Test Your Book Smarts
July 17, 2016 8:05 AM   Subscribe

The Strand Bookstore (NYC) has included a literary matching quiz in its job application form since the 1970s. Here are some quizzes from years past. Can you match the authors and titles? Beware of trick questions.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (92 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Huh. My very first job in NYC was at a movie materials store on 14th (they held stock photos and OG contact sheets from movies going back to the 20s) and the application test was just this : here's a list of actors and directors, name as many movies they were involved in. I think I ended up writing in the back of the form.

It was the only job I was supernaturally qualified for so of course they went out of business six months later.
posted by The Whelk at 8:14 AM on July 17, 2016 [21 favorites]


While wandering the aisles waiting for a booksigning to start, I overheard two Strand employees tell a story of one of the co-owners getting excited about a recent celebrity sighting. They were told that none other than Dorian Gray had been seen in the stacks and were very excited.

I'm not terribly optimistic that they'd do well on their own quiz.

And that Dorian Grey fellow? Definitely had Botox.
posted by dr_dank at 8:14 AM on July 17, 2016 [5 favorites]


No, can't do it...

To me, most authors only have one good work, are dead, and thus not likely to write more... why remember 2 things (the title of the book, and the name of the author), when you only need 1 (the name of the book)

Can anyone name another work of Dante?

This is also true with most actors, as most only get one really memorable role, and if not, IMDB can help you find the other roles.
posted by MikeWarot at 8:16 AM on July 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Vita Nuova.
posted by Iridic at 8:19 AM on July 17, 2016 [19 favorites]


The trick questions are petty good.
posted by theora55 at 8:20 AM on July 17, 2016


ack, 48/50 (forgot to answer the Zadie Smith one and just straight up flubbed Henry James).
posted by aspersioncast at 8:21 AM on July 17, 2016


"Another" work of Dante? The Divine Comedy is three works.
posted by tel3path at 8:22 AM on July 17, 2016 [12 favorites]


Of course, working in bookstores for a decade did set my potential lifetime earnings back by about $20k a year, but hey, I know some trivia about the canon, dammit.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:23 AM on July 17, 2016 [8 favorites]


34/50. Worse than I'd hoped, better than I'd feared.
posted by Paul Slade at 8:25 AM on July 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one this test gave a false score to? Answered Ellison for Invisible Man - apparently wrong, the Zadie Smith question too?
posted by everydayanewday at 8:26 AM on July 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


Another Dante? How about "Gremlins 2"?
posted by chavenet at 8:28 AM on July 17, 2016 [6 favorites]


43/50. Yay-ish?
posted by Kitteh at 8:31 AM on July 17, 2016


I dunno, I'd be tempted to do a subject-area free-write as a supplementary thing. I did fairly well on this quiz by recognizing a bunch of books I've never read, but that doesn't suggest any kind of complex knowledge....also, what if you wanted to hire someone who, for example, was an expert on the history of African-American writers but had never, like, even heard of Confederacy of Dunces? It might be really worth it to have a subject-area expert, since frankly they can pick up the other stuff pretty damn easily.

That said, holy crap - $10.50 an hour in New York? With benefits, I guess, but still, I would hesitate to take that kind of pay here, and you can rent your own place for ~$800/month, or a room for ~$500.
posted by Frowner at 8:33 AM on July 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


No comment.
posted by jonmc at 8:34 AM on July 17, 2016 [36 favorites]


46/50, but one error was because I was sure the author had another letter in his name.
posted by maggiemaggie at 8:35 AM on July 17, 2016


Jesus Christ I didn't see the thing about the starting pay. How have wages for hourly employees actually sunk in 10 years?
posted by aspersioncast at 8:37 AM on July 17, 2016


I got about 70%, but I feel proud that I knew exactly which ones I didn't know. Every one where I chose an answer, I was correct.
posted by 256 at 8:39 AM on July 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


And yeah, that pay is some bullshit. For such a well-known place with a reputation to uphold, I would expect $15 at a minimum and probably more in the range of $25.
posted by 256 at 8:40 AM on July 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


I got 34/50. I somehow didn't answer a couple (or there was a computer glitch), so it could have been one or two higher, but there was no way I was going to ace this one.

A lot were from pure cultural awareness, rather than having actually read the books, which I suppose is what this is meant to test. The article talked about how people often cheat, and the interviews implied that the test is kept as a tradition but isn't a major factor in hiring decisions.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:42 AM on July 17, 2016


> Jesus Christ I didn't see the thing about the starting pay. How have wages for hourly employees actually sunk in 10 years?
posted by aspersioncast at 8:37 AM on July 17 [+] [!]


When counterrevolution and automation love each other very, very much, sometimes they get together and give each other a very special kind of hug only for grownups. And sometimes when they give each other this very special hug, a little while later a baby crapsack universe happens!
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 8:47 AM on July 17, 2016 [25 favorites]


Got 'em all except the stray work by Ruskin, though I admit I was guessing on The Golden Notebook being by Doris Lessing.
posted by kewb at 8:47 AM on July 17, 2016


Is The Stones of Venice worth reading?
posted by gwint at 8:58 AM on July 17, 2016


50/50. This is a variation on the old Borders book test that I had to take 30 years ago. Not terribly difficult then or now.
posted by Chrischris at 9:01 AM on July 17, 2016


"Another" work of Dante? The Divine Comedy is three works.

technically, The Inferno and the sequels everyone was disappointed by and rarely read. It was kind of like The Matrix for the 14th C.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:07 AM on July 17, 2016 [5 favorites]


(41/50 and I feel super bad about it. the biggest gap in my education is mid-20th-century non-genre fiction, apparently...)
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:07 AM on July 17, 2016


I'm not gonna make you guys feel bad by posting my score but trust me, it was amazing.
posted by dame at 9:20 AM on July 17, 2016 [6 favorites]


Hooray, now the Internet can tell me I wouldn't be hired at a place without even applying
I'll have to be happy continuing to give money to the Strand, then.
posted by Spatch at 9:23 AM on July 17, 2016


50/50, but then, given my job description...

Is The Stones of Venice worth reading?

Try the chapter on "The Nature of Gothic" and see how it suits.

Still mildly bitter over twenty years on about prepping Fors Clavigera for my doctoral orals, only to be asked no questions about it.
posted by thomas j wise at 9:26 AM on July 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


No Tennessee Williams? I coulda been a contender!
posted by Oyéah at 9:30 AM on July 17, 2016


I took one of these for a used bookstore job in Ann Arbor. That was fun.
posted by doctornemo at 9:37 AM on July 17, 2016


Is The Stones of Venice worth reading?

'The Ethics of the Dust' is hilarious if you like that sort of thing.
posted by ovvl at 9:47 AM on July 17, 2016


The Strand was the first place I worked in NYC when I lived there, so I passed this test once, at least. That's good enough for me.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 9:51 AM on July 17, 2016


As anyone who has worked in a bookstore knows, the real quiz is being able to answer the questions like "I'm looking for the new book by the author who wrote that other book? It was reviewed recently and I think the cover is green?"
posted by gingerbeer at 10:15 AM on July 17, 2016 [44 favorites]


doctornemo: It could have been The Dawn Treader, but probably you worked at David's Books?
posted by acrasis at 10:17 AM on July 17, 2016


49/50 and only because I missed "Zinn" in the list for "A People's History..." Still not bad.
posted by hwestiii at 10:20 AM on July 17, 2016


What gingerbeer said. I've taken quizzes like this as part of the hiring weed-out at bookstores that are not the Strand, but what customers ask 98% of the time is gingerbeer's question.
posted by rtha at 10:24 AM on July 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Meh. 39 of 50. Late 19th c. up to mid-20th c. aren't my strong points. There were several I'd heard of but had no idea about the authors, others I'd simply never heard of.

But my wife knew a couple I didn't. Teamwork, y'all.
posted by lhauser at 10:32 AM on July 17, 2016


30/50. Meh. I ain't so smart.
posted by threetwentytwo at 11:05 AM on July 17, 2016


43/50. Have I actually read 43 of these books? Please.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:11 AM on July 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


When I worked at a bookstore, the application had us list some books we'd read recently and liked. I like that one better. But we did have quizzes at staff meetings about books that had been featured on NPR or reviewed in the New York Times, because people asked about those. But yeah: it was a lot of "a book that might be Swedish, or maybe Swiss, and has a blue cover and features a lot of aquatic imagery." Or else it was "that book that everyone is reading," which sometimes made it immediately obvious what they meant and sometimes didn't at all.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:30 AM on July 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


"That book, it was on Oprah, I think the cover is red?"

"You mean The Red Tent?"

"Yes, that's it!"

(Which had a tan cover, not a red cover, but everyone asked for it as "that Oprah book with the red cover."
posted by restless_nomad at 11:43 AM on July 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


44/50, because two bookstores and lots of library clerical work.

As for the book with a green cover: that's a hornbook, of course. They are all of them green.
posted by datawrangler at 12:16 PM on July 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


50/50

does not everyone have google? Or is that not in the spirit of the thing? Fine, then 44/50 but come on, if you can't answer gingerbeer's question you're not gonna make it anyway.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:25 PM on July 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


As for the book with a green cover:

I worked in a bookstore that sold science fiction and fantasy. Whenever anyone came in looking for "that book with the rocket on the cover," they always meant a specific edition of Rocketship Galileo. And, when they asked for "that book with the dragon on the cover," they always meant a specific edition of Dragonriders of Pern. It was spooky.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:28 PM on July 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Borders had a similar screening exercise for a long time--basically a tool to assess general bookishness. I believe there was a fill-in "who wrote this book" part,and then a second part where you had to indicate the general section where specific authors' works could be found.
But yeah-- the real test is if you could locate "that book by Oprah" when her book club was all the rage.
posted by bookmammal at 12:50 PM on July 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


I worked in a bookstore that sold science fiction and fantasy. Whenever anyone came in looking for "that book with the rocket on the cover," they always meant a specific edition of Rocketship Galileo.


FWIW, I once went into a bookstore and said that exact thing. It took them a while to realize that I wanted Gravity's Rainbow.
posted by 256 at 1:07 PM on July 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


Apparently some years I'm hired, others I ain't. There isn't a major correlation between books I've actually read and the ones that are in the canon that ' everyone' ought to know name-author. Unless you know, I actually enjoyed them rather than having slogged through them for a grade.
posted by BlueHorse at 1:23 PM on July 17, 2016


The real value of my expensive University of Chicago education is the ability to do well on this despite having read way under half of what I got right.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:24 PM on July 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


31, though I really only knew about 15 of them...
posted by clorox at 1:39 PM on July 17, 2016


46/50.

In 1993, I applied to be a Chrstmas temp at the Borders store in Atlanta. There was only one then. They had a quiz like this, though since it was 1993, it was paper based. I did pretty well on it too.

The best thing from that short job stint was that I met the man that became my husband. 23 years later, we're still together.
posted by Archer25 at 2:15 PM on July 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


restless_nomad: ""That book, it was on Oprah, I think the cover is red?""

You misheard. It's "That book, it was on Oprah, I think the cover is read."
posted by chavenet at 2:17 PM on July 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


44/50, team of two. No regrets on missing Pound, because he is a garbage person. ok, yes, regrets.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:36 PM on July 17, 2016


Meh to the so-called curveballs, but I'm a librarian who used to be a personal shopper for libraries. Most of those titles would be on a "core" list for any decent-sized public library.
posted by Otter_Handler at 2:44 PM on July 17, 2016


47/50; I both feel that my BA in English is vindicated at last AND that I should burn my BA in English in shame at my bookseller failure.

My favorite trick question is the ...Talk About Love/Running Carver/Murakami trip-up.

What You Talk About When You're Talking to a Bookstore Customer About What They're Looking For When They're Looking For the "Something Talk About Something" Book They Heard About
posted by nicebookrack at 2:55 PM on July 17, 2016


So I'm feeling somewhat dense, but what were the trick questions?

I'm guessing Naked Lunch -> Kerouac, and What We Talk About When we Talk About Love -> Murakami? [on preview, looks like I had that right]. Were there any others?

40/50 FWIW, fell down on a number of the American authors.

But overall, seems like a strange quiz - do bookstores really get large numbers of customers who ask for the Unbearable Lightness of Being, but don't know it's by Kundera? And if they do know the title, can't the sellers just look it up, even if they don't know the author? I feel like gingerbeer has it right.
posted by Pink Frost at 3:03 PM on July 17, 2016


48/50. I feel that I have disgraced Joe Gable and the Great, Old, Ann Arbor Borders.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 3:16 PM on July 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Bookselling trick questions off the top of my head:
- Invisible Man: Ralph Ellison or H.G. Wells version?
- The Second Sex: "ummm, feminism? Judith Butler‼!"
- Waiting for Godot: "Fuck, I know it's a play. Shit. Ibsen was a playwright of similar respected but mildly obscure renown‼"
posted by nicebookrack at 3:16 PM on July 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


Pink Frost-- when I worked at Borders, our "quiz" wasn't so much about the memorization of authors and their works--it was more about screening for general bookish background knowledge, and the ability of job applicants to be able to talk about books and authors with customers.
posted by bookmammal at 3:19 PM on July 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


I remain fairly shit on literature written after 1950 (I'm ok on genre), so yay me. Had some good guesses, though.

This test amuses me because author/title only mostly works for fiction, and if your store sells nonfiction too, your knowledge of "Where do we keep the books on organic gardening by that guy with the TV show," is just as relevant. Nobody remembers his name or the correct title of his book, because it is something generic. But if they see his picture on the cover, they'll say "Yeah, that guy."

And sheesh, $10.50/hour. I do not miss bookstore wages, not even a little bit. I occasionally miss the job itself, except at Christmastime.

We were lucky enough to have an excellent secondhand chain in my area of Texas (Half Price) so when I moved to NY and people were gushing over The Strand, I didn't see what was so exciting about it.

(Seems to be a few ex-Borders people here. For about two years that was the most fun job ever and I do miss the feeling of working inside my own fantasy library all day).
posted by emjaybee at 3:22 PM on July 17, 2016


But overall, seems like a strange quiz - do bookstores really get large numbers of customers who ask for the Unbearable Lightness of Being, but don't know it's by Kundera?

Yes. And oftentimes, you can't just look it up because the title they remembered is "The Repairable Whiteness of Skiing," and then when you show it to them, it turns out that they actually wanted a book about Rene Magritte-- they just assumed that because there's a bowler hat on the cover of (some editions of) the Kundera book, it must be about the guy who did all the paintings of guys in bowler hats.

Broad knowledge of books and authors, even if painfully shallow, allows for the kind of pattern recognition you need to answer the weirder customer questions. There's no substitute for it.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 3:25 PM on July 17, 2016 [7 favorites]


I ran two used bookstores for almost 20 years and we had a test for applicants. Yes, it had some "who wrote this" questions, but we also had some alphabetizing questions. Lots of the work was shelving and reshelving so knowing how was important. We also asked questions about their favorite books in various genres. And one thing about working in used bookstores is that "new" books weren't so important but knowledge ranging over 400+ years was. And the test gave us a good view of their spelling and writing legibility. We always had fun tweaking the test.
posted by MovableBookLady at 3:39 PM on July 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


46/50

Coupla lucky guesses though
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:44 PM on July 17, 2016


49/50

I've wasted my life, pretty much.
posted by hap_hazard at 3:55 PM on July 17, 2016


"Seems to be a few ex-Borders people here. For about two years that was the most fun job ever and I do miss the feeling of working inside my own fantasy library all day)."
Yep--I was at Borders for 7 years--took the job as a "temporary" break from teaching. Sometimes I really miss it-- there was just nothing like the (book-nerd-ish) rush of being able to impress the hell out of someone by figuring out what book they wanted with only the most minimal info. And being around all those books all day...
posted by bookmammal at 4:01 PM on July 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


nicebookrack: Bookselling trick questions off the top of my head:
Thanks - I was primed for Wells when I first read the question, but then he wasn't on the list? I guess maybe people might go for Swift ("old-timey English writer"). Godot makes sense. I don't think I've heard of Judith Butler, I was thinking of Octavia.

palmcorder_yajna: ah, OK, interesting. Would have guessed that was more of an issue with new releases, things people had heard about in passing, rather than the older classics on the list (though looking at the Strand's website I'm guessing their target audience is more literary than the average chain bookstore...).
posted by Pink Frost at 4:04 PM on July 17, 2016


$10.50/hour is more than I ever made working at bookstores in Atlanta. At my first store ten years ago I think I started at like $7.25/hour. But rent in Atlanta is much cheaper than NYC, so I assume all the Strand employees sleep on cardboard boxes in the stacks at night to survive.

working in bookstores for a decade did set my potential lifetime earnings back by about $20k a year, but hey, I know some trivia about the canon, dammit.

Also my problem, so much. I loved working in bookstores, but I'd never go back to it unless it were full-time pay at a living wage (HA!) or unless I were forced to in financial desperation. Working at indie bookstores (crap pay, good environment) hurts too much when you're used as a free human search engine for people buying the book cheaper on Amazon, and at chain bookstores (slightly better pay, worse environment) being surrounded by books is one of the few brights spots amid working in standard corporate retail soul-sucking drudgery.

I'm still struggling with underemployment as I try to slide that "broad knowledge of books and authors, even if painfully shallow" pattern recognition into something attractive to non-retail employers. I now work in a library (obvious career move!), with a full-time salary and decent benefits. But the pay isn't close to a living wage, and there's little room for advancement in pay or job title unless I put in the money and work for the MLIS to be an Official Librarian™. And then I'd be competing with the glut of other new MLIS grads all vying for the same library spots.

When I win the lottery, I'll go work in an indie bookstore as an excuse to play with books all day, and when people come inside to browse and never buy anything, I can wave them off to Amazon with the benevolent smile of a billionaire.
posted by nicebookrack at 4:09 PM on July 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


But overall, seems like a strange quiz - do bookstores really get large numbers of customers who ask for the Unbearable Lightness of Being, but don't know it's by Kundera? And if they do know the title, can't the sellers just look it up, even if they don't know the author?
Yeah, there are tons of people who remember the title but not the author, or who misremember the author or title, or who remember things about the plot and the author and the cover but not the title or the author's name. But also, the bookstore where I worked really didn't like it when we looked things up on the computer, because part of what they were selling was the idea that the bookstore was a special, refined space, and you were a special, refined person for shopping there rather than Barnes and Noble or Amazon. And part of the atmosphere was that the staff were supposed to be book nerds, and not just random retail workers.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:13 PM on July 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


I did so great that they whisked me away to outer space to save their dying civilization.
posted by Zerowensboring at 4:14 PM on July 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


the idea that the bookstore was a special, refined space, and you were a special, refined person for shopping there rather than Barnes and Noble or Amazon

The book Reluctant Capitalists by Laura J. Miller is a fascinating look at the history and culture of bookselling in the U.S., and that "special, refined space" idea has always been a tool and complication for bookselling.

IIRC historically free-standing bookstores like Barnes & Noble—with all the dark-wood paneling!—were presented as the new special, refined options for the cultural elite of book-buyers. The unwashed literary masses were buying their books in department stores like Macy's and Woolworth's.
posted by nicebookrack at 4:35 PM on July 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


47/50 I did work at a book-store for 3 years and I also have a degree in English Language and Literature, so most of these were pretty obvious. Only a few had me scratching my head. That was fun. I want to do some more.
posted by Fizz at 5:17 PM on July 17, 2016


$10.50/hour is more than I ever made working at bookstores in Atlanta. At my first store ten years ago I think I started at like $7.25/hour. But rent in Atlanta is much cheaper than NYC, so I assume all the Strand employees sleep on cardboard boxes in the stacks at night to survive.

Actually, they share apartments in the outer boroughs or live with spouses/SO's with better paying jobs.

or so I hear.
posted by jonmc at 5:21 PM on July 17, 2016 [6 favorites]


The best bookstore I worked in's "test" was the hiring manager pretending to be different sorts of common customers ("My dad doesn't like to read... but he likes war movies!" "My niece has read everything and is the smartest 10 yo in her class, I want something that will challenge her but oh yeah, her moms a very strict Christian and I don't want to get in trouble sooo," "what is the best thing you've ever read... I read a book a year and it has to be the best book in the world, but I can't tell you what my tastes are because xyz" etc.) and having me recommend something to them. The point of this was to see *where* you were in your book knowledge, which subjects were you strong/week on, and whether or not you knew to ask questions and engage customers as real people.

I feel like this quiz would be used similarly as more of a "*where* are you and what are your strengths" as opposed to a literature exam to see whether or not you're up to snuff or as a "gotcha! You're not smart enough to work here!" thing.

Although, having done the hiring at many a bookstore, I can earnestly see where this might come in handy to weed out people who know very few answers. You'd be surprised how many people apply just looking for an easy job without knowing a lick about books, and with the Strand being so well known, probably a ton of people apply there.
posted by moons in june at 6:04 PM on July 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


I got about 15 of those right and felt really smart until reading the comments here
posted by meows at 6:16 PM on July 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


43/50, without cheating. I think I've actually read maybe a dozen of the books listed.

It also made me realize that I'm bad at looking at an author's last name and automatically connecting it with their whole name. I realize that was part of the "trickiness," but it was the major stumbling block for me.
posted by lazuli at 6:30 PM on July 17, 2016


47/50, and I have no idea what I put for Brave New World, because they say I got it wrong. Never heard of Kindred or The Stones of Venice, have read at least 30+ of the others. Borges, Murakami, Kafka, Orwell, Swift, Gogol, DeLillo – that's some good stuff there.
posted by LeLiLo at 6:48 PM on July 17, 2016


One thing for sure, no one who works there could ever beat me in any sort of drinking contest.
posted by vrakatar at 6:56 PM on July 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


True Story: I was an exceptionally compliant student all the way through college and grad school. I did what the faculty asked of me, and I did it well. A big part of what I've done with my life is the study of literature; reading; and writing. I've been reading roughly a book a day since I was four years old (I'm now 50). I read Shakespeare, Chaucer, and a great many 19th and 20th century classics on my own as a middle and high schooler (whether I really got anything useful out of them, or understood them in any meaningful way, is a question we don't need to get into right now). My point is that by high school, I was very steeped in literary and reading culture and had been for a long time.

At the end of my sophomore year, my English Lit teacher announced that the final exam would be 100 questions, all matching. There would be undifferentiated lists of authors, book titles, and publication dates, and we were to match them up, and this would be the entire final exam.

I refused to take it. I told him that he was testing us on the least important parts of what we'd spent the year learning, and that I wasn't going to waste my time memorizing all that stuff from flashcards. He said, "You understand that if you don't take the exam the best you can get in my class will be a C." I said I understood that perfectly. I skipped the exam, and I took the C, and that was the lowest grade I ever got in all my years of education.

I don't know where fifteen-year-old me got the strength to undertake such an uncharacteristically rebellious thing. I'd never done anything like it before, and I'm pretty sure I never did anything like it again in all my further years in academia. In grad school, in my thirties, I once told a prof that a major semester-long assignment he'd given us was essentially busy-work, and asked if I could please do something else instead. He was offended, he said no, and even though I knew then—and still know now—that I was right, I pushed out that bs for him anyway. But yay 15-year-old me.
posted by not that girl at 6:57 PM on July 17, 2016 [6 favorites]


Oh, good heavens, yes. This is a quiz that makes sense for bookstore employees, who do need to be able to do this sort of matching as part of their job, and not so much to test one's knowledge of English lit.

I read this older New Yorker article on bibliotherapy the other day, though, and it made me long for that service as a standard feature of bookstores. I ordered their book, and part of me wonders if I should just start saving up some money for a consult. They prescribe books! After talking with you to determine which books would be most helpful to you! How wonderful is that! Learning that such a thing existed was completely world-altering to me!
posted by lazuli at 7:09 PM on July 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


I took the quiz and did well despite my lifelong inability to remember names and titles (I'd have done much worse on a fill-in-the-blank version of this rather than limited multiple-choice), but in response to "Who wrote Poisonwood Bible?" I'd be like, "It's that one woman...she also wrote Prodigal Summer, which I remember liking...Poisonwood Bible is about [provides quick summary] but I think it's really a direct response to certain other books by Africans and Europeans about Africa. I think you get the most out of it if you've read both Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart first. I once led a book group through those three books and it was really successful...people could see how Poisonwood Bible really fits into that conversation and literary history. It was written by...it's not Atwood, it's not Erdrich, it's not Munro. Damn it! She's American, not Canadian, not African, she's white...She wrote that book I've been meaning to read, something about pigs flying...Pigs in Heaven! Her name is something like a bird, it is always reminding me of a bird when I hear it but it's not..."

Interview: "Barbara Kingsolver."

Me: "Right! I always think of Kingfisher when I hear it."
posted by not that girl at 7:14 PM on July 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


That previous comment was actually going to say: "I took it and did well but I don't know what the trick questions were. What were they? Thanks."
posted by not that girl at 7:15 PM on July 17, 2016


53/50. Received bonus points for submitting a Hamilton ticket stub.
posted by pecanpies at 7:17 PM on July 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


I had posted this article to FB this morning with the comment: Love the store but doubt I'd qualify to work there. Thanks for posting this quiz part (which I'd missed). 34/50. At least I think I got most of the books I've read right and a few others as well.
posted by cleroy at 7:43 PM on July 17, 2016


Got 48/50 on the quiz, didn't know 'The Sea Around Us' and 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn'
posted by airish at 8:14 PM on July 17, 2016


The Metamorphoses was another tricky one: I'd bet that a bunch of people didn't notice the plural ending and thought "Kafka," and then answered "none of the above."
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 8:19 PM on July 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


I got about 70%, but I feel proud that I knew exactly which ones I didn't know. Every one where I chose an answer, I was correct.

my experience almost exactly. Which speaks to my overall peeve about multiple choice in general -- the incitement to guess. It needs to be the way my Grade 11 Geography teacher did it. One mark for every correct choice. Negative one for every incorrect choice. So if you don't know the answer, don't guess. Just leave it blank.
posted by philip-random at 9:13 PM on July 17, 2016


25/50. I haven't read many of the ones I got though, just new them by reputation. Did okay with the old stuff, but had no idea on most of the newer authors. I am embarrassed I missed Ellison. I was looking for Wells and put none of the above.
posted by pattern juggler at 9:35 PM on July 17, 2016


42/50. Three of which I've "read" in the past year thanks to Audible.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:42 PM on July 17, 2016


26/50, and a good portion of that was narrowing down to a few choices and then making lucky guesses. Way better on the classics than post 1950. I'm pleased to say that all of the books I have actually read, which isn't that many of them, I got right.
posted by Liesl at 7:52 AM on July 18, 2016


All the cool kids worked at Tower Records.
posted by lagomorphius at 10:31 AM on July 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


All the cool kids worked at Tower Records.
posted by lagomorphius at 10:31 AM on July 18 [+] [!]


and you see where that got them? Now, back to your homework.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:06 PM on July 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ugh, 32/50, but 8 of the incorrect were in one set of mostly late 20th century stuff.
posted by maryr at 1:01 PM on July 18, 2016


47/50. Somehow read 'White Noise' as 'White Teeth'.
posted by of strange foe at 2:26 PM on July 18, 2016


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