Book Quiz Answers

Rather later than hoped (v. busy at work), here are the answers to my book quiz:

The Quotes

Quote 1

Rambling sentences and sheep? It could only be Far From the Madding Crowd (1874) by Thomas Hardy, specifically the passage in which Gabriel Oak loses his shepherding livelihood thanks to an overenthusiastic sheepdog and a cliff.

Quote 2

The alien zoo is on the planet Tralfamadore, which makes this Slaughterhouse 5 (1969) by Kurt Vonnegut. So it goes.

Quote 3

Now, I am not wishing to be casting aspersions, but there is only one fellow who is writing about gangsters and other such persons in the continuous present tense, and that fellow is Damon Runyon. The quote is from Guys and Dolls (1932), a book that demands to be read aloud.

Quote 4

A trick question. It’s a quote from a political theory text that’s a book within a book. Emmanuel Goldstein’s The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, which is from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (1948). Doubleplusgood.

Quote 5

It’s been a quiet week in Lake Woebegon, as usual. Garrison Keillor doing his homely thing in Lake Woebegon Days (1985). If you’re not aware, the Lake Woebegon News is available as a podcast – try looking on iTunes.

Quote 6

Another trick question. The conceited ass is clearly Sherlock Holmes, but the narrator isn’t Dr Watson. In this case, it’s Brigadier-General Sir Harry Paget Flashman, the bully and notable cad from Tom Brown’s Schooldays. The quote is taken from George Macdonald Fraser’s Flashman and the Tiger (1999), which also manages to work the Battles at Rorke’s Drift and Isandlwana into the story. Highly recommended.

Quote 7

A bit of an easy one. It’s a gumshoe evaluating a dame, and with that turn of phrase it could only be Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep (1939), eyeing up the delicious Mrs Regan.

Quote 8

Obligatory cultural stereotyping in the sequel to Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat, the wonderful and little-read Three Men on the Bummel (1900). The unrepentant ignorer of signage is Harris, of course.

Quote 9

The book that launched a thousand stream-of-consciousness travelogues, and which was probably also responsible for the goddamned hippies. Jack Kerouac’s semi-autobiographical road novel On the Road (1957). The sharp-eyed amongst you will have noticed that the name of the book appears in the quotation.

Quote 10

Modern Westernised Japanese with obsessive descriptions of food, so it has to be Haruki Murakami’s Wind-up Bird Chronicles (1997).

The Scores

And so to the scores. In reverse order:

  • nul points, (it’s the taking part that counts)
  • 3 points, (who fell straight into the Sherlock Holmes trap)
  • 5 points, (spot on the Vonnegut)
  • 8 points, (partial credit for some good reasoning)
  • 10 points, (short and sweet)
  • 17 points, (good across the board knowledge, and some good guesswork)
  • 24 points, (glad you enjoyed the quiz)
  • and finally, with an uncanny 38 points,

Named Awards

The Golden Banana Skin (for falling for the trick question in 6) goes to .

The Broken Chronoclastic Infundibulator (for the highest aggregate wrong guesses at dates) goes to , with an honourable mention to for missing the Jerome by sixty years.

The QI Medal of Honour (for the most interesting fact) goes to for his trivia about the throat-shot Orwell.

The Amulet of ESP (for guessing a book you haven’t read) goes to for identifying the Hardy, including the character.

The original posting is now unscreened – thanks for playing.


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