Fancy yourself as a books boff? Here's a quiz for you
How much do you know about books in 2018?
Feeling sharp? Test your wits against our literary quiz.
1. Will Self told an interviewer that he always reads more than one book at a time. But how many?
2. Who won last year’s Bad Sex in Fiction Award with a passage that included the line: “We’re both moaning eyes hearts souls bodies one”?
a) James Frey
b) Jilly Cooper
c) Haruki Murakami
3. What did last year’s Booker Prize winner, Anna Burns, say she was going to spend her prize money on?
a) A holiday
b) Paying off her debts
4. Which of these, according to Michael Wolff in Fire and Fury, is President Donald Trump’s favourite fast food chain?
b) Burger King
c) Taco Bell
5. You were almost certainly told to watch Killing Eve last year. But who wrote the books on which the series is based?
a) Philip Kerr
b) Luke Jennings
c) Kate Atkinson
1. At Eton, George Orwell was taught by another major 20th-century writer in the making, and remembered him as completely incompetent. Who was it?
a) TS Eliot
b) Aldous Huxley
c) Evelyn Waugh
2. Which of these literary critics gave evidence at the Chatterley trial?
a) Helen Gardner
b) FR Leavis
c) William Empson
3. Can you name the famous literary parent of these daughters?
a) Lisa Jardine
b) Shirley Williams
c) Mary Shelley
4. Which of these American poets did NOT visit Ezra Pound in the asylum at St Elizabeths, Washington DC?
a) William Carlos Williams
b) Elizabeth Bishop
c) Robert Lowell
d) Sylvia Plath
e) TS Eliot HATCHET JOBS
Here are some writers at their most acid. But whose books were they trashing?
1. Samuel Johnson: “There is no nature, for there is no truth; there is no art, for there is nothing new. Its form is that of a pastoral, easy, vulgar, and therefore disgusting: whatever images it can supply are long ago exhausted.”
2. DH Lawrence: “Nothing but old fags and cabbage-stumps of quotations from the Bible and the rest, stewed in the juice of deliberate, journalistic dirty-mindedness.”
3. Virginia Woolf: “Not a good novel. All raw, uncooked, protesting.”
4. Ed Zern, reviewing in Field and Stream, 1959: “This fictional account of the day-to-day life of an English gamekeeper is still of considerable interest to outdoor minded readers, as it contains many passages on pheasant raising, the apprehending of poachers, ways to control vermin, and other duties of the professional gamekeeper. Unfortunately, one is obliged to wade through many pages of extraneous material in order to discover and savour these sidelights on the management of a Midland shooting estate, and in this reviewer’s opinion this book cannot take the place of JR Miller’s Practical Gamekeeping.”
5. Norman Mailer: “At certain points, reading the work can even be said to resemble the act of making love to a three-hundred-pound woman. Once she gets on top, it’s over. Fall in love, or be asphyxiated.”
6. Auberon Waugh: “As an early upmarket soap, it undoubtedly gave comfort to a number of people, becoming something of a cult during the fifties in the London community of expatriate Australians. Perhaps it afforded them the illusion of understanding English society, even a vicarious sense of belonging to it. If so, it was one of the cruellest practical jokes ever played by a Welshman.”
7. Truman Capote: “[It] isn’t writing at all — it’s typing.”
8. Martin Amis: “Epic in length only; it has no pace, no drive. An anthology, an agglomeration, it simply accrues. The question ‘What happens next?’ has no meaning, because there is no next ... there is only more.”
THE YOUNG ONES
1. Alexander Pope was 1.37 metres. Which childhood affliction is thought to have stunted his growth?
a) Lyme disease
b) Pott’s disease
2. As a teenager, Jane Austen wrote an epistolary story called what:
a) Love and Friendship
b) Conversations with Friends
c) Tale of Two Friends
3. One of TS Eliot’s ancestors emigrated to America in the 17th century from which English village, also the title of a poem in Four Quartets?
a) Combe Florey
b) Little Gidding
c) East Coker
4. In John Updike’s Rabbit novels, which sport did the protagonist, Harry Angstrom, play at school?
b) American football
WRITERS ABROAD (AND AT HOME)
Can you match the description of place to the writer?
1. Taormina: “One long parade of junk shops... things dearer than ever, more faked, food tiresome as it always was. If only Etna would send down 60,000,000 tons of boiling lava over the place and cauterise it away.”
2. Genoa: “The view, as I have said, is charming; but in the day you must keep the lattice-blinds close shut, or the sun would drive you mad; and when the sun goes down you must shut up all the windows, or the mosquitoes would tempt you to commit suicide. So at this time of the year, you don’t see much of the prospect within doors. As for the flies, you don’t mind them. Nor the fleas, whose size is prodigious, and whose name is Legion, and who populate the coach-house to that extent that I daily expect to see the carriage going off bodily, drawn by myriads of industrious fleas in harness.”
3. Damascus: “Great cities paint pictures, Cairo a pyramid, Shiraz a rose. Damascus conjures running water, a river out of Lebanon which carries down calcareous soil and smears it over the desert for 170 square miles, giving birth to a miracle of trees.”
4. Dublin: “Looked at closely, the bricks of these houses showed in fact a variety of colours, some purplish red, some yellowish grey, all glued together by a jelly of filth to form a uniform organic surface rather like the scales of a fish, the basic material of Dublin, a city conjured from the earth all in one piece by some tousled Dido.”
5. Scotland: “The masters of the fairest and most wealthy climates of the globe turned with contempt from gloomy hills, assailed by the winter tempest, from lakes concealed in a blue mist, and from cold and lonely heaths, over which the deer of the forest were chased by a troop of naked barbarians.”
a) Colin Thubron
b) Edward Gibbon
c) Charles Dickens
d) Iris Murdoch
e) DH Lawrence
2018 IN BOOKS 1.c 2.a 3.b 4.a 5.b;
ONLY CONNECT 1.b 2.a 3. Jacob Bronowski; Vera Brittain; Mary Wollstonecraft 4.d;
HATCHET JOBS 1. Milton, for Lycidas 2. James Joyce, for Work in Progress 3. Aldous Huxley, for Point Counter Point 4. DH Lawrence for Lady Chatterley’s Lover 5. Tom Wolfe for A Man in Full 6. Anthony Powell for A Dance to the Music of Time 7. Jack Kerouac for On the Road 8. Miguel de Cervantes for Don Quixote;
THE YOUNG ONES 1.b 2.a 3.c 4.c;
WRITERS ABROAD (AND AT HOME) 1.e DH Lawrence in a letter, 1921 2.c Charles Dickens in a letter, 1845 3.a Colin Thubron in A Mirror to Damascus (1967) 4.d Iris Murdoch in The Red and the Green (1965) 5.b Edward Gibbon in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol I (1776)
– © The Sunday Telegraph