Home 2018 Book Worm Returns

Book Worm Returns

by Abraham Thomas
Book Worm Returns

Photograph by Brandi Redd

We are back again with our second installment of the lit quiz!  Don’t miss this second fun chance of flexing your literary muscle. Get cracking on the first installment of a  dazzingly creative lit quiz. The beehivers had a great time going through the questions.  It’s quite a bit of fun. So get your engines running!

1. The Spanish word for anger derives directly from the medieval belief that a person’s moods were determined by the balance of vital fluids (“humors”) in his body. This is the basis of the punning title of a work by a famous author; name the work.


2. Over the course of several weeks in May 1944, the Daily Telegraph crossword solutions included the words Utah, Omaha, Overlord and Neptune. This caused consternation in the British government – why?


3.  John G. was a young civil servant of stunning good looks who had an affair with a well-known literary figure. This literary figure gave John G. a Greek nickname, derived from the idea that homosexuality was common and accepted in ancient Greece.  What was the nickname, and who was the literary figure?


4. This is the original definition of a word: “Pertaining to, or situated under, the northern constellation called the What’s the good word?


5. In the legend of Moorish Spain, Boabdil, the last Muslim ruler of Granada, is said to have paused on a ridge for a final glimpse of the realm he had just surrendered to the Castilians. Henceforth, the occasion, and the place, would be known as El ÚltimoSuspiro del Moro.


6. William Porter, a Texan bank clerk accused of embezzlement, fled to Honduras in 1896 to escape federal authorities. While there, he observed at first hand the influence of certain large agricultural companies on the political scene.  What term did he coin to describe what he saw?


7. Three particularly deadly specimens, named for their place of residence: Timor Jack; New Zealand Tom; Mocha ____. (Mocha is a small island off the coast of Chile).  Fill ‘er up.


8. Here’s a quote from an author, talking about the title of his most famous book: “the symbol … is so rich in meanings that by now it hasn’t any meaning. It disorientates the reader who is unable to choose any one interpretation”.  What symbol, and which book?


9. Taro Hirai was a Japanese short story writer famous for his macabre and bizarre tales. He wrote under the pen name Edogawa Rampo.  Now, Edogawa is the name of the river that flows through Tokyo.  But what prompted Hirai’s choice of pseudonymous surname?


10. In a play by Balzac called Le Faiseur, (“The Show-Off”) a stock-market trader called Mercadet is going bankrupt. His funds are all tied up with his ex-partner, who is mysteriously elusive. Mercadet makes it clear to his creditors that once his partner arrives, everyone will get paid. Until then, all they can do is wait. The Balzac play ends happily: the arrival of Mercadet’s partner is announced, and the rapturous Mercadet exclaims, “Let’s go and see ____”. Fill in the blank.

1. Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

From Wikipedia:The term cholera as it is used in Spanish, cólera, can also denote passion or human rage and ire in its feminine form. (The English adjective choleric has the same meaning.) Considering this meaning, the title is a pun: cholera as the disease, and cholera as passion, which raises the central question of the book: is love helped or hindered by extreme passion? The two men – Florentino and Urbino – can be contrasted as the extremes of passion: one having too much, one too little; the central question of which is more conducive to love and happiness becomes the specific, personal choice that Fermina faces through her life.


2. These were all code words used in the D-Day landings.


3. Dorian – inspiration for Wilde’s novella


4. Arctic


5. The Moor’s Last Sigh

From Wikipedia : ‘The Moor’s Last Sigh’ is the fifth novel by Salman Rushdie, published in 1995. It is set in the Indian cities of Bombay and Cochin.

The title is taken from the story of Boabdil (Abu Abdullah Muhammed), the last Moorish king of Granada, who is also mentioned frequently in the book. The mother of the narrator and an artist friend of the mother’s each make a painting which they call “The Moor’s Last Sigh”.

The novel traces four generations of the narrator’s family and the ultimate effects upon the narrator. The narrator, MoraesZogoiby – called ‘Moor’ throughout the book, traces his family’s beginnings down through time to his own lifetime.

The book draws on a variety of real historical figures and events, including the surrender of Granada by Boabdil, the demolition of the Babri Masjid, the 1993 Bombay bombings, the gangster and terrorist Dawood Ibrahim, as well as modern Indian political organizations like Bal Thackeray and the Shiv Sena.


6. Banana Republic. William Porter, by the way, is O Henry.


7. Dick – these were all large and dangerous whales, and inspired Herman Melville

From WikipediaMoby-Dick; or, The Whale is a novel by American writer Herman Melville, published in 1851 during the period of the American Renaissance. Sailor Ishmael tells the story of the obsessive quest of Ahab, captain of the whaler Pequod, for revenge on Moby Dick, the white whale that on the previous whaling voyage bit off Ahab’s leg at the knee.


The work was first published as The Whale in London in October 1851, and under its definitive title in New York in November.

The product of a year and a half of writing, the book draws on Melville’s experience at sea, on his reading in whaling literature, and on literary inspirations such as Shakespeare and the Bible. The white whale is modeled on the notoriously hard to catch actual albino whale Mocha Dick, and the ending is based on the sinking of the whaler Essex by a whale.


8. The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco


9. Pun on “Edgar Allan Poe”


10. Godot

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