© 2024
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Any Questions #221

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel switch seats for a show about classic books they may or may not have read.

Last week's challenge: Start with the name MISTER BURNS. Drop one letter and you can rearrange the result to spell the nickname of a baseball team and a hockey team. What are the teams?

Answer: If you drop an R, you can spell METS and BRUINS.

On-air questions: Mike, on this date in 1828 about 200 miles south of Moscow, the fourth of five children of Count Nikolai Ilyich Tolstoy was born. Leo Tolstoy would gain a reputation over his 82-year life as one of the giants of all literature whose novels are still read and taught today. But be honest: have you ever really read the 1,225-page War and Peace? As Twain himself may or may not have said, a classic is a book people praise but don’t read, and according to a 2013 British study, 62 percent of respondents said they’ve lied about having read classics to seem more intelligent. Now I’m going ask you about some of the books on that list.

1. Another lengthy Russian novel on the list is by Dostoyevsky. The story focuses on a poor ex-student who plots to murder a miserly pawnbroker for her money. What is the name of this book?
2. An American novel on the list of books people pretended to have read but haven’t was published in 1960 and remained its author’s only book for 55 years — until a sequel of sorts was released amid controversy this year. In the sequel, a native of the South returns home from New York City. What is the name of the first book?  
3. The only novel by this great on the study’s list of top 10 books people have lied about reading includes characters named Miss Skiffins, Mr. Wopsle, Herbert Pocket, and Mr. Pumblechook. What’s the name of the writer, and as a bonus point, can you name the book?    
4. Speaking of Dickens, David Copperfield is mentioned in the opening sentence of which 1951 classic, about whose reclusive author Philip Roth wrote “he has not turned his back on the times but, instead, has managed to put his finger on whatever struggle of significance is going on today between self and culture.”
5. And finally: a 1940 film adaptation of the Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice, starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier, itself had a screenplay by Aldous Huxley, the author of a novel now also considered a classic. That novel, published eight years earlier, takes its title from a Shakespeare line. What is the book?

Extra credit

1. Just missing the top 10 in the study of classics people claim to have read most often is a book available in formats such as KJV, NIV and NASB. What is the book?
2. Topping the list is 1984 by George Orwell. What are the three totalitarian nation-states perpetually at war in the story?

This week's challenge
Start with the name of the Albert Camus novel THE STRANGER. Rearrange the letters and you can spell a two-word action a landlord does. What are the words?

A lifelong resident of the Capital Region, Ian joined WAMC in late 2008 and became news director in 2013. He began working on Morning Edition and has produced The Capitol Connection, Congressional Corner, and several other WAMC programs. Ian can also be heard as the host of the WAMC News Podcast and on The Roundtable and various newscasts. Ian holds a BA in English and journalism and an MA in English, both from the University at Albany, where he has taught journalism since 2013.
Related Content
  • WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are blushing red this week.Last week's challengeStart with the phrase SWEET THURSDAY. Drop one…
  • Listen up! Resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel is back.Last week's challengeStart with the name MISS SCARLET. Change one letter to an A, and you can rearrange…
  • WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel return to an annual October tradition: the series.Last week's challengeStart with the phrase HEARING…
  • It's a birthday dirge today as resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel and WAMC's Ian Pickus switch seats.Last week's challengeStart with the phrase STRIKE OUT.…
  • It's all about the Montgomerys on this week's show.Last week's challengeStart with the phrase GETTING OLDER. Rearrange the letters and you can spell the…