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Don’t Know Much About Literature

This review of the upcoming Don’t Know Much About Literature by Kenneth C. Davis and Jenny Davis (Summer 2009, Harper Collins) is somewhat biased.

First of all, I was a huge fan of Kenneth C. Davis’ Don’t Know Much About History. I found that book to be equal parts entertainment and enlightment. I’m not even embarrassed to say that 50% of that book was news to me. I’d probably still be enjoying it even now, but it’s one of thsoe books that’s too good to keep to yourself. (And apparently to good to give back to its owner…)

Secondly, as a teacher, I’m a big fan of his Don’t Know Much About… series Don't Know Much About Literaturefor students. Profusely illustrated with just enough facts to get them interested in learning more. Don’t Know Much About the Presidents is one of my favorites.

Thirdly, I love literature, although judging by my poor performance on this book’s quizzes, I’m obviously not as well read as I should be!

Don’t Know Much About Literature is a fun way to assess your knowledge of literature old and new, and to gain some tidbits to share in your middle or high school class (or your next backyard barbecue). Selections are typically one page long, with half a dozen questions about authors, novels, lines, film and theatre adaptations, and literary honors.

Here are a few random questions to test your literary IQ:

1.Which Toni Morrison novel received the Pulitzer Prize in 1988?

2. Which book was the basis of the Broadway hit The Man of La Mancha?

3. Who opened their poem with this famous line: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways”?

4. Identify this short story from its first line: “In walks three girls in nothing but bathing suits.”

5. What was the first Agatha Christie novel to feature Miss Marple?

6. Who directed the 1980 version of The Shining?

 7. In what novel does this first line appear? “You’d better not never tell nobody but God.”

Do you even need to see the answers? C’mon, they were all easy, right? Well, just to check your spellings, if nothing else…

1. Beloved

2. Don Quixote

3. Elizabeth Barrett Browning (Sonnet 13) 

4. A & P by John Updike

 5. Murder at the Vicarage (1930)

6. Stanley Kubrick

7. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

If you scored 7 out of 7, I bow to your literary prowess! I missed the Miss Marple question and I’d be embarrassed to tell you my guess for #3.

So if you want a great gift for a teacher, a book of “stumpers” for your high school AP class, or just a fun read for yourself, you can preorder now and beat the rush!

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