of the things we want and cannot have. Google and Amazon have made people perhaps less patient than ever about not being able to lay hands on something (not always the case, of course; lots of these are likely available used), but there are still some things you have to hunt for.