Mine isn't even a book. I think it's a short story that I've lost. I don't know when I read it but I think I was an adult. Maybe. Okay, here's what I do remember. There's a boy and he lives in a place where names are magical. Everyone gets a name when they're born, but they also get a secret name that no one else knows (haven't worked out the logistics of an infant with a name that no one knows, but I digress). If someone learns your secret name, they have power over you. It's a riff on Rumplestiltskin, I think. Then adventure happens to the boy and it may have to do with a dragon or underground or both. Or neither.
That's all I have. I wish I knew what this story was. I've gone over the fragment I remember so many times that I'm sure I'm distorting it. Or maybe this isn't the main part of the story at all, but only the set up. It may have just been the most interesting part to me. The idea of a secret name still intrigues me and whenever I think about naming characters I think of this story.
My husband remembers a book that his czech grandma gave him as a kid. It had chalk drawings that came to life - but in a more sinister way than Harold and the Purple Crayon. There was danger and adventure. He remembers one of the illustrations. And that the main character, a young adult, lit a cigarette. He thinks it might have been european or czech, but can't figure out why he thinks so. That's all he has.
Memory is such a bastard. It's nothing at all like reality most of the time, but it's all you have, so it becomes your reality. If we find our lost books my husband and I will probably be disappointed. It won't match up, won't feel the same, even if the elements are the same as we remember them.
Loganberry Books in Cleveland Ohio has an online resource where you can post your 'lost' book and see if other people can chime in with suggestions/titles for the book. It looks like a cool bookstore to visit too, if you are in the area. They might even be able to reunite you with a lost book.
So, do you have any half remembered books you wish you could find?