In the Northern Hemisphere, July is the beginning of the mad season, when tornadoes and riots happen, the asphalt starts to melt from the heat, and people get a little crazy. This month's OLM Quiz celebrates the literary (and semi-literary) accomplishments of people who managed to beat the heat long enough to get something done in July, even that accomplishment was just being born in the first place. Grab a drink with lots of ice in it and relax with us a spell.
--Tony Hightower, TriviaNYC (Follow our Twitter feed & our podcast.)
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Hermann Hesse was born on July 2, 1877. What Canadian band, known for their hits "Magic Carpet Ride" and "Born To Be Wild," got their name from a Hermann Hesse story?
Question 1 Explanation:
The theme/concept of Magister Ludi (aka The Glass Pearl Game, or Das Glasperlenspiel, even) also comes up a lot in popular music. Rush, on the other hand, does not come up in German literature nearly as often.
What magazine, launched by Charles Taze Russell in July 1879, is now the most widely distributed magazine in the world, by far?
Question 2 Explanation:
Awake!, Watchtower's companion magazine, is #2 worldwide, and then there's a big dropoff to the AARP magazine series. Reader's Digest is currently #5.
The thriller writer Matthew Reilly's signature character is the U.S. Marine captain Shane Schofield, who was given what nickname, due to the vertical scarring over his eyes?
Question 3 Explanation:
The character of Scarecrow was modeled after Reilly's fellow Australian Mel Gibson. Introduced in "Ice Station" and "Area 7," he's now appeared in three other Scarecrow series books, all of which have spent time on the NYT bestseller list.
Arrested for defaming Catholic Priests while a young adult in 1953, what future Nobel Laureate was arrested and sentenced to death by Joseph Stalin, only to be released when Stalin died a month later?
Question 4 Explanation:
Szymborska was born July 2, 1923, and still lives and writes in Krakow. There have been 12 female Nobel Literature laureates, the first being Selma Lagerlöf in 1909, and the most recent being Herta Muller of Germany/Romania, two years ago.
When a doctor asked her if he could do anything more for her, what Pulitzer-Prize winning author and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, who died in July 2001, said her last words: "No, but thank you so much for inviting me to the party."
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Question 5 Explanation:
Welty won her Pulitzer in 1973 for her novel "The Optimist's Daughter”
What Renaissance poet and scholar, whose works helped form the foundations of the modern Italian language (alongside Bocaccio and Dante), turns 707 years old on July 20?
Lorenzo de' Medici
Question 6 Explanation:
His sonnets are still the gold standard of the form, influencing Spenser and Shakespeare, among countless others.
Which of these masterpieces of pulp noir was not written by Raymond Chandler?
The Big Sleep
The Killer Inside Me
Farewell, My Lovely
The Lady in the Lake
Question 7 Explanation:
"I guess God made Boston on a wet Sunday." Chandler was born July 23, 1888 in Chicago. The Killer Inside Me is by the great Jim Thompson.
On July 17, 1799, French soldiers discovered the slab of rock now known as the Rosetta Stone, which allowed modern translators to finally crack the lanuage of hieroglyphics, given the fact that it had an identical script in hierogyphs, Ancient Greek and what third language?
Question 8 Explanation:
It turns out the "Aristocrats" joke is as old as recorded time itself.
What novel, published in July of 1960, opens with the narrator telling the story of how her brother broke his arm when he was 13?
To Kill A Mockingbird
A Voice in the Attic
Question 9 Explanation:
Bruce Willis and Demi Moore named their first child after Jean Louise "Scout" Finch, and Jake Gyllenhaal named his two dogs Atticus and Boo. So there's that.
What significance did the publication of William Wells Brown's novel "Clotel" in July 1853 in England hold?
It was the first published novel written in Esperanto
"William Wells Brown" was an early pseudonym for the author Mary Ann Evans, later to write as George Eliot
It was the first published novel written by an African-American
It was a lipogram, written entirely without the use of the letter "A"
Question 10 Explanation:
Subtitled "The President's Daughter," it told the story of the mulatto descendants of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. Wells, an escaped slave himself, was exiled in England until a British couple purchased his freedom and he was able to return.
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He was ugly, ill-dressed, and eccentrically fond of dogs – but he was also the most experienced military man in the American colonies, restlessly chaffing under the command of George Washington. He was General Charles Lee, and a wonderful new book tells his story.