I Am A Literary Illiterate
I love trivia. I’m a sucker for most trivia shows, online games and board games. Generally I do quite well at them, but even if I don’t I love learning the little facts that make the games irresistible. Sometime ago (probably about a year) I stumbled across the Book Lover’s Edition if Trivial Pursuit. Trivia and books? The fact that I got it on sale for under $5 was an unnecessary incentive.
Until recently, I never quite got around to opening the game. In a house with four kids there are a lot of opportunities for board games, but this one doesn’t really appeal to my little ones—even if they do read quite a bit. But in the last month I cracked open the box just to look through the contents, and I found out something about myself…
When it comes to books I’m practically illiterate—an oblivious half-wit.
Well let’s back up a bit. Opening the box, I was treated to a cute little bookstore redesign of the typical Trivial Pursuit setup. The traditional categories are replaced with Children’s, Classics, Non-Fiction, Book Club, Authors and Book Bag. And standing in for the basic pie shells are four delightfully bookish playing pieces.
But as I sat down in my comfy chair (I always hear the Monty Python skit) with a handful of cards it didn’t take long for me to discover that the games charm ended with the visual. Talk about difficult!
OK, the Children’s category, I’ll admit, is easier than the others—keeping a high percentage of the questions to the classics:
Q: What kind of creature is the grouchy Templeton, in Charlotte’s Web?
A: A rat
Q: What Dr. Seuss character declares: “I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues”?
A: The Lorax
But a most of the rest of the questions—and even some of the Children’s—are incredibly difficult (the sampling below is not cherry-picked, but pulled from the first four cards I pulled from the pack):
Q: What fictional medical examiner gets occasional help from Richmond police officer Pete Marino?
A: Kay Scarpetta
Q: What humorist needed 560 pages to explain The Short History of Nearly Everything for U.S readers, but only 500 pages for British readers?
A: Bill Bryson
Q: What Spokane Indian titled a book of short stories The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven?
A: Sherman Alexie
Q: What author of You Got to Dance with Them What Brung You did the L.A. Times call “H.L. Mencken without the cruelty”?
A: Molly Ivins
Now maybe you got those right, but I didn’t. In fact after looking through 50 or so cards, I’d be surprised if I got more than 10% correct.
The lesson here? Well if there is one, it’s that I obviously have plenty of books to read.
BTW, if you’d like the game you can get it on Amazon for $10. Good luck. You’ll need it.