This month, as it's the last idle summer month for many of us, we place a slightly higher emphasis on the great outdoors, and the books and writers that celebrated it. Strap on your hipwaders, fill the cooler with your beverage of choice, slap on some sunscreen and bug repellent and camp out with us for a few questions. (If, on the other hand, you're more the strictly pavement type, well, honestly, so am I.)
Also, please leave your feedback in the comments. I'd like to make these quizzes better and more fun for you, so let me know if I'm missing something, or there's a genre I'm under-serving, or what have you. Thanks.
-- Tony Hightower, Trivia NYC (follow him on Twitter).
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Dolores Haze, one of the great literary creations of the 20th century, was also known by what other, more well-known, nickname?
Question 1 Explanation:
Vladimir Nabokov's classic short novel featuring an unreliable narrator navigating (to put it mildly) ethically ambiguous ground was first published in English in August 1958.
The Broadway musical "Damn Yankees" is based on the story of what fabled figure, adapted by Christopher Marlowe in the Elizabethan Era and then by Goethe 200 years later?
Tamburlaine the Great
Question 2 Explanation:
Spoiler alert: In Christopher Marlowe's version of the Faust story, Faust's soul is claimed, and he winds up in Hell, but in Goethe's version, Faust dies happy, and goes to heaven. What's the fun in that?
Which one of the following is not one of the "higher laws" to which Henry David Thoreau aspires in his book-cum-social experiment Walden, published in August 1854?
If the day and the night make one joyful, one is successful.
Poverty wants some things, luxury many things, avarice all things.
One must love that of the wild just as much as one loves that of the good.
The highest form of self-restraint is when one can subsist not on other animals, but of plants and crops cultivated from the earth.
Question 3 Explanation:
The aphorism about poverty is from Ben Franklin's "Poor Richard's Almanack."
Speaking of classic books about the great outdoors, what book about life in the wilds consists of a series of philosophical conversations between a fisherman and a stranger, neither of whom are ever named?
A Sportsman's Sketches, by Ivan Turgenev
The Call Of The Wild, by Jack London
A River Runs Through It, by Norman McLean
The Compleat Angler, by Izaak Walton
Question 4 Explanation:
Charles Lamb once wrote to Samuel Taylor Coleridge of The Compleat Angler: "It breathes the very spirit of innocence, purity, and simplicity of the heart. There are many choice old verses interspersed in it; it would sweeten a man's temper at any time to read it; it would Christianise every discordant angry passion; pray make yourself acquainted with it."
What book, published in its first edition on August 9, 1955 and updated annually since, is the best selling copyrighted reference work of all time?
The Guinness Book Of Records
Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung
Webster's New American Dictionary
The Joy Of Cooking
Question 5 Explanation:
Chairman Mao's Little Red Book, as well as the Bible and the Qu'ran, all have more copies in print, but are not under copyright.
Because of a scene involving a main character pleasuring himself over the sight of a woman's undergarment, what book was banned in the United States until the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled it could be distributed legally in August of 1934?
Lady Chatterley's Lover
Fanny Hill or, Memoirs of a Woman Of Pleasure
Question 6 Explanation:
The case, officially United States vs. One Book Called Ulysses, featured testimony on both sides from virtually all the leading literary lights of the time, and has served as a fairly effective precedent against censorship of serious literary works in the U.S. ever since.
The book A Big Little Life: A Memoir Of A Joyful Dog, released two years ago this month, was a memorial tale of Trixie, the golden retriever of what prolific and successful writer of suspense thrillers, who also wrote a column for years under Trixie's name?
Question 7 Explanation:
"To be happy, use your nose. Every day is rich in smells. It's a cliche, sure, but if you got roses, smell 'em."
Dorothy Parker was born August 22, 1893, in New Jersey. What one word fills in both blanks in the following Parker quote: "The cure for boredom is _____. There is no cure for _____."
Question 8 Explanation:
Upon her death in 1967, she willed her entire estate to the NAACP.
In what might be Guy de Maupassant's best-known short story, what borrowed item did Mathilde misplace, causing her and her husband to work for a decade to afford a replacement, only to find out that the original was worth a fraction of what they thought?
A cigarette case
Question 9 Explanation:
De Maupassant, born August 2, 1850, is one of the fathers of the modern short story. Immensely popular in his time, his influence on French culture is unmistakable.
Name the Isabel Allende saga that was adapted into a 1993 film starring Jeremy Irons and Meryl Streep as the patriarch and matriarch of the Trueba family.
The Island Beneath The Sea
Chronicle Of A Death Foretold
The House Of The Spirits
Question 10 Explanation:
Allende is far from universally beloved in her native Chile, but her books have sold in the tens of millions, making her one of the most popular female authors in all of literature. Chronicle of a Death Foretold is by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Hopscotch is by Julio Cortazar.
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Robert the Bruce: King of the Scots
by Michael Penman
Yale University Press, 2014
This summer marks the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, the epic confrontation in June 1314 between the English troops of Edward II …