Give me your Brains! ….

No – it’s all right – honest!  I haven’t turned into a zombie for Halloween.  I’m just hoping to harness some of your brainpower to give me inspiration for my next annual literary quiz night.  We call it ‘Mostly Bookbrains‘ and I run it together with my local indie bookshop Mostly Books raising money for different locally-based charities.

I’m looking at a possible date of Friday 28th Feb 2014 (save the date Simon!), but I like to start thinking about it a few months before, even if I don’t actually set most of the questions until the month of the quiz, hence the post now.

Mostly BookbrainsThis will be the fifth book quiz night I’ve set and run.  We have some recurring features:

  • A miscellany warm-up
  • Pictures – usually author pix + covers / illustrations
  • Books in the news
  • A non-fiction feature
  • An audio round if possible
  • First lines / blurbs / quotes

Then I have lots of themed rounds to fill all the gaps.  I like to ensure that the whole world of books is covered – from the latest bestsellers to the prize-winners, books for young and old, and as many genres as I can cram in.

Some of the rounds we’ve done are:

  • Books into movies
  • Author Initials
  • Translated books
  • Inner Child books
  • Dickens / Austen – big author anniversaries
  • Characters in which novels
  • Glittering prizes

I need some new ideas, particularly fun ones.  Your help will be greatly appreciated – and name-checks will be guaranteed if used!  If you know of any big author anniversaries in 2014 do let me know too. 

Thank you in anticipation…  


16 thoughts on “Give me your Brains! ….

  1. Have you thought of coupling author initials with the initials of titles they wrote? For example, AR – SAA, Arthur Ransome – Swallows and Amazons. I puzzled for hours over what Enid Blyton book began with WH, until someone suggested I might try Emily Bronte instead. Just shows the level of my reading!

  2. Have you ever listened to NPR’s Ask Me Another quiz show? Might get a couple of ideas from there. Perhaps a music round? Books that have inspired songs or vice versa (most of the prog rock genre probably! I’m sure there’s a Led Zepplin song about LOTR…..)

    Thanks, but I now have “all we want to do is eat your brains” by Jonathon Coulton as my earworm this morning.

  3. Gertrude Stein’s ‘Tender Buttons’ was published in 1914 – which is possibly not a lot of help but all I can think of at the moment!

  4. Have you considered pinching the ‘Missing Vowels’ round from Only Connect, in which the vowels are removed, all the letters pushed together, and the contestants have to say what it is? You could do it with book titles, author or character names as the theme. For example, which famous literary characters have had their vowels extraced here:


    Where writers have a large catalogue, they could have a whole round to themselves. For example, can you spot the Anthony Trollope titles here:


    To be really mean you could call the round Trollope novels and include both Anthony and Joanna. Most people would assume you simply meant Anthony.

    I think my three examples above are quite easy, but I’ll pop back with the answers tomorrow just in case you struggle.

  5. Bookish pets – works well with children’s books, old and new from Kiki the parrot to Black Boy or Scabbers. Make it harder by being pickier about the amount of info – from series or author to book title or fictional owner.

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